Over the past six months that I served as a Global Citizenship Fellow for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in Chicago, I have met many students eager to take action on complex global issues. This month, I joined nearly 400 Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world at the 2012 Girls’ World Forum in Chicago who had gathered to mobilize around the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1, 3 and 7. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from more than 80 countries came together with a common goal—to take action on three of the most prominent global issues of our time: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and empower women, and ensure environmental sustainability.
Tag Archives for "youth action"
I recently traveled to Kosovo for the inaugural Kosovo Innovation Camp, a UNICEF sponsored, 48-hour intensive retreat that brought together 80 young people to develop six projects, from idea to business plan. The goal of UNICEF’s Innovations Lab Kosovo is threefold: to develop new solutions for some of Kosovo’s problems, empower young people to be a part of the solution, and connect them with community leaders. By these measures, the event was a huge success. Watching these young people in the room, it was easy to imagine the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin coming from Kosovo. The participants’ ideas, ability to connect different technological solutions, and energy were contagious, and I found myself wondering how many great ideas we may have missed out on just because there was no access to a mentoring, support, and peer network such as this one.
Imagine having a team of idea generators with a can-do energy working side-by-side with you. Imagine being able to join a brainstorm on the couch about building a services office for developmentally challenged youth at the University of Pristina (it’s helpful if you speak Albanian), curl up on a bean bag to watch a presentation on peer-to-peer learning, or escape to one of the open computers to fine-tune your proposal, edit your budget, or finish a report. It’s kind of like college all over again. Except here, these projects have real world application and the projected results will have immediate momentum- building effect. The fun part is that this collaborative environment is self-motivated. These youth are serious about change and it’s infectious. The really cool part is watching the staff at the Lab provoke and leverage all of these good ideas into something actionable.
Recently, at a UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, three young adults were invited to lead and make their own voices heard. The UN Global Platform provided an amazing opportunity for these youths to join in the conversation, and the extraordinary young adults Andra and Tricia, both 14 from the Philippines, and Johnson, 17, from Kenya rose to the occasion.
he Sicomac students had heard about the difficult situation faced by their counterparts in Malawi by watching a video clip from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. The host described his visit to the country in the summer and how his shock at seeing students crowded into classrooms and sitting on dirt floors inspired him to take action. In partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, he created the K.I.N.D. Project (Kids In Need of Desks) and challenged Americans to help.
Meet “Coeur Ã Coeur,” a boy band that calls a UNICEF-supported residential center in Port-au-Prince home. The center provides the boys with housing, hot food, an education and vocational training. The staff is also working to reunify the boys with their families.