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Summative Program Evaluation of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP)

(PDF Version, 74 KB) *

(March 2005)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

- Canadian International Development Agency
- Canadian Landmines Awareness Week
- Canadian Landmine Fund
- Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief
- Canadian Red Cross
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- International Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Mine Action Team of the Department of Foreign Affairs
- Mines Action Canada
- Youth International Internship Program
- Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program
Youth LEAP
- Youth Leadership, Education and Action Program
- Youth (Mine Action) Ambassador

1. Executive Summary

1.1 Context

The Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP) was launched in 1998 by Mines Action Canada (MAC), the Mine Action Team (ILX) of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross (CRC). The ILX investment in YMAAP from the program's inception to the end of 2004-2005 totals $2,549,408. YMAAP was established as an internship program in which Youth Ambassadors (YAs) receive skills and career-related experience while they facilitate sustainable community action and awareness to ban landmines and engage Canadian youth on global issues.

The purpose of the present evaluation study is to "measure the extent to which YMAAP has achieved stated objectives of educating Canadian youth, raising the awareness of the Canadian public about the global landmines issue, and catalyzing sustainable action to rid the world of landmines." The study methodology included a review of program-related documentation, interviews with 33 stakeholders, and a beneficiary survey.

1.2 Findings

A total of 57 YAs have been through the program, including the six YAs presently deployed. YAs focus on general landmine awareness and much of their work consists of organising youth-oriented events to publicize the landmines issue. Examples of activities in 2003-2004 include school assemblies, classroom presentations, a simulated minefield in Halifax, and a dog walk-a-thon in Vancouver.

YMAAP was found to be successful in achieving its objective of facilitating community awareness, but has failed to create structures that will continue to facilitate awareness after YAs have left their internship posting. YMAAP has not facilitated systematic community action, sustainable or otherwise. Youth have been engaged and have become more aware of landmines through the YA presentations. YMAAP has provided its YAs with valuable skills and experience that will prove useful to them in their future careers. The current structure of YMAAP program was not found to be consistent with the three objectives of the Canadian Landmine Fund (CLF): universalisation, implementation and sustainability of the Ottawa Convention.

1.3 Recommendations

The evidence and analysis support the following two recommendations:

  1. That FAC make 2004-2005 the last year for funding YMAAP in its current model. This does not preclude support for a newly constituted and re-focussed YMAAP in the future, should such an organization be seen as potentially supporting in a cost-effective manner FAC's objectives with respect to mine action.
  2. That YMAAP redefine or clarify its mandate and identity and tie its future revenue-base and operational model to a new strategic vision that will attract donor support.

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2. Introduction

2.1 Context and Purpose of the Study

The Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP) was launched in 1998. The implementing partners of the program were Mines Action Canada (MAC), the Mine Action Team (ILX) of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada(1), and the Canadian Red Cross (CRC). In 1998, YMAAP's goal was stated as creating "sustainable community action supporting the global movement to end the suffering caused by landmines(2)." Each year since program inception on average eight youth mine action ambassadors (YAs) have been appointed. After two weeks of training and an international study tour, YAs are deployed across Canada to raise awareness and engage young Canadians in the landmines issue.

The purpose of the present evaluation study is to "measure the extent to which YMAAP has achieved stated objectives of educating Canadian youth, raising the awareness of the Canadian public about the global landmines issue, and catalyzing sustainable action to rid the world of landmines(3)." The study covered the activities of the program since its inception to the present and will be considered an evaluation focusing on outcomes, which can serve as one source of information for ILX in any future discussion regarding program continuation. The evaluation addresses the following questions(4):

Relevance. To what extent has YMAAP met Steering Committee members' priorities in efforts to sustain and enhance support to address the global landmine problem? To what extent are the objectives and activities of YMAAP congruent with Canada's stated foreign policy objectives, and the objectives of FAC's Mine Action Team (ILX)?

Success. To what extent has YMAAP achieved its stated objectives? To what extent has YMAAP facilitated sustainable community action and awareness to ban landmines? To what extent has YMAAP engaged youth in Canada on global issues? To what extent has YMAAP provided young Canadians with skills development and career-related job experience? To what extent has YMAAP mainstreamed mine action work into, and added sustainable capacity in, host organizations?

Efficiency. To what extent has YMAAP implemented cost-effective approaches and methods for achieving desired results? Are funds, resources and activities directed to activities and target groups most likely to yield the best results? What alternatives exist that would make YMAAP more effective and efficient? How can the synergies which exist between YMAAP and Youth LEAP be exploited given the challenges facing YMAAP in identifying new sources of core funding beyond this fiscal year?

