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9 photos celebrating International Youth Day around the world

This week we're focusing on young people.

For International Youth Day, we've put on a series of global events in Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and Zambia, empowering young people to be active citizens on the issues that they care about.

This year's theme is youth employability - a significant problem all around the world, with young people almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. And what better way for us to try and tackle this than by bringing together engaged volunteers to explore the issues, building skills and networks to challenge the problem.

In nine photos, see our highlights from International Youth Day.

A group of young women pose for a photo, holding up an oversized cardboard Instagram frame
© ICS / Becky Mursell
Youth Steering Group members Beth, Molly, Vanessa, Shonese, Kasi, Chanel and Alison

1. Young people around the world collaborated to organise their own events

A Youth Steering Group made up of seven recently-returned UK ICS volunteers covering countries from Tanzania to Togo came together to organise our Youth Employability and Skills event in London.

The plan? A series of workshops, panel discussions and talks about how volunteers can turn their active citizenship into the skills they need to stay in education or get into work. The challenge? Just a few months to pull it together.

A group of panel members sit on the top of a stage
© ICS / Becky Mursell
The panel on youth employability took some tough questions from the audience

2. Not avoiding the difficult questions

A highlight from the UK event was a panel discussion featuring some voices who could talk about the value of ICS from all angles.

They included ICS alumni Faiza Amin, who's now Engagement & Advocacy Manager at UK Youth, and campaigning and advocacy expert Lorriann Robinson, who spoke about the need for more black voices in development.

And they included Aysha Harwood, Youth Lead at DFID, who took a great question from the audience about how she landed a job at the coveted UK government development agency.

"It took 9 job apps before I got in," said Aysha. "Persistence is key. Ask for feedback and you’ll get closer and closer. Also look into the Civil Service Summer Internship and DFID Entry Talent Scheme (from Spring 2020)."

An ICS volunteer in a blue shirt stands against a brick backdrop
© ICS / Becky Mursell
ICS Team Leader Usaama has stayed an active citizen since ICS

3. ICS empowered me to continue making a difference

"Before I volunteered with ICS, I used to think addressing global poverty, injustice and inequality were all too big to solve. But through seeing first-hand the impact our work had on the local community, ICS empowered me to want to continue making a difference."

(Side note: he did, spending a year volunteering on the refugee crisis in Greece.)

Usaama Kaweesa, 29, ICS Team Leader in Uganda

A woman sits in the audience smiling with people behind her
Pictured: a young person listens to what the government have to say at an ICS event in Dodoma, Tanzania

4. Bringing local government and young people together in Tanzania to find answers to youth unemployment

In Tanzania, youth unemployment is a big issue being tackled by ICS volunteers. Nationally, more than one in ten young people are out of work, despite strong economic growth over the last 10 years.

The National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN) is a collective of ICS alumni from Raleigh, Restless and VSO, determined to continue their active citizenship after finishing their placement.

For International Youth Day, they held a panel discussion in the capital of Dodoma with the ministry and other local organisations to tackle those key questions on how the rates of unemployment can be resolved.

A group of young people hold up an Instagram photo frame and pose
We couldn't get enough of the Instagram frames

5. And lots of Instagram frames happened.

From the UK to this Youth Employability and Skills event hosted by Raleigh in Morogoro, Tanzania. We couldn't get enough.

A group of young people pose for a photo outside a building
ICS volunteers in Zambia, put on an enterprise skills event
A man sits on a red set of steps to pose for a photo
Alexander Kapansa's parents died when he was just a teenager

6, 7. "Getting involved with ICS enterprise training has given me ideas for how to turn my life around"

In the town of Samfya, Zambia, ICS alumni hosted a skills session for young people. Running entrepreneurship training and financial literacy workshops, their event was specifically targeted at vulnerable young people and those with disabilities - two groups who often don't get a chance in formal education.

Alexander Kapansa, 22, is one of those young people.

Forced to quit secondary school after his parents died, Alexander was taken in by his uncle. But with no business capital or entrepreneurial knowledge, he struggled to provide for his uncle's family. 

VSO Zambia's YES training has helped him develop some key skills and ideas that he hopes will soon help him get a small poultry business off the ground.

"The training empowered me to understand more about starting and managing a business and helping and trusting one another in a youth group - something that's quite hard in the communities we live in," said Alexander.

A group of young people respond to what a speaker is saying on stage
A young person listens to the local mayor speaking about what support they can receive

8. Celebrating Dodoma's leading youth organisation receiving 100m shillings

In Dodoma, the NYEN-organised YES event had something exciting to celebrate - a leading youth development organisation they work with receiving a grant for 100m Tanzanian shillings (£36,000) to support young people into work.

At their event, members of the city council as well as the deputy mayor explained how young people can apply for different government-backed opportunities and support to help them get ahead.

A woman holding felt tip pens live transcribes with doodles what she's hearing from presenters
© ICS / Becky Mursell
Pictured: members of the Youth Steering Group help shape the direction of the note-taking

9. Watching our conversations turn into images!

Beatrice Baumgartner-Cohen, an insanely talented artist came to the UK event to put her illustration skills to good use - transcribing all of the conversations in a visual and engaging way so we can revisit them later!