Youth2Youth in Central America

Youth2Youth goes international

A boy painted his hand to draw his body map
Youth2Youth in Nicaragua - The success story has arrived in Central America
In southern Africa, the Youth2Youth model has been successfully implemented since 2008. During Youth2Youth training courses, young people are taught how to help other young people by using a solution-focused approach. This approach has proved its worth because it is simple and practical to implement. A positive approach is the key prerequisite for lasting success. It is based on the belief that EVERYONE has skills and resources that can be developed. The themes and the solutions come from the people concerned while the advisers are responsible for making sure that the process runs smoothly. This ensures that cultural, social and political understanding for the people affected is respected and integrated into the solution.

Interaction between countries in the South
terre des hommes schweiz has also been working for years with partner organisations in Central America. After the tremendous successes in southern Africa, we were very keen to extend our Youth2Youth work to Central America, as well. terre des hommes schweiz also promotes South-South interaction, because we believe it is important that people involved in projects in Africa and Central America should share their experiences regularly.

New perspective and greater self-knowledge

The first pilot course in Nicaragua came to an end at the start of June 2012. In three modules spread over several months, the participants learned about new ways to support other young people. The main results from this first course for young people in Central America that we observed are that the participants gained a new perspective, grew in self-knowledge and were able to strengthen their position within the partner organisation because their skills and abilities were recognised. Last but not least, the participants acquired a new status in their social environment.

New point of view
At the end of this pilot course, terre des hommes schweiz talked to two young women about their experiences on the course and asked them what the solution-focused approach meant to them.

Hilda Daniela López, 22 years old

Hilda is a graduate of a Youth2Youth course
She is a facilitator (social director, support worker) for children and young people at the Club Infantil (for child labourers) in Jinotega/Nicaragua, which aims to improve their performance at school. She found out about the club when she herself was a child labourer. Having joined as a volunteer, she is now permanently employed by the club.
What does a solution-focused approach mean to you?
For me, a solution-focused approach is a fantastic idea that I can apply on both a personal and a professional level. I have used it to find solutions to a great many problems and I have developed as a person by having a solution-focused attitude.

So you are convinced by the solution-focused approach?
Yes, because I have experienced real changes at first hand, and so I fully support this approach.

What has changed as a result of this training?
Previously I used to see problems above all else, and regarded any difficult challenge as a problem. Now I have a whole range of solution-focused tools available to me. That means I don't feel so helpless any more, because I know how to ask questions so that children and young people can recognise that the solution lies within them. I have often seen how young people who discover their own strengths can set themselves objectives and then work gradually towards achieving them.

Krissia Guadalupe Aquino, 27 years old

Krissia is a graduate of the Youth2Youth course in Nicaragua
She works for Las Melidas in El Salvador (organisation working for equality for girls and women). She started as a volunteer with girls' groups in Las Melidas and now she is a project leader for community work with adults in Chalatenango. In her free time she runs a group for girls.
How would you rate the training you have just completed?
The solution-focused approach was something quite new for me and it has enriched me on so many different levels. I have learnt some methods that are quite new, but it's not just about methods, it's about an attitude, a way of living that concentrates on positive solutions.

How did the programme affect you personally?
I regarded the whole programme from module 1 to module 3 as a process. The topics we covered were not only important for me personally but also for my work with young people. What was nice about it was that I always felt myself to be fully supported.

How does your new knowledge impact your work?
Before, although I could analyse the problems the young people had quite accurately, I often couldn't get beyond that point. In this training, I learned to seek out positive approaches. The young people I work with have experienced a great deal of violence and abuse. Now I can support them and help them to gain confidence and make changes. That's the big difference, that the positive is coming to the fore again.
The stage and audience at "imagine international" in Kenya

imagine international

Over the years, imagine festival and its values have spread out all over the world. imagine is an international festival!