Mission: Projet Jeune Leader’s (PJL) mission is to improve the reproductive and sexual health knowledge and behaviors of young adolescents through a new, holistic model for middle school reproductive health and puberty education that integrates leadership training, leadership practice, and positive role models.
Focus Areas: Health
- PJL believes that youth leadership is important because healthy, engaged, and empowered youth are the pillars of Madagascar’s future. PJL develops two levels of youth leaders:
- Middle school students, who develop practical leadership skills that they use to take charge of their health and their relationships. Their openness to new ideas and still developing opinions makes it an ideal time to introduce leadership concepts.
- Young Malagasy adults, who develop their own leadership skills that they use to mentor young adolescents, develop their own career plans, and advocate for their reproductive health rights.
- Many Malagasy students have free hours during the school day due to under-resourcing of schools. PJL bridges this gap by hiring and training Youth Educators aged 18 – 25 to coordinate and teach hour-long health and leadership classes in a participatory and creative way, and serve as counselors for the students. PJL works with school administrators, teachers, and parents to integrate these classes into the curriculum and mandate attendance.
- Youth Educators are assigned full time to a middle school in groups of two or three where they work for the duration of the school year. Because they work full-time, they become core members of the school and develop trusting relationships with students and teachers. PJL has two distinct curricula for younger and older classes that span over 10 months. The leadership and health themes are largely the same; younger students are introduced to the topics, while with older students the content goes into greater depth using relevant case studies.
- Additionally, PJL has a larger initiative to make schools more youth-friendly; this includes building a youth space (for recreation and education) in each of the public schools where PJL works, organizing after school activities, and providing counselling and referrals to students who have personal or health issues.
- In addition to holding paid, entry-level positions, the Youth Educators receive a bonus at the end of their contract, and may receive grants to go to conferences or other professional development opportunities. The drop-out rate is very low, and is usually due to personal or medical reasons. Stellar Youth Educators are promoted to staff members to train and mentor the new cohort.
Photo: Projet Jeune Leader
- In the 2015-2016 school year, PJL had 18 Youth Educators, and reached about 8,500 middle school children. PJL hopes to reach 10, 000 children next year and 20,000 within the next 2 years.
- Youth Educators build trusting relationships with their students through teaching weekly classes, serving as mentors, and acting as role models. This process promotes positive behavior change in the students.
- As well-trained, professional, and dynamic young adults, PJL’s Youth Educators promote a positive image of Malagasy youth. They develop self-confidence, strong communication skills, and knowledge in a range of topic areas that will benefit them in their careers.
- Schools who host the PJL program have become its greatest advocates, and reach out to new schools in other districts to help PJL expand its programs.
Learn More: www.projetjeuneleader.org/