YMCA Kosovo expands HP programme

Date: 04 May 2023

The YMCA Kosovo partnership with technology company HP continues to flourish.

The collaboration was piloted in the Gjakova Municipality last year, where more than 330 young people finished more than 400 HP LIFE courses. Building on that success, YMCA Kosovo has expanded the programme over the past three months. It transformed YMCA training rooms in three youth centres – Prishtina, Gjakova, and Peja – into Digital Community Hubs (DCH) to empower more young people and offer HP LIFE Courses in a safe environment. 

Agon Berisha, 18, has taken HP LIFE courses at the Digital Community Hub at the YMCA Peja. “The HP Courses have made my critical thinking more open towards many situations around my community, even when working in groups or making decisions. Being a part of this programme has shifted my thinking and working towards my goals.”

Transforming the YMCAs

In February, the hubs received branding materials and were equipped with the technology resources they needed. The first groups of young people then began enrolling in HP LIFE.

The DCH is open six days a week, providing a safe environment for young people to learn. The courses YMCA Kosovo is implementing are:

  • 3D Printing
  • Effective Leadership
  • Success Mindset
  • Effective Presentation

This year, 178 young people have completed 209 courses.  

HP LIFE courses

YMCA Kosovo selected these programmes based on the needs and interests of young people in last year’s pilot project with HP. In addition, every YMCA centre has 3D printers, enabling young people to practise what they’ve learned after completing the “3D Printing” course. They have created decorative items such as rings, hearts, stars, etc.

Because many young people in Kosovo have indicated they are unsure what to do following High School, the YMCA opted to continue the “Success Mindset” course. It provides practical advice on career orientation.

YMCA Kosovo also has a leadership programme, and the HP LIFE “Effective Leadership” course matches its curriculum. Adding HP LIFE enables young people to expand their knowledge of effective leadership. In addition, HP LIFE courses play a role in YMCA Kosovo’s newly developing STEAM/digital equity policy, which aims to find and deliver quality content to help prepare young people for their future.

Hisen Fifaj, 18, attends the Digital Community Hub at the YMCA Gjakova and completed the “Effective Leadership” courses. “During this training, I learned to use Microsoft, Drive and Skype. I also learned how to manage small, medium and large businesses and enriched my CV by completing this course.”

Gender equity

On 8 March 2023, International Women’s Day, all three hubs organised all-day HP LIFE sessions. They were geared mainly toward young girls and women; see highlights from the day in this Flickr album

YMCA Kosovo joined International Girls in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) on 27 April. Organised by the Prishtina Municipality around this year’s theme of “Digital Skills for Life”, the event brought young people from different areas of the capital to finish their first HP courses around “Effective Leadership” and its role in global communities and also celebrate female ICT leaders in Kosovo.

In the upcoming months, YMCA Kosovo will continue to offer HP LIFE courses, reaching out to young people from small cities such as Junik and Deqan and offering the safe space and digital equipment needed to enrich their CVs.

Said Ledijana Nikqi, 16, a volunteer at the YMCA Peja, “Being a volunteer and holding such accountability towards your peers is a duty that requires a lot of work. You want to be well-prepared to make the sessions more attractive to your groups, and HP has shifted us to another level of being the best we can.”

In 2022 the HP LIFE digital skills training courses reached more than 1,300 learners, mainly between the ages of 15-26. Building on that success, this year YMCAs worldwide and HP are expanding the initiative to reach more people and further close the digital divide through HP LIFE courses, tech centres and community hubs.