2018 is going to be an exciting year for the YES program – it’s the YES 15th Anniversary! 2018 will also usher in a new cycle of YES Alumni Grants. Want to commemorate the 15th anniversary in the most impactful way possible? Why not apply for a YES Alumni Grant to start a project in your community that you are passionate about? From an alumni mentoring program or holding a workshop on countering violent extremism in your community, the possibilities to make a difference through a YES Alumni Grant are endless.
The 2018 application opened on December 15, and the deadline is February 15. A recording of the webinar on the grants application process can be found here and the online application can be found here.
Need more inspiration for grant project idea? Read on to learn about some of the amazing projects alumni did in the 2016-17 grant year.
Priya Parkash, (YES ’15) Pakistan, hosted by AFS in Camarillo, CA, received grant funding to conduct Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Pakistan, an interfaith dialogue event in Karachi (photo above). Recognizing that interfaith dialogue is a delicate area to address in Pakistan, Priya became excited when she attended BUBW in the U.S. to find an innovative approach to introduce the topic in her home country. Thirty-five YES alumni participants attended the BUBW workshop which utilized a training of trainers’ model. The workshop included a panel discussion, leadership sessions, expert speakers, and visits to various houses of worship.
Marklyn Fortune, (YES ’11) Liberia, hosted by AFS in Florence, SC, received grant funding to conduct Promoting Environmental Education and Understanding Climate Change. The project aimed to educate and discourage environmental degradation in rural communities in Liberia caused by illegal logging of trees and harmful farming methods. Marklyn and the alumni team conducted an environmental education series that taught 25 students from various high schools about environmental awareness. Activities included the planting of 200 trees across several communities.
Nendi Solomon Lukolm, (YES ’06) Nigeria, hosted by IRIS in Washington County, IA, received grant funding to conduct Millenium Volunteers Peace Camp in his city of Jos in Plateau State. Plateau State has been experiencing religious violence and social tensions, driving large numbers of orphans and internally displaced persons to refugee camps. The Millennium project was designed to introduce youth to volunteerism and community service, as well as leadership skills. The grant allowed 30 participants between the ages 15 to 20 to attend the camp. The participants engaged in discussion about organizing community projects, fundraising, skills acquisition, self-expression, community motivation, volunteerism, peacebuilding, and conflict management.
Maxim Jordan Dongmo Ymelong, (YES ’14) Cameroon, hosted by PAX in Salt Lake City, UT, received grant funding to conduct English Language and Culture Promotion Program (ELCPP). ELCPP was a six-month program of weekly English and computer science classes for 150 students from a local underserved primary school in Lefeh-Bafou. The alumnus established a small library at the school and volunteered as an English teacher. He also held a conference at the school to highlight the importance of English and discuss social issues such as the environment, civic education, and volunteering.
Hassani Masanga, (YES ’09) Tanzania, hosted by IRIS in Cedar Rapids, IA, received grant funding to conduct Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Education for Secondary School Students. The initiative recruited 17 medical students and three teachers as educators providing sexual and reproductive health and rights education to 200 mostly female secondary school students in grades 9 to 11 in Tanga, an underserved region on the Kenyan border. During a two-day seminar, students were taught reproductive health and rights focusing on topics including puberty, menstrual hygiene, sex and sexuality, teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence.
Mustahsin Islam, (YES ’08), Bangladesh, hosted by YFU in Seattle, WA, received grant funding to conduct 3.5 Billion Reasons, a leadership training program for young urban and rural women. 3.5 Billion Reasons sought to close the gap of education and leadership opportunities between urban and rural female students in Bangladesh by training female students and equipping them with tools to pursue higher education. The project organized a workshop in Dhaka for 18 female high school students, with one urban and one rural student paired together. Each pair was assigned a mentor, who worked with the two high schools girls over a three-month period. In the second phase of the project, mentees implemented projects in their own communities to bring about awareness of sexual harassment and child marriage, introduce educational opportunities for women and girls, and create clubs at their schools and institutions.
Malsore Jusufi, (YES ’15) Kosovo, hosted by American Councils for International Education in St. Louis, MO, received grant funding to conduct a Spelling Bee at her former middle school in her hometown of Podujeve. Malsore worked with 26 students for three weeks to build their English vocabulary prior to the spelling bee. Twelve students were selected to participate in the spelling bee, which was held in front of an audience of 100 family members, students, and school faculty and staff. The first place winner was invited to participate in the second annual National Kosovo English Spelling Bee, which is organized by Kosovo Peace Corps volunteers and took place in Prishtina in May 2017.
The YES Alumni Grants program is available to all YES and YES Abroad alumni to enable them to contribute to the social, economic, and civic development of their countries, and aims to support community service activities and events that promote civic participation in the following areas: climate change, conflict resolution, education, entrepreneurship, environment, interfaith and strategic dialogues, micro-economic development, professional development, promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promotion of English language and American culture, public health, sustainable energy, teaching programs, and women’s and girls’ empowerment.