Youth Action Local Leadership Alliance (YALLA)

Program Dates: August 2011-September 2012

The Youth Action Local Leaders Alliance (YALLA) was a youth-led civic engagement program that targeted both university-aged youth and youth aged 12-17, two of the most plentiful and strategic demographics in Nablus, Palestine, and throughout the Middle East region. TYO is once again grateful to the US State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) for supporting this important program.

Through YALLA, TYO managed the creation of a Youth Leadership Committee (YLC) of 7-9 university students selected through an open and competitive application process. The YLC was a natural progression of TYO’s successful volunteer program that provided an opportunity for university youth already engaged in community activities to build additional work-related and life skills, while also increasing their role as active citizens.

Following an intensive, skill-based training led by regional and international experts, YLC members applied newly acquired leadership, communications, reporting, and management skills by managing a call for applications for youth-identified community initiatives. They publicized the program to youth aged 12-21 from community organizations and youth groups, mentored applicants during the application process, and evaluated the applications according to criteria established by YLC members under the guidance of TYO staff. Finally, the YLC selected several initiatives to be funded, and devised implementation, monitoring and evaluation plans for each, engaging applicants and other TYO volunteers throughout the process.

Because YALLA activities were designed to build on TYO’s youth service learning program, program objectives were informed by past experience, driven by ongoing needs, and realistically achievable goals. YALLA achieved two primary objectives through the implementation of activities:

1. The empowerment of university-aged youth as community leaders by providing them with structured and intensive skill-based training as well as practical opportunities to apply those newly-learned skills to youth-identified initiatives that improve their local and regional communities.

2. The involvement of the broader Nablus youth community (ages 12-21) in youth-led civic initiatives that address youth-identified societal and/or community issues.