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Overview
Youth Center Division
Youth Centers
YFISCs
YBN
Y-PEER
Programs

Youth Center Division at a glance

9

Youth Centers (YCs)

4

Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers (YFISCs)

10

Youth-led groups    

15

PEER Networks

520

Youth Center Volunteers

25,000

Youth Center visitors

Youth Center Division (YCD)

Background

The Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports under Ministry of Education cater to the educational and recreational needs of young people and continues to design and deliver youth-friendly services, facilities and programs through the establishment and operation of Youth Centers (YCs) and Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers (YFISCs) in the country. Moreover, the Division also designs and implements innovative and relevant programs for young people.

Mission:

To support young people transitioning from adolescence to adulthood to achieve their potential as empowered individual through providing a safe, educative and conducive environment.

Core functions:

  • Provide recreational, educational and therapeutic services to youth
  • Conduct Youth Exchange programmes
  • Coordinate & support Youth-led Groups
  • Coordinate the implementation and monitoring of the National Youth Policy
  • Collaborate and partner with relevant agencies and stakeholders to facilitate the provision of quality programs/services for youth
  • Cater to the diverse needs of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) youth and adolescents through relevant training/programs
  • Promote civic engagement and youth volunteerism
  • Establishment of Youth Centers in areas with sizable youth population & facilitate the provision of services and facilities for youth
  • Regulate, monitor & provide technical support to Youth Centers & Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers

Organogram

Youth Centers (YCs)

Background

With the first Youth Center established in 1998, there are 9 Youth Centers established in the country till date.The Youth Centers provide a positive, safe and conducive environment for young people to cater to their recreational and social needs through activities, programs and projects that are organized for young people by competent staff. The Centers provide access to library facilities and information on youth related areas/job opportunities/health, including counseling and referrals for young people and their families requiring support. Most importantly, the Youth Centers provide opportunities for youth to come together and discuss issues/concerns that affect them and to meet and make friends. In addition to these daily services, the Centers organize activities at regular intervals which are designed to equip youth with relevant skills and knowledge that can enhance their capacity to lead a productive life. The Centers are intended primarily for the use by youth between the age ranges of 13-24 years.

Objectives:

To provide:

  • A positive, safe and conducive environment for our young people that is free from alcohol and drugs;
  • Recreational and social activities, programs and projects that meet and cater to the needs of our young people;
  • Access to information on youth related issues such as positive self-development, job opportunities and health;
  • Access to counselling and referrals for young people and their families requiring such supports.

Regional Youth Centers:

Facilities/ Services:

  1. Library service
  2. Printing, lamination, spiral binding and photocopying facilities
  3. Indoor and outdoor games (T.T, basketball)
  4. Internet café
  5. Television

Youth are charged minimal fees for using some of the above services/ facilities for long-term sustainability of those facilities as well as to instill in them a sense of ownership and social responsibility.

Apart from the regular facilities and services, the Youth Centers also offer special needs-based thematic programmes where young people are encouraged and supported to initiate and host various activities such as observation of International days (International Youth Day), youth programmes during school vacations during summer, winter and weekends.

All Youth Centers have a youth volunteers’ group. The volunteer groups organize different recreational and educational activities to engage adolescents and youth productively during their winter and summer vacations with an aim to enrich their aptitudes and acquire educational, societal and life skills needed for their future success.

Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers (YFISCs)

Background

The Youth Friendly Integrated Service Center (YFISC) is an initiative of the Division undertaken to facilitate the provision of services/facilities offered by various agencies such as MoLHR, MoH, BNCA and MoE under one roof. The Youth Friendly Integrated Service Center in Gelephu is the first and now the Youth Center Division, DYS, MoE has embarked on establishing similar service at Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar. The Division intend to offer similar services from all the Youth Centers, wherever possible.

Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers and relevant service providers

YFISC line of reporting:

Young Bhutan Network (YBN)

Background

Young Bhutan Network (YBN) is an ideal platform provided by the Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education for the Youth-led groups to come together and work for common cause. Across the country, there are many different youth-led organizations bringing young people together in a positive manner. In many cases, youth groups are located in isolated geographic locations, with focal points based in Thimphu. Establishing an effective network of youth groups require a significant amount of effort in terms of bringing together parent organizations and representatives from youth groups. Hence, Young Bhutan Network works towards building strong networking mechanism between and amongst the youth groups and parent organizations.

