Youth Excel: Our Knowledge, Leading Change

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Youth Excel: Our Knowledge, Leading Change


Youth Excel is a global program that will empower young people and youth organizations to use implementation research to strengthen local, national, and global development solutions.

Youth Excel will support young leaders and youth-led and youth-serving organizations around the globe to conduct quality implementation research; use data and learnings to improve their own cross-sectoral, positive youth development programs; synthesize data and learning; and engage in intergenerational dialogue with adult decision-makers so that together youth and adults can shape and advance data-informed development policies, agendas, and programs.

Implementation research is a mixed-methods approach to collecting data during program implementation to improve implementation. Implementation research helps teams learn how to adapt tested programs to new contexts, how to scale and achieve cost-effectiveness, and how to strengthen impact.

New Gender and Inclusion Assessment

The Global Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Analysis identifies recommendations on how to engage youth, partners, and staff in an inclusive way. 

Quick Facts

  • Young people lead the Youth Excel program. IREX’s consortium includes five youth-led partners, as well as global partners to extend the program’s impact.
  • Youth Excel addresses USAID’s, IREX’s, and our consortium’s shared imperative to empower young people to solve local, national, and global development challenges using data-driven and research-based approaches.
  • Youth Excel confronts barriers that youth face in leading development, including the lack of a broadly credible research and evidence base for youth programming and other barriers that prevent youth from influencing decisions about policy and funding in their societies.
  • Youth Excel will build the global knowledge base on cross-sectoral youth development, support USAID’s Global LEAD initiative, expand USAID’s YouthLead network, and advance USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance agenda on sustainable local development.
  • Youth Excel will work globally and select focus countries each year.


  • Diverse youth create and lead data-informed, inclusive youth development at local, national, and global levels.
  • Youth-led and youth-serving programs strengthen their ability to gather and use evidence about their programs to strengthen and expand their impact.
  • Youth disseminate learning from their implementation research efforts so that the evidence can inform programs and policies.
  • Youth and adults use data as an inclusive intergenerational language to collaborate and inform decision-making.
  • Youth-led networks and place-based networks facilitate collaboration between key development stakeholders, including public, private, and civil society actors, to expand development impact.

Project Activities

  • Create a toolkit for implementation research: Develop an open-source, gender-responsive toolkit for conducting implementation research about positive youth development.
  • Support youth organizations and networks: Support youth-led and youth-serving organizations, and youth-led, issue-based collaborative networks to address local development issues through implementation research.
  • Strengthen skills: Build youth’s skills in digital leadership, data leadership, and advocacy.
  • Be inclusive: Prioritize gender and social inclusion and use power equity tools to ensure that every activity is inclusive.
  • Support implementation research: Strengthen networks of youth researchers to support implementation research activities.
  • Strengthen intergenerational partnerships: Work through issue-based collaborative networks and data summits to facilitate dialogue between youth and adults.
  • Engage the public and private sectors: Build partnerships to support youth-led data and learning.
  • Promote research: Synthesize and disseminate youth’s evidence and learning.
  • Support advocacy: Leverage youth-led research and adults’ support to influence development agendas and policies.