Youth Empowerment with the Euro-Med Platform
Earlier this month, I had the privilege to attend 'Our White Sea III: Empowerment Through NGO's Training in Adrasan, Turkey. The training, led by the Euro-Med Platform, aims to bring NGO's from the European and Mediterranean regions together, providing a forum for discussion and dialogue on issues that affect youth. The training had 30 participants, from 10 countries - from the United Kingdom to Palestine, representing 13 NGOs. After an orientation and introduction of all of the participants, we began the first day discussing the nature of power through workshops and discussion groups. Quickly, I learned how NGOs can harness and implement their own power by empowering youth in the communities in which they work. When youth are empowered, they can apply their skills to policy making and more importantly, they can share their power with others in the community.
Afterwards, each participant had the opportunity to share the work of their organization with their peers. As TYO's representative, I had the opportunity to share TYO's mission and its various youth programs with the other participants. I showed some of our videos including Meet Tomorrow's Youth Organization, TYO International Internship Program and TYO Youth Service Learning Program. The other participants were impressed with our videos, showing a particular interest in the International Internship Program because of the cultural exchange opportunity TYO provides. Early on, I made connections with the other participants, learning more about their programs and discussing potential partnership opportunities.
On the second day of the training, we covered the theoretical perspectives on empowerment, led by Dr. Mariam Teuma, a professor at the University of Malta. After the presentation, she led a series of leadership activities that taught me how to be a more effective leader. All of the activities were interactive and fun and I am thankful that I have been able to take away life skills from this particular presentation. I learned that leadership is not just about being the head of a group, but also about recognizing gaps, weaknesses and strengths within the team and taking action accordingly.
On the final day, we discussed how our organizations can continue to empower youth. One way is to raise awareness to help them realize their potential and influence in their communities. Another way is to adapt our existing social networking to encourage youth to take initiatives. We can improve on our social networking strategy for example, by using our existing team of committed TYO youth to mobilize other youth in Nablus through social media. Finally, to wrap up the week, we discussed the tools necessary to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our youth empowerment programs.
I look forward to implementing and sharing what I learned with TYO’s various youth programs including our Volunteer Program, our International Internship Program, our YALLA Program and other future youth programs at TYO.
Check out some photos from my time at the 'Our White Sea III' Training!
Ahmad is the Volunteer Coordinator at TYO Nablus.