02 May 2008
The Asia Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) initiative addresses the need to build a critical mass of young leaders in the Asia region, who will be trained as leaders in democratic governance processes. It recognizes that young leaders are an important constituency that require further attention and investments to enable them to serve as more effective leaders for the future. The AYLG project strategy supports building the leadership values and capacities of young leaders towards further enhancing their knowledge and skills in their various areas of expertise and influence; and in turn strengthening democratic governance processes in the region.
Over a two-year period commenced in January 2007, UNDEF has been supporting the second phase of this successful initiative ; the significant project progress highlighted by UNDP Bulletin are imparted in the following story.
Participation in AYLG leadership courses follows a strict criteria
While promoting the advancement of leadership skills and values of
young leaders engaged in governance issues, AYLG has maintained a special
focus on developing the capacities of women and marginalized groups.
Women in Asia face extreme cases of gender-based discrimination in all
spheres of life. The YLG project addresses this challenge on two fronts:
Efforts have been made to ensure there are at least 50% women in the trainings, including those representing indigenous peoples. Women resource persons are also sought to ensure gender responsiveness to the leadership activities. Asia is home to the largest number of indigenous peoples, amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized in any country with little or no voice in political and decision-making processes. The AYLG project includes indigenous representatives who, together with women, form the potentially powerful but largely marginalized constituencies of change makers. Increasing their leadership capacity, particularly through context-specific training in negotiation and influencing skills, enables them to better advocate change in policy and development interventions and provide an alternative perspective on governance policies. Indigenous women face additional obstacles on the basis of race, ethnicity and socio-economic status.
Two other features of this initiative worth highlighting are:
Activities and Impact
Following the overwhelming response and demand from countries for similar trainings, sub-regional leadership course offerings were made. The sub-regional courses built on the success of that regional event, expanding the number of young leaders to be trained, and continued to produce adapted modules for leadership development in the region.
These produced an additional 55 Leadership Fellows (i.e., those who had completed the leadership courses) from 20 countries, among which nine (9) Fellows were trained as trainers and were involved in the rollout of the sub-regional courses. In 2006, Leadership Fellows from the Philippines and Bangladesh, partnered with their local organizations to adapt and deliver the Leadership Course in national level roll-outs, designed and managed by them with support from UNDP.
After the success of the first phase and roll-out of regional, sub-regional and national trainings from 2005 to 2006, the AYLG Project is now being carried out under its second phase with funding from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The second phase commenced in January 2007 and is being implemented over a two-year period,
Under the new phase of AYLG, further efforts were made to adapt the leadership modules to the Asian context. The leadership modules were further customized through a Regional Adaptation Writeshop convened in Manila, Philippines in June 2007, bringing together leadership graduates, leadership trainers, the AYLG technical team and representatives from UNDP country offices to review the leadership modules and adapt them further to the Asian context based on lessons learned and feedback from Phase I.
In 2007, a training of trainers (TOT) was held in Laos where six (6) leadership graduates were trained as trainers followed immediately by the South East and East Asia sub-regional course where 33 young leaders from civil society organizations, parliaments, government inistries and national agencies, private sector, UN agencies, and academic institutions, were trained. Trained trainers also assisted in the delivery of the modules. A TOT and the South Asia sub-regional course will be held in 2008 training 14 new leadership trainers and more than 30 young leaders.
In addition to further rolling out leadership training of trainers and sub-regional leadership courses, AYLG is also supporting innovative leadership pilots that seek to apply, demonstrate, and/or broaden the skills, knowledge and lessons learned by the Leadership Fellows within their respective communities or sectors. Four innovative country pilot projects have been approved to be implemented by the Leadership Fellows in collaboration with other Fellows from their countries. Selected country pilots include projects from Bangladesh, China, India and the Philippines that will be implemented in partnership with a local organization. As an example, in China, the leadership modules will be customized for leadership in environmental issues being faced by the country while in Bangladesh, the training will target the indigenous communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Leadership Fellows have continued communicating among themselves through yahoo groups or e-mail networks discussing leadership issues. Under phase two, a Young Leaders Network will be established consolidating membership of all the graduates since 2005 providing them a single platform to call on each other to share, advise and network and for further engagement with other institutions.
For more information, please contact Maha Jahangir at Maha.firstname.lastname@example.org