Thousands of young people in Kosovo have been empowered within the “Young Men Initiative” project by gaining knowledge and challenging attitudes on their path to adulthood.
This year, with a partnership with GWY/YMCA we created synergy with their famous Leadership programme. Eight young men and women from Be a Man Club successfully finished Community Module in February 2020 – first module within Leadership programme.
They are becoming more knowledgeable and role models to their peers with topics such as gender equality, violence, drugs, alcohol, violent extremism and radicalism, contraceptives, parenting, consent and a lot more. All of the above was powered from through our workshops at their school, activities outside of it, community campaigns and focus groups the participants were able to be surrounded in an educative, inclusive and safe space where they could discuss these issues. This group of “Be a Man” club participants have taken the best from the project content for years, however they have proved they are still wanting more and are wanting to discuss more topics and go deeper into content. YMCA is offering something new and different to them, by having a small group meet weekly and go through our leadership curriculum.
Our organization has been working with this program for 5 years on other cities, and has a very high success rate of completion and producing young leaders and volunteers. The program is designed with a “peer to peer” methodology. It contains 5 unique modules: Community, Reality, Team, Future, and World Level. Each module is around 3 months long, includes team challenges and content related to the module title. This program turns ordinary into extraordinary by developing their soft skills and developing team work, critical thinking, exposure to new concepts and activities and most importantly installing confidence and giving young people the space to be themselves. The project also is monitored and has a minimum attendance requirement, we don’t just give them certificates to put on their CV, we give them experiences and activities to make them better prepared for whatever is next in their life…
We started working with this new leadership group last year, and on 14th of February, they finished the Community Module. The group was proud of their achievement and very motivated to continue this journey for another module. What motivates them is that the structure of the project is designed for them to be peer trainers once they complete a second module. Giving those who choose real leadership experience and further developing their skills by opening their own group where they have to pass these skills to their peers.
The impact is a very connected group of young people who are hungry for more and on a shared discovery journey. Bleona, one of the participants stated how much they enjoy each other’s company and how connected they are during the certification ceremony.
This activity is part of the project “Men and Boys as Partners in Promoting Gender Equality and Preventing Violence and Extremism among Youth in the Balkans” implemented by CARE International Balkans in partnership with YMCA in Kosovo supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Oak Foundation.
This article was prepared by YMCA / George Williams Youth Association in Kosovo