The Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), a regional programme by UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States, was launched in 2015 to build a region-wide dynamic network working at the intersection of youth, innovation, and sustainable development. Starting with a regional forum in Amman, gathering 40 young participants from 18 Arab countries, YLP has evolved every year, engaging over 20,000 youth participants and supporting 7,000+ projects. The UNDP Bahrain country office joined the YLP in 2017, in its third edition (YLP3). Since then, and through a close partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sport Affairs (MYS) and various youth-serving organizations (YSOs) in Bahrain, the YLP experience has grown every year, contributing to UNDP’s programmatic offer in Bahrain, as well as the broader objectives of the UN’s Strategic Partnership Framework in Bahrain, echoing the priorities of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and the Government Action Plan 2019-2022.
The year 2020 is remarkable in many ways. The unforeseen outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related disruptions have transformed human societies, changing the ways of working together and socializing.. As response to those challenges, the sixth edition of the YLP (YLP6) that took place in 2020 in Bahrain meant for the programme to adapt and translate a dynamic and engaging face-to-face series of workshops and other activities into a virtual space.
Facing the high stakes enshrined in the Decade of Action to achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda, YLP6 addressed key global current challenges, including the pandemic, climate change, through the promotion of civic engagement. Guided by the urgency to explore these topics, a close collaboration between UNDP and MYS, along with four officially registered YSOs (Ayadi Relief, AIESEC in Bahrain, Global Shapers Manama Hub, and Rotaract Club), was established. With a representative from each organization and two YLP5 alumni, the programme formed the National Committee (NC), the team that was responsible for designing, planning, and implementing the programme, from February to December 2020.
With an energetic and effective team effort and support from the UNDP Regional Youth Team, the YLP6 in Bahrain successfully delivered 12 informative and dynamic virtual sessions during over 7 weeks to a dedicated group of 27 young participants. Additionally, 7 YLP Alumni and members of YLP6 partner YSOs were trained in Design-Thinking Facilitation, who in part worked with 7 youth teams to guide them in their design-thinking challenge framing and ideation processes. After an inspiring SDGs Challenge, with 7 teams pitching their social innovation ideas , the Judging Panel selected 3 winning teams to continue with YLP6 in the Teams Mentorship stage, where they gained mentorship, coaching, and further support to develop their social innovation ideas in preparation for the YLP6 Regional Forum.
While both organizers and participants faced several challenges during the year largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of virtual solutions throughout the programme of activities helped in overcoming those obstacles, allowing for the collaboration among YLP partner organizations to encourage YLP’s contribution in empowering youth and bringing together YSOs and professionals under one project and purpose. This to ultimately support the youth’s development and inspire a generation of change-makers and leaders better equipped to join the journey towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Development Agenda.
The YLP6 Outcome Report, prepared by UNDP Bahrain, showcases the achievements of the YLP6 Bahrain team in delivering effective youth programming through regional and local collaborations, and the creativity and resilience of young people in Bahrain to develop social innovations.
UNDP is looking forward to continuing the support of YLP social innovators in 2021!