Youth leadership is a theory of youth development, in which young people gain the skills and knowledge necessary to lead civic engagement, civic reform, and community organizing activities. It is one way to promote positive youth development. Youth leadership is the meaningful participation of youth plus (at minimum) skills development and opportunities to unleash their potential and power to influence or bring about change. Youth leadership programs go beyond the process of meaningful participation of youth, and provide distinct opportunities for youth to learn new skills and apply these for individual, organizational, and community level change. This occurs across the various sectors in which youth leadership programs operate, including advocacy, civic engagement, community development, education, and health.
This resource explores the results of the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance Project’s assessment of youth leadership development programs around the world and provides six recommendations for implementing an effective youth leadership program.