YES Network Pakistan

Transforming Young People into Citizens-in-Action

The Challenge

Based on the Pakistan Census of 1998, youth under the age of 29 constitute 70% of the total population. This is the next generation of citizens and yet the vast amount of their potential remain untapped. This group rarely sees a viable path to fully engage in society, find meaningful employment and to fully develop their talents and human potential. This is a window of opportunity for Pakistan to invest in youth and redirect their disfranchised energies. The youth of Pakistan presents the most promising resource and in huge quantity--a big reservoir of energy. 

A fully motivated and engaged youth population will set into motion social, economic, cultural and ideological development of Pakistan. The SLF Foundation set out to identify an organization that has the vision and in fracture to address this problem on a creative, cost effective and highly scalable basis. Youth Engagement Services (YES) of Lahore met this challenge with its innovative and geographically wide scope.

The Innovation

Youth Engagement Services has created a model to train the youth in Social Enterprises. It has developed the training material and has tapped into the vast network of Vocational Training Institutes (VTI) in the state of Punjab. The VTIs provide the training centers as well as teachers and monitors to implement the program. Each Institute selects about 100 students, divides them into teams of 5 students and invites each team to propose an enterprise after receiving training from the monitors. The teams are trained how to write a business proposal, and develop accounting and marketing skills. Business proposals that will have a positive social impact and be sustainable are encouraged. YES with the funding from SLF Foundation provides the seed funding to each team to implement their enterprise over a period of several weeks.  At the end of this exercise, the teams report their financials and return all the funds including any profit, if any. The best teams based on the triple bottom line of profit, positive social impact and environmental stewardship receive awards and encouragement.

Long Term Impact

The first phase of this Social Competition 2014 took place in May. Over 20 vocational Training Institutes in south Punjab District of Multan were activated. Altogether over 2000 students participated and about four hundred Social Enterprises put into motion during the competition. A large portion of the funding has been returned and the second part of the Competition has started in the North of Punjab. By the time this effort is completed in 2014, well over 4000 youths would have been an opportunity to put their talents and creativity to work. Their training will form a basis for these students to launch their own social programs. Each team operates in its own village, creates its own grounds up social enterprise to meet local need and hopefully lights a path for the youth to become fully contributing members of their community.

Implemented in Partnership With:

...We should stop treating young people as empty vessels into which we pour our wisdom and instead we should treat young people as the most promising resource available to us in developing a new societal structure and meeting the high service needs of our communities.
— Ali Raza Khan, YES Network

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