Young people coming together in joint action has served as a major engine of social transformation throughout human history. At key moments, younger generations have repeatedly acted to overthrow and dismantle systems of oppression, subordination and injustice.
Today, youth-led collective action is proving decisive in combating global challenges. From fighting for the environment, to protecting and expanding the rights of women and girls, to demanding economic justice, young people are at the forefront of change.
To ensure the aspirations of the next generation are met, the World Economic Forum founded the Global Shapers Community – a network of inspiring innovators, activists and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who play a central role in creating lasting change in their communities and the world.
Here are the ways they’re standing up and taking action today.
1. Standing up for equity and inclusion
Around the world, Shapers work to build inclusive communities, break stereotypes and advance gender equality. In the last twelve months, Shapers in 125 cities have developed grassroots solutions, including awareness campaigns, education initiatives and skill-building efforts to reduce barriers to women in the workplace, increase civic engagement among minority groups and advocate for the rights of refugees.
For example, Fatima Azzahra El Azzouzi, a Shaper in Casablanca Hub (Morocco) is leading a global initiative to provide mental-health peer counselling to those who need it most. In Amman Hub (Jordan), Shapers are running a video series called Nafsyeh to educate people in Arabic-speaking communities about mental health, a still taboo and often under-discussed topic nationally, said Shaper Ibrahem Abu Hijleh. To date, Shapers have reached 10,000 young people with mental health support in 6 languages.
“By training young people using evidence-based methods adapted to linguistic and cultural needs, Global Shapers have the potential to revolutionize how mental health support is delivered worldwide,” El Azzouzi said.
In Mexico City (Mexico), Shapers are curating digital resources to provide migrants information about job opportunities, said Shaper Laura Reyna. In Los Angeles Hub (USA), Shapers are partnering with the local government to provide mentorship to refugees. Caracas Hub (Venezuela) is supporting nearly 10,000 refugees with access to healthcare, education and nutrition, said Shaper Juan Jose Pocaterra.
In addition, Ho Hub (Ghana) is running a Girls Mentoring Programme to empower young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, explained Yayra Adyofu. In Ahmedabad Hub (India), Shapers are providing sexual and reproductive health education to young women and girls, reaching more than 2,300 students to date.
2. Protecting the planet and nature
According to the latest Global Shapers Survey, climate change and the destruction of nature are the biggest global concerns for young people. In response, Shapers have implemented 160 environment-related projects this year. Projects are wide-ranging and included climate strikes, beach clean-ups, reforestation projects and advocacy campaigns like #VoiceforthePlanet.
For example, Erbil Hub (Iraq) has established plastic-bottle-collection initiatives at local schools and universities to create a culture of recycling, explained Basima Abdulrahman. Similarly, Gold Coast Hub (Australia) is coordinating a project called Good Karma to collect recyclables and invest returns into Circular Economy projects.
“By generating awareness and creating a vehicle where young people can contribute towards a more circular economy, we are helping to form better attitudes and behaviours for current and future generations,” said Shaper Rachel Hansen.
In other parts of the world, Panama Hub (Panama) is organizing fruit tree-planting drives to reforest nature where they live and improve child nutrition, Shaper Laura Diaz said. Similarly, in Lahore Hub (India), Shapers are leading a reforestation initiative in one of the most polluted cities in the world. They’ve planted more 15,000 trees to date – one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight climate change
This article was orignally published on World Economic Forum