YouLEAD is an innovative IICRD youth leadership program for young leaders (15+), youth workers and professionals working to support the wellbeing of children and youth, which builds on IICRD's core principles and 20+ years of working on international child rights, child protection, and community capacity building. 

YouLEAD is currently active in Canada focusing on empowering Indigenous youth, with traditional and new ways of learning and Internationally - most actively in Africa, focusing on leadership for peacebuilding and social cohesion in Chad and Burundi.

YouLEAD focuses on helping practitioners develop culturally grounded self-awareness, relevant knowledge, tangible skills, and accountable action.  Four levels of engagement and training are offered, which can increase opportunities and prepare participants for further education as needed:

  1. A community of practice: through IICRD's Learning Hub (see to join), to network and share ideas on leadership and how best to support child, youth, family, and community well-being;
  2. Skill Recognition Stamps: delivered in partnership with community-based organizations and schools, to acknowledge the development of leadership skills and other capacities that support child, family and community well-being and culture, and acquired knowledge and self awareness
  3. Certificate Courses of intensive training (see RESOURCES below): on the land with Elders and in the classroom, for young leaders and youth practitioners to develop and enhance knowledge, skills, and professional practice; and
  4. Post-secondary opportunities at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral levels: through directed studies and capstone projects focused on leadership or child protection in development. These are currently offered in co-operation with post secondary istitutions such as Royal Roads University (RRU), and Thompson RIver University(TRU).

YouLEAD Canada is working in collaboration with an Advisory group of Indigenous youth, and elders, Academic partners, Right to Play Play Program, and the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconcilation and their B.C. Aboriginal Youth Workers Network with support from the Counselling Foundation of Canada.

In Africa, YouLEAD (International) is working in collaboration with Ilosiwaju Africa, and Institut Africain pour le Developpment de la Famille (Benin) and Right To Play.


“This was a great learning experience for me… it made me realize many strengths I did not see in myself beforehand.” 

“Getting to know the Circle of Rights approach and applying it to a fictitious case study showed me the potential of understanding complex situations and how they are best approached - by leading with children, starting from strengths, and engaging with partners.”

“Conclusions cannot be made until you have listened to and understood the perspective of the child.”

“Thanks for making me feel at home, with a sense of belonging."

“I loved all of the tools that encouraged problem solving and team work.”

"My expectations were exceeded by the depth, innovation, and quality of course content, and facilitation." 

“I am re-inspired to try new tools and to trust that the work is helping the youth in our community.”

Cooperation Info

Imagine a world where we build on the core strengths of children, their families, and communities, to create dignity, belonging, and justice for all.


Contact Info

International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD)

based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

(please email for appropriate address for your correspondence)
+1 (250) 891-2424

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