We at the East Jerusalem YMCA, and as an active and indigenous segment of the Palestinian social movement, contribute to the reconstruction of Palestinian society, which has been facing decades of systemic destruction, dispersal, and violations of its national, legal, and human rights. Within this current political situation we perceive the need to concentrate local, regional, and international efforts in order to recover the just rights of our people and to build a democratic state where transparency, equity, and social justice may prevail.
Our congruence with our national and social vision obliges us to perceive our people's concerns and needs and thus, to work seriously and responsibly alongside all social sectors, focusing particularly on youth and the marginalized. It also obliges us to work effectively and in cohesion with civil society, and religious, private, and governmental organizations.
The connection between the YMCA's work with its international and national contexts and its commitment to the movement of YMCAs in the world represents the basis of our identity as a Palestinian voluntary organization for both genders. The YMCA seeks to realize the Christian vision of building human communities on the basis of the principles of justice, love, peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, and a life with dignity for all human beings.
The YMCA started a comprehensive review and re-envisioning process during the year 2001, on the basis of our belief that any organization seeking to be a device for social transformation ought to transform itself and be inclusive of values and principles of non-discrimination, justice, tolerance, democracy, and partnership. The process aims to develop and strengthen the organization's internal constituencies in order to enable it to face the new challenges and changing environment within Palestinian society.
Over the course of a six-month period, the YMCA took a range of steps and initiatives in cooperation with an expert in internal evaluation, reviewing, and organization development issues. This process was achieved through the initiation and participation of volunteers, leaders, staff, and representatives of the local community and international partners.
The participants vowed to conform with a set of principles and values including their full commitment to the human and national rights of social justice, democracy, friendship, belonging, transparency, accountability, sincerity, clarity, and their alignment to the poor, the marginalized, and the weak. The participants also committed themselves to openness to ecumenical work, equity, entrepreneurship, innovation, and provision of equal opportunities without any type of discrimination. This commitment is to be realized within systematic work with youth and through the promotion of the values of volunteerism, initiation, flexibility, cooperation, coordination, and partnership.
Hence, we at the East Jerusalem YMCA pledge the following:
- To respond effectively to environmental changes and their resulting challenges;
- To draw our future plans on the bases of our history and the lessons learned;
- To continue a process of renewal through regular evaluation processes;
- To nurture and guard the unity of our association and democracy within it; to enhance its national and international representation; to be open to social needs and to work with marginalized sectors;
- To work in the domain of holistic youth development as our main purpose;
- To transform ourselves in response to our vision of the future;
- To design and develop programs and activities that address holistic youth development;
- To adopt the teamwork spirit and the principles of partnership, cooperation, democracy, comprehensiveness, and collective decision making and decision implementation. To depend on principles of good communication and transparency in order to foster coherence between all levels of our association and the public;
- To reinforce a professional leadership that incorporates the new culture and that embraces youth and female constituents;
- To adopt a flexible and effective organizational structure that ensures the unity of the organization and facilitates its means of work and communication.
Our commitment to our new social vision and to develop strategies that respond to this vision ensures our determination to contribute, as an organization, to affirming human dignity and social justice in this world. This is not a nominal commitment, but rather a clear announcement of the Christian mission, which expresses openness to all religions and illustrates love and service to all human beings and victims of injustice and oppression. Through this announcement we unify ourselves with God's goals in this world and pledge to practice transparency and to commit ourselves to the principles of cooperation and accountability one to the other as staff members, volunteers, leaders, and partners and towards the people with whom we are committed to work.