Change the World Through Youth Exchanges

Date: 07 March 2013

“Do you believe you can change the world?”
asked Norwegian Minister of International Development, Heikki Holmas to a 300-strong crowd, mainly comprising youth from both Norway and those on exchange programmes, at the Fredskorpset Youth Conference on 27 February in Oslo, Norway.

He was met with a resounding “yes” by the youth, who all cheered and shouted enthusiastically. Sharing the podium with him were other illustrious speakers, including His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, who opened the event.

“You are the present. You are the now. You need to be listened to now!” And listen we did, to the stars of the day: the Young Peace Performers (YPP). A group of 15 youth from 7 different countries, these youth delivered a strong message:

•    A peaceful and just world is possible through global solidarity

•    We can eradicate absolute poverty by 2030

The YPP group of 15 youth from 7 countries have travelled through Kenya, Tanzania and now Norway advocating for justice and peace. The YPP is done in partnership with Y Global Norway, through Fredskorpset, the national agency tasked with youth exchanges. Africa Alliance has a partnership with Y Global, whereby we have two S2C Ambassadors on the exchange, whose role it is to run S2C workshops in the communities. Other partners are Kenya YMCA and YWCA, Tanzania YWCA, Sudan YMCA, Sri Lanka YMCA, Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) of East Jerusalem YMCA and Palestine YWCA.

As YPP coordinators, we spent the next few days evaluating the current programme, and planning for the upcoming 2013/14 programme which focuses on Palestine, and also tours Jordan and Norway.
Some questions we asked ourselves and encourage you to ask in your youth exchanges:

•    How does the youth exchange influence the individual participants to work for a more just world?

•    What type of interventions at a local level can a youth exchange have and how do we ensure these are sustainable?

Gil Harper, International and Corporate Affairs, Africa Alliance of YMCAs

World E-News – March 2013