A student project: TheYachay Initiative

The Yachay Initiative

The Yachay Initiative is a registered non-profit organization that is dedicating to supporting young people to empower themselves to affect positive change in their communities. Started in July 2010 by a group of Jacobs University students and alumni, the Yachay Initiative (meaning ‘to learn’ in Quichua) has projects in Ecuador and Germany and an ‘Outreach Program’ in Canada and Scotland. At the heart of Yachay’s philosophy is the notion that if we can support young people to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to affect positive change, they will then be able to spend a lifetime affecting the changes they wish to see in their communities. To achieve this goal, the Yachay Initiative takes several approaches.

In Ecuador, Yachay runs youth leadership and family vegetable garden programs. In January 2010, these programs were piloted in the province of Chimborazo where three youth leadership and two family vegetable garden programs were run in four communities. The project met with success and 4 months later Taylor Hartrick returned with two Jacobs University student interns—Magaly Ramos and Tabitha Buchner—to begin work towards implementing on-going programs in the region. Those programs are set to start in June 2012 along with a new Yachay Youth Internship Program.

Meanwhile, in September 2010, a group of Jacobs University students came together to found the first Yachay Chapter in Bremen, Germany. Since then, they have been working with local schools in the Bremen Nord area to offer youth leadership programs throughout the year. The first program was piloted from February to May, 2010. With the success and experience of their pilot project, the group is continuing their school leadership program in this year while also exploring the possibility of launching a new Yachay Summer Leadership Camp in the near future.

As an initiative closely connected to Jacobs University, Yachay has created a third program with the aim to take advantage of the international network we have developed as the university’s students and alumni. The Yachay Outreach Program consists of a series of presentations and workshops designed to raise awareness of important local and global issues, while supporting young people with opportunities to develop the skills necessary to take action on these issues. The Outreach Program is designed such that it can be adapted and implemented by any volunteer, anywhere in the world. The program has begun in Canada and Scotland, with plans to soon expand it to other countries around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about the Yachay Initiative or in getting involved yourself—either by joining one of our existing groups, becoming a volunteer program coordinator in Ecuador, or fundraising to sponsor a leadership or family vegetable garden program—please check out our website (www.yachayinitiative.org) or contact us. For general information, please write to info@yachayinitiative.org. For program specific information, please contact one of the following people:

Ecuador Programs: Taylor Hartrick—Canada, Class of 2010 (taylor.hartrick@yachayinitiative.org)

Chapter at Jacobs University: Valeriya Azorina—Germany/Russia, Class of 2013 (valeriya.azorina@yachayinitiative.org)

Outreach Program: Marthe Berlin—Germany, Class of 2009 (marthe.berlin@yachayinitiative.org)