Research: Thriving Out of Poverty: A Multi-National Longitudinal Study of the Compassion International Model of Promoting Positive Youth Development among Children Living in Poverty

With the funding support of Compassion International and King Philanthropies, IARYD is partnering with Boston College and Fuller Theological Seminary to conduct a three-nation, comparative longitudinal study of the use of the Lerner and Lerner model in understanding the bases of Positive Youth Development (PYD) among some of the world’s poorest youth in Compassion International’s (CI) child development centers. CI is a Christian sponsorship organization that partners with over 7,000 churches to support and promote thriving in over 1.8 million youth living in poverty in 24 countries located in Central or South America, Africa, and Asia.

The project studies the longitudinal development of youth involved in CI's programs in three nations: El Salvador, Rwanda, as well as one country in Asia (soon to be determined). In each nation, the project will use a counterfactual causal modeling design to compare the development of CI program participants to youth who are not participating in CI’s programs to identify what works, with what children, in what context, over what time period. This project represents a major, albeit first, step in bringing longitudinal data to bear on evidence-based approaches to describing, explaining, and optimizing the complex individual-context relations that undergird thriving among the world’s diverse and most vulnerable young people. The study explores what aspects of positive youth development and spirituality are pertinent to promoting responsible and fulfilled adults in developing nations.