4.7 Current Global Youth ACTION Network and TakingITGlobal Programs

 

TakingITGlobal and GYAN have a number of ongoing programs that support the global youth movement.  They are summarized here.

 

4.7.1 Global Youth ACTION Network Programs

 

            4.7.1.1 Global Youth Service Day

 

Global Youth Service Day is GYAN’s flagship program.  It has become the preeminent celebration of youth volunteerism in the world.  Youth Service America started the project as a USA national-level program in 1988 and in 1999 contracted the Global Youth Action Network to take it global.  The project now mobilizes millions of young people in more than180 countries to improve communities, to raise public awareness about the important role of young people in development, and to highlight the positive contributions that young people make year-round to society.  Dr. Jane Goodall, spokesperson for GYSD 2001, said the celebration “proves the indomitable spirit of youth”.  Sponsors of the global initiative have included the Inter-American Development Bank, the AOL/Time Warner Foundation, General Motors and the Better World Fund.  In 2001, almost 1,000 participating organizations helped to coordinate more than 520 community-improvement projects.  In 2002 there was a significant increase, with nearly 1500 service projects mobilizing several million youth.

 

            4.7.1.2 Global Youth in Action Awards

 

The Global Youth in Action Awards program is one of the best known accolades in the world for youth activism.  At first it gives young people incentive to organize projects and improve their communities.  Second, it provides recognition for the impact they make.  Initially a USA-based initiative, the Global Youth Action Network expanded the program internationally.  With contributions from UNESCO’s InfoYOUTH Network and Prodigy Internet, GYAN formed a global selection committee of young leaders from various organizations including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Active Element Foundation.  The awards program has distributed over $80,000 USD in the past few years.  Since 2001, $15,000 has been distributed internationally.

 

            4.7.1.3 Global Youth Action Guide

 

The Global Youth ACTION Network has formed a partnership with the United Nations and several international youth organizations to develop a Global Youth Action Guide.  The Guide will be published in 2003 and be distributed through a variety of partnerships.  It promotes a number of different programs and resources in a step by step process to 1) help young people start projects and improve their communities, 2) to offer recognition through awards, 3) to outline the process of building National Youth Agendas, 4) to encourage becoming an official youth delegate to the UN, and 5) to help youth orient themselves in the global youth movement.

 

            4.7.1.4 National Youth Agendas

 

Every four years the National Youth Platform (or Agenda) of the United States polls tens of thousands of young people to help them identify the top issues in the country and their solutions.  The results are then consolidated into a statement and used for debate between youth and presidential candidates at a National Youth Convention.  Building on the success of the program, GYAN is now bringing the model to other countries.   Platforms are being developed with partner agencies in Guyana and Kenya, as well as in Jamaica where the local UNESCO office and Ministry of Youth & Technology lend support. While the Platforms begin to take shape in more nations around the world, a Global Youth Platform and website will provide a real-time display of youth priorities and solutions.  These Platforms will serve as the basis for youth-led community action in the years to come.

 

            4.7.1.5 Gatherings on Collaboration

 

GYAN analyzes current events and studies opportunities for youth participation.  In response it organizes Gatherings on Collaborations to build relationships between groups, match needs with resources, and set new projects and partnerships in motion.  Gatherings on Collaboration are organized on local, national, and international levels.  They build off of existing networks and in some cases create new ones.  They range from informal dinners to formal, professionally facilitated discussions.  Sometimes they are organized independently of existing movements for the purpose of brainstorming and generating new ideas.  At the global level they most often take place in the context of larger events – places where many youth organizations are lost in the confusion and have difficulty meeting the right people and creating new relationships.  Local gatherings have been organized in major cities on four continents.  Global gatherings have recently taken place at the World Social Forum, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the Youth Employment Summit.

 

            4.7.1.6 Facilitating United Nations Youth Delegates

 

The United Nations, since its inception, has called for participation of youth. By mandate, member-states are encouraged to include youth in their delegations to the UN General Assembly.  Historically, however, few countries have responded with Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway leading the way. GYAN raises awareness about the UN invitation to include youth.  It works with organizations to lobby national governments and coaches young leaders to join their official country delegations.  In some cases GYAN also provides financial support to youth delegates form the global south.  When they arrive in New York City at the UN secretariat GYAN organizes various meetings for the young delegates to meet each other and to meet youth allies in the UN system and other global institutions.  The most active connection between GYAN and UN youth participants, however, happens on the Internet.  Members of GYAN and TakingITGlobal manage most of the communication channels around the United Nations System that are dedicated to youth such as the email networks surrounding the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the World Conference Against Racism, the Millennium Summit, and the upcoming World Summit on Information Society.

 

4.7.2 TakingITGlobal (TIG) Ongoing Programs

 

            4.7.2.1 Shared Resources Database in Partnership with GYAN

 

Together, TakingITGlobal (TIG) and the network of organizations around the Global Youth Action Network are building a shared resource database. It continuously expands and provides a centralized clearinghouse for information on the global youth movement. The database includes the most comprehensive calendar of youth-related events on the net as well as a large database of youth organizations and materials. Together these resources effectively map the activities of young organizers around the planet. Any young person can freely access the information and be connected to organizations in his or her own community. In an effort to consolidate the flow of information many organizations have agreed to merge their databases and capitalize on the synergy of combined resources. The database is also published on CD-ROMs and distributed to those with little or no access to the Internet.

