12 young Indians innovatively address development challenges in India

With their innovative ideas, passion and commitment youth have always been regarded as torch bearer of change. Their involvement in development becomes all the more important and relevant in a country like India, which on one hand has  the highest population of young people in the world,  and on the other a plethora of development

To bring youth, from different parts of the country, face to face with some of these challenging issues, global think tank Development Alternatives (DA) and VSO, the world’s leading international development organization have launched a unique youth volunteering and empowerment programme- Youth Citizen Service (YCS) Leadership Challenge, 2015.

YCS is an initiative aimed to provide an opportunity to the youth between 22-29 years age group to actively work towards addressing development issues while they themselves build a deeper understanding of the dynamics of poverty and development.

For this, Development Alternatives received around 100 applications, out of which 30 were called to Delhi for the final selection round and finally 12 were selected. Students who are selected for the first phase of the programme are: Narendra Jain (Sagar), Mukesh Kumar (New Delhi), Nagendra Agnihotri(Shahjahanpur), Anirudh Nair (Mumbai), Rudraksh Rakshit (Ajmer), Disha Ranjana(Bhubaneswar), Nayantara Lakshman (Bengaluru) , Prashanth Reddy (Hyderabad), Shruti Jaiswal (Lucknow), Shobhna Eusebius (Agra), Bhavika Sharma (Solan), Neeraj Naidu (Bilaspur).

As a part of YCS Leadership Challenge2015, these young people will live in host homes and work with Development Alternatives for six weeks in Bundelkhand district. In this engagement, they will discover different perspectives to development, innovatively address problems faced by the people through community participation, ideas and better resource use.

“It’s a big opportunity for these youth to learn interpersonal skills and enhance their leadership qualities by gaining valuable experience in the development sector,” says Zeenat Niazi, Vice President, Development Alternatives.

“Through YCS, we transform India’s demographic dividend into a democratic one. YCS gives the selected youth an opportunity to change the world within and around them,” shares Shaleen Rakesh, Executive Director, VSO India.
Youth Citizen Service-2015

Youth Citizen Service is an action learning programme which provides a unique opportunity for youth to understand and actively work towards addressing development issues. During this six week long training programme, each group of volunteers will stay with a host family in the community with limited resources in various remote villages in Jhansi and Orchha districts. 
Hailing from different educational backgrounds, these twelve students have been assigned responsibilities in different fields including enhancing the marketability of Self Help Group, awareness on menstrual hygiene practices, developing a dairy cooperative and others. Before starting their work, these volunteers go through three days pre-departure training, one day mid-project review and one day debriefing exercise.

This will be a unique opportunity for these young people to connect their volunteer experiences of working on development issues in India to global development issues and youth’s role in addressing them.

About Development Alternatives

Development Alternatives (DA) is a premier social enterprise with a global presence in the fields of green economic development, social empowerment and environmental management. It is credited with numerous innovations in clean technology and delivery systems that help create sustainable livelihoods in the developing world.

DA focuses on empowering communities through strengthening people’s institutions and facilitating their access to basic needs; enabling economic opportunities through skill development for green jobs and enterprise creation; and promoting low carbon pathways for development through natural resource management models and clean technology solutions. (www.devalt.org)

About VSO India
VSO India is an Indian development organisation committed to addressing issues of poverty and inequality. It harnesses the energy of youth and corporate volunteers to enable change.  VSO India is a part of VSO International which is the world’s leading independent international development organisation working for change through volunteers. Globally, VSO works in more than 27 countries across Asia–Pacific & Africa regions.

The organisationmobilises people to participate actively in the development process through volunteering, active citizenship, and advocacy. (www.vsoindiatrust.org)

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