NFI supported Reach India to leverage its ongoing skills development programme for enhancing employability of youth from poor households to leverage a holistic strategy to ensure that the youth are mainstreamed to play a central role in the overall development process. The initiative aimed to build their knowledge and life-skills through youth and community mobilization through creative use of communication tools like use of theatre, comics art, open dialogues with peers, parents and external stakeholders from government agencies, municipal bodies, NGOs, corporate, teachers, trainers and others in select strategic locations. The efforts were afoot to promote their voluntarism and leadership through complementary initiatives. The partnership with NFI enabled us to bring a more systematic approach in this direction and to clarify and fine-tune the objectives of our initiative as follows:
1. Improving social harmony and cohesion within the community by building a shared understanding of the community needs
2. Enabling youth to access life-changing opportunities for their social and economic development through appropriate training and resource linkages
3. Enhancing the capacities of the youth to better manage their lifecycle events and stress, in their social interactions
The overall objectives of the project are to develop a strategy that can lay a clear roadmap to develop a plan to work with the youth with a holistic approach and bring other stakeholders by creating their buy in. The last few months since inception served as the incubation process marked by increased level of interactions and dialogues with the focused youth and other members in their localities, identification of different stakeholders and possible linkages to address some of their felt needs and capacity building activities, all of which helped in building trust and cementing our friendship with them.
We started our regular community contact programme for identification and interactions specially with the youth in the age group of 15 to 24 mostly in the slum areas of Saheb Mahal of Mohabirtala area, Prince Anwar shah and Golfgreen. With the help of identified youth, we came across Jagriti Sangha, an active local youth club who after a few round of discussions happily agreed to share their resources including their office and meeting space which is quite spacious and this is where we organized our first workshop with youth for their capacity building on action research and leadership development. We also interacted with the family members of the youth and other senior members of the community, who appreciated the initiative and assured their cooperation.