2.2 Methodology

The study methodology involved three complementary data collection and analysis components:

Document and File Review. An exhaustive review of documents related to the program was undertaken. Documents reviewed include:

  • YMAAP project files for 1998-1999 through 2004-2005, including annual project proposals, budgets, contribution agreements, summary reports, narrative reports, expense summaries and various memoranda;
  • YMAAP annual reports (1998-1999 through 2003-2004);
  • proposals from CRC, MAC and YMAAP, submitted to FAC/ILX (2000-2001 through 2004-2005);
  • program proposals to Youth International Internship Program (YIIP) for 1998-1999 through 2000-2001 and Letter on Refusal of Funding, February, 2002; and,
  • approval of the Treasury Board Submission for the Canadian Landmine Fund, 2003.

Interviews with 33 Stakeholders. Interviews were conducted with:

  • YMAAP Steering Committee members;
  • YMAAP program staff;
  • current and former YA hosts, including hosts in cities where the program no longer has a presence;
  • current and former YAs nine of whom were identified by YMAAP staff as having stayed involved with the program or the landmines issue and six of whom were randomly selected from the remaining YAs for whom YMAAP staff possessed contact information; and
  • YMAAP volunteers.

Interviews were conducted in person with Steering Committee members, YMAAP program officers and the current YA in Ottawa, and otherwise by telephone.

Survey of Beneficiaries. A questionnaire was sent by e-mail to 79 individuals on record as having arranged a YA presentation for their institution during 2003-2004. These were teachers, university personnel, club executives, and NGO staff. Among the list of addresses, eight were no longer valid, therefore the survey was received by 71 beneficiary contacts. Seventeen responses were returned, representing a 24 percent response rate. No respondent had been involved with YMAAP activities in Quebec. While the sample cannot be considered representative, information gleaned from survey respondents provided anecdotal evidence regarding different aspects of YMAAP.

Following the final delivery of stakeholder and beneficiary names by the National Office on January 3, 2005, stakeholder interviews and a survey of beneficiaries were conducted throughout the month of January 2005.

The data gathered from the stakeholder interviews and the beneficiary survey must be regarded in light of the small sample sizes. The fact that data was not gathered by random sampling applies limitations to this study's conclusions. Evidence gathered from the interviews and survey responses may be considered somewhat representative, but remains only anecdotal.

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3. Profile of YMAAP

3.1 Evolution of YMAAP

In 1998, in the wake of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (also known as the Ottawa Convention), YMAAP was launched "to create sustainable community action supporting the global movement to end the suffering caused by landmines," to keep "the issue of landmines present in the consciousness of the Canadian public" and, specifically, to deploy YAs across Canada "to raise awareness among Canadian Youth about the ongoing global landmines disaster(5)." Today, "YMAAP is an internship program in which young professionals deliver education and awareness-raising programs on the landmines issue to communities across Canada(6)." YMAAP is overseen by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from ILX, MAC and the CRC and is run by a staff of two to three located in the offices of MAC in Ottawa.

In a typical year, newly appointed YAs receive materials to complete a one-week independent self-study module followed by two weeks of on-site training in Ottawa. After training, YAs experience a two-week overseas tour in a mine-affected country. YAs are then posted in host organizations in different Canadian cities for a seven-month period. They receive support from the National Office in the form of materials to use in their presentations as well as advice and regular contact. The YMAAP National Office requires regular reports from YAs and collects regular statistics on the number of presentations given, audience size, number of media pieces generated, and volunteer hours.

YMAAP goals have evolved with program activities.

When YMAAP was launched in July 1998, the goals of the program were articulated as follows(7):

  • to engage young people in communities across Canada in education and fundraising activities as part of an international effort to end the use of landmines;
  • to eliminate landmines from communities where they have been laid; and,
  • to offer assistance to survivors and their communities.

Shortly thereafter it was recognized that while survivor assistance and the elimination of landmines were the ultimate purpose, they were not part of the immediate set of goals to which YMAAP activities were directed. As such, references to these goals were dropped from program documentation. In 2001, the goals were stated as follows:

  • develop and deliver an educational outreach program to appeal to Canadian youth in their region;
  • mobilize and train volunteers to carry out mine action initiatives;
  • organize a Dance Without Fear, a national fund raising event;
  • organize a Regional Youth Conference to build awareness about landmine issues; and,
  • organize local and national events related to December 3rd, the signing of the Treaty to Ban Landmines and March 1st, the entry of the Treaty into International Law.

