In June 2021, World YMCA selected projects from 18 YMCA National Movements worldwide, for funding under the Global Youth Mobilization’s initiative to support youth-led responses to local challenges faced by young people because of COVID-19.
The projects, of 6-12 month duration, cover areas like improving or addressing mental and physical health, addressing the impact of disruption to education, digital innovation and providing access to the internet, improving employability through support to livelihoods and financial literacy, vocational training and skills provision, vaccine awareness and other forms of COVID-19 sensitisation.
The projects are:
World of Wellbeing
World of Wellbeing is a holistic approach to mental wellbeing that offers a sense of safety and connection for young people. Research shows that young people from minority communities (LGBTQI+, people of colour, those with disabilities) are more likely to have poor mental wellbeing: the project will therefore focus on ensuring that a “world of wellbeing” is accessible to them. A fundamental component of the project is the development of a Wellbeing Charter that helps to communicate mental “health” in a way that is codified and therefore measurable, making it easier to evaluate. Both physical and digital training support will be provided through a Wellbeing Toolbox to support young people either face to face or digitally. Together with the Wellbeing Charter and the Wellbeing Toolbox, a Wellbeing Survey will provide a self-assessment tool for individuals to become more aware of and proactive in their mental health journey.
Here are a few activities that were made possible thanks to YMCA Belarus and the project implemented by World YMCA under the #GlobalYouthMobilizathion project. The project aims to help young people who have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19.
What we did?
- We held a youth camp in June where we gathered over 60 participants.
- Next was a very important event, a “Relax time” event for key leaders of YMCA Belarus, which included a big 25 km water hike, which was a very rallying component. The program also included aromatherapy, neurography, and much more.
- The final camp was a family camp, which gave everyone a different perspective on spending time together with their children and with like-minded people. More than 60 people took part in the camp.
All the activities were conducted with an increased focus on health and all measures against the spread of Covid-19 were observed.
Hope Makers enhances the mental and physical health of young people in disadvantaged areas so that they are empowered to lead change. The project gives insight into the negative mental and physical health effects of the pandemic that plague multiple communities. The purpose of Hope Makers is to help young people overcome these negative impacts and empower them to help others in their communities to do so. The project is about standing in solidarity with those who are most affected by the pandemic, targeting refugee camps in the West Bank. Around 600 young people will participate: there will be 10 core groups (one in each refugee camp) and each group will consist of around 60 people.
Education on Wheels Philippines
Education on Wheels Philippines provides learning resources and technology for out-of-school youth, including those attending public schools but experiencing technical difficulties. There are three objectives to this project. First, to provide an avenue to impart basic literacy skills (computer, arithmetic, reading and writing). Second, to minimize technical difficulties through providing access to the internet, gadgets, and audio-visual/printing materials. Third, to reintegrate these youth into formal education, either blended or in-person, by August 2021.
YMCA Makerspace Digital Learning
YMCA Makerspace Digital Learning engages young people who have been disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. In the rural areas of Denny and Renfrewshire, young people have been excluded from opportunities in technology, education and employment. Makerspace is an informal educational environment where young people gather to create, using digital technology to gain new skills and foster entrepreneurial spirit. The project will build on Paisley YMCA’s leading reputation in Scotland for digital innovation, replicating their Makerspace in new communities, using a co-creative system design approach to ensure that each is based on the needs of youth and their local communities. The ultimate goal of this project is to enable young people to become creators and contributors to the digital economy.
Enhanced Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub
Enhanced Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub trains two groups of young people. The first is those who have not had businesses or livelihood opportunities before. The second is those who started micro-businesses but lost scale, resources and financial capacity due to the pandemic. The project will take place in Karoma and Bulawayo. 100 young people aged 15-35 (40 male and 50 female, including 10 young people living with disabilities) will receive intensive support to create and manage income-generating businesses.
Reducing the impact of COVID-19 on people living with disabilities
YMCA Cameroon is creating this project to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on marginalized youth in the Centre and West. It does so in four steps. First, educate young people and raise awareness on hygiene. 300 young people with disabilities will be trained with COVID-19 measures in a language specific to them. Second, promote economic empowerment of young people while supporting entrepreneurship in profitable organic agriculture. 50 young leaders will build entrepreneurship skills on profitable agriculture. Third, provide psychological support to young people facing trauma. 30 young people with disabilities will get help through psychological support. Last but not least, provide financial support for affected youth starting or resuming Income Generating Activities. 25 young people with disabilities will develop small IGAs through financial support provided to them.
What they did
- School awarness program led by the youth groups supporting children
- Encouraging community to use sanitizer at time of COVID at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
- Awareness raising session for the youth in the informal sector on protective measures of COVID, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia- YMCA Ethiopia.
- Supporting Child to use proper mask usage at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Youth champions promoting proper use of sanitary materials, Addis Abab, Ethiopia.
- Youth group discussion on Dender based vilolence led by a mentor, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
YMCA Educational Solutions (YES)
YMCA Educational Solutions (YES) was created in response to students from disadvantaged communities falling behind in their academic work due to the pandemic. The project empowers young people by increasing their competence and improving their chances of employment. YES provides training and learning opportunities for 2,000 secondary school students in Nigeria. Additionally, the project has a focus on community, connection and collaboration. YES provides opportunities for 100 young people to contribute towards pandemic recovery efforts in their communities.
YMCA Sierra Leone
Mobilizing young people for COVID-19 response
Young people can mobilize their communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mobilizing Young People for COVID-19 Response aims to accelerate this process in Sierra Leone through social mobilization, campaigns against gender-based violence and raising awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine. This project will take 6 months. Social mobilization/awareness raising activities include training of peer educators, production of education materials and monthly radio discussion on COVID-19 prevention targeting 5,500 people. Campaign activities include organizing training sessions on gender-based violence for 50 young girls, providing counselling support to 30 young survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and supporting 30 victims of SGBV with small grants or capital.
Prevention of depression in young people post-COVID-19
The physical and social distancing measures implemented to contain the pandemic have created a number of emotional challenges. 680 people including a group of young volunteers from the YMCA and young people from the Nueva Helvecia high school will be participating in this project. There are three objectives to this project. First is to generate workshops led by young people for young people. Second is to recognize the causes of depression and its impact on young people. Third is to raise awareness of the importance of seeking professional help for mental health issues.
Youth Volunteers against COVID-19
Youth volunteers against COVID-19 intends to mobilize young volunteers to assist or act as intermediaries in schools, hospitals, places of worship and public places throughout Togo. The project will include three core activities. First, to promote compliance with barrier measures in 10 schools, 7 places of worship and in certain districts (Lomé, Atakpamé and Sokodé) in Togo for 6 months. Second, to cultivate and maintain social ties with 150 vulnerable people (elderly, disabled, etc.) in those districts. Third, to raise awareness and inform the population on COVID-19 through digital methods to debunk false information.
YMCA Sri Lanka
Y-Spaces: Spaces to shape the future
Y-Spaces: Spaces to shape the future is a six-month project that aims to create digital hubs and co-working spaces where 3,000 young people can engage in their work free of discrimination. There are three core activities of the project. First, an immediate upgrade to existing YMCA locations to reflect industry standard co-working spaces, so as to allow the program to run for a minimum of six months. Second, administer six locations under the YMCA ethos ensuring equality, access, affordability and charity during the six-month period with quantifiable standards of measuring success. Third, conduct sessions on personal and professional development (CV preparation, interview skills seminar, public speaking, personal finance, investment) with placements where applicable, while also providing resources to budding social activists to achieve their goals.