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NIFA and International Positive Youth Development

The importance of positive youth development in the United States and around the world is widely recognized. Wherever they live, young people are a treasure, and their maturation into productive adults depends on careful and creative attention. It is USDA/NIFA’s policy to promote positive youth development in the United States, and to draw upon that deep experience to assist with positive youth development activities around the world.

As resources permit, NIFA stands ready to provide relevant American experience and expertise for positive youth development programs. In so doing, we anticipate that much will be learned from overseas experts as well.

  • USDA/NIFA offers a positive youth development tool kit that describes how the 4-H Youth Development program is designed and implemented within the U.S. The toolkit may be useful to youth development leaders around the world, especially if they can adopt the toolkit to local needs and conditions;
  • Through informal communities of practice, NIFA can convene no-cost discussions of best practices, lessons learned and tips from the field that may be of use to positive youth development professionals.
  • USDA/NIFA can provide access to the wide and diverse network of youth development experts across the U.S. Land-Grant University system.

    o Networking - NIFA can help put positive youth development practitioners in touch with one another.
    o Technical Advice and Assistance – If NIFA is provided funding from another U.S. Government agency, it can effectively plan and deliver a positive youth development program overseas using land-grant experts. It can also monitor and evaluate the impact of such programs.
    o Bring the Lessons Home – NIFA can work with practitioners, with Peace Corps, other appropriate federal agencies and others to ensure that benefits derived from working internationally on positive youth development can be used to improve such programs here at home.

By fostering leadership, citizenship and entrepreneurship skills of young people, NIFA’s renewed emphasis on international positive youth development aligns with government wide programs such as the Feed the Future global food security initiative, the McGovern -Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and the Global Health Initiative. It also responds to the active level of interest expressed by stakeholders in other countries such as Ministries of Agriculture, non-governmental organizations and others focused on youth development; many countries are experiencing growth in the number of rural youth, and are keen to address the pressing needs of their young people.

For more information on NIFA’s International Positive Youth Development work, contact Dr. Lisa Lauxman (llauxman@nifa.usda.gov) or Dr. Hiram Larew (hlarew@nifa.usda.gov).