Youth Ambassadors Give Barefoot Young Wings
The Barefoot Youth Ambassador Programme is a pilot program connecting urban youth to rural realities through the work of Barefoot College International and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Guiding these youth through an in-depth program over 10 months, we have added young wings to the Barefoot Movement, bringing the realities of grassroots sustainable development into young urban communities. The Barefoot Movement is an idea that the training, programs and opportunities of Barefoot College are far larger than the direct interaction between the organization and a beneficiary, but that the ideology and methodology carry far beyond the individual to inspire a shift in mindset in families, communities, and the world. The Barefoot Movement has reached over 93 countries, millions of individuals, and with the addition of the Barefoot Youth Ambassador Programme, we are now bringing the Barefoot Movement into the untapped young urban communities of India itself.
We believe rural communities inspire Innovation
We believe rural innovation inspires Youth
We believe engaged youth inspire a Movement
Beginning in July 2020, 10 ambitious and development-oriented youth were selected from Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore to serve as the founding ambassadors of the BYAP program. Monthly virtual workshops brought them together to cover the Barefoot College initiatives and SDGs categorized into 4 themes: People, Planet, Prosperity, and Partnerships.
Workshops for the Youth Ambassadors
These workshops are a collaborative effort to showcase the details of the Barefoot College programs and their ties to the SDGs. Ambassadors then have interactions with local & international Barefoot College staff, partner organizations, beneficiaries, and development experts. With their new knowledge and inspiration, ambassadors complete monthly projects aligned with the Barefoot College ideals and utilizing concepts such as Behavior Change Communication, Elevator Pitching, and Design Thinking.
“ I have learnt about issues that are truly important and have had conversations that need to be had more often.”
-Arushi Menon, 2020-2021 Barefoot Youth Ambassador
The BYAP program was envisioned around two goals: Youth Engagement and Building Urban Support Communities. The youth ambassadors, now with their extensive knowledge of Barefoot College and the SDGs, have been moving towards their final project: launching their own fundraising & advocacy campaigns. They will employ all of the methods they have learned and practiced over the program, and rely upon the interactions they have had with key stakeholders. These campaigns will not only be an important fundraising tool for Barefoot College, but also a way to inspire and connect urban youth communities to the realities of their own country and the possibilities of sustainable rural development.
From gaining insight into the working and application of the UNSDGs to building social skills and creating our personalised campaigns, this program has helped me expand my horizons in countless ways. With the myriad of and resources offered to us over the course of six months, we have honed several skills that will benefit us in all future endeavours. We have been introduced to several accomplished personnel, each highly experienced in their respective fields, who have not only imparted knowledge but also inspired us to be the change-makers of tomorrow. By satiating the need for such a unique and exhilarating program in India, Barefoot has truly established itself as a pillar of support for the urban youth in upcoming generations!
-Anya Raghuvanshi, 2020-2021 Barefoot Ambassador
To follow the Ambassadors’ journey, you can follow us on Instagram @barefoot_youth_ambassadors