Today, August 12, 2010, is International Youth Day. It's a day to celebrate the power of young people to make positive change for their communities, countries, and the world. Even bigger, today kicks off the International Year of Youth. There are lots of ways you can get involved over the next few months, and year. Here are 10 actions you can take right now:
1. Celebrate the International Year of Youth
Think about what you can do in your community and how you can effectively spread the message that women and girls are important. Make it fun and accessible, and use all your channels to get the word out. Think Facebook, Twitter, university newsletters, local newspapers:
• Educational radio show. Contact popular local/national radio stations to request a slot to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth.
• Organize a public meeting or debate to discuss young people's contributions to global issues.
• Initiate round table discussions among adults and young people to promote intergenerational understanding.
• Organize a youth forum to exchange ideas and discuss cultural backgrounds in order to help young people accept others and popularize a culture of non-violence.
• Organize a concert to promote International Youth Day and the launch of the Year. Invite your local musicians and combine it with a panel discussion or invite a politician or policy maker to hold the key note speech.
• Create an "info point" about youth-related issues in the center of town/village, at high schools, or at university centers.
• Organize an exhibition. Get permission to use a public space for an arts exhibit, which showcases the challenges of young people today or how young people are contributing to development. Try to involve young people in the domains of culture, arts and music, to raise awareness on youth-related issues.
• Write to your Minister of Youth to inform him or her about the challenges young people face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions. A list of Ministers of Youth can be found at www.un.org/youth.
Get more ideas by downloading the Youth Guide to Action on Maternal Health.
Year of Youth website: http://social.un.org/youthyear/
To subscribe to the free e-newsletter "Youth Flash", please visit: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/flash.htm
To become a Facebook friend of the UN Programme on Youth, please visit: www.facebook.com/UNyouth
A calendar of youth events is available at: http://social.un.org/youthyear/
2. Follow the World Youth Conference 2010 Online
Can't make it to Mexico? Read about what youth from around the world are talking about at the World Youth Conference on their website. Read the declarations, watch videos of the speakers, and follow the latest news.
You can also join the discussion at UNFPA's blog, Conversations for a Better World. Three of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders will be guest "blog editors" discussing the conference. Look out for blogs from Emily Akullu from Uganda, Robert Mukondiwa from Zimbabwe, and Angella Musiimenta from the UK and Uganda, and read what they have to say.
3. Build the Next Generation of Powerful Women
On September 20, 2010, Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington and Donna Karan will host the first annual conference for New York's most powerful women in politics, philanthropy, media, fashion and the arts. Women: Inspiration & Enterprise (W.I.E.) Symposium will be hosted by the White Ribbon Alliance and will feature powerful speakers, lively panels and informative lectures under the central theme: "Women Inspiring Women". The WIE Symposium will be held to coincide with a United Nations review summit on the Millennium Development Goals also being held in New York.
They are calling for America's next generation of powerful and inspiring young women to be part of this event and they need your help. They have reserved fifty seats for young women between the ages of 18-25.
Interested applications should complete a short questionnaire by August 20th. Selected applicants will be granted admission to the Symposium on September 20th, 2010 in New York City. However, applicants are required to cover any travel costs and expenses. To apply, click here.
4. Read an Op-ed by a Women Deliver Young Leader and Write Your Own
Interested in what other youth have to say? Read and comment on the op-ed by Ernestine Greaves, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders, on our website. Inspired? Write your own and send it to us, and it could be featured on our website!
5. Apply for Funding to Raise Awareness about HIV/AIDS
MTV's Staying Alive Foundation has announced their 2nd call for proposals for 2010. The Staying Alive Foundation is all about empowering young people who want to make a difference in their communities. They look for youth-led organizations that raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and that have received little or no previous funding. Grants are a maximum of US$12,000.
The application process happens in two stages, and begins with a short online form. The deadline to apply is August 23rd.
6. Learn About Successful HIV/AIDS Prevention Programming
What Works for Women and Girls: Evidence for HIV/AIDS Interventions is a comprehensive review of successful HIV programming for women and girls that includes data from 455 interventions in over 90 countries. Click here to read more.
7. Join Young Feminists to Learn About Gender Justice
Apply to be a part of the fourth global DAWN Training Institute (DTI), which will take place from 10 to 28 October, 2011 in South East Asia. The main objectives of this three-week training course are to prepare young feminist activists from Southern countries for the challenges entailed in working for gender justice in the present global geopolitical and economic context; to build their capacity in understanding linkages between different issues and advocacy agendas, particularly those concerned with gender justice in its multiple and inter-linked dimensions - economic, political, ecological, social and personal; and, to strengthen feminist analysis and advocacy work in some complex areas at global and regional levels.
Applications can be submitted online via www.dawnnet.org.
The deadline for applications is September 15, 2010
8. Attend a Conference On Youth Sexuality
The "Sexuality under 18: how the social environment influences sexual development" Conference, sponsored by the Rutgers Nisso Group, the World Populations Foundation and Youth Incentives, will take place on 11 and 12 October 2010 in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
For more information and to register, check out the website here. More detailed information about the conference - such as biographies of the key note speakers, detailed workshop descriptions with links to relevant websites, information about performances at the conference and the venue, and more - will soon be available at: www.wpf.org and www.rutgersnissogroep.org.
9. Learn About Youth and the Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed upon by world governments in 2000, have set the priorities for international development for the past decade. Ten years have passed since the MDG targets were set, and yet there is still progress to be made on key issues relating to young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Youth Coalition addresses some of these issues in three new factsheets which highlight the connections between young people's SRR and the MDGs, as they relate to HIV, Maternal Health and Comprehensive Sexuality Education. These factsheets critically analyze the MDGs from a youth perspective and are a useful tool in supporting advocacy efforts in the lead-up to the ten year review of the Millennium Development Goals. Download the factsheets from the website.
10. Find Out What Happened at the International AIDS Conference
Almost half of all new HIV infections in the world are among people under 25! Globally, 5.4 million young people are living with HIV. Young women under age 25 are at an even greater risk for HIV infection and comprise 57.4% of infected youth. Young people remain the group that is most vulnerable to HIV infection due to many factors, including lack of information, education, societal influences, and inability to access healthcare services. At this year's International AIDS Conference in Vienna, young people showed up in force to work towards combating the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people.
- Read news articles and blogs here: http://youthaids2010.tigweb.org/
- Watch a video of the Youth Spokespeople.
- Or check out the pictures from AIDS 2010.