By 2001, the program also no longer claimed to focus directly on fundraising. Goals were in essence, to scale back and focus on awareness building events in Canada. In 2003-2004 the benefits to YAs in terms of their own professional development - a long acknowledged implicit benefit of the program - became an official element in the program(8). The current, 2004-2005 stated program objectives and activities are as follows(9):

  • to facilitate sustainable community action and awareness to ban landmines;
  • to engage youth in Canada on global issues; and,
  • to provide young Canadians with skills development and career-related job experience.

To achieve these goals, Youth Ambassadors aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • initiate a process of building local Canadian support for Canada's role in mine action;
  • support the outreach efforts undertaken by YMAAP partners and host organizations;
  • develop and deliver an educational outreach program to appeal to Canadians in their region;
  • develop and manage a team of volunteers who will assist YA in carrying out his/her community outreach initiatives;
  • attract media attention on Canada's role in mine action and YMAAP regional outreach initiatives;
  • organize events to support mine action; and,
  • organize local and national events.

Table 1 traces YMAAP's revenues, activities and outputs since 1998-1999. Outputs include the number of presentations given, media pieces generated (newspaper articles and radio and television news items), people directly reached through live presentations and the estimated number of hours contributed to mine action by volunteers attributable to the program.

Table 1: YMAAP Revenues and Outputs
FY(10)ILX contributionOther Sources of RevenueTotal RevenuesYAs(11)PresentationsMedia Pieces (TV, print, radio)Estimated AudienceVolunteer Hours

10 Annual Report Data, FY 1999-2000 through FY 2003-2004.

11 One YA participated both in 1998-99 and 1999-00.

12 Figure quoted in Mine Action Project Assessment, David Olson, June 17, 2004.

13 Amount received from Youth International Internship Program (YIIP).

14 $150,000 was received from YIIP and $45,876 from the Canadian Landmine Foundation.

15 Estimated by dividing the value of volunteer time ($14,000) by Ontario's minimum wage of $6.85.

16 This amount was quoted as "received from DFAIT"in the Annual Report.

17 $2,939 was received from Human Resources Development Canada and the rest from other sources.

18 Data were not contained in the YMAAP Annual Report.

19 Figure contained in Contribution Agreements April 1, 2004 through June 30, 2004 ($42,386) added to the amount requested for July 1,2004 until March 31, 2004 as contained in Proposed Budget, YMAAP July 1 - June 30, 2005.

20 Data was calculated using YMAAP Proposed Budget July 1, 2004-June 30, 2005. An estimation was made regarding the first quarter of FY 2004-2005, in which $10,580 was provided by CIDA.

1998-99$77,000(12)NA$77,000550+ 10000 
2003-04$442,000Data unavailable(18)$442,0009689204580001376
2004-05$286,596(19)$20,870(20)$372,7776Data not yet available
2005-06$55,790Data not yet available

A total of 57 YAs have been through the program including the six YAs presently deployed. The estimated yearly audience increased from 10,000 people in 1998-1999 to a peak of 110,000 in 2002-2003 and back down to 58,000 in 2003-2004. The number of media pieces generated has remained fairly steady, averaging 190 pieces per year. There has been a decrease in the number of volunteer hours over the years, which totalled 6,777 hours in 1999-2000 and 1,376 hours in 2003-2004.

The ILX investment in YMAAP from the program's inception to the end of 2004-2005 totals $2,549,408. ILX has contributed the vast majority of YMAAP's core funding. For example, in FY 2000-2001, ILX funding, at $479,742, represented 71 percent of a total budget of $675,618. Additional revenues were provided that year by the Canadian Landmine Foundation ($45,876) and the Youth International Internship Program (YIIP, $150,000). In FYs 1999-2000 through 2001-2002, YMAAP applied for and received funding from YIIP, an FAC program that provides funding for "first career-related internationally focussed work experiences(21)." This amounted to $15,000 per intern (YA) and was exclusively devoted to paying their stipends. YIIP funding was not extended beyond 2001-2002. From then on, YMAAP counted even more heavily on ILX for funding.

3.2 YMAAP Today

YAs focus on general landmine awareness. Much of their work consists of organising youth-oriented events to publicize the landmines issue. Over the years Dance Without Fear has come to be considered a YMAAP signature event. In a typical year, over a thousand youth participate by attending dances across Canada(22). While each dance is different, varying from afternoon sock-hops to all-night dance parties, all have as their purpose publicizing the landmine cause. Canadian Landmine Awareness Week (CLAW) takes place in the Spring (the first week in March in honour of March 1, the anniversary of the Ottawa Convention coming into force), and is a week during which there is increased activity regarding fundraising and the publicity of the landmines issue. YAs are often instrumental in organizing events commemorating important dates associated with landmines. For example, in partnership with MAC, YAs hosted a cross-country speaking tour of landmine survivors and activists on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Ottawa Convention on December 3, 2002.

