“Explore more. Help people. Don’t ever give up.” When asked for a reflection on her experience at the JUMP! Impact Conference in Myanmar, one of the facilitators, Jayy responded with that statement.
Last week, our JUMP! Impact team led our largest conference to happen in Southeast Asia with a total of 147 participants ranging in age from 16 to 27 years old. The conference was held in Myanmar with the support of our partner, BEAM Education Foundation, along with the help of YOMA Strategic Holdings, Ltd. The objectives of this conference, and all JUMP! Leadership Conferences are to bring youth together to discuss and discover social issues, equip them with the capacity, skills and network to create their own economic opportunities, and for them to design ambitious and feasible solutions to challenges within their communities.
The JUMP! team arrived a few days before the conference and hosted a leadership training for 20 local facilitators. We shared skills for facilitation based on JUMP!’s models and the group quickly soaked up the information, ready to share their new knowledge of facilitation activities and to teach through experiential education models with the participants. Facilitator Shiba, shared: “empowering youth to contribute to their communities for positive change is an important investment…As a facilitator in the conference, I applied the debriefing tools and found that were really helpful for experiential learning.” Shiba has recently decided to shift her career ambitions to be an educator.
Throughout the conference, participants were challenged to learn and investigate their community, critically think about the issues their communities currently face, and develop connection, trust, and strategies for working as a team. Ideas of design thinking were introduced, along with how to effectively communicate despite adversity. Practical presentations for project management skills, stress and anger management, finance and accounting soft skills, marketing and public speaking were also provided by YOMA. Once the participants felt more comfortable working together and learned new skills for successful planning of community projects, they collaborated to come up with powerful ideas to implement sustainable change.
22 teams came up with prototypes and presented their ideas for the social impact projects they wanted to implement in their communities. Some of these ideas included: recycling initiatives for the blind, vocational classes for youth that can not afford to go to school, and building a well in their community in order to have better access to clean water.
This year, two winning projects were selected! One involved self defense courses and sex education to help prevent sexual harassment of women in villages. After a 14% increase in sexual harassment rates this past year, according to police reports, the participants wanted to make a change. They titled their project “My Body, Myself.” We’re happy that this issue has been identified and look forward to the positive outcomes of this project.
The second winning project involved creating a waste system to help prevent the plastic problem. In addition to their more immediate “solve”, the group plans to grow banana trees so that their leaves can be used for bags instead of plastic.
Though we could share for hours about all of the conference in detail and what a positive experience it proved to be, we’ll end this post with a thought from the conference’s MC, Lulu Zhou:
“It was extremely rewarding to meet diverse youth who have so much potential, curiosity and passion to contribute to community development throughout Myanmar. The teamwork, flexibility and resilience among staff and facilitators helped make the conference a success…I’ve been working with communities from Myanmar in Thailand, but it was my first time visiting Myanmar – this conference definitely has further expanded my knowledge of Myanmar, youth leadership and empowerment, and community development. Thank you JUMP! so much for another conference of inspiring, engaging and empowering youth.”
We’re grateful that we had the opportunity to work with this incredible group of individuals in Myanmar and look forward to hearing about the progress of the two winning projects throughout the next year.