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Youth take over

Empowering youth with small scale interventions


In different places in the world, IOM runs Migration Information Centres – called MICs – within existing youth centres. To keep these MICs vibrant, it’s important to have the needs of its young visitors in mind. As an outsider, you’ll have to get familiar with the local context and connect with youth to overcome common obstacles.

A Youth Take Over challenges the conventional community consultation (Q&A) by enabling local youth to organise activities by themselves. It empowers young people, activates their creative potential and establishes a sense of ownership. Furthermore, it helps you to identify the potential and the limitations of your MIC. And it will help you uncover existing youth networks and organisational structures.

IOM successfully tested the Youth Take Over concept in two youth centres in The Gambia. The result was a series of small-scale, bottom-up interventions, all carried out in two days. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of facilitating and supporting your own Youth Take Over and show you how to easily adapt this tool to your local context.


1. Check-in

Get an overview of the available spaces, equipment and resources on your location. Ideally, you will present the idea to the MIC staff and visit potential spaces for activities, in- and outdoors. Creating a list of the available resources will help you to evaluate what’s already there and what’s still needed.

Ask yourself:
  1. Which spaces are suited for what kind of activity? (drama, sports, music)
  2. What kind of equipment has the centre already at its disposal? (e.g., musical set, spotlights, training equipment, tables, chairs etc.)
  3. Who will be available to support? (MIC staff, young leaders, volunteers)
2. Spark the Idea

After this first assessment, get in touch with youth. Try different techniques, depending on the context. In The Gambia, word of mouth and direct contact worked best. Invite leaders from local youth groups (sports, drama, music etc.) and frequent the MIC’s current visitors.

Schedule a one-hour meeting at least a couple of days before the event. Remember that it can take a while to get the invitations out. Make sure your meeting is taking place in a shaded and easy to find a place, where many people can gather. When setting a day and time for your meeting, keep in mind local habits and schedules (cf. prayer time, local school hours, market days, other activities at the MIC, … ).

The purpose of your meeting is to discuss the idea of a Youth Take Over and to brainstorm ideas for 2 days of activities. Aim for leaving the meeting with a clear plan and provide some refreshments like tea, water, and snacks. Last but not least, make a budget plan for your expenses and distribute the share to the groups.