The Youth Leadership Hub (YLH) didn’t quite pan out the way we had planned when we were making our first HCDExchange work plan in 2019/2020. When I say that, I mean that we had planned to have in-person convenings, regional chapters where youth could meet, network, and share experiences together, and all kinds of other things that COVID made impossible.
As with all other elements of the project, we adapted and switched to virtual.
We’ve since had two cohorts of exceptionally dedicated and talented young professionals join as members of the YLH, and support the work of the HCDExchange in every element from research, to community engagement, to most importantly guiding our approach to youth engagement across every aspect of our work.
This Individual Learning Project small grant repurposed funds that were intended for in-person activities to give YLH Associates the opportunity to focus on a challenge or problem that they care about personally, and everything they have learned about the use of HCD in ASRH work and implement their own, individual project.
They prepared proposals and budgets and independently led these initiatives in the topic and approach of their choice. This was an important element to the way we wanted to set these projects up - each Associate is an AYSRHR advocate and practitioner in their own life and work, and we wanted to facilitate the chance for them to decide on the issues closest to them and completely own the entire project process, with support from their mentors on the Secretariat team.
The HCDExchange project is still working on its internal approaches to meaningful youth engagement, with the help of the YLH. This was a pilot and with the help and feedback from the Associates, something that we hope to continue in the next YLH cohorts as well!
We’re also really excited to check back in with these Associates in a few months to get updates on how their project has developed since finishing in March, so watch this space!