Funding Line 2

Young Man’s Christian Association Colombia

Project Name Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs in Colombia
(Component of the Paza la Paz Project)
Commisioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country Colombia
Implementing Organisation Young Man’s Christian Association (YMCA) Colombia –
Duration December 2021 – May 2023

The Challenge

Additional Negative Impacts of the Pandemic: For nearly six decades, Colombia has suffered an internal armed conflict. Additionally, the health emergency unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic affected the whole country but especially the most vulnerable communities. Many young people and children dropped out of school since they did not have electronic devices or internet connection to adapt to virtual education.

Challenges of the Young Generation: Most young people in Colombia lack opportunities to access education, health, recreation, citizen participation and decent employment. The income of young people is found around only half the current national minimum wage. Young people have the highest unemployment and underemployment rates and the worst hiring conditions in the country, pushing them into jobs without social protection and stability. This may lead disadvantaged youth to join groups outside the law thus perpetuating the difficult conditions of violence and social violation in which the country continues to be immersed.

The Objective

The project is a component of the national Paza la Paz Project. The objective of the overall project is to generate opportunities for vulnerable young people, and to promote their inclusion and empowerment.

The funding of the Recover Better Support Fund has the purpose to scale-up the Youth Entrepreneurship component of the project, offering young people opportunities to overcome poverty conditions.

The Target Group

The project targets youth between 14 and 28 living in poverty. Special attention is paid to youth who are internally displaced, to migrants, teenage mothers or fathers, victims of violence or youthengaged in informal activities, such as street sales.

About YMCA Colombia

The YMCA was established in Colombia in 1964, operating nine branches nationwide nowadays. The Association works primarily with children and young people in situations of high vulnerability, the population of popular sectors or victims of violence, and natural disasters.  Its work is taking into account social gaps, inequity and exclusion. Therefore, programs are based on a rights-based approach, seeking to improve the living conditions, equity and peace building of young people, especially in terms of employment, peace and quality of life.


The Approach

Two Stages of Training in the Paza la Paz Project: The training of young participants is divided in two stages. The first stage – called “Preparation/ Enlistment” – is a basic training in which young people develop competences concerning personal growth and life skills. In the second stage – the “Specific Training” – participants are trained in one of three components according to their interests, namely Coexistence and Peace, Organization and Youth Participation; or Youth Entrepreneurship.

Contribution of the Recover Better Support Fund: The Fund seeks to strengthen and upscale the component of Youth Entrepreneurship for 300 additional youth through either the provision of technical and vocational training, job coaching or support in starting a microenterprise.

The Employability Action Line seeks to enable young people to develop job search skills, get connected with decent job opportunities or access to educational opportunities.

The Technical and Vocational Training Action Line connects young people with educational institutions of technical, formal, and informal training that allow them to develop skills and pursue a career.

The Social or Economic Entrepreneurship Action Line focuses on youth who want to be independent workers and project themselves as entrepreneurs. To achieve this, participants can develop a business idea, that will allow them to generate income (Economic or productive entrepreneurship) or offers solutions to social problems faced by their community (Social entrepreneurship).

The Results

  1. 240 youth are trained in life skills and personal growth
  2. 240 youth increased their technical vocational skills according to the selected occupational line (employment, technical training or entrepreneurship)
  3. 120 youth improved their income by either occupying a job or consolidating an enterprise
  4. 35 youth lead social or economic enterprises that enhance their economic resilience

[…] For me, that is a priceless project. I feel so happy and confident that I am able to do significant things in my life. They motivated me to grow as a person and to feel capable of doing what I propose. […] I won a scholarship to be a barber, an art that generates income that I enjoy. I learned a lot of products I didn’t know, brands, techniques to reinforce my entrepreneurial spirit, and steps to create a quality and innovative barbershop.

Halan David García Díaz