SYA partners for development

The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Youth Activity (SYA) that provided life-changing internship opportunities for 280 youths from 14 districts has received positive feedback from all the partner organisations where the young interns were employed in during their internship periods.

Implemented by the International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Global Communities’ Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Activity, the SYA is a 12-month project that targets youth aged 18-29 to improve their civic awareness, leadership skills, participation in community improvements, and decision-making processes.

Amidst the general uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of organisations across various industries were faced with significant hurdles when attempting to recruit talented, self-motivated youth to fill the vacancies in their offices. However, as a result of this forward-thinking initiative by IYAP, these organisations were presented with the opportunity to engage with potential candidates and recruit them as interns. The 280 youths had the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in a diverse group of host organisations such as engineering firms, divisional secretariats, women and youth development centres, disability organisations, Samurdhi banks and many others. Throughout their internship period, the typical work week for the interns consisted of 4 days of work at the host organizations and a discussion and training on Fridays in the respective district. This enabled them to recap their week’s performance and key learnings, identify the needs and challenges and discuss and share their experiences with each other. IYAP collaborated closely with all host organisations to ensure that the interns were able to gain the most knowledge and experience from their stint while putting their skills into good use.

When asked to give their insights about the programme, host organisations gave positive reviews and stated their desire to see the programme continue into the future. Ajith Wasantha Liyanage, Operations Manager, Hambanthota District Chamber of Commerce commented, “We were fortunate enough to get onboard two interns from IYAP to support the execution of the special project. They were fully supportive, flexible and easily adapted to the situations as our requirements. We really appreciate the good work of the IYAP and I would like to recommend them as full-time workers for any organization. Placing well-trained interns with the entrepreneurs is one of the best ways of supporting the SMEs at this crucial time and IYAP has done a tremendous job in that sense. As a host organization, we fully appreciate IYAP for standing with the institution like us and we could have expedited our special project works as well as meet the deadline with the support of interns.”

Shalini Balasingam – Project Manager of Jaffna Social Action Centre stated, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic youths were feeling lost as they were stuck at home with little or no opportunities for employment or studies. This internship program provided them a much-needed boost and enhanced their lives as they were able to gain knowledge and experience at various organisations. After completing their internship stints, a number of interns had returned to continue work as unpaid volunteers in their efforts to support the organisation’s cause. This underscores the passion, dedication and positive mindset of these youth as they strive to make a difference in their communities.”

Dr. P.V.S. Chiranthika Vithana – Consultant Community Physician-National Programme Manager (Adolescent and Youth Health) Family Health Bureau at the Ministry of Health opined, “I am very much happy to host a youth intern supported by Project SYA of IYAP in 2022. This project has provided a very good opportunity for Sri Lankan youth to develop their potential. The healthcare sector is a vital part of any country and it was very encouraging to see these interns enthusiastically carrying out their duties and absorbing all the knowledge. I really appreciate this great initiative and wish that IYAP will continue their good work through this process in coming years ahead.”

Founded in 2013 and based in Colombo, the International Youth Alliances for Peace (IYAP) is a youth-led/based organization that believes in harnessing the power of young people and the contribution they make to their respective communities and country.

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