IYAP focuses on a bottom-up and holistic approach which enables individual behavioral change among the young people. In addition, this brings about a systematic change in policy and practice towards a more supportive environment for youth-led development. We deliver grass root level programs in some of the hardest to reach and inaccessible areas, to ensure that no one is left behind. We also support governments and policymakers to engage and interact with young people in formulating decisions that affect the youth.
We also build the capacity of other organizations to work more effectively with, and for, young people. We also engage in research and development, as well as in building tool-kits and manuals for training programs. We provide guidance and generate evidence to share our experience with the global youth sector to ensure we are serving youth in the most coordinated and impactful way possible.
Our technical expertise
Peer to Peer Education
All our programs are delivered through our youth-led, peer- to -peer education model, which enables the transfer of knowledge and skills to the large numbers of young people working in youth groups, in addition to schools and other training institutions. Peer -to -peer education model provides rigorous support for the youth, to receive and exchange knowledge and experiences. Peer educators play an intermediary role, linking youth groups to local service providers, governments, the business community and civil society organizations.
In Sri Lanka, each peer educator reaches out to approximately 150 youth. Through our network of 80 to 200 peer educators, we typically reach out to 1,000 to 1,500 young people, per year. The model enables us to reach young people in the remotest corners, for example those in re-settlement camps in the North and fishing communities in the East. In addition to engaging and connecting youth, peer educators work closely with the government, business leaders and service providers to support them to reach the youth more effectively. This increase capacity amongst local stakeholders, and promote group structures and local networks to remain beyond the program cycle. Therefore, a relatively short but intense period of investment through peer education model can achieve a longer-term impact
IYAP houses a talented team of researchers who are passionate, and well versed in knowledge and skills required to perform specialized research on the challenges faced by the youth. This research assists us in developing projects and programs aiming to develop lasting solutions to problems faced by the youth. This includes partnering with the World Vision and United Nations’ Volunteers, as well as several other organizations working on peace development, to provide consultations and gather voices for the UNSCR2250 report on Youth, Peace and Security
IYAP has a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by young people and how to best mobilize, engage and motivate youth in order to execute change in their communities. The peer educator model can be used to engage and inform young people from varying backgrounds, and is particularly effective in linking youth in remote and rural contexts to the services. It has been successfully adapted to meet the specific needs of groups that are at a disadvantage, including orphans and vulnerable children, people living with HIV, people with disabilities and people affected by conflict.
We also work with a range of institutions and service-providers to promote effective youth engagement strategies. This includes health workers, teachers, community liaison officers, and CSO representatives. We have also supported major INGOs and development agencies to develop their youth programs and policies, as well as supported private and public sector service-providers to reach young people more effectively.
Convening the Youth Sector
IYAP is a member organization of the Youth, Peace and Security Sri Lanka Working Group, an active sector forum which meets bi-monthly and has over 100 individual members.
We also have our own Youth Forum – Youth Matters, where young people, activists, youth organizations, clubs, sports clubs and Inter-Governmental Agencies come together once a month to discuss the most urgent issues, to build strategies and solutions which they can work together for. This forum was initiated by IYAP and now being implemented with ZERO funding, in five main districts, on a monthly basis. The program has proved its success over the last two years, having gathered over 80 organizations and 2,000 young people, over time.
Policy & Practice
Top policy makers should reach out to youth at grassroots levels, to identify their needs, since it is important to consult them prior to formulation of policy decisions. The centre of interest of IYAP is on a dialogue between the policy makers and the youth. At the same time, we believe in joint decision making between the two parties. In accordance with this, IYAP was able to successfully bring together policy makers and the youth, to formulate Teachers’ Transfer and Recruitment Policy, jointly advocated by the Open Government partnership in Sri Lanka and Viluthu Organization.
Over the past five years, IYAP has reached 10,700 young people through integrated youth development programs, social leadership camps, non-violent communication workshops, dialogues for understanding, languages for reconciliation programs, sexual and reproductive health workshops and civic participation programs.
IYAP has worked with rural youth, both in and out-of-school, slum dwellers, rehabilitated youth in the Eastern, Northern and Central Provinces and asylum seekers in Sri Lanka. We have specific strategies for assisting most-at-risk populations, including young people with disabilities, cultural minorities and young mothers. We typically deliver an integrated program for each group. See below for a summary of our approach under each of our goal areas.
It was notable that in 2014 we could reach 2,483 young people and develop their social leadership skills in just one year. Also, in 2017, we were able to reach 1,073 young people through several sexual and reproductive health workshops.
Some of the key outcomes from our programmes include:
- 64% increase in targeted young people adopting social leadership learnings into their personal lives.
- 74% increase in young people involved in volunteerism.
- 85% of the young people were able to participate in decision-making processes over the past 05 years.
- 88 employers from the state, private and non-governmental organizations were mobilized through our programs.
- We have partnered directly with 88 organizations, including Government, CSOs, NGOs, clubs, youth organizations and state- related institutions.