YuWaah (GenU India) celebrates two-year anniversary of meaningful impact with and for youth

Highlights from GenU's field visit to India

Bharat Kundra, Mohammed Zanskar Danish, Urmila Sarkar, Mami Kyo
Kevin Frey sitting in a classroom in India surrounded by pupils
YuWaah!/UNICEF India
19 November 2021

Delhi, India  In October 2021, Generation Unlimited (GenU)’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Frey, and Senior Advisor on Planning and Programmes, Urmila Sarkar visited India, home to the world’s largest population of young people who represent an unlimited potential to transform a better future. To empower over 300 million young people in the country, YuWaah (GenU India) was launched in 2019 as a multi-sector partnership to accelerate the young people’s agenda. It has been scaling impact through numbers of initiatives including the #YoungWarrior Movement which led to 6.6 million+ youth-led actions within 90 days of the initiative launch.

As an incubator of YuWaah Secretariat, UNICEF plays a strategic role in accelerating the YuWaah partnership. Unwavering commitment from the UNICEF India leadership and dedicated team on the ground have successfully brokered key partnerships across sectors to reach millions of young people. In addition, working out a country model, with a clear governance structure and defined role of UNICEF, including the efforts to strategically coordinate on UNICEF country programme, served as a success factor leading to shared results.

Key meetings during GenU Global’s recent visit with young change-makers and partners from government, private sector, and civil society organizations come as YuWaah celebrates the two-year milestone of advancing GenU agenda in the country. Reflecting on the occasion, Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative, expressed her continued support stating “…YuWaah is proving to be an excellent catalyst in paving pathways for a better tomorrow. As we move forward, let us ensure we have young people in decision-making positions and nurture their creativity, energy and problem-solving skills because young people have to be an integral part of solutions designed for them.”

Kevin Frey, Urmila Sarkar and Yuwaah staff posing for a picture
YuWaah!/UNICEF India
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque meeting with Dr. Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer of Generation Unlimited, Ms. Urmila Sarkar, Senior Advisor at GenU, and YuWaah front office team at Unicef office in Delhi, India

Joyful Hearts, Entrepreneurial Minds, and Resilient Spirits: Learning from Youth Stories

On GenU Global’s visit to Delhi public schools, students shared the impact of the Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum (EMC) and Happiness classes. The team heard students present their business plans and was able to join a storytelling session. During the discussions, young people expressed an interest in learning emerging skills such as personal data protection tools, statistical data analysis software, and digital and interpersonal communication skills.

They also highlighted the experiences from COVID school closures including the sudden transition to online learning as well as challenges such as sporadic internet connectivity, constant negotiation on device access among siblings, lack of enabling environments, resource support and dedicated learning spaces, and unavailability of learning material in local languages. Additionally, young women and girls were often denied their own phones/devices and felt unsafe in male dominated Wi-Fi zones within their neighbourhoods.

These challenges are common reality for many young people in India and they have called upon YuWaah to ensure that especially those from the most marginalised communities are given a seat in decision-making.

Dr.Kevin Frey  Chief Executive Officer of Generation Unlimited meeting with CSOs at day2 Visit in UNICEF office in Delhi,India on 24 October2021
Priyanka Parashar
Dr.Kevin Frey meeting with CSOs in UNICEF office in Delhi, India

Convening Today for Actions of Tomorrow: Discussions with Government, Private sector and CSOs

Different rounds of discussions with partners in the government, private sector, and civil society organisations yielded exciting possibilities for collaborations that will bring critical opportunities for young people in India.

Meetings with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), led to ideations of future areas of collaborations as well as a commitment to strengthen partnerships on key initiatives such as National Career Services (NCS) portal, Young Warrior NXT and development of YuWaah Skills platform.

Dr.Kevin Frey , Chief Executive Officer of Generation Unlimited , Meeting with Ms Usha Sharma  Secretary, MoYAS on P2E support commitment from MoYAS and conceptualise initiative with MoYAS for 2022 on the 3rd day visit in India at  MoYAS office in Delhi,I
YuWaah!/UNICEF India
Dr. Kevin Frey and Ms. Urmila Sarkar meeting Ms. Usha Sharma, Secretary, MoYAS

Partners across the private sector such as Hindustan Unilever, Quess Corp and Capgemini shared excitement in bringing together a common platform such as the YuWaah Skills platform or the aggregator platform that YuWaah seeks to develop in partnership with PwC and Accenture. Aditya Birla, United Way, TiE, SRF Foundation, Salesforce, World Economic Forum, ONGC Foundation also expressed an interest to collaborate on youth innovations programming.

Discussions with civil society organization partners such as Empower Foundation, Commutiny Youth Collective, Community Radio Association, The YP Foundation, Pratham Education Foundation, Wadhwani Foundation, Pravah, Swasti and Breakthrough also generated important insights to guide inclusivity. CSO partners spoke of the need to address structural issues of gender, caste, and disabilities affecting young people’s skilling and employability.

Dr. Kevin Frey and Ms. Urmila Sarkar meeting with young people from YPfoundation[YP], community youth collective [CYC], EMPOWER and Yuvaa at UNICEF India
YuWaah!/UNICEF India
Dr. Kevin Frey and Ms. Urmila Sarkar meeting with young people from YPfoundation[YP], community youth collective [CYC], EMPOWER and YuWaah! at UNICEF India

Two successful years and an action-packed road ahead

GenU Global’s recent mission to India reaffirmed YuWaah’s crucial role in building the Public-Private-Youth Partnership in the country. While celebrating the progress made, all agreed that Yuwaah and GenU must continue to actively broker strategic partnerships, leverage comparative advantages and scale meaningful impact for and with young people.

GenU CEO, Kevin Frey, expressed appreciation to young people and partners across sectors for their contribution to the success of YuWaah and shared “…In the past two years, YuWaah has positively impacted the lives of millions of young Indians, and I am confident it will create an even greater impact in the coming years. We are building YuWaah with and for young people. Globally, we are looking at YuWaah to drive the Generation Unlimited movement around the world.”

The meetings and engagements during the mission were highlighted in various media channels including in Mint (HT Media), the Times of India, India Today.