Skip to main content

Our History

Launch of GSDI

The Center’s founding director, Dr. Gina Chowa, recognized that poverty, injustice and inequality are central to marginalization and vulnerability. Additionally, she understood that the historical relationship between the global North and the global South requires us to develop new ways of doing business.

Because of such, Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) was launched and officially recognized as a research center by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Fall 2017. GSDI was launched to focus on improving the lives of vulnerable and marginalized youth around the globe. The Center was built on the belief that research should not be conducted for the sake of research, but instead to change lives through the use of rigorous methods that honors those we work with. To that end, inclusion and giving voice to our global partners is core to our mission. At GSDI, we believe that placing an emphasis on strong cross-sectoral programs and community participation which harnesses the expertise of those who live these lives is the most intelligent and efficient way of addressing global issues.

Collectively, the Center has over 40 years of experience in tackling systemic causes of poverty and optimizing young people’s access to education and employment. GSDI is able to achieve its goals through the premium that is placed on designing and implementing community-based interventions, conducting high-impact evaluations and making data-driven policy recommendations.

Future of GSDI

GSDI will continue to build on its achievements and leverage our uniqueness to address the next challenges of youth social development. We will allow our core values of rigor, collaboration, inclusion, accountability and transparency and service shape how we approach and conduct our work in the areas of youth workforce development, youth financial inclusion, and youth economic security.

Over the next 10 years, the Center will continue to work alongside governments, private sector and civil society to identify and promote holistic, cross-sectoral solutions that are sustainable, impact policy and provide lasting solutions to advance youth well-being globally.