In 2003-2004, activities organised by YAs and YMAAP volunteers included school assemblies, classroom presentations, a simulated minefield in Halifax, a dog walk-a-thon in Vancouver, a two-day workshop on mine-awareness in Calgary, and radio interviews across the country. In 2003-2004, YAs raised over $8,000 for a Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) program supporting landmine survivors in northern Uganda. Teachers and teachers-in-training were invited to landmines workshops at the University of Ottawa and Global Education Network's Global Education Retreat with a view to incorporating the landmines issue into their curricula. YAs were based in major cities, but at times travelled to rural areas in their province, to the North (Yellowknife), and to landmine-related events in the US.

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4. Evaluation findings

4.1 Relevance of YMAAP

The relevance of any program must be assessed against an appropriate framework. In the case of YMAAP there are several frameworks that could be brought to bear. However, for the purposes of the evaluation, FAC's objectives with respect to mine action and, more specifically, its objectives for the Canadian Landmine Fund (CLF), shall be used. These objectives are:

  • universalization of the Ottawa Convention;
  • implementation of demining, victim assistance and related action in mine-affected countries; and,
  • sustainability such that mine action continues beyond the lifespan of the CLF.

YMAAP focusses neither on universalization nor on implementation, and as a result, its impact in these areas is low. The sustainability question will be addressed in the following pages i.e., the evidence supports the finding that YMAAP's results are largely not sustainable; in the absence of YMAAP, the results stemming from the program's youth-oriented awareness building would largely cease.

In short, in its current structure YMAAP does not support FAC's objectives with respect to mine action. It should be noted that earlier objectives for the CLF may have concerned "education." This being the case, at one time the awareness building achievements of YMAAP may have been more directly aligned with FAC goals.

4.2 Success of YMAAP

The second evaluation question is: To what extent has YMAAP been successful in achieving its stated objectives? For the purposes of this study the most recent statement of goals (see preceding chapter) shall be used as the objectives against which success is assessed. Three goals are listed, however the first goal contains two separate constructs - action and awareness - and therefore must be considered as two.

4.2.1 Sustainable Community Awareness

The first objective of YMAAP to be considered is sustainable community awareness. Awareness building among Canadians, particularly among Canadian young people, is one of the two primary success stories of YMAAP. As of the end of 2003-2004, YAs had given over 3,800 presentations, generated 942 media pieces, and reached an estimated audience of 310,000 people. Speaking of the YAs' visits, surveyed teachers and other representatives of organizations that received YA presentations generally felt that the quality of the presentations was excellent, and that they made a powerful impression on students/audience members. One teacher noted "[i]t made remote problems seem very immediate and created the impression that Canada has a real concern with the issue of landmines."

Interviewees from host organizations echoed this sentiment; nearly every interviewee commented on the excellent job done by YAs in educating youth about landmines and, by extension, wider global concerns, creating "global citizens" in the process. Current and former YAs interviewed also highlighted this outcome. In addition, YAs and program staff pointed out that many presentations made to youth audiences had spin-off effects. For example, a number of presentations led high school student bodies to organize awareness building events in their communities during CLAW. Often these events would generate media interest, expanding the reach of the message.

The theme of sustainability is threaded throughout this study. If sustainability is defined as an extension of the original activity that carries on indefinitely after the original activity has been completed, the evidence indicates that YMAAP is not meeting this goal. The majority of stakeholders contacted reported that the YMAAP model did little to promote sustainable community awareness after the YA has finished his or her work. Anecdotal evidence cites occasional cases of teachers using YMAAP materials and incorporating landmine-related issues in their curricula, and of young volunteers carrying forward with awareness building activities. However, the main finding was that YA presentations were essentially "one-shot events," inspiring and raising awareness among audience members but leading to no systematic, direct, follow-up activity. One survey respondent stated that "the main result of the presentation was a raised awareness of the seriousness of the problem" but felt that without systematic follow-up by YMAAP, awareness building respecting the issue remained more or less confined to the YA's presentation.

Virtually all representatives of the host organizations interviewed reported that the YA was incorporated effectively into their office environment and proved to be a helpful resource in accomplishing some of the organization's priorities. Some host representatives mentioned the "40-60" rule(23) but most simply stated that YAs fit in well and were able to accomplish YMAAP goals and to assist the host organization. Host organization representatives also spoke very positively of the awareness building activities of YAs, noting the skill and professionalism that YAs typically brought to their presentations.

