YUVA was formed as a youth organisation, in 1984, with a strong belief in the potential of youth to affect change. While the scope of YUVA’s work has broadened since; our work with and through the youth continues. It aims at channelling their potential as agents of social transformation, towards building a just and equitable society. We advocate for youth involvement in civic participation and instil in them values of gender equality, social justice and democracy. The youth we engage with belong to a varied social milieu; they are students, dropouts, employed and unemployed youth.
Transformation & Leadership
YUVA works with young people through the Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (ASK) programme, which provides them with training and exposure towards their development as agents of social change. ASK is anchored in the model of experiential learning and thereby encourages the youth to take on the responsibility of their growth and development. Currently the ASK programme operates in 27 districts in 2 states (Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh) with the help of partner organizations and centres. Through awareness programmes, workshops and field visits youth are given extensive exposure in order to build their understanding of issues like group bonding, gender and sexuality, development issues in rural India, leadership in villages and and various health-related issues.
Youth voice their opinions and views through the bi-monthly newsletter ‘Maitree’ and quarterly newsletter ‘Yuvatarang’, which is compiled by the youth themselves with the support of Abhivyakti Media for Development (an NGO).
- In 2015, the youth launched a campaign called Hinsa Mukt Mumbai was launched to build awareness among youth on the issues of violence.
Youth participated in several campaigns to raise awareness to curb issues such as campaign against genetically modified organisms, women safety and security, livelihoods, among others.
Empowerment through participation
YUVA played an active role in facilitating the Maharashtra Yuva Parishad (MYP), an umbrella organisation of youth from different parts of Maharashtra. The MYP aims at providing a space where youth are able to voice their concerns regarding civic issues, like access to education, pressures of living in slums, creation of youth friendly cities and a lack of representation in state and national politics. A number of youth groups in various communities we work in are active independently and take on various issues that affect their community at large.
- The MYP has been able to influence the State Youth Policy with inputs at the drafting stage. Its members participated in the discussions called for by the Planning Commission towards preparing the approach paper for the 12th Five-Year Plan.
- In 2014, the MYP organised a state level youth convention, which saw the participation of approximately 850 youth leaders. During the convention, the Youth Manifesto was discussed and published with the hope of providing a roadmap for elected representatives to address the issues of youth.
- Members from the MYP participated towards peace and conflict management during the 2006 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Increasing employability, improving livelihoods
Our work with youth in informal settlements revealed that their immediate challenges include the lack of employable skill sets, and therefore there are greater livelihood concerns. YUVA approaches the issue of youth livelihood primarily through skill building and also by developing linkages with organisations, institutions and the market.
YUVA links youth to and also provides skill upgradation and livelihood training courses. Many of the courses offered are in collaboration with Premila Vithaldas Polytechnic of SNDT Women’s University (selected by the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, for implementing the scheme ‘Community Development through Polytechnic’) and Jan Shikshan Sansthan (Scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, under the programme ‘Support to Voluntary Agencies for Adult Education & Skill Development’). In addition, YUVA also organises job fairs for those youth who are in search of employment and links youth to scholarship programmes for those who wish to continue their education.
Diploma in Youth Development and Social Change
In 2015, YUVA, in partnership with the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, launched a 10-month diploma course on ‘Youth Development and Social Change’. This programme is built on YUVA’s experience and supports youth-driven change in society.
The 640-hour course includes 240 hours of fieldwork commences in July every year. The course components such as understanding youth development, building social perspective, facilitating youth as agents of change and working with youth in different capacities.