Ask anyone in the village of Kuchhpura about Meera Devi, and they will say the community dynamo has “wheels on her feet.” The young mother of three is involved with numerous community improvement activities, using the leadership and life skills she learned through EDC’s Cross Sectoral Youth (CSY) India project.
CSY, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented in partnership with the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE) and the Agra Municipal Corporation, used the tourism industry in Agra, India, as a way to engage youth, such as Meera, in income-generating, health promoting, and community development activities.
The project, which took place over 16 months, was completed in 2008, but it continues to have a lasting impact. A year after the project, Meera is working with CURE to address local health issues by spearheading an effort to install toilets and teaching classes in topics ranging from sanitation to tailoring. The UN Human Settlements Programme recently named CSY as a “Good Practice” and is including it in a database of model programs.
“This project shows the importance of involving youth directly,” explains EDC’s Alejandra Bonifaz. “Young participants then feel comfortable and capable of making changes to improve the program and carry it forward in some shape or form, even after it has ended.”
Originally published on October 27, 2009