Haa Dhaalu Kulhudhuffushi, July 14, 2017: The Maldives’ first regional Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Dhiraagu, concluded in Kulhudhuffushi Island today.
The Youth Leadership Programme has previously been an annual programme that has been conducted by NGO Democracy House, with the support of UNDP in the Maldives. The YLP has one of the largest alumni networks, comprising of youth leaders trained from across the country.
Held from July 9th to 14th, with 13 participants from across Haa Dhaalu Atoll, the objective of this year’s Youth Leadership Programme was to increase civic participation in community development issues. The format of the programme consisted of learning sessions and skills building exercises, including a session on community development initiatives and technology by Dhiraagu, and a session on first aid by Maldivian Red Crescent. The Programme ended with participants mapping out and presenting different issues in the community using interactive and simple research tools.
The YLP forms part of UNDP’s work in the area of Democratic Governance. The aim is to increase citizen’s voice and participation for stronger governance institutions, through the use of different dialogue platforms and capacity building initiatives.
In attendance at the closing ceremony held on July 14th, were representatives from Haa Dhaalu Atoll Councils, Kulhudhuffushi Island Council, as well as the Women’s Development Committee and local NGOs from the island. The ceremony was also presided by Dhiraagu’s Chief Marketing Officer, Isabelle Hajri, and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Shoko Noda.
“What we do at Dhiraagu is to enable engagement and dialogue on community initiatives using new technology. We allow young people to be a part of the conversation and to use this technology to improve the communities they live in. It is my hope that the skills you learnt at the program will encourage you to engage and help in community initiatives,” said Isabelle Hajri, speaking at the closing ceremony.
Echoing these sentiments, Shoko Noda said, “We have here many young people who have amazing ideas that they want to make a reality for their communities. My hope is that you share the knowledge that you learnt here with your friends, and be the force to bring about the good change that your community needs. Please continue to keep inspiring each other, and thinking outside the box.”