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Advancing Youth Leadership Activity

In Cambodia, the "Advancing Youth Leadership (AYL) Activity" is a strategic initiative aimed at fostering a more participatory and inclusive society. The underlying theory of change posits that by enhancing the leadership competencies of youth through a blend of theory, practice, and resources, there will be a notable increase in public/civic engagement and accountability.

Chemonics, the contractor awarded this initiative, is tasked with the primary objective of bolstering the capacity and leadership of youth. This includes marginalized groups such as the indigenous, LGBTQI+, ethnic minorities, and others. The AYL Activity's mission is not just to produce informed leaders but to cultivate individuals who are actively engaged in their communities.

The AYL Activity has delineated two primary objectives:

  1. Development of Leadership and Soft Skills: Recognizing that Cambodian youth, despite their enthusiasm, often lack the necessary soft skills to engage meaningfully in socio-political life, the AYL Activity, under Chemonics, will implement a comprehensive leadership program. This program will encompass soft skills training, digital literacy, media literacy, online security, and political economy analysis. The aim is to foster positive change in youth and the surrounding social systems, emphasizing motivation, morale, and inspiration.
  2. Enhancement of Youth Civic Engagement: Chemonics will work to create and expand avenues for youth to apply their leadership skills in civic participation. This includes addressing challenges such as gender-based violence, both online and offline, and organizing events that promote civic participation, such as networking events and festivals.

Several guiding principles underpin the AYL Activity:

  • Enabling Environment for Youth: The initiative emphasizes the importance of creating an environment where youth are encouraged, rather than discouraged, from participating in civic activities.
  • Paid Internship Requirement: Chemonics is mandated to establish a robust paid internship program, ensuring equitable opportunities for all youth, especially those from marginalized backgrounds.
  • Sensitivity to Cultural and Political Climate: Given Cambodia's unique cultural and political landscape, the AYL Activity mandates that all initiatives be sensitive to these nuances, ensuring that marginalized populations are protected.
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders: The AYL Activity is a collaborative effort, involving multiple stakeholders, including USAID partners, donors, NGOs, and CSOs. Chemonics will work in harmony with these entities, leveraging their expertise and insights.

In summary, the AYL Activity, executed by Chemonics, represents a concerted effort to reshape Cambodia's socio-political landscape by empowering its youth. Through targeted training and strategic collaborations, the initiative aims to produce a generation of leaders equipped to drive positive change in their communities.

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