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Youth to Youth in Health (YTYIH) is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) dedicated to young people throughout the Marshall Islands. It provides training and community activities for young people that build knowledge, skills, and self-esteem, and provides young people with a safe and supportive learning and professional environment where they can learn about and discuss issues that affect their lives. The ultimate aim of the program is to empower young people to proactively participate in the continued development of their communities and nation.
The core belief of YTYIH is that youth participation in the development and implementation of program activities is key to resolving and preventing the health and social problems affecting Marshallese youth. The program makes a concerted effort to involve young people at all levels. Young people make up the majority of YTYIH staff and Peer Educators, and work to develop and implement training and educational programs directed at other youth.
YTYIH was founded in 1986 as an auxiliary wing of the Family Planning and Adolescent Reproductive Health Division of the Ministry of Health. Its founding premise was that youth participation, through increased health knowledge and involvement in health promotion and outreach, is one of the key solutions to preventing many of the health and social problems in the Marshall Islands.
In 1989, YTYIH became an independent, chartered NGO, forming a completely separate program in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH). YTYIH maintains a strong working relationship with the MOH through the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations, and MOH staff participate in YTYIH activities. The MOH continues to be one of YTYIH's strongest supporters, particularly in providing technical and medical expertise and clinic operational support.
From its humble beginnings, YTYIH is now a strong presence in Marshallese society. Its former youth members are active members of their respective communities, and many have gone on to work in the education and health fields. All have emerged from the program armed with pertinent health knowledge and, more importantly, a strong sense of self and self-confidence that enables them to be proactive in initiating and implementing activities that help improve their communities.
Today, YTYIH operates a Youth Community Center used for training, evening activities and other events involving youth and the community. It also operates a free evening clinic, After Dark program for youth, outreach health services to schools and the community, and other activities. In addition to its main office in Uliga on the capital atoll of Majuro, YTYIH also has offices on Ebeye (Kwajalein atoll) and in the satellite community of Laura on Majuro.