However, host organization representatives were also in agreement in observing that YAs did not facilitate sustained awareness building capacity in the community. While individual presentations have been well received, there is no formal mechanism to continue the presentations or other awareness building activities once the YA has gone.

More importantly with respect to host organizations, host organization representatives report essentially no sustained capacity within the host organization beyond the presence of the YA. According to interviewees, once the YA has left the organization, the level of mine action activities goes back to what it was before the YA arrived (including, in many cases, no mine action activity). This sentiment was expressed both by representatives of host organizations no longer hosting YAs, and by representatives of current host organizations anticipating their YA's departure. As one interviewee noted, "there is no contact between YAs in the same city in different years, and the internship only lasts six or seven months. Sustainable projects require five years, and ideally are overseen by one person during that whole time."

One case stands out as an example of a more continuous approach. The CRC office in Vancouver maintains a staff position dedicated to administering its national Global Education program. YAs have been placed in the Vancouver CRC office in each of the past six years and for most of these years, the CRC employee in charge of that program has supervised the YA. This individual considers each YA as part of the CRC team and ensures continuity from one year to the next. As such, YAs are put in touch with schools and volunteers that have an ongoing relationship with the program. In the words of one YA "we are creating a critical mass of awareness in Vancouver." However, this level of continuity is primarily attributable to the CRC, not YMAAP. The YMAAP office in Ottawa does not systematically maintain mailing lists of volunteers or beneficiaries of presentations. And, once again, this benefit relies on the continued presence of a YA, and provisions have not formally been made to sustain the work of the YA once the YA has gone.

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4.2.2 Sustainable Community Action

Action in mine-affected countries refers to demining and victim assistance as well as advocacy efforts aimed at the universalization of the Ottawa Convention, i.e. getting non-signatories to sign the Convention. Action in non-mine affected countries often centres on advocacy efforts aimed at the universalization of the Ottawa Convention. While stated program goals and objectives are non-specific regarding action, in Canada action traditionally centres around advocacy, and on fundraising in support of demining, victim assistance and advocacy.

As noted by program managers and other stakeholders, fundraising has not been an objective or a primary activity of YMAAP. There are reports of small fundraising activities - e.g., survey respondents noted three instances in which highschool classes raised several hundred dollars for donation to YMAAP - but these remain small in magnitude. Primary action stemming from YMAAP activities is focussed on advocacy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that YA actions have prompted some advocacy efforts. For example, some members of parliament have been provided with useful information about the landmine issue through the program, letter-writing campaigns have been undertaken, and broader awareness in the community is hoped to lead to pressure being put on government decision makers by citizens. However, no evidence of successful systematic advocacy action was found.

When advancing reasons explaining why there had been no follow-up action, one survey respondent noted that "if the main goal of the program is not to raise awareness, but to raise funding or to start student movements, this should be expressly stated by the organizers. Fund-raising was mentioned during the plans for the event, but it was never stressed. My college would have participated in a fund-raising program had we known beforehand the importance of actually raising money for this cause and where the money we raised would be directed." Similarly, "[i]f another goal of the program is to initiate student movements or clubs, more support is needed in regards to how to start an organization, the larger organizations with whom campus groups could be affiliated, and what the main goals of the organization should be." In short, the precondition for YMAAP to be able to facilitate action would be for YMAAP to shift its focus to action.

Potential indirect action can result from the successful instances of increased awareness. If the YAs' message reaches a large number of people, this increases the probability that individuals particularly impressed by YMAAP will take follow-up action. However, there is no systematic evidence of this. Several stakeholders interviewed for the study expressed doubts as to whether or not awareness among youth could lead to action. Several YAs interviewed for this study expressed similar thoughts: that while their presentations facilitated awareness among audience members, there was no emphasis on building "sustainable structures" that would make action more likely. A YA noted that "one-shot awareness is weak; with issues constantly competing for attention, landmine awareness needs sustainable action." While several interviewed volunteers reported that they were still active in landmine awareness activities, this anecdotal evidence lacks the strength to draw meaningful conclusions. Indeed, the fact that volunteers were difficult to locate for the purpose of this study again suggests a lack of systematically facilitated sustainability.

4.2.3 Engaging Youth

Several survey respondents felt that the contact with the YA - a young person who was "passionate about landmine issues" and "involved in world affairs" - was inspiring for students. One teacher felt that the YA's presentation brought "home the issues of landmines and Canada's involvement much more clearly than if [the teacher] was to do it on her own."

