World Youth Skills Day 2020: Building Resilience in Young People by Strengthening their Skills

Date: 14 July 2020

This year, the World Youth Skills Day focuses on resilience. Young people are particularly vulnerable because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdown, many youth organisations had to adapt their activities to support young women and men facing economic and professional challenges. Here are two examples of what YMCAs did to support young people so that they were equipped and empowered to face the future.



Youth Livelihood Series in Ghana

The Ghana YMCA’s Youth Livelihood Series was held to identify the threats to livelihoods and to guide young people in positioning themselves and their businesses. “Our objective was to plan community-based interventions, such as skills development programmes, to better equip young people to handle the post COVID-19 changes in the business environment. The aim was to lessen the economic impact of the pandemic on livelihoods” says Kwabena Nketia Addae, Executive Director for Ghana YMCA.

In total, 116 participants from 11 countries (Ghana, the United Arab Emirates, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, the United States, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the UK) participated in the webinars. All the sessions were facilitated by a member of the Ghana YMCA and were highly interactive. The panel members were professional experts from several sectors such as banking, retail, academia, or gender activism among others. The series discussed strategies for boosting employability, achieving resilience in entrepreneurship, impact on female entrepreneurship, managing personal income and making safe investments post-COVID-19.

Reunion of Roots Peace Work Institute Alumni

YMCA Europe’s Roots for Peace has developed a pan-European programme empowering youth activism for peaceful transformation of conflicts in the continent. During the lockdown, 14 former participants of this programme from different corners of Europe met online to discuss joint sustainable actions for the future and to create “a market place” of tools and know-how for effectively dealing with the global situation.

“The scariest part about this pandemic is not only the fear of the virus itself, but being alone. You feel like you are isolated from the whole world and do not know what to do. People that I could reconnect with during the meeting have taught me so much and have inspired me so many times. All of us need hope and support,” says Irina Berdzenishvili from YMCA Georgia. “We discussed plans for the future, both long term and short term, and shared ideas of what we could do to help each other and our potential beneficiaries. During the meeting I acquired essential skills for my mental health: planning and spending time productively, different ways to entertain myself and ways to stay positive, just to name a few”.

With around 1 in 6 young people losing their jobs due to COVID-19*, the economic impact is widespread, whilst the threat of global recession paints a bleak picture for the future. YMCA is here to support young people to develop their skills, to help them embrace their entrepreneurial spirit, and to encourage them to have confidence in their own vision. At a local, national and global level, YMCA and its commitment to young people has never been stronger or more relevant.

*Source International Labor Organization (May 2020)