 

            4.7.2.2 The TakingITGlobal Website and Framework

 

TakingITGlobal has become the most visited site on the Internet for organizing youth movements.  The shared resource database described above integrates into many online applications including:

 

1) A shared resource database that lists events, organizations, and funding opportunities.

2) A database of youth-led projects with a system to help planning, design and reporting.

3) A membership database that gives individuals the ability to develop online profiles, to track their participation in various events and networks, and to write regular journals chronicling their activities.

4) A discussion system that focuses youth dialogue on various trends and issues around the world.  Some of these dialogues are developed in partnership with other groups such as the World Economic Forum and the Hague Appeal for Peace Youth Network.

5) An administration system that allows groups to collaborate in developing local, national, and regional web pages that link all of the above resources and databases.

 

            4.7.2.3 Technology Support

 

As an extension of the Framework described above, TakingITGlobal provides technology development and support for many youth organizations and initiatives.  Some clients include the Youth Employment Summit, the Global Youth Action Network, Global Youth Service Day and many more.  The provides low cost Internet solutions for the global youth movement and a source of income for TIG operation.

 

            4.7.2.4 Country Sites

 

TakingITGlobal works with its members to develop Internet sites for youth in their countries.  The sites are gateways for young people of any country to get inspired, informed and involved.  TIG believes that a multiple-level network, that integrates national youth networks into a global network, will foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.  For more details see: http://local.takingitglobal.org

 

            4.7.2.5 Topical Networks

 

TakingITGlobal is creating a series of online issue-focused communities or “topical sites” for youth. Each site is accompanied by a network of organizations and developed in partnership with youth groups that have expertise in the issue. The first topical network on sustainable development was launched at the World Summit on the Sustainable Development with many partners including UNEP, UNDP and UNICEF. Other networks are being developed on entrepreneurship, health, technology etc.

 

            4.7.2.6 Youth Creating Digital Opportunities

 

In partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Global Knowledge Partnership, and others, TakingITGlobal is developing a comprehensive framework for youth action on the digital divide.  The framework, Youth Creating Digital Opportunities, supports youth networking, participation in decision-making processes, and development of concrete projects.  It also facilitates youth involvement in the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society.  For more information see: www.ycdo.net

 

            4.7.2.7 The Global Gallery

 

The Global Gallery is a system for connecting youth through art and technology worldwide. The vision behind the Gallery is to help people inspire and be inspired by the different cultural and artistic expressions that tell diverse and meaningful stories about where people come from.  It provides young and up-and-coming artists with a global platform for their work to gain exposure.  Participants can submit visual art or poetry and browse through the exhibits of others.

 

            4.7.2.8 TakingITGlobal in Education - “TIG-ED”

 

TakingITGlobal is in the process of developing a new education program that will be launched in September 2003.  It will integrate discussion of international issues and the TakingITGlobal online community into the classroom.  The initiative will combine a laptop-loan program, a carefully designed teacher’s website, and curriculum materials developed in collaboration with prestigious partner institutions.  The project seeks to make education more meaningful and to prepare students for participation in society.

 

            4.7.2.9 Opportunity and Resource Center

 

TakingITGlobal manages a Resource Center for young people in Toronto, Canada.  The Center provides computer access and space for peer-to-peer training workshops in technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, and the arts.  The Center also serves as a base for youth organizing, action, and community building.

 

4.7.3 Past Projects of TakingITGlobal

 

            4.7.3.1 Earth Youth

 

EarthYouth.net is the youth Internet portal for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  It helps young people interested in sustainable development to connect, access resources, share stories, and get inspired. The idea was conceived at the UNEP Global Youth Forum on Sustainable Development in Denmark in March 2002. Key partners in the project include the European Youth Forum, the Global Youth Action Network, Peace Child International, MandateTheFuture, the Global Youth Reporters Project, the International Young Professionals Foundation, and hundreds of grassroots youth organizations.  The project has been endorsed by UNEP and the Earth Charter, and was partially funded by UNICEF and the UNDP.

 

            4.7.3.2 YoungPRESS

 

Young PRESS was an unprecedented collaboration among more than 20 youth-run and youth-focused organizations in media, technology and education.  It was designed to provide a collaborative model for strengthening youth media and reaching across the digital divide using both old and new technologies. It encompassed audio, text, video and TV, as well as satellite and internet-based conferencing.  The project was prepared for launch at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children and Children's in New York, September 16th-21st 2001 but was cancelled after the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001.  Today the initiative has transformed into an online for-youth, by-youth journalism component of the TakingITGlobal framework.

 

            4.7.3.3 IdeaFund

 

The Ideafund is both a fund for social action and a bank of ideas.  It helps people with ideas to connect with knowledge, mentors, partnerships, and funding for the purpose of transforming ideas into action.  The site takes participants through a step-by-step process of outlining their ideas, developing a mission, considering outreach, forming a team, gathering resources, setting a timeline and making an evaluation.  Since the start of the Ideafund hundreds of ideas have been submitted with the three best ideas receiving financial support and publicity on the site.  Today the project is being redeveloped and integrated into the Projects System of the TakingITGlobal framework.