Visit Youth Challenge International's website to learn more about their programs abroad
Youth Challenge International is a leading global youth development organization that promotes youth innovation to drive positive change. Building on more than 20 years of experience, YCI believes that young people have a meaningful contribution to make to international development and engages youth in creating solutions to the challenges they face. YCI programs are focused on livelihoods, health, leadership and the environment.
As a Canadian registered charity, YCI supports community-based programs in Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Guyana. From Mentorship projects to Malaria campaigns, combating HIV/AIDS to building partner capacity, YCI works on volunteer programs dedicated to supporting youth overseas and at home.
Working with YCI was an invaluable experience. Not only was the program a great introduction to the realities of development work, but the skills you pick up can be applied...Read more
Working with YCI was an invaluable experience. Not only was the program a great introduction to the realities of development work, but the skills you pick up can be applied in any future work environment. The level of autonomy YCI participants have in determining program goals and content is unparalleled by other organizations. Being able to personally create your own response to issues means you develop a much deeper connection with the community and walk away feeling that you've made a tangible impact.
Programming included an array of capacity building initiatives, including english language classes and employment skills development workshops for local youth, creating practical solutions to raise awareness around public health issues, and assisting local NGOs with implementing gender equality policies in their organizational structure.
Outside of work, the fun continues - YCI is great in that they respect the independence of their youth volunteers. That means weekends are yours to enjoy and spend however you like!
If you're looking for the opportunity to gain practical employment skills, immerse yourself in another culture, and have an unforgettable life experience, YCI is definitely for you!!
The living conditions for my YCI project were excellent and the community was a wonderful place. YCI supplied us with a wealth of resources, but also a huge amount of...Read more
The living conditions for my YCI project were excellent and the community was a wonderful place. YCI supplied us with a wealth of resources, but also a huge amount of free-reign, and consequently responsibility. At first this was very overwhelming; however the support staff they have in the field are fantastic, and after a few rocky weeks, I was working like a dog and loving every minute of it.
For this project you'll need a lot of initiative because YCI will not spoon-feed you, and every day will be different. YCI's pre-project preparation could be better, so I would highly advise talking to an alumni (like myself) before leaving to get a clear idea of what you've signed up for. It is not essential, but it will help mitigate the inevitable culture shock.
Leaving the community behind will be a tear-jerker, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you'll be able to keep in touch with all those you met long after you leave... I know I still do!
I would change the pre-project preparation, hands down. I have been working on and off with YCI to streamline their online resource database, but progress has been slow. The poor preparation makes adjusting to the project hard for the first few weeks, but there is continual support from phenomenal staff/volunteers in the field, and this why I still rate YCI so highly.
I was a YCI volunteer to Ghana in 2010 where I worked in a YMCA vocational training school with 99 girls and 1 boy. Me and two other volunteers created...Read more
I was a YCI volunteer to Ghana in 2010 where I worked in a YMCA vocational training school with 99 girls and 1 boy. Me and two other volunteers created and implemented workshops on Entrepreneurship & Business skills (including CV writing, customer service & interviews) as all of the children were looking to enter the workforce after graduation. We also did workshops on Sexual and Reproductive Health & Active Citizenship. I was the recipient of a scholarship from YCI which assisted greatly and cut my fundraising target by about 50%. The fundraising tips and support I received from the YCI team, the pre-departure training, the in country cultural training and the debrief at the end of my 4 weeks in Ghana were all useful and valuable. When you volunteer with YCI the experience stays with you and I have remained friends with the other volunteers who were in country with me at the same time (4 were deployed in another town) as well as my teammates. I even went on to work at the YCI headquarters for 6 months on an internship. I would recommend anyone looking for a volunteer experience and to make a difference in the world should consider applying to YCI!