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The Association Iisalmi Youth Aid launched the KEHYPAJA project in 1987. The goal was to provide employment for the unemployed youth and help them improve their living conditions. Another aim was to integrate working and development cooperation. In KEHYPAJA's development centre training and employment has been provided for several hundred people. The scope of activities has been expanding continuously. A vocational training centre has also been established in Tanzania. New activities are in the pipeline.
KEHYPAJA financing is typical for a Finnish NGO, but it has been able to achieve much better results with much less resources than ordinary projects.
Goals of KEHYPAJA
Iisalmi is a small city in Central Finland, in an area where the unemployment rate has remained high especially among the youth. This has led to delinquency and other social problems. The Association Iisalmi Youth Aid (Iisalmen Nuorison Tuki r.y) was established in 1987 with a view to help the unemployed youth to help themselves through the KEHYPAJA project.
The KEHYPAJA project was launched to benefit especially the youth who have been marginalized in the society, or are at risk of being marginalized, and who are living in poor economic conditions.
The initial aim of KEHYPAJA was to provide employment to the unemployed, especially the
youth. Development co-operation activities were included in the employment efforts in
order to provide a tangible and meaningful goal for work. Since then, several hundred
people have been employed and trained by KEHYPAJA.
KEHYPAJA in Iisalmi, Finland
KEHYPAJA stands for "development workshop". Its first activities included collecting and repairing second-hand household and farming equipment. This equipment was then donated to developing countries.
Today KEHYPAJA operates in an industrial building of 4000 sq.m. The "development workshop" means both training and work:
Training of Tanzanian youth in practical skills is an integral part of the KEHYPAJA
project in Iisalmi. International work camps have also been arranged, with participants
from all over the world.
Tushikamane Centre, Morogoro, Tanzania
Iisalmi Youth Aid has also established a voca-tional training centre, the Tushikamane
Centre, in Morogoro, Tanzania. About 80 Tanzanian youth are employed in teaching and
production in this centre. The training centre functions as a so-called production school,
covering most part of its operating costs by revenues from its products and services. In
1994, for example, over 350 Tanzanians studied at the Tushikamane.
Row houses "Jarrenpiha" 1 and 2
Iisalmi Youth Aid has also built housing for the young in Iisalmi. In 1991 - 1993 two row houses were built, including altogether 26 flats. Youth Aid itself was responsible for the construction. Thanks to this input, the construction costs were about 35 per cent lower than the average. Environmental aspects were taken into account in the selection of building materials, for example.
The rents for Jarrenpiha flats are low, and the tenants themselves contribute to the
management of the buildings, taking also care of such maintenance tasks as heating and
cleaning of the common spaces. Community spirit is also promoted by the design of
buildings which include much space for joint social activities. The aim is to facilitate
positive social contacts between inhabitants.
Contact place "Blackfoot" and street work
Since 1986 Iisalmi Youth Aid has operated a contact place Africafe /Blackfoot, where young people can meet each other and professional and voluntary youth workers. The contact place also serves cheap lunches for the unem-ployed together with the Iisalmi Association of the Unem-ployed.
The contact cafe "Blackfoot" is open for the young on all weekdays except Sundays. About 70 % of the adolescents in Iisalmi, aged 13-17, uses the services of the contact place on weekends.
During the last 15 years, street work and searching youth work have also been carried
out by the volunteers of Youth Aid of Iisalmi.
ASSESSMENT OF KEHYPAJA'S RESULTS
No in-depth evaluation of KEHYPAJA'S activities has yet been carried out. However, among the unemployed the development centre in Iisalmi has become a popular place for training. Better results have been achieved with lower costs than in usual projects aimed at helping those whose living conditions are difficult.
It is also remarkable that at the centre of Iisalmi juvenile delinquency and vandalism by the age group 13-17 decreased by even 50 per cent after the contact place BLACKFOOT was started.
Furthermore, KEHYPAJA has helped Tanzanian partners at the Tushikamane centre in the
street work, training, cul-tural and productive activities.
Iisalmi Youth Aid has identified the following develop-ment needs which would have to be met in the Finnish society:
* TO CREATE a system of basic income, through which the unem-ployed can supplement their basic (small) unemployment benefits by working, edu-cation and other meaningful activities;
* TO DEVELOP a long-term financing system for social activ-ities by changing the legislation and practices;
* TO SUPPORT the co-operative business ideas of the youth working within the
Iisalmi Youth Aid is currently examining possibilities of:
All in all, the KEHYPAJA project is a remarkable eco-social process which can give - in addition to personal experiences of the participants - valuable knowledge for solving future problems.
KEHYPAJA's total annual expenditure is about 10 million FIM. To cover its costs, KEHYPAJA receives support from vari-ous public agencies as follows:
It also receives revenue from its own production, which covers about 15 per cent of its operating costs.
The financial base of KEHYPAJA is thus typical for a Finnish NGO. What makes the difference is the way it uses the money: through its actions based on voluntary and self-help inputs, it is able to achieve much more than ordinary projects with similar goals. Also its efforts to build community spirit and strengthen the identity of the youth have led to remarkable results.
Manager/Association Iisalmi Youth Aid
Association Iisalmi Youth Aid
Iisalmi Town Council
Ministry of Labour, Finland
The Probation and Aftercare Association
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