Highlighting the YMCA Europe Leadership Academy: “Youth Impacts: Taking Action for Inclusive Communities and Civil Society Organizations Working with Refugees.” The second session took place from October 31 to November 5, 2023, in Tbilisi, Georgia, with participation from 29 individuals representing 17 countries.
“The Leadership Academy has been a transformative experience for me. The second session provided me with a wealth of knowledge and skills that I can directly apply to my community projects. It opened my eyes to the power of effective communication, intercultural understanding, and the importance of partnerships in creating lasting change. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making a positive impact in my community with the knowledge I’ve gained.” Anonymous testimonial
The project YMCA Europe Leadership Academy “Youth Impacts: acting for more inclusive communities and civil society organisations working with refugees”, co-funded by the European Youth Foundation, aims at promoting inclusiveness, peace, justice and diversity in local communities through enhancing the impact of refugee services and more representational governance processes in youth CSOs.
The training kicked off with a warm welcome from Rezi Shavladze, the Secretary General of YMCA Georgia, emphasizing the values of peace, inclusion, and the impactful work of the YMCA community.
Then, the participants engaged in vibrant discussions, revisiting past themes, exchanging names and insights, and outlining their learning objectives for the session. Together, they delved into the agenda, fostering a collaborative and goal-oriented atmosphere from the very start.
The second half of the day as well as part of the next one was devoted to presentations of projects which young leaders have implemented as part of the studying journey.
A total of 17 projects are actively transforming local communities by reaching out to diverse vulnerable groups, including refugees, IDPs, migrants, asylum seekers, people experiencing homelessness, NEET youth, and religious/ethnic minorities. These initiatives have engaged approximately 727 direct beneficiaries and made a positive impact on an additional 13,850 indirect beneficiaries.
The second day continued with the topics of Partnership Development, Fundraising, Impact and Sustainability. The participants experienced simulation exercises to understand how negotiations and pitching work, practised identifying strategic partners, as well as do’s and don’ts for partnership development, discovered the secret of successful CSOs, and brainstormed how to make impact more sustainable.
The session on impact was linked to the project “MIYO: Measuring Impact of Youth Organisations”. The young leaders learned about the current development of an easy comprehensive tool elaborated together by Maynooth University, WOSM and YMCA. The day finished with the “Know Your Impact” night show game.
The third day was devoted to the topic of Governance. The young leaders discussed the principles of democratic governance, ways of their implementation and functions of the governing body. Also, the group had the chance to visit YMCA Georgia and to enjoy a traditional Georgian evening full of hospitality and delicious national dishes.
The last day continued with conversations on governance: key responsibilities of the Board, documents of CSOs as well as Inclusion Policy. Meaningful conversations on inclusion, its importance and hardship to reach took place.
As the days concluded, participants gathered for insightful evaluation and farewell sessions. Reflecting on their expectations, sharing powerful moments, and exchanging emotions and thoughts, they formed a strong bond.
The highlight was the certificate presentation, marking the completion of their impactful journey. Notably, more than 74% rated the Leadership Academy experience as excellent and very good.
“I have so many things that I take away from the Leadership Academy, both a project, new thoughts and inspiration, but the best thing that I take with me for the future is my new friends and the connections that I have made that I hope for the help me both on a personal and professional level in the future. Thank you so much for everything during these months but also thank you for everything that this will create for me in the future. ” Anonymous testimonial
A project co-funded by the European Youth Foundation