The following activities were mentioned by survey respondents as examples of youth engagement - the by-products of successful awareness building:

  • class discussions;
  • reading magazines left by the YA;
  • students doing an independent study on the landmines issue and NGOs that promote it;
  • groups of students attending events that celebrated the signing of the Ottawa Convention;
  • students initiating a landmines awareness week at school;
  • students volunteering with YMAAP and two students completing their co-op placements there;
  • a class project that used art work to create a quilt; and,
  • art created in an African Heritage Literature Class that was based on a YA's presentation.

However, when considered more broadly, the engagement of Canadian youth resulting from YMAAP activities must be viewed as limited. Because the main vehicle for engagement is the live presentation, impacts are limited by the size of the program; eight YAs can only do so much. Furthermore, because little in the program structure systematically promotes multiplier effects or sustainability, engagement largely begins and ends with the audiences of YA presentations.

Among the YAs, another category of youth engaged by the program, the impact is high. As evidence of their career paths suggest, most maintain an interest in international development issues and in the landmines issue in particular. This aspect of YMAAP is examined below.

4.2.4 Skills and Experience

Regarding YMAAP's ability to provide YAs with career skills, the success level is high. The program has played a role in the professional development of 57 inspired, skilled individuals. YAs have benefited from the opportunities presented by YMAAP to hone their organizational, public relations, speaking, media awareness, networking and fundraising skills, as well as their understanding of the government-NGO system. These are skills which will prove valuable assets when applying for jobs in the development sector and beyond.

YAs interviewed were virtually unanimous in describing what they saw as the two main benefits of YMAAP: creating awareness among youth and furthering their own professional development. There are numerous examples of former YAs being appointed to positions in international development or affairs. YAs credit their YMAAP experience in helping them achieve these appointments.

4.2.5 Summary

In sum, YMAAP has facilitated community awareness. But sustainability in the form of structures that will continue to facilitate awareness after YAs have gone has not been achieved. YMAAP has not catalysed in a systematic or measurable way community action, sustainable or otherwise. While evidence of isolated actions was found, systematic action related to advocacy or fundraising did not result from the program. Youth have been engaged and become more aware of landmines through the YA presentations, but the numbers of youth affected were relatively limited. YMAAP has provided its YAs with valuable skills and experience that will prove useful to them in their future careers.

4.3 Efficiency of YMAAP

With respect to cost effectiveness and efficiency, the evaluation question is: To what extent does YMAAP efficiently use the funds it receives to achieve desired results? Table 2 shows the breakdown of YMAAP expenditures across fiscal years(24). YAs receive a monthly stipend, and a monthly budget for costs related to their activities. For example, in 2003-2004, nine YAs received stipends of $1,800 a month. Host organizations also receive a small monthly budget to cover YA-related expenses such as volunteer training, long distance phone charges, photocopying and office supplies ($400 per month in 2003-2004).

Table 2: YMAAP Expenditures (in 000s)
FYIntern and Host SupportNational Office OperationTravelTraining and EvaluationResource MaterialsSpecial ProjectsRegional Initiatives (Youth Conferences)Total Expend-itures
Salaries(25)Office Overhead

25 Figures were provided by the YMAAP National Office.

26 Amounts calculated from the proposed budget for April 1, 2003-June 30, 2004 and the 4th Financial Report ILX/D030027.

27 The breakdown was not available and totals were calculated by dividing the figure in two.

28 Estimated by using the Final Report, YMAAP, April 1 - June 30, 2004 and Proposed Budget YMAAP, July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005.

29 The figure required for Program Support ($35,685) was included here.

30 Landmines and International Development Youth Symposia was calculated as a Special Initiative.

2003-04 (26)$242$147,274(27)$47$25$8NANA$468

Office overhead includes expenses such as communications, rent, and insurance. Travel costs are essentially for the costs incurred when YAs travel to a mine-affected country for ten days following their intensive training session in September. Training costs include the two-week training session in Ottawa, as well as a one-week mid-program training session for the YAs in their respective regions. Evaluation costs are those incurred during monitoring visits by National Office staff to YAs (travel, accommodation etc.). Costs associated with resources and materials include the cost of resources that the National Office provides to YAs for use in their work (including Danger Mines and YMAAP stickers, annual reports, videos, the website). Special projects refer to initiatives above and beyond those covered by the monthly budget provided to host organizations - usually items like regional conferences.

