Building Community Development Through Youth Support
What does it mean to be an institute for community development? At ICPSD, it means supporting the community’s youth in leadership skills and honoring their culture. ICPSD is more than sustainable agriculture and reforestation efforts. We support youth as they explore ways to participate in and help their communities. We started the Youth Community Development Program (YCDP) in 2019 to provide opportunities for mentorship, as well as support the personal and professional growth of middle and high school age students in Togo.
Access to education in Togo has increased over the years, but there are still many challenges remaining when it comes to youth developing market-relevant and digital skills. We’re building bridges over these knowledge gaps through leadership workshops, personal finance courses, supplementary maths and English language courses, community clean-up and sustainability activities and more. Students build self-reliance, sustainability knowledge, and community knowledge, all skills important for being active members and leaders in their community.
When ICPSD founder and Board President Romuald Afatchao was growing up in Togo, there were always soccer championships or other games and activities to be played between the youth in his village. YCDP aims to revitalize that sense of family and community amongst the youth, while also propelling them towards the future. We make sure the students in YCDP have plenty of opportunities for physical activities such as soccer and traditional dance choreographies to keep them healthy and connected with each other. We also support traditional storytelling sessions, as well as skits and poetry to engage students’ creative side and keep the connection to culture strong. ICPSD prioritizes listening to the needs of the youth. Students within YCDP elect peer leaders and the initiatives they would like to learn and share with their community and the larger global audience.
Why is youth development important? More than 40% of the population in Central and Western Africa is under the age of 15. As the number of youths continues to rise, it is vital that we support them in their growth and capabilities for the future of their communities. The more we support them, the more confidently they head into adulthood.
Interested in youth and community development? Join our community of sustaining donors: The Forest.