Youth friendly space, Philippines – PCMN

PCMN YFS

Context: Typhoon, emergency response

Objective: To reduce protection risks to young people by providing a safe space and access to activities and support mechanisms specific to youth aged 10 to 15

 

Why this project?

PCMN noticed that young people were not being reached by other child protection programmes set up in the response to Typhoon Haiyan. Many young people were facing risks of sexual abuse, forced domestic or commercial labour, and missing out on education. Many homes were damaged by the typhoon, and while families lived in damaged housing or temporary shelters, young people were forced to spend time on the streets without a safe place to go.

 

The project

A team of volunteers were trained in child protection, and became responsible for supervising the youth friendly space (YFS). The YFS was open on a daily basis with recreational facilities always available, including musical instruments, a sound system, table tennis, darts and educational games, and simply a safe space to get together with friends. The young people took part in designing and developing the YFS and its programmes.

Programmes developed for the YFS:

  •  Youth for Safety – a peer mentorship programme where youth are trained in understanding abuse and ways to protect themselves, and sharing this information with other young people in their community
  • after school programme – a place for children with no space at home to get  homework support
  • alternative learning services – an alternative learning course for youth who can’t return to government schooling for a variety of reasons
  • life skills training modules
  • computer literacy courses

The YFS also acted as a referral system for child protection issues and for health support.

The site was donated by one of the partner churches, and the space continued to be used as a learning centre after the emergency period finished and the YFS was no longer needed.  The centres also act as safe places for children to come during storms.

 

Impact

Young people appreciated that the YFS was designed with them and for them specifically; where young people lacked support in their family situations, they felt able to find support among their peers and from the youth leaders running the YFS.

“We learned how to protect ourselves… Before Youth for Safety we were not aware of our own safety – we didn’t think about it. Now we are trying to reach other youth for their future and safety; we’re sharing the message with our peers.”

Young person attending the YFS

The Youth Friendly Space was developed in partnership with Viva


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