YMCA funds 27 Youth-Led Solution projects to meet local employment challenges  

Date: 01 December 2021

YMCA has selected 27 youth-led projects from 13 countries, to receive a total of some USD 170,000 of funding to tackle youth employment challenges in local communities. The funding comes from Y USA and Salesforce, which helps to reinforce the YMCA Movement’s efforts worldwide to build youth leadership, resilience and skills to lead the charge for change.

The funding is the result of the second YMCA Youth Led Solutions Summit on The Future of Work (7-9 June 2021), which invited proposals from young people to address their own and their communities’ job challenges; leveraging technology,  knowledge, their own experience and their new networks gained during the Future of Work Summit.

‘We are thrilled to announce these projects’, says World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee. ‘The whole YMCA Youth-Led Solutions Initiative shows how young people can devise and run their own projects to tackle different problems that affect them and their communities. Congratulations to all, and we look forward to helping you tell your stories, and to seeing your ideas become reality.’

Straight after the June Summit – which examined new opportunities for young people in the Green, Care and Creative economies – more than 50 teams from around the world started work on their proposed ‘Youth-Led Solutions’. This process was accompanied by the World YMCA in the form of a Design Thinking toolkit, and by its partner HP Life in a series of project-design workshops, while Local YMCAs in even the smallest communities offered mentorship and coaching to the young participants in their virtual teams. The recordings of all the sessions from the Future of Work Summit were shared with all the teams, to help them better develop their proposals. Initial ideas were pitched to a panel of global experts in early August, with feedback provided on how to improve them. In September, the teams presented their final ideas.

‘The evaluation was conducted by staff from the four YMCA regional Area Alliances, and the members of the YMCA Community of Impact on Employment’, continues Mr Sanvee. ‘It was not easy: we’d like to thank all who submitted their ideas and all who examined the proposals.’

The projects chosen include five new enterprises, one existing enterprise to be enhanced, and 21 new initiatives which aim to reduce youth unemployment through training, skills development, internships and micro-loans. The majority are in the Green economy, while the Creative and the Care economies are also represented.  All the projects will be delivered through local YMCA branches.

This project selection follows on from the April 2021 announcement of 35 YMCA Youth Led Solutions projects on climate action which were funded as a result of the first YMCA Youth Led Solutions Summit – on climate action – in October 2020Six of these climate action projects were featured at COP 26 in Glasgow in early November. And by the end of November 2022, both Climate Action and Employment projects are expected to be finished, and in fact they will be presented at the YMCA World Council in Aarhus, Denmark, in July 2022.

The third YMCA Youth Led Solutions Summit – on Mental Health and Wellbeing – took place on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2021.

The Youth-Led Solutions employment and entrepreneurship projects selected for funding are:

Region Country Project title Project summary
Africa Cameroon African Table Strengthening the capacity of young people to create or find jobs
Africa Cameroon Infographic communication centre Improving the lives of young people by strengthening their employability, fighting youth unemployment and promoting young self-employment
Africa Cameroon A valuable image of your events Working with young people on photography skills for the creative economy (a social enterprise)
Africa Cameroon Organic Farming Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Training in organic farming and entrepreneurship to create food self-sufficiency and boost income levels of internally displaced young people
Africa Uganda Making Agriculture Sustainable Introducing smart agriculture with a peer mentorship component aimed to create collaboration in the agriculture industry
Africa Zambia The Green Mile Using green technology to deliver international standard courier services in communities
Africa Zambia Growing diversity of agricultural crops Training young people in farming, beekeeping and sustainable agriculture
Africa Zambia YMCA Farm Empowering young people to blend their entrepreneurial and management skills and take part in agriculture and manufacturing
Asia & Pacific Japan Primary Industry – Farming Creating a platform to connect young people from rural areas with job opportunities in the Green economy, especially in farms
Asia & Pacific Philippines Success Academy Helping young people define their own meaning of success by situation analysis, training, upskilling, mentoring, and coaching
Asia & Pacific Philippines YMCA Enterprise Shelter Providing start-ups, young entrepreneurs and unemployed youth with training, physical facilities, equipment and other support services to launch their services in the creative economy
Asia & Pacific Singapore Internship Supervisors Course Training for internship supervisors
Canada GreaterToronto Sustainable Future Supporting young people entering the Green economy
Europe Kosovo Young Advocates programme Informing young people about career paths and ways of entering the labour market
Europe Ukraine The Power of Personal Brand Helping young people reveal their potential and strengths, giving them the skills to find jobs and better employment opportunities
Latin America  & Caribbean Colombia Sustainable territories Training young people on the positive impact that urban gardens and composting can have for cities and the world
Latin America & Caribbean Ecuador Bio Green Plants Reducing the use of plastic and generating income by producing and distributing disposable biodegradable dishes made from agricultural waste (a social enterprise)
Latin America & Caribbean Peru Social entrepreneurship builder Providing advice and monitoring for the development of young people’s business ventures (management, financial services, products – a social enterprise).
Latin America and Caribbean Perú Move Up, Social Entrepreneurs Promoting community ventures working with young people from vulnerable backgrounds
Latin America and Caribbean Uruguay Network of promoters of environmental care Promoting environmental and ecological entrepreneurship through training workshops and educational events
USA Long Beach Change Agent Productions Training low-income and underserved young people on creating and running a production company: courses in photography, graphic design, video, audio, editing, and entrepreneurial skills
USA Honolulu Pacleaders Helping disadvantaged young people to enter the workforce: mentorship, counselling, skills development, advocacy
USA Rockies Assistive and Adaptive Technology in the Workplace Investing in technology to facilitate the lives and jobs of YMCA employees with disabilities
USA Seatle ‘Bold & Gold’ Apprenticeship – an Ancient Solution Supporting the design of a one-year apprenticeship program model aimed at developing young adults as Non-profit Program Managers
USA Houston Achieve, Earn & Learn Providing High School leavers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with paid internships
USA Y University Friendly career support Working with those of insecure migration status: providing employment opportunities and career services
USA San Francisco The Launch Pad Strengthening workforce development and internships in the arts, digital media and the Creative economy