Young Social Innovators (YSI) was founded in 2001 by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy. What then started as a small project now is a national programme with over 70,000 young people involved in what is the largest social innovation programme for young people in Ireland, allowing young people to become active social citizens in their communities.
In 2014 the YSI Programme extended its work to Canada and South Korea.
The YSI Programme is now also being extended to Zambia this year. The extension to Zambia followed an interest expressed by some Zambian teachers from the Kaoma district in the Western Province of Zambia, whose school is linked to a YSI school in Ireland. This was initiated by the Presentation Sisters. Their students have collaborated together on projects over the years. The teachers visited and saw YSI events and learning first hand they asked if YSI Ireland could train teachers to engage more schools in Zambia. Thus the ball was set rolling.
The invitation was then extended to RSC schools, and with the blessing of Sr. Marianne Doherty, Regional Superior, and the work of Sr. Pereka Nyirenda, eleven Secondary Schools in Lusaka (including Roma) were identified and invited to participate in the programme, which is to begin in January 2016. The schools are a mixture of Government Schools, Granted Aided Schools, a Community School as well as all boys, all girls and co-ed schools. Confirmation is also awaited from a private Catholic school that was invited to participate in the programme.
The schools have responded with great gratitude and enthusiasm to the invitation to participate in YSI. In September 2015 Sr. Stan came out to Zambia to meet the Heads of the various Schools and to give them a briefing on the programme and how it functions. It was hoped that this information would help the schools identify suitable teachers to facilitate the programme in their institutions. Her visits were met with great enthusiasm from the schools.
Each school will have two teachers to facilitate the programme in their school. YSI Ireland will send out a trainer in January 2016 to train these teachers who are waiting eagerly to be trained and start the programme.
It is hoped that the programme will take root in Zambia and thus contribute to building up a population of active and responsible citizens among the youth of the country.