YMCA of the USA’s Global Economic Empowerment Initiative (GEEI), funded by the financial company Wells Fargo, ran in six countries last year including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, the Philippines and Spain. Nearly 5,000 people benefitted from this programme, including young people living with disabilities and LGBTQ+ groups.
The GEEI aims to strengthen YMCA activities to improve financial education, to increase economic opportunities and to support small businesses development.
For instance, in Brazil, the GEEI is a component of the YMCA Youth Apprenticeship programme that helps young people secure their first job through employment training and paid internships. In the Philippines, YMCA Albay strengthened its YMCA entrepreneurship programme allowing beneficiaries to launch, finalise and capitalise their businesses. In Spain, YMCA reinforced their Second-Chance alternative schools for young people who dropped out. The programme provided the opportunity for participants to gain both professional skills and self-confidence.
YMCA believes in a just world where every young person can be empowered to transform their lives and impact positively on others by earning a good living. These results from the GEEI is part of the global progress toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for No Poverty (SDG 1), Quality Education (SDG 4) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8). So young people, like Elias, 15, from Santiago de Chile, can seize opportunities to own their lives: “The programme helped me to learn new things, to use leadership skills, to implement social impact ideas, and to learn how to implement a new business project”.