We're committed to empowering young people to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and continue their journey as active citizens after their ICS placement.
We had a goal - to support our alumni to develop their own meaningful activities and build an active network of national ICS returned volunteers in the countries we work in across the world who are enthusiastic about the work of ICS.
So far we've set National Youth Engagement Network’s up in Tanzania, Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia - and now the UK and Uganda!
Here's what they've been up to.
From promoting Bangladeshi government helplines for victims of harassment on public transport to taking the UN's Sustainable Development Goals to 90 NYEN members across India, here's a snapshot of what NYEN has achieved.
Stickered 500 buses to tackle harassment on public transport
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, public transport is a unpleasant – and often dangerous – experience, especially if you’re a woman or girl. Bangladeshi volunteer Atika Shafa, 21, is part of a team of 10 ICS volunteers trying to do something about it. Over four days, they put stickers on more than 500 public vehicles telling women about a government helpline to help them access justice for the harassment they face.
But NYEN Bangladesh's focus on fighting for gender equality doesn't stop there! From providing access to information on safe menstrual practices, dignity kits and advocating to end period shame, to campaigning to end the harmful practice of child marriages through their Child Not Bride Campaign, they are increasing girls' attendance in school and ensuring girls now their rights and their worth. They have engaged over 6000 girls and youth since they set up and are going strong!
Safeguarding rural communities
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYEN Cambodia members were at the forefront of activities, bringing awareness and safeguarding practices to marginalized and rural communities. So far they have been able to reach more than 1200 households in 3 communes with their message.
Reacting to the economic burden that has also come with the pandemic, they are partnering with local job centers to provide entrepreneurship skills to young people in the villages too.
Using the power of the air waves
Embedding themselves in the community, ICS alumni have joined forces with local youth activists under the NYEN umbrella in 5 regions hubs. Using the power of the radio and media to get across their messages of advocacy, they have reached over 5000+ young people to date!
They have been able to increase awareness of disability rights and inclusion through the Youth with Disabilities Campaign; demand better environmental management through the Usafi Ni Mimi Na Wewe campaign; enhanced livelihoods and economic wellbeing of young people and championed for increased access to safe menstrual health services through the #Hedhi-Salama campaign.
Brought together Nepali volunteers to champion the power of volunteering
Nepal's NYEN collective organised a celebration event to champion the work of 2,000 ICS volunteers in over 10 districts across the country. "We learnt that young people need three things to lead change. First, they need to be empowered. Second, they need to be supported. And third, they need a voice and a place at the decision making table," Kaajal Pradhan, Nepal Country Director at Restless Development told the Himalayan Times.
NYEN Nepal supports peer to peer learning, leadership development and presents an opportunity to influence decision making through policy advocacy, and have reached 1500+ young people to date! They are working hard to strengthen young peoples' voices and ability to influence change, and are partnering up with likeminded youth organisations, clubs, the National Youth Council and the Ministry of Youth & Sports in Nepal.
Championing diversity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
A diverse group of volunteers from India’s NYEN team took part in a four day Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) action planning workshop. They then took this knowledge – and went on to lead sessions with 90 NYEN members across the country on how to achieve three of the SDGs – better health, gender equality and decent work.
Bringing together young people to tackle the climate crisis
For International Youth Day, this year, NYEN UK brought together over 200 young people, from across the world, to mobilise and empower them to take climate action.
10 ICS alumni on the NYEN UK’s Core committee designed and led a series of 4 online climate events, exploring climate issues in different countries, developing young people’s skills in campaigning & how to start their own climate action project, expanding networks of like-minded young people, climate activists and organisations, and amplifying youth voice on the climate crisis through an online campaign, pledging to take climate action!
“This is a critical moment to make individual lifestyle changes, build more sustainable communities and campaign for transformative policy making at an international level.” Jas, NYEN UK Core Committee Member
Newest kids on the block!
Launched in summer 2020, NYEN Uganda's core team are rearing to go! With decent livelihoods for youth, mental health and life skills as their focus, we can't wait to see the amazing work and opportunities that will be coming out of Uganda soon!