Highlighting the power of microgrants as part of International Youth Day
This year for International Youth Day (IYD), TakingITGlobal (TIG) was invited to attend A Celebration of International Youth Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The gathering was organized in conjunction with the opening ceremony of the 27th Youth Assembly that took place on August 12th-14th. At the Youth Assembly I had the opportunity to talk about #RisingYouth as a panelist for a session called “Inclusion in Technological Advancements for All”. There were hundreds of youth in attendance from all over the world, and it was beautiful to see so many people come together for a powerful and educational weekend.
In New York City, I was joined by TIG’s co-founders Jennifer and Michael, and our #RisingYouth program leader Amira! For the first event we joined delegates from over 65 countries into the ECOSOC Chamber at the UN Headquarters, where the event kicked off with a message from Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations. We also got to hear from notable speakers such as Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, who spoke about the importance of IYD and the crucial role that youth play in working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
The theme for this year’s Youth Assembly was “Dare to Reshape the World” and the goal was to help youth build their skills, knowledge, and experience to create positive social change within their local and global communities. On the second day, I got to share a presentation about the role of technology within the #RisingYouth Grant Program.
For my presentation, I focused on highlighting the power of microgrants and how #RisingYouth has helped young people across Canada contribute to the progression of the SDG’s. I also shared a few projects that showcased different ways grantees have used technology to create a change in their communities. I shared a few projects that fell in line with the core areas of focus identified by the Youth Assembly which were peace and politics, global health in relation to COVID-19, global citizenship, and digital cooperation and inclusion. I also talked about ways that technology has helped our microgrant program be accessible, flexible, and allowed us to prioritize the experience of the youth.
Afterwards, there was an opportunities fair where we brought along a banner which showcased projects that fell within the most used SDG’s across all #RisingYouth projects. The banner also had a QR code where people could scan it to read more information about each project. It was an amazing opportunity as we got to interact with delegates from across the world and hear about their experiences creating social change, while also sharing stories about some of our grantees who are doing remarkable things! Amira also created a beautiful interactive piece to our booth revolving around the question, “If you could reshape the world, what would you do?” We asked youth to answer this question on cue cards, which were then attached to the globe according to the country the youth was from.
On the final day of the Youth Assembly, we sponsored a networking session to give youth an opportunity to interact and connect with one another. The session was titled “Mobilizing Millions for Microgrants” and it began with Jennifer sharing a land acknowledgement, the story of TIG and how #RisingYouth came to be. She also talked about the impact #RisingYouth has had on the lives of thousands of our grantees across Canada, and motivated youth to look for funding opportunities in their local communities. Throughout Jennifer’s presentation she invited to discuss amongst themselves, and Amira passed the microphone around the room to give delegates the opportunity to share their stories and reflections. To end off the session I hosted a Kahoot game with some fun facts about #RisingYouth, and a Jamboard for delegates to share their social media handles and stay connected!
Lastly, we launched a Global Gallery contest specifically for the Youth Assembly. We invited delegates to share their imagination, voice, and perspectives to reflect and create upon the theme of social connectedness. Also… the contest is still open and available to anybody around the world! You can enter by simply submitting a piece of art that revolves around the theme “Dare to Reshape Our World”.
TIG staff members will be judging the entries and while the contest is open to everyone, the contest winners must be between 10–30 years old at the time of entry. We also have prizes at stake! The first place prize is a Lenovo Yoga 7, the second place prize is an iPad 8th Generation, and the third place prize is a $100 USD GlobalGiving.org gift card to support a project of the winners choice. You can submit your photo, video, poetry, music, art piece (or literally anything that you perceive as art), to our Global Gallery. The contest will be open until October 3rd, 2022.
We understand that there are many times we do not have the words to express our thoughts and actions, and we welcome individuals to showcase their work through creativity. Our plan is to showcase images and videos submitted as part of international conferences and gatherings with the aim of inspiring decision-makers and community leaders.