As shown in the table, the largest expenditure is Intern and Host Support, accounting for 38 percent of the total over the duration of the program. Head office salaries and overhead, at 20 and 14 percent, account for the next largest expenditures. Together these expenditures account for approximately three-quarters of total program costs, with the remainder of expenditures covering training, travel, materials and assorted other items. The question of whether or not the allocation of expenditures is appropriately balanced is beyond the scope of this study. Similarly, the question of cost-effectiveness or value for money would require a comparison with other, like programs and is therefore difficult to assess within the study's parameters.

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5. Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusions

When assessed against its stated objectives, YMAAP has been successful in facilitating awareness respecting the landmines issue among, and engaging, Canadian youth - both presentation audience members and the YAs themselves. YMAAP has also been successful in providing valuable skills and experience to YAs related to careers in international development and in international affairs.

The evidence does not support a claim of sustainability. Awareness building is facilitated through the activities of the YAs but awareness building activities do not, generally speaking, continue after the YA has left. The evidence does not support a claim of facilitating systematic action, sustainable or otherwise, directly resulting from YA activities.

While YMAAP has been successful on certain fronts, in its current form YMAAP was not found to be consistent with the three objectives of the Canadian Landmine Fund (CLF): universality, implementation and sustainability.

5.2 Options Respecting YMAAP

To understand YMAAP's mandate and role with respect to mine action, it is useful to consider organizations operating at three levels. At the top or third level, universalization and implementation agencies work to influence states not parties to sign the Ottawa Convention or participate directly in demining and victim assistance in mine-affected countries. FAC itself focusses on universalization as one of its highest mine action priorities. At the second level, fundraising agencies are focussed on raising money to advance implementation objectives. Advocacy agencies, such as MAC, engage with public institutions with a view to influencing policy. At the first level, education agencies build public awareness in support of advocacy and fundraising. The YMAAP program falls into this grouping. Donors support all of these types of agencies. The levels are not mutually exclusive; for example, the Canadian International Demining Corps' two person Canadian office is heavily involved in fundraising. Agencies at different levels often work together in support of one another's activities. As shown below, education and awareness building are at the beginning of the chain leading through influencing attitude and action in the form of volunteering or donating money to, ultimately, mine action results. Agencies focussed on awareness building, such as YMAAP, must overcome the possibility that their efforts will not influence attitudes or, in the case of attitude influence that the attitude influence will not produce action. With its limited focus on awareness coupled with lack of direct action possibilities, the current YMAAP model is at risk of having little to show by way of results leading to tangible progress in mine action for its efforts.

YMAAP model

YMAAP can be situated as part of the panoply of mine action organizations in Canada. From this perspective, YMAAP is an education program that happens to be focussed on building awareness among youth. However, from a different perspective, YMAAP can also be viewed as an internship program whose interns happen to be engaged in educating young people about the landmines issue. In fact, at various times, stakeholders interviewed for the study described YMAAP in both of these ways.

The future of YMAAP may be found down one of any number of paths. Before undertaking the analysis and planning needed to establish the program's direction it is useful to consider the program's core identity as it fits within the models described above. Options for YMAAP's core identity essentially boil down to two broad possibilities as follows:

  • A mine-action organization. If YMAAP chooses to maintain its core identity in mine-action, one possibility would be to bring its awareness building experience and its youth engagement experience - as its niche - into a formal partnership with fundraising, advocacy, universalization, and/or implementation.
  • An internship and youth-education organization. If YMAAP sees itself primarily as an internship program, a second possibility would be to bring its youth education and landmine expertise in an expanded manner to the existing range of internships available to Canadian youth, taking its place among other internship programs. Its speciality would be youth educating youth. The logical starting point with respect to subject matter would be the landmines issue, but the program could easily expand to cover such related issues as international humanitarian law, human rights, HIV/AIDS, food security, water, education, peacebuilding, and disarmament. The primary objective of the program would be the professional development of the "educators" (interns). Secondary objectives could include raising awareness but as noted in the evaluation, it could be advantageous to connect awareness with action. Potential donors in this scenario would include youth employment programs at the national and provincial levels as well as donors concerned with the subjects addressed.

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5.3 Options Respecting Youth LEAP

A new program entitled Youth Leadership, Education and Action Program (Youth LEAP) was launched in January 2004 and is managed from the MAC office in conjunction with YMAAP. Youth LEAP puts emphasis on the international side of mine awareness by focussing on mine-affected regions that have not ratified or acceded to the Ottawa Convention, and aims to "strengthen local capacity for mine action in these regions(31)" in order to achieve universalization. In 2004-2005, Youth LEAP's pilot year, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Southeast Asia were identified as two such regions. Youth LEAP aims to provide the "training, capacity and links to regional and international networks for youth living in mine-affected countries in the CIS and Southeast Asia regions."

