YES Programs



YES Alumni Changemaker Workshop

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From March 18th – 22nd, fourteen alumni from Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkiye came together to build project management skills and develop innovative community projects at the YES alumni Changemaker workshop in Tysons, VA.

The workshop is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of their passions, skills, and communities, and provide them with key project management tools to better equip them to be effective local changemakers. Topics include needs assessments, community mapping, goal-setting, fundraising, storytelling, and use of social media for awareness raising campaigns.

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The conversations and learning started before the workshop in the participant WhatsApp group, where participants received resources on design thinking and community mapping.

YES alumni also had lead roles in the workshop training and content development as alumni allies and mentors. Co-trainer Alex Mwkilau (YES ’16, Kenya), who attended a 2021 Changemaker workshop and received a YES alumni small grant to implement his follow-on project, shared valuable best practices, successes, and challenges.

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Muksin Ibrahim (YES ’15, Philippines) and Feruzah Salisu (YES ’10, Ghana), were selected as alumni allies based on their experience in project management and community initiatives. Muksin currently works for a local government unit focused on designing, and executing community projects. He is in the process of establishing #WeAllCan, a subsidiary organization of the YES alumni Palawan Community, dedicated to collective efforts and volunteerism.

Feruzah is a Program Officer at STAR-Ghana Foundation and has a background in strategic planning, policy analysis, gender planning, and program management. She has been actively involved in supporting the implementation of grant-funded projects focused on civil society advocacy in areas such as women's empowerment, economic justice, and accountable governance.

During the workshop, Feruzah Salisu led a session on proposal writing and project sustainability. Muksin Ibrahim led a session on the key roles effective networking and partnerships can play in project management.

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Guided by the trainers and alumni mentors, participants split into small groups and pitched their project ideas to panels of YES staff, local volunteers, and ECA Program Officers Susannah Wood and Katherine David-Fox. This gave participants a chance to practice pitching skills while receiving valuable feedback and support.

Some of the exciting project plans developed at the workshop include: providing access to healthcare for refugees in Sabah, Malaysia, cholera prevention in Mozambique, and addressing literacy rates in northern Ghana and South Africa.

Alumni also utilized their new storytelling skills on Capitol Hill, when they visited offices of the Congressional Representatives of the states in which they were hosted to convey the impact the YES program has had on families and communities in the U.S. and around the world.

Nilza from Mozambique: “My favorite part of the Changemaker workshop was presenting my project and listening to the recommendations of people with more knowledge. It was incredibly valuable to receive constructive feedback, gain insights from different perspectives, and refine my project plans to make them more effective and impactful.”

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Yudha from Indonesia: “Through the workshop, I gained valuable insights into the diverse backgrounds of other participants, which broadened my understanding of various perspectives and approaches. This exposure helped me appreciate different viewpoints and enriched my collaborative skills. Moreover, the workshop provided me with essential management skills, particularly in initiating and launching projects. Learning how to effectively kick-start projects from ideation to execution significantly enhanced my ability to lead and manage initiatives in a structured and organized manner.”

Check out more workshop photos on the YES Flickr.