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Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) is a research center at the School of Social Work. GSDI’s mission is to generate evidence to advance youth well-being, globally.

Our work focuses on youth development in the digital age using the positive youth development framework. The PYD framework recognizes that for young people to become healthy, productive and engaged, programs, practices, and policies must partner with young people to improve their assets, agency, contributions, and enabling environment. Additionally, we recognize that in order to effectively engage young people we must not focus on ”fixing” behaviors but rather, we must build the connection, confidence, character, contributions, and competence of all young people.

GSDI formulates its research around three core intervention areas and their intersections. These cores are youth economic security, youth workforce development, and youth financial inclusion. The Center’s current initiatives span six countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, India, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. GSDI works with local partners to improve the economic and social welfare of children, youth, and their families globally.

We focus on community driven initiatives, which requires meaningful partnerships and collaboration with multiple stakeholders. GSDI has a cadre of local, national, and global research, implementation and funding partners. GSDI collaborates with faculty members affiliated with various UNC schools and departments, as well as other Universities globally. GSDI also prides itself as a training center for graduate students in social work and related disciplines. Last, GSDI houses a Data Hub, which serves as a nexus point for sharing and utilizing research data from GSDI and collaborating sites in Ghana, South Africa, India, and beyond.