From the day we sat our foot in Nepal, Thanuya and I agreed that we want to make a difference. A difference in the sense that when returning back to Sunsari District, Nepal after a year or 10 years - the Red Cross Youth Circles and Youth humanitarian activities would still be working and doing great work. In relation to this, I would like to apply the "buzz-word" sustainability.
Aiming for sustainability means to work towards something with long-term effects. May that be a specific activity, attitude, behaviour, goal, relationship, structure, organization, project or a programme, which is long-lasting.
Youth Empowerment Strategy (IFRC 2017) highlight the importance of building well-organized Red Cross Red Crescent Societies and local communities with sufficient capacities to carry out assessments and to address identified risks and challenges through meaningful actions in a sustainable manner. What does that mean? Firstly, building sufficient capacities can be done by training youths in their abilities, knowledge, and skills. Developing, training and building youths and others' capacities will ensure that a project will be running. Because one should always keep in mind that the ones who started the project may not always be around. And if no-one is trained to take over - it is a high risk that the project may fail. Secondly, with sufficient capacities youths and others will increase and strengthen their ability to address and identify risks and challenges. But, more importantly. The youth will be able to prevent, take action, and help with recovery activities in their community. Additionally they will also be able to train others in their community with sufficient capacities.
Young people are key actors in building-up and sustaining strong National Societies and thus equal partners of adults. For example it is very important to include young people in the project and programme planning to make it sustainable - in order to have an effect and also knowing that the people are motivated to work towards a common goal.
So, how can we make sure that our goal of sustainability will be achieved during our mission as Youth Delegates? We are about to create a Youth Team. The youth team will consist of different age, from different subchapters and youth circles, diverse knowledge and experience, education, equal division between boys and girls. Representativness is a essential keyword here. The youth team will work as a bridge between Red Cross District Chapter's staff and Red Cross youth volunteers. They will also be the contact persons for youth volunteers. We will try to make sure that the youth team attribute essential skills (coordinator, treasurer, facilitator, leadership) during their mandate in the team. When the youth team is develop, we look very much forward to share whom they are. So, stay tune! :-)
In the last blogpost I wrote about "sharing is caring". To share and exchange information and experiences is a tool to make something sustainable. Especially if information and experiences one have gained are perceived as "lessons learned". This information and experience can then be used to reflect around questions like: What worked? What did not work? How could it be done differently?
Now - I encourage you to write down some ideas on how or what you can do in order to make your goals, projects, programmes, organizations, or group more sustainable.