UNICEF is grooming India's Young Change-Leaders through YuWaah!

UNICEF’s YuWaah! Initiative: In an exclusive interview with Jagranjosh.com Ms. Dhuwarakha Sriram - Chief of ADAP and Generation Unlimited with UNICEF India - shares details about its YuWaah! Initiative, its key goals and the steps it is taking to prepare India’s youth for the challenges of the future.

Created On: Aug 18, 2020 18:52 IST

UNICEF’s YuWaah! Initiative: UNICEF’s YuWaah! Initiative: UNICEF has always been at the forefront of ushering in transformative change initiatives with respect to the Youth and their issues. In India, the UN Agency has launched YuWaah!, a unique initiative which aims to groom India’s youth into change-leaders of tomorrow by providing them the mindset and skillset to flourish in a rapidly changing world. In an exclusive interview with Jagranjosh.com, Ms. Dhuwarakha Sriram - Chief of ADAP and Generation Unlimited with UNICEF India, shares details about its YuWaah! Initiative, its key goals and the steps it is taking to prepare India’s youth for the challenges of the future:

Extracts from the Interview !

What is YuWaah? When was it established and why was it needed? How can our Josh readers be a part of it?

  • In 2018, UNICEF launched Generation Unlimited, a global initiative aimed at preparing 1.8 billion young people between 10-24 years with the mindset and skillset to flourish in our very rapidly changing world, a world where technology is changing the nature of work, where there may be fewer traditional jobs and where there are huge problems that need to be tackled like climate change and poverty.
  • In India, Generation Unlimited is branded as “YuWaah!”– a name coined by young people themselves and was launched in November 2019 as a multi-stakeholder platform in partnership with UN agencies, Ministry for Women and Children’s Development, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, National Institution for Transforming India (Niti Aayog) and over 30 other partners, consisting of private sector companies, Civil Society Organizations, government departments, and of course young people. YuWaah! has ambitious 10 year goals of engaging 300 million young people as volunteers and change-leaders, equipping 200 million youth with the skills they need for the future including 21st Century and digital skills and finally working with private sector to create pathways to productive work ranging from jobs, to gig work to entrepreneurship.
  • Recently YuWaah! formally launched a partnership with the Government of Punjab which was launched by the Hon'ble CM Captain Amarinder Singh, and we have begun the process of rolling out multiple initiatives for young people of Punjab starting with a very important survey to assess their aspirations and challenges but quickly involving them in tackling practical problems in the communities where they live, thereby, helping them develop self-confidence, problem-solving and leadership skills. YuWaah! works with youth organizations and schools and colleges and organizations like Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), which is how young people can get involved in this movement.

What is the age group of people that YuWaah! targets? 

  • Young people between 10-24 years.

What is the scope of the Govt of Punjab and YuWaah agreement ? Share some websites where youth of Punjab can log in to contribute? What about rural youth?

  • The MoU with the Government of Punjab enables YuWaah! to introduce ways to engage young people as active changemakers and pursue aspirational socio-economic activities. It is very much our focus to ensure we reach and work with as diverse a set of young people as possible, including from the farthest corners of Punjab. This is why our partnership with the Government is so important, in order to ensure we are able to reach the last-mile. We have started this engagement with a survey (U-Report) to capture voices of the young people of Punjab, so that we can ensure we address the actual concerns of these young people, instead of assuming what they may need. Going forward, we aim to introduce many more opportunities including a Career Guidance portal, sessions aimed at helping young people in thinking about careers they want to pursue, an online learning platform, as well as opportunities for Punjab's young people to emerge as change leaders in their communities.

Which are the other states and ministries with whom YuWaah is working closely with?

  • YuWaah! is working initially in Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Since it is an alliance, YuWaah! is also collaborating with many central govt ministries NiTI Aayog, with MoYAS, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

We have been told that YuWaah! keeps the young people at the center of its work. Tell us more about it.

  • I think our generation has the tendency of thinking it knows better, even though it is completely responsible for the challenges that are being faced by our young people. I think, it is time that we take ownership and acknowledge that our young people are capable and driven - they just need support from the right channels.
  • It is for this reason that we have kickstarted our engagement with the Punjab Government with a survey conducted through U-Report that aims to capture the voices of Punjab's young people and ensure our efforts are going in a direction that resonates with the emerging needs of these young people. Young people can participate in the survey right now by one of two ways:
      • They can either do this via WhatsApp by adding 9650414141 to their phone's contacts as 'U-Report' and messaging PUN on this number.
      • Alternatively, they can go to www.messenger.com/t/UReport.India, type PUN and hit send.

How will YuWaah! help its partners achieve their goals ? How do you partner with YuWaah?

  • YuWaah! as a platform allows the partners to come together on a single platform, network with other players in the sector and also make their voice heard for the policy level changes required for effective implementation. Building on the deep work being done by UNICEF in 18 states, YuWaah! platform also allows the partners to pitch their work to various governments. YuWaah! also on select basis provides catalytic funding to its partners.

What are the synergies, if any, that YuWaah! has with the NEP 2020 and the SDGs given the emphasis on vocational education?

  • The NEP has put a lot of emphasis on integrating vocational skills in the education. Further, NEP also has recognized the need for building 21st Century Skills for the development of young people. YuWaah! is committed to supporting the nation in realizing the dream envisaged in NEP.

About The Expert

Ms. Dhuwarakha Sriram is the Chief of Adolescent Development and Generation Unlimited with UNICEF India Country office. She currently leads and coordinates one of the largest adolescent and youth development and participation initiative of UNICEF. Prior to this, she worked in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka with UNICEF and UNHCR, and she was involved in design and implementation of child protection and education programmes in complex emergency settings including the Tsunami response in 2004 – 05.  She has previously worked in the Regional Office of West and Central Africa and Sierra Leone, where she managed the programme on child protection and adolescents including the support to the Ebola response.

Ms. Dhuwarakha Sriram

Chief of ADAP and Generation Unlimited with UNICEF India


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