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EQUIP-3/Youth Trust: International Initiative

Background
In 2003, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded a partnership, led by Education Development Center (EDC) and including NYEC, to implement a five-year project named EQUIP3/Youth Trust. Youth Trust works to prepare and engage children, youth, and young adults for their roles within the world of work, civil society, and family life through building the capacity of youth and youth serving organizations. Youth Trust also works with USAID officials, other donors, policy makers in developing countries, and other youth professionals to help them improve earning, learning, and skill development opportunities for out-of-school young people. As part of Youth Trust's work, USAID missions (offices located in developing countries) invite Youth Trust to implement activities in particular countries.

NYEC's Role
NYEC's work on Youth Trust has included:

  • Developed standards in countries where Youth Trust works, adapted from PEPNet.
  • Adapted NYEC's Promising and Effective Practifces Network (PEPNet) Self Assessment for use in Youth Trust countries.
  • Provided training around standards, self assessment, and effective practices.
  • Assisted with planning and assessment.
  • Informed and assisted USAID officials, other donors, and international consultants around effective practices and using standards.
  • Supported Youth Trust's efforts to engage youth in the project.
  • Created strategies to promote and share international promising practices.

Activities April 2006 - March 2007
Haiti
IDEJEN (stands for Initiative for Development of Youth), the Youth Trust initiative in Haiti, has grown. The USAID mission in Haiti, pleased with the IDEJEN project, decided to continue and expand the project throughout the country. NYEC was approved to continue helping IDEJEN work on standards and program improvement through September 2007.

In previous years NYEC helped IDEJEN host focus groups around Haiti with youth practitioners to identify elements of best practices. NYEC then cross-walked results with the PEPNet standards (we were struck by the similarity) to help IDEJEN develop a set of standards, which they named "Key Elements" for youth programs. NYEC then crafted tools for self assessment, called "self-development" by IDEJEN, for use in IDEJEN"s initiatives. NYEC trained "Field Agents," IDEJEN point people in communities, to provide support to programs using the self-development tools.

In the first several months of 2006, NYEC helped IDEJEN staff work with the Field Agents as they assisted the first cadre of 12 programs undergoing the self-development and improvement process. NYEC helped IDEJEN refine the self development tools and assisted IDEJEN in developing a "Guide to the Key Elements for Youth Programs" capturing the Key Elements, organizational self-development process, and tools. The Haitian government's Ministry of Youth, Sport and Civic Action (MJSAC) had become very interested in the process and tools, and hoped to use the "Guide" with youth programs around the country.

NYEC Staff traveled to Haiti in June to attend the graduation ceremonies for the first cadre of program graduates and participate in a partner meeting that included Haitian government representatives, community organizations, and international stakeholders. The partners reviewed the project so far and informed the planning for the next phase of work. NYEC staff also worked with IDEJEN and a representative of the Haitian Ministry to hone the "Guide."

NYEC Staff traveled again to Haiti in July. NYEC Assisted IDEJEN and the Ministry in finishing the final draft of the "Guide," now titled Orientation Guide for Youth Programs. NYEC Co-facilitated a meeting of 60 national, local, and international organizations convened by IDEJEN and the Ministry to validate the Guide and discuss ideas for creating an ongoing network of youth organizations in Haiti. NYEC also with IDEJEN's Field Agents to gather their feedback on how the organizational self-development process had been working and what improvements could be made for the future.

West Bank/Gaza
In September 2005, USAID West Bank/Gaza awarded a group of agencies led by EDC and including NYEC to develop and implement youth employment programming. The program was called Ruwwad, or "Pioneer" in Arabic. NYEC's role included adapting PEPNet to assist in development and implementation of standards and build youth program capacity by developing self assessment and improvement planning resources. In fall 2005 NYEC participated in planning meetings in Washington, DC, and East Jerusalem, and Ramallah. Into March 2006, NYEC worked with project staff in the Palestinian territories to plan and launch the standards development effort there; a second trip to the West Bank/Gaza was planned for April.

However, when Hamas was elected to lead the Palestinian parliament, the U.S. and other western governments withdrew most investment in the Palestinian territories. Development funding through the USAID mission ceased; only a very limited amount of funding for humanitarian work - such as provision of food, shelter, water, basic health care - continued. However, the funding for other activities and for all of the partner agencies, including NYEC, ended. If and when conditions change so that the U.S. re-invests in the area, there is a possibility that the full Ruwwad program could be revived.

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