Through empowerment programs, children and youth learn to be open, resourceful and persistent. They discover how to creatively solve problems, both independently and with others. They also gain a sense of social responsibility and explore how they can lead change within their communities. And they hone their communication skills, enabling them to navigate difficult situations with integrity, thoughtfulness and ease.
In times of crisis, a person's sense of empowerment becomes all the more crucial – so they can remain nimble and calm in the face of adversity. Her are three examples of how our empowerment program participants and educators are adapting and meeting the current moment.
Program coordinators in Ecuador established weekly challenges, such as sports activities and exercise circuits, to stave off boredom, help children and youth feel less alone and anxious, and improve children’s mental health during lockdown. The challenges, shared through platforms like WhatsApp, quickly gained a following and are useful in staying connected to our children.
The community youth reporters in Zambia have always used their voices for good by reporting on relevant social concerns, and they continue to do so now. They are currently raising awareness about the pandemic and working to end the stigma of the virus. As youth reporter Musowe explains:
Our staff in Little Rock, Arkansas, had to suspend all programs due to the coronavirus – including our popular summer camp, which provides life-skills training through art programs. Because we understand how important coaches and mentors are in uncertain times, our staff is exploring creative ways to provide support. From at-home summer kits to virtual workshops, children will still receive support when they need it.