Who We Are

The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) is one of the oldest and largest Movements for youth in the world. Founded in 1844, it now operates in 119 countries, and reaching  58  million people. The YMCA works to bring social justice and peace to young people and their communities, regardless of religion, race, gender or culture. 

The World Alliance of YMCAs, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a confederation of National Councils of YMCAs around the world.

The World Alliance:

- Strengthens the capacity of National YMCA Movements by providing training and technical support, sharing good practices, resources, and minimum standards

- Advocates globally on issues affecting young people in collaboration with, and on behalf of YMCAs

- Represents the YMCA at global level with media, donors, United Nations bodies, ecumenical organisations and other civil society partners

- Develops programmes to promote youth leadership

- Provides leadership to the YMCA Movement on thematic and mission issues

- Coordinates YMCA emergency response efforts

- Facilitates communications within the world Movement through publications and multimedia

Local and National YMCA Associations are strongly rooted in their communities. Depending on the local context and priority issues affecting young people, YMCAs operate in a wide range of programme areas including: 


  • Sustainable Development
  • Education & Vocational Training
  • Gender Equality
  • Climate Change
  • Health & HIV/AIDS Prevention
  • Inter-faith dialogue
  • Food Security
  • Leadership Development
  • Migration
  • Civic Engagement & Human Rights Education
  • Emergency Response
  • Peace-building

In addition to undertaking research, awareness-raising, and training in these programme areas, YMCAs also advocate to ensure adequate national and international public policies that protect and promote the rights of youth and women in particular.  Through these actions, YMCAs are creating long-lasting change in the lives of millions of youth and the communities of which they are part.   In all activities, strong emphasis is given to youth leadership and youth participation. 

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