The future for Child Clubs and Young Leader Clubs
PEPY’s Child Clubs (also known as Child-to-Child) began in 2008 to support local solutions for community issues through youth-led action. In 2011, Young Leader Clubs were also established to cater for older youth who still wanted a forum outside of school to learn new things and discuss important issues in their lives.
In the past year, after a critical review of program activity, the PEPY team has decided to end the Young Leader Project and transition out of Child Clubs. This decision was made for the following reasons:
1) The program is not intended to continue indefinitely. And after 5 years, many children in Chanleas Dai have participated in the clubs. They are familiar with the process of identifying issues within their community and working together to solve them. As PEPY’s Senior Program Manager Sarakk says, “If we stay here forever doing Child Clubs, we can’t see the change. If we don’t go away, we can’t see impact. We want to provide ownership to young people so they can solve their own problems without the clubs.”
2) The program is not as closely aligned with PEPY’s vision and mission (revised in 2011) and the team felt that developing other projects would be a more successful way of supporting young people in achieving their goals for the future.
3) Some of the young people participating in the Young Leader Project are very motivated to run clubs for young people themselves. Additionally, the existence of Volunteers for Community Development demonstrates that a strong sense of community action and leadership is already present in young people in the area. As such, the PEPY team feels that supporting the efforts of the young people would be a more positive next step than PEPY staff continuing to run projects in this area themselves.
After consulting with the young people attending Child Clubs and Youth Clubs, the PEPY team decided that the best way forward was to end the Young Leader Project. This way, young people can have the freedom to create and manage their own clubs for the benefit of the younger children within their community. These clubs will not necessarily follow the format of PEPY Child Clubs, but rather be developed entirely by the young people as they see appropriate.
To prepare for this transition, the team conducted meetings with parents and village chiefs to discuss the future of the clubs. These meetings had the following goals:
1) To let them know that PEPY will end its involvement in the project by the end of this school year.
2) To listen to their ideas on how to strengthen the clubs.
3) To discuss how they can be more involved with the clubs in future.
Currently, PEPY is also planning multiple youth trainings to help members be skilled and confident in leading discussions and meetings:
1) Child-to-Child methodology (a specific approach to facilitation implemented in the Child Clubs).
2) Facilitation skills (including active practice and feedback).
3) Creation of activity plans for community events. The young people from Runn village organized their first event in the Pagoda during Khmer New Year to promote their team leadership and to demonstrate to the community the abilities of the young people.
4) Community advocacy. YLP members and PEPY staff will be working with the community to discuss how they will be taking over and helping facilitate activities for young people in their area.
The PEPY team will continue the transition process until the end of July, when the final transition workshop will be held with all stakeholders. PEPY will continue to monitor the program’s independent development, and also continue to offer informal support and mentorship to the young people where necessary.
The PEPY team have worked with young people in Chanleas Dai through Child and Youth Clubs for a large part of PEPY’s history. Many staff and volunteers have been involved in the development of the clubs, and have watched the young people grow to become leaders in their own communities. There are many happy memories! However, we are all excited to see the young people take on larger leadership roles and look forward to working with them a different ways over the coming years.