Youth LEAP has six core components, stated as follows:

  • international youth symposia in conjunction with annual Meetings of States Parties;
  • regional capacity-building workshops for overseas campaigns on how to involve youth in their mine action work;
  • regional youth capacity-building symposia;
  • small grants program for overseas campaigns participating in regional capacity-building workshops;
  • development of a Working With Youth in Mine Action Resource Manual; and,
  • Young Professionals International Mine Action Program (YPIMAP): an international internship program for young Canadians.

Youth LEAP has just been launched. Thus it is too early to assess achievements. As Youth LEAP moves into the future, the lessons learned through the evaluation of YMAAP warrant attention. In particular, Youth LEAP should be set up to create and exploit firm connections between awareness building and action, and it should create sustainability through capacity building.

The Terms of Reference called for an examination of the synergies between YMAAP and Youth LEAP. In light of the findings concerning the sustainability and relevance of YMAAP, it is suggested that Youth LEAP draw lessons from YMAAP accomplishments in the areas of awareness building and skills enhancement. Respecting "sustainable action" the managers of Youth LEAP could, if appropriate, attend to some of the conclusions and recommendations of the present study. FAC should consider in reviewing any further proposals from Youth LEAP alignment with FAC's three mine action objectives to ensure that Youth LEAP's goals relate to the achievement of tangible results in the areas of universalization, implementation, and/or sustainability.

5.4 Recommendations

The evidence and analysis support the following two recommendations:

  1. That FAC make 2004-2005 the last year for funding YMAAP in its current model. This does not preclude support for a newly constituted and re-focussed YMAAP in the future, should such an organization be seen as potentially supporting in a cost-effective manner FAC's objectives with respect to mine action.
  2. That YMAAP redefine or clarify its mandate and identity and tie its future revenue-base and operational model to a new strategic vision that will attract donor support.

5.5 Management Response

Ambassador for Mine Action Division agrees with the findings and recommendations of this evaluation report.

Mines Action Canada (MAC) has also taken into account the report's recommendations by, for the first time, integrating all of its youth programming into one core funding request for this fiscal year. This consolidated youth initiative has been restructured and streamlined in order to make it more efficient, effective and relevant to our joint priorities.

This evaluation, and the involvement of its author in a special YMAAP retreat last year, made a very useful contribution to MAC's proposal and YMAAP Steering Committee was wound down on 22 April 2005, as a recognition of the changes MAC has planned on youth issues.

The Project Review Board approved MAC's request on May 20, 2005, subject to clarification of a few points, effectively bringing to an end the current YMAAP model, while ensuring that youth continue to play an important and substantive role internationally in advocating the universal adherence to, and effective and sustainable implementation of, the Ottawa Convention.

MAC is also in the process of diversifying its funding base and has recently adopted a new organisational development plan, in part to implement the recommendations of this report.

While the evaluation found that in its current form YMAAP is no longer able to contribute directly to the three core objectives of the Canadian Landmine Fund (universalisation, implementation and sustainability of the Ottawa Convention), it recognised that YMAAP was successful in engaging Canadian youth in raising awareness of the Canadian public about the global landmines issue and has provided Youth Ambassadors with valuable skills and experience.

1 In 2003 the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) became Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) and International Trade Canada (ITCan). For convenience, the department shall be referred to as Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) in this report.

2 YMAAP Annual Report, 1998-99.

3 Program Evaluation of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP), Terms of Reference, November 4, 2004.

4 Adapted from the Program Evaluation of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP), Terms of Reference, November 4, 2004.

5 YMAAP, Annual Report, 1998-1999.

6 YMAAP, Annual Report, 2003-2004.

7 Program Evaluation of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP), Terms of Reference, November 4, 2004.

8 In the 2003 proposal, the goal of "provid[ing] young Canadians with career opportunities" was added.

9 Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program (YMAAP): A Proposal from Mines Action Canada submitted to Department of Foreign Affairs Mine Action Team, May 2004.

21 FAC Youth International Internship Program, YIIP,, consulted on January 27, 2005.

22 See for example YMAAP Annual Report, 2000-2001, p. 17.

23 At one time agreements between YMAAP and host organizations stipulated that 60 percent of YAs' time was to be spent on YMAAP activity and 40 percent was to be spent under the direction of the host organization supervisor on host organization activity.

24 Detailed information was not available for FY 1998-1999.

31 All quotes from Youth Leadership, Education and Advocacy Program, a proposal from Mines Action Canada, September 2003.

Office of the Inspector General

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