The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development (IARYD), in partnership with Thanda, a youth-serving non-profit organization working in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, has been awarded a three-year, $1 million USD grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) through its Global Innovations for Character Development (GICD) initiative. The TWCF GICD initiative is focused on the development and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving health outcomes through the promotion of character strengths.
Starting in October 2021, the project, which will be led by Elizabeth Dowling, Jonathan Tirrell, and Richard Lerner, is entitled Promoting Healthy Development in South African Children through Thanda’s Character Virtues Development (CVD) Programs. The IARYD researchers will conduct a comparative counterfactual longitudinal evaluation of CVD and health outcomes among children involved in Thanda’s after-school program. The results will inform Thanda’s CVD-focused program design and implementation and provide information about the comparative usefulness of traditional survey measures versus behavioral measures in helping practitioners understand how CVD may change the course of health outcomes among children experiencing the stressors of poverty.