As their year-long tenure on the CEPPS Democracy, Human Rights, and Democracy Cross-Sectoral Initiative (DRG CSI) Youth Advisory Group comes to an end, members of the group have reflected on what they have learned and what they will take back to their communities.
Hear in their own words what YAG has meant to them:
David Aragort: As part of the YAG, we had the opportunity to meet and learn about various topics that I did not previously know about and contribute to the development of tools that allow other young people who want to positively impact their communities in a better way. Visiting a city like Washington D.C. and connecting with organizations and people working in different areas related to development, governance, democracy, and human rights, was the most valuable part of the entire experience.
Milagros Beltran: Throughout this experience, we were asked to speak our minds and to share our ideas as young leaders with others. In my case, I believe it is sometimes a challenge to find ways of communicating a message that is compelling enough to make people interested. Being trained on storytelling and addressing the importance of soft skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, active listening, and collaboration was something new to me, and I now think of it as an elemental part of working with young people across sectors.
Rashyd Bilalov: Throughout my time as a YAG member, I had an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills as a young leader. One of the valuable experiences I had was learning from the experts from NDI, IFES and IRI on how to engage young people in decision-making processes. These opportunities were not only through meetings but also the toolkits that we worked on during our tenure. The social behavioral change toolkit provided great and detailed information and context that are relevant when designing a project, as well as steps on how to make a bigger impact on the community, considering different aspects of social, cultural, and political life.
Nayem Molla: As a participant in the YAG, I had an enriching experience that expanded my knowledge and skills as a young leader. Learning from thematic experts and engaging with diverse perspectives was incredibly valuable, especially in areas related to governance, technology, and inclusion. The connections made during the exchange with organizations and individuals working in various fields will, undoubtedly, shape my professional development moving forward. The hybrid working style of YAG and CEPPS has inspired me to apply virtual collaboration to my work. Moreover, the training on storytelling empowered me to communicate my ideas more effectively, even when faced with challenges of limited resources or societal disparities.
Ruth Ngozire: Through my membership on the YAG, I learned more about social and behavioral change related to how young people can change their perceptions, especially when venturing into greener jobs. Working with YAG members has built my ability to work and have faith in collaborating with different people, virtually, despite the distance. During my time on the YAG, I clearly connected issues of climate change threats and human rights, peace, security, and electoral processes. As a young person interested in climate change advocacy, I noted that these are cross-cutting issues that are rarely addressed in global decision-making. The program gave me courage and confidence to share my insights elsewhere, including on national television on matters related to youths and climate change.