Since May 2013, a group of young men and women from Chandigarh, India’s, Colony No.05 of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) Youth and Sports Club are getting together regularly with CYP and Pravah, a leading trainer of youth and youth workers, in a novel pilot. The pilot explores youth-led creation and implementation of the NYKS youth club as well as a dynamic role for youth workers running youth clubs. For CYP, it’s our “ears on the ground” in informing the professionalization of the youth work sector.
As Hamid, a young person involved in the pilot says, “Things look different, now people are more interested in the youth club. People have started taking things more seriously and taking responsibility. Their thought processes have changed and now they listen to the other members.”
The pilot has been relevant and responsive to the needs of youth workers by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, the NYKS at its national and zonal levels, and the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development which delivers much of the training to the NYKS’s youth officials.
The youth club pilot is a demonstration of good practice that will support the NYKS’s youth service officers at all levels to implement the new youth club manual which has been released in 2012. In addition, the pilot will incorporate elements of CYP’s own concept of Youth Work, and Pravah’s “5 Space” concept, denoting a space where young people can engage in deep self-exploration and ‘Active Citizenship’ going far beyond merely casting a vote.
The pilot training brings in components of understanding self and community, self-organization, facilitating youth-led work and community action, and building democratic youth club structures, most of these being key concepts of the youth club manual. The process undertaken in the field, including its successes and challenges, will be documented in the form of a manual to support NYKS and other youth workers implement youth-led activities through youth clubs. CYP also hopes the
manual will inform the formulation of official competency standards for youth workers in the context of India.
Ashraf Patel, Convener, Community – The Youth Collective and Co-Founder, Pravah, who supports the conceptualization of the programme says, “It has been an outstanding experience to work with the CYP Asia team. The CYP brings its core strength not only in youth development but also the ability to bring together a collective of organizations. The one very special thing about the pilot has been to progress on it collaboratively with different partners like CYP, NYKS, Pravah, Community- The Youth Collective and RGNIYD, all of whom have deep experience in the facets of youth development. The best part about working in this initiative, although it is still in the early stages, is the tremendous learning orientation of the partners involved as well as the commitment to make it work.”
“I particularly like the pilot’s approach on being ‘process oriented’ rather than the end. With this project we are not building dams or roads or creating statistics but making long term quality changes in people’s lifestyles. Engaging, empowering and acknowledging the participants contribution in the training will encourage and promote project ownership and liability among the trainees in the long run.”
~ J.S Kooner, Zonal Director,
The process manual, expected to be launched in 2014, will outline key activities undertaken, and the objectives, methodology and outcomes of the activities. The goal of the pilot is that the process manual will be utilized by NYKS and other youth work organizations in replicating and mainstreaming this empowering approach. This would inform ways in which youth workers engage with young people in youth club contexts, and enable young people to lead their own processes, and influence
decisions that affect their own lives at all levels. A step that will lead to greater empowerment and participation of young people through a wide network of youth clubs across India.
The pilot is designed and managed by the Youth Work Education and Training Unit of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre and is run in cooperation with the NYKS Zonal office for Chandigarh UT and the Punjab.