In Colombia, young people who may be disengaged child soldiers, former youth offenders, migrants, survivors of violence, or those living in poor conditions face plenty of systemic challenges. These challenges require an inclusive approach to ensure that youth are connected, empowered, and protected.

Youth participating in the “Festival of Ideas” shared their expectations and goals for engaging with the Youth Resilience Activity.

The Youth Resilience Activity (YRA), funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, responds to these needs for greater inclusion of youth in Colombia’s socioeconomic development. This is the first year since YRA launched in late 2020 that it will celebrate the United Nations’ International Youth Day on August 12.

The YRA Activity has an action-pack month of activities planned throughout Colombia for “Youth Month”

Throughout August, YRA is planning a series of events in different parts of the country to mark the day. Each event will engage at least one local partner, such as a mayor’s offices, chamber of commerce, or youth collective.

In Cali and Arauca, employment and entrepreneurship fairs will offer youth access to resources about trainings and job opportunities. Cultural festivals in Riohacha and Tumaco will feature musical performances, sports competitions, and painting of the local skate park. Other events, such as mural painting, tree planting, scavenger hunts, and neighborhood cook-outs, will take place in Bogotá, Cartagena, Cúcuta, and Florencia.

The goal of these celebrations is to bridge societal gaps and generate excitement about the opportunities YRA has to offer to young people in Colombia.

Activity to Engage & Empower 7,000 Youth

Over the next five years, YRA aims to provide 7,000 youth from 30 municipalities with holistic support to build healthy relationships, foster protective environments, and strengthen economic empowerment. So far, YRA has engaged 1,200 youth and 600 government and private sector leaders in dialogue sessions focused on creating activities that positively impact youth groups and families. YRA is currently testing out these activities in 13 municipalities through 11 pilot projects focused on building youth’s communication and leadership skills, reclaiming public spaces, and exploring income-generating ideas.

Participants of the launch event in Quibdó, Colombia
Youth attend a launch event of the Festival of Ideas organized by the Youth Resilience Activity

To spread the word about YRA’s opportunities for young people, the activity is working with local institutions, radio stations, youth collectives, and even motorcyclists using loudspeakers to share information. The result has been over 4,258 sign-ups across 28 municipalities.

Since February, YRA has been hosting a series of both in-person and virtual events called the “Festival of Ideas,” featuring artistic performances and activities with youth and partner organizations to launch the program. News of the events has reached more than 346,000 people on social media.

Learn more about the Youth Resilience Activity.

Learn more about our work in Colombia.