To further promote and institutionalize the networking among the youth-led groups in the country, a guideline for coordination and networking has been also developed and launched in December, 2017. This guideline is intended to promote effective networking and synchronization among youth-led groups and develop a synergetic relationship among them. Further, this guideline will help all the youth-led groups and their affiliated organizations to streamline the operations of youth-led groups and strengthen support systems both to existing and emerging youth groups.

Objectives:

The purpose of having a guideline in place is to:

• Establish an effective coordination and networking mechanism to avoid duplication of activities;

• Develop a synergistic and symbiotic relationship among various youth groups build rapport among the organizations that facilitates the growth of the network;

• Establish a mechanism to promote sharing of information, ideas and knowledge and concerns that affect youth.

Existing Youth-led Groups

Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER)

Background

Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) is a global youth movement established in more than 90 countries, with a strong presence in Asia- Pacific countries. It was the brain child of UNFPA International and was conceptualized in 1992. Due to its immense success, Y-PEER Bhutan was established to promote youth participation and development in 2012.

Y-PEER Bhutan is directly under the purview of the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education. The Department has always been supporting the growth of Y-PEER Bhutan by rendering utmost support. UNFPA Bhutan provides financial support to the group. Y-PEER Bhutan also get small grants from Asia-Pacific Center in Bangkok under Robert Carr Fund for Civil Society.

Presently, Y-PEER Bhutan has 15 Regional Networks and over 1000 active members. All Regional Networks are led by a youth focal point and a Y-PEER Staff Moderator identified from amongst the staffs of the tertiary Institutes and Colleges. All focal points work closely with the National Coordinator on programs and issues. The National Coordinator reports and works closely with the Youth Center Division to update on programs and regional networks. The National Coordinator also works closely with the International Coordinating (IC) team of Y-PEER Global Network. The IC team mentors the country networks in expansion, programs and improving advocacy works as well as provide capacity building opportunities.

Objective:

Y-PEER primarily focuses on educating and advocating youth on adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights (ASRHR) especially through peer-led initiatives. Its main objective is to engage vulnerable young people meaningfully through peer-education and to help them gain easy access to relevant information and services that can enhance their capacity to live a healthy and productive life.

Y-PEER National Implementation Guideline

Y-PEER National Implementation Guideline was developed and published in March 2015. The guideline provides a clear roadmap of the Y-PEER Networks and directs how a network should be managed and sustained. It gives a clear picture of how one can become a member of the network and even how to collaborate with other relevant agencies to implement its activities. It gives a more concrete and firm structure to the network and ensures uniformity amongst the networks in different regions.

Organizational Structure of Y-PEER Bhutan

Y-PEER Bhutan Networks

Since its inception in 2012, Y-PEER Bhutan currently have 15 Regional Networks. 

Y-PEER activities

Y-PEER Bhutan envisions young people to have meaningful participation in decision making related to their health in order to have equal access to information and services to live a healthy and content life. The network has internationally and nationally trained peer educators who take up sessions on various scales to promote SRHR among their peer groups.

The basic topics covered are young key population/vulnerable youth, SDGs,HIV/AIDs, STIs, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, addiction, and peer pressure. Moreover, the group designs and conducts sessions on LGBTIQA+, gender sensitivity (SOGIE), team work, volunteerism, civic engagement, stigma and discrimination.

Y-PEER Bhutan also takes part in the celebration of International Days such as International Youth Day, World AIDs Day, World Menstrual Hygiene Day and conducts programmes and social campaign during those days. Y-PEER has been partnering and collaborating with other youth-led groups and agencies to advocate and sensitize young people on various issues and topics.

Major programs

The Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education plans and conducts various programs for the health and well being of young people in collaboration with the Youth Centers, Youth Friendly Integrated Service Centers and Youth-led Groups.

Some of the major program are as follows:

1.Youth Volunteers’ Exchange Program

In order to facilitate the exchange of new ideas and experiences amongst the youth volunteer groups of different Youth Centers, the Division initiated Youth Volunteers Exchange Program. This activity is an annual event that creates a platform for young people to share their achievements and discuss challenges for future improvement. Various educational and recreational activities are also organized as part of the program to promote the spirit of volunteerism and to celebrate their achievements.

2. Workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Recognizing the potential of young people to contribute to helping the government achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the most ambitious global agenda that aims at ending poverty, reducing inequality and protecting our planet by 2030, the Division organized the 1st National SDG Conference in December 2017 in Thimphu. Themed “Youth and their Development Priorities”, the conference introduced young people to each of 17 SDGs and helped them explore ways in which they can be part of the national effort to achieve them. Following that the regional Youth Centers started developing action plans to contribute in their own small way towards achieving some of those goals. The Division conduct Follow up workshop annually to facilitate the exchange of experiences, good practices and challenges amongst the Centers in achieving their pledges.

3. Celebration of International Youth Day

The International Youth Day is observed worldwide every year on 12th August to recognize the potentials of young people as agents of change in the society and celebrate their achievements. In Bhutan, the Division has been coordinating the event since 2010 to recognize the role the Bhutanese youth play in shaping the country’s future and to celebrate their achievements together. Based on the UN theme for the day the program consists of numerous exciting activities designed to recognize and celebrate the positive energies of young people and to create an understanding that youth is an important partner in nation building.

4. National Y-PEER Meet

This activity was initiated in 2016 as part of the mandate of the Division to engage Y-PEER members and build their capacity to provide quality information/services related to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). Since then, it has become an annual feature, bringing together hundreds of Y-PEER members every year. The Meet is also designed to facilitate the exchange of new knowledge, ideas and experiences amongst the Y-PEER members and discuss challenges. 

5. National Training of Trainers Workshop for Y-PEER

National Training of Trainers workshop is an annual program organized by the Division for the members of Y-PEER Bhutan. The overall objective of the training is to build the capacity of the members from different networks to deliver high quality advocacy in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Peer Education through peer to peer approach.

6. Capacity Development of NEET adolescents and Youth

As part of the project initiated in 2017 to build the capacity of NEET “Not in Education, Employment or Training” adolescents and youth and link them up with employment/training providers, the Division coordinates with the regional Youth Centers to identify NEET youth in their locality and design/execute the capacity development workshop to meet their needs. The main objective of the training is to equip adolescents and youth who fall under the category of NEET with basic life skills and employability skills. Moreover, through this work, the Centers try to link the participants with potential employers/training providers based on their career interests.

7. Youth Forum for vulnerable youth

The regional Youth Centers conduct Youth Forums for vulnerable youth on quarterly basis. The forums were designed to educate young people on emerging youth concerns and equip them with appropriate knowledge/skills to cope with them effectively. The forums were designed particularly for vulnerable youth such as those children from broken families, drug users, students with disciplinary issues in schools, children from economically disadvantaged families and unemployed out-of-school youth. Some of the topics covered through the forum include resilience building, drug education, alcohol abuse, sexual and reproductive health, suicide prevention and child protection. The sessions are facilitated by professionals from the relevant fields and the YC staffs.

8. Summer and Winter Engagement Programs

Keeping in view the importance of meaningfully engaging young people especially during their long vacations, the volunteer groups in the Youth Centers organizes youth engagement programs every year during summer and winter vacations. They actively participate in planning and implementing various activities as part of the summer and winter engagement programs for youth and children. The participants get the opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills through different educational and recreational activities such as reading, dancing, music, coaching classes and indoor/outdoor games.

9. Leadership Program for youth volunteers

Leadership program for volunteers is an annual event organized by the Division to build the capacity of volunteers from different youth-led groups. The main objective of the program is to build their capacity to lead a socially responsible life and contribute to the community. The training also facilitate the exchange of ideas, exposure and networking between the members of different Youth Volunteer Groups. The training is also expected to equip the participants with basic leadership and other appropriate skills that can enhance their capacity to lead a meaningful and responsible life. 

10. YouTurn – motivational talk for young people

YouTurn is a motivational talk for youth initiated in 2016. The main objective of the program is to create a platform for young people to interact with successful individuals and get inspiration from their life stories and experiences. The talk is therefore, designed to motivate young people to look at life positively and strive for excellence.

11. Young Girls’ Circle

In order to empower young girls and build their capacity to lead a meaningful and responsible life, the Division facilitated the setting up of Young Girls’ Circle in all Youth Centers in June 2019. The main objective of initiating such a circle is to create a safe space for young girls to discuss issues that are specific to their needs and find appropriate solutions. Since young girls are found more vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation and other forms of violence, the circle is expected to create a conducive environment for them to discuss their personal issues and build strengths from each other’s experiences. The girls are expected to open up and share their concerns, and discuss ways to address them. The outcome of the discussions held in the circle is expected to inform and guide the programs and policies of the Centers as part of the long-term intervention.