Improving Positive Youth Outcomes through the Use of Safe Spaces in Low-and Middle-Income Countries
The purpose of this brief is to discuss the characteristics of safe spaces and evaluate their success in contributing to positive youth outcomes in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) across sectors.
Many programs implemented in low-and middle-income countries incorporate safe space features into Positive Youth Development (PYD) programs. A systematic review of positive youth development programs in LMICs found that, although the number of evaluations is limited, PYD programs have resulted in positive outcomes across sectors, including improved knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to positive shifts in gender norms; on employment, skills development, and financial behaviors; and on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) (Alvarado et al., 2017). Programs with positive results for these sector-specific outcomes use safe spaces to teach transferable soft skills and competencies, foster self-confidence, self-efficacy, and leadership and engaged with numerous stakeholders across multiple settings, including schools, households, and community centers. Most evaluations focused on sector-specific outcomes (e.g., HIV, SRH, workforce development) rather than outcomes across multiple sectors.