The Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) is an initiative under the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS), launched in 2015 to build the region's most dynamic network working at the intersection of youth, innovation, and sustainable development. The programme aims to empower a generation of young leaders, changemakers, and social innovators, to grow their capacity in tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their countries and the Arab region.
With more than 28,600 alumni and 80 partners in 18 countries since 2015, the regional YLP was launched in 2021 in its seventh edition to support youth to develop solutions that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP Bahrain Country Office (CO) joined the YLP in its third edition (YLP3). Since then, and through working with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs (MYS), local YSOs, and the YLP Bahrain Community (consisting of YLP alumni, facilitators, and speakers), the YLP Experience has been shaped through a collaborative effort in the Kingdom of Bahrain, contributing to the UNDP’s Country Programme Document and the UN Strategic Partnership Framework in Bahrain, while engaging with the priorities of the Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and the Government Action Plan 2019-2022.
Under the title of “Creating Change from Inside Out,” The YLP7 in 2021 focused on the topics of Wellbeing and Mental Health, exploring the reality and challenges in Bahrain through looking at the interconnection of individual, community and planetary wellbeing, and how addressing all levels of wellbeing could galvanize the achievement of the SDGs.
Guided by the exploration of these topics, a close collaboration between UNDP and MYS, along with five YSOs – AIESEC Bahrain (AIESEC), AlMabarrah AlKhalifia (MKF), Ayadi Relief Organization (Ayadi), Global Shapers - Manama Hub (Shapers), and the Rotaract Club of Bahrain (Rotaract) – was established. With a representative from each organization and two YLP6 alumni the programme formed the National Committee (NC), who worked together to design, plan, and implement the YLP7 Experience. The programme this year has been exclusively and generously sponsored by Abdulrahim AlKooheji Foundation (AKF), as part of a wider partnership to support youth and youth-serving organizations capacity in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
Building on the “YLP Experience” learning module developed during YLP6 (2020), the YLP7 Experience became a 2-month long capacity training and social innovation development programme. The programme consisted of 14 dynamic and engaging virtual workshops, that were delivered by 15 trainers and speakers, which included local professionals, members of the partner YSOs, and UNDP experts. The participants learnt about the SDGs, social innovation, wellbeing, gender equality, systems thinking, the design-thinking process, and the art of storytelling, all within the context of real challenges present in Bahrain. The programme ended with an SDGs Challenge, were each team presented their social innovation ideas to a panel of judges, consisting of senior members the YLP7 partner organizations. Three winning teams were then selected to gain more support in developing their innovation and join the YLP7 Regional Forum.
UNDP Bahrain CO is excited to share the YLP7 Outcome Report to share the impact, lessons learnt, and future vision of the YLP and potential of a collaborative youth programming in Bahrain. UNDP looks forward for a new year and new YLP programme in 2022!