ylc trainingsYouth Local Councils

About the Youth Local Council Program: 

Around the world, Youth Local Councils are helping youth build a better future and advance the stability of their communities by promoting democratic and good governance practices, holding their elected local officials accountable and ensuring transparent government practices.

Youth Local Councils (YLCs) are democratically elected bodies of youth, aged 15-22, which mirror their community’s elected local government in size and formation. The YLC’s are convened, organized, elected, and administered by the youth themselves, who serve two-year terms of office. The Council youth are charged with considerable responsibilities and real power. They identify problems in their communities and work together with stakeholders to devise solutions. To deepen their effectiveness, youth are given 300 hours of capacity development on topics such as project management, budgeting, negotiating, and public speaking. YLC members gain critical leadership skills, knowledge of ethics-based leadership and values and a comprehensive understanding of democratic government.

honduras ylc electionsWhat began in 2008 as a pilot in four communities with 700 participating youth has now become a global movement. By 2017, the venture has proliferated to include more than 40 communities in Palestine impacting more than 40,000 youth. Internationally, the movement has expanded to Honduras and is beginning in Ukraine. With a disproportionate amount of the world’s population under the age of 30, this could not be more important.

The success of YLCs gained international recognition in 2014 after Lana Abu-Hijleh, Global Communities Palestine Country Director, was selected as a Laureate of the John P. McNulty Prize for her leadership of the YLC endeavor. The prize is awarded to individuals “who are using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and private sector talents to address the world’s toughest challenges,” providing Laureates with $25,000 and winners with $100,000 to use toward their projects. This year, Abu-Hijleh was selected for a second time as a Laureate for her work with YLCs, adding its replication in both Honduras and Ukraine to the program’s list of successes. Winners will be announced in November.

Youth Leaders

The buy-in and support of the YLC concept by local government units and organizations has been instrumental in their success. The YLC venture has also empowered young leaders in Palestine; many have gone on to receive impressive awards and to take on new leadership positions in the public and private sector. YLC presidents have served as acting mayors, acting police chiefs, and acting ministers. In 2012, the first YLC alum, Yaqoub Marouf, was elected to a formal municipal council. In May 2017, two more YLC alumni were elected to their official municipal councils.

Youth Leader Testimonials:

majdMajd Shadeed
Former YLC member, now Deputy Mayor of Illar, Palestine
“My engagement in the Youth Local Council for Illar allowed me to learn about and practice democracy and good governance, serve my community through the projects we implemented and build my skills and capacity as a councilor. The community members who did not believe that youth had the capability to lead saw firsthand what we can do, and that is why they elected us for the municipal council, as they know we will be good leaders. Now, as the Deputy Mayor, I am supporting other youth in our community and other communities, and showing all the great values and experience we gained through our work in the Youth Local Councils.”

bashaerBasha’er Othman
YLC Member, Illar, Palestine
“My rich experience with the YLC enhanced my capacities and skills through the various trainings received in communication, creative thinking, planning, etc. These trainings enabled us to advocate for our rights and objectives through various campaigns and initiatives implemented in close cooperation with the local community in a participatory manner.”
Impressed with Basha’er’s performance during her time as a shadow mayor, when the mayor of Illar had to leave for three months, he asked Bashaer Othman to take his place. During her time in the position, she helped to develop and launch the idea of turning an Illar park and waterfalls into a tourist destination. Now, the park, which is well-known as a project created through the Illar YLC, attracts people from within and without the community and provides jobs for local youth.

leylaLeyla Darine Chávez Castro
YLC President in Tela, Honduras
“My experience with the Youth Council has been very good because I have been able to share my leadership with other youth from different organizations in the city, with whom we share the same interests and the same objectives. These are focused on promoting more youth participation in these spaces and respect of our human rights. This has filled me with much satisfaction—that young women can also occupy spaces where many times only men have been before—but now I know that I count with skills and knowledge to carry the voice of other youth before decision-makers in my community.”

Youth Local Council Initiatives

YLCs engage with their local governments and their communities, serving as a bridge for activism and community involvement, while also raising awareness of issues important to youth or advancing the development agenda of the community. YLCs have implemented hundreds of projects across the West Bank. Examples of such initiatives include:

  • In November 2014, approximately 50 youth representing 16 YLCs participated in a Palestinian heritage tour, visiting three locations in northern Palestine. The tour emphasized the importance of investing historical and religious sites in the country, and highlighted how this investment can enhance the tourism sector.
  • In February 2015, 300 YLC and general assembly members from all YLCs participated in the 5K Run organized in Bethlehem. The event’s objective was to encourage local tourism and create an opportunity for Palestinian youth and families to visit, explore, and experience the various cultural and historic sights of Bethlehem.

The Future: Global Youth for Good Governance

The future of the Youth Local Councils is the evolution into a Global Youth for Good Governance movement, building on the momentum in Palestine and the expansion into Honduras and Ukraine. In Palestine, we are founding a separate local entity supported by a social enterprise model to ensure scaling up and continued investment in the YLC model, so that they can become a sustainable, ongoing venture.
We aim to expand YLC activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas and, shortly after, enter Gaza. The focus will be on founding YLCs in all communities in Palestine and provide support for existing ones, initiate youth employability enhancement projects, and support youth entrepreneurial ideas and small businesses growth. Our goal is to empower youth as democratic and value based leaders and provide them access to economic opportunities.

Youth Local Council Toolkit

This toolkit contains four guiding manuals that were developed based on the rich and diverse experiences of the first 13 Youth Local Councils established. This sustainability toolkit is a genuine attempt to unify the basis of forming and activating Youth Local Councils, while preserving their distinguished identity and objectives. It is hoped that this model develops and provides the youth with the outlet to direct their activism, energies, and potentials towards community development.
 
Please click on the following links to view the manuals:

More on Youth Local Councils

To read more about Global Communities' work with Youth Local Councils, please view these articles/videos below:

Youth Local Councils in Honduras