Youth Launch Campaigns for World Summit on the Information Society
Campaigns to create ‘digital opportunities’ for youth regardless of location
Geneva, 10 October 2003 – The Youth Caucus of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has launched a series of innovative “National Information Society Youth Campaigns” in nineteen countries around the world. The goals of the campaigns are to bring the issues and concerns of youth to national and international decision-makers, and to build local movements where youth work with their peers to create digital opportunities.
From Sierra Leone to Brazil, India to the Philippines, young people are implementing a wide variety of activities that include; workshops, prime time interactive radio programs, media outreach, video conferences and websites. They’re holding meetings in community halls, raising awareness in schools, sending email newsletters, training others at Internet cafes, talking with decision-makers, and implementing projects at a local level.
“We’re excited about the National Campaigns because they provide space for youth to discover new innovative ways to learn from each other and develop concrete collaborations that will help raise awareness of the issues surrounding the development of the Information Society and to ensure its benefits are extended to youth in both the developed and developing world,” said Nick Moraitis, facilitator of the Youth Caucus.
Each campaign is conceptualized and implemented by Youth Caucus members in their own countries, together with numerous partner organizations. The Government of Canada and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation have provided mini-grants to support them.
Ongoing progress from the National Campaigns is profiled on the “Youth Creating Digital Opportunity” website
http://www.ycdo.net At the Summit, their results shall be distributed through a publication, a panel discussion, and in the Youth Hub space of the ICT4D Platform. It is also expected that national campaign coordinators will meet with their Heads of State or Delegations at the Summit to present the results of the Youth Campaigns.
National Campaigns compliment other Youth Caucus initiatives for the Summit including Youth Day (December 10), WSIS Youth Awards, Youth Hub Exhibition Space at the ICT4D Platform, Youth Media Program and the launch of the Youth Creating Digital Opportunities (YCDO) Fund.
Brazil’s campaign is already underway with a video conference bringing together youth from four of the major cities to discuss information society issues held on the 12th of September. Five workshops are planned for October across the country, in addition to an e-dialog that will develop a common platform for Brazilian youth.
Interagir, Conferedeção Nacional das Indústrias, Natal Voluntários, União dos Escoteiros do Brasil, and the Global Youth Action Network South American Regional Office.
In Egypt, the Youth Campaign is producing two publications exploring the use of technology to protect Egypt’s environment and the integration of disabled youth in the Information Society. The forums, to be held at the new Alexandrina Library in Alexandria, and the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, will lead to the development of a national roadmap for youth creating digital opportunities
Sustainable Development Association (SDA), YES Country Network Egypt, Tourists Friends Association, TakingITGlobal Egypt, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The youth network YOIS is coordinating a three-day youth conference at the end of October called “Vision Information Society?” with 150 participants to draft a WSIS declaration. They will also support concrete projects for a sustainable information society in their global north-south school network Proday, and launch a book of perspectives on the information society from young authors at the Summit.
German Ministry for Economics, Club of Rome, Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Global Society Dialogue, Global Contract Foundation, Research Institute for Applied Knowledge Processing, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Ghana’s campaign is well underway, having launched a national essay competition, and a 30 minute television program. Future activities include a two-Day National Youth Forum (October 25-26) at BusyInternet (West Africa’s largest Internet café), two 1-hour radio call-in programs and the development of a regular newsletter for Ghanaian schools.
African Youth Initiative, OneVillage Foundation, Go-Online Africa, TakingITGlobal Ghana, Young Peace Builders Network, Ghana GINKS, Electrobox Global Systems, and Choinia Informatica
Greece Netherlands Romania
AEGEE (otherwise known as the European Students Forum) is planning national campaigns engaging youth in at least three countries. Two chapters of AEGEE chapters per country are planning events related to the Information Society and a survey is to be distributed across the AEGEE network, leading to the creation of a report.
TakingITGlobal, AEGEE-Europe, andAEGEE local chapters in Romania, Netherlands, Greece
India kicked off its Campaign with a conference for 150 youth at the Indian Institute of Technology’s Global Institute for Convergence Studies in New Delhi held in the final week of August 2003. Further activities include two more conferences scheduled for Calcutta and Pune. The Campaign has already been featured in the national press, including the Times of India
TakingITGlobal, Center for Youth and Development Activities, and the Global Institute for Convergence Studies
In Japan, the United Nations Student Association of Japan (UNSAJ) is coordinating research and workshops exploring the experience of Japanese youth in the Information Society, including the negative aspects of it.
UNSAJ, the Japanese branch of the International Student Movement of the United Nations (ISMUN).
The national campaign in Moldova has held seminars in two of the biggest cities and five villages to inform youth about Information Society issues, development of a website, media coverage and a program mobilizing young volunteers who provided free Internet access and training for 200 people. The campaign is now being expanded to distribute information about the WSIS process to 30 schools and 10 universities, and create a national network of youth organizations active around technology issues.
Balti Students League, Internet Access and Training Program Balti, ProBusinessNord, Future Business Leaders Association, “DECA PRESS”SmallEuroBusiness, Soros Foundation Moldova, National Young Managers’ Association, American Councils for International Education, University Alecu Russo, and the Balti Municipal Library
Nigerian youth will hold three major workshops for youth exploring Information Society issues in the South, the North, and the capital, Lagos. Other activities include a national youth declaration, an e-consultation, the preparation of a multimedia presentation, press activities, and planning for a National Youth Summit on the Information Society in early 2004 to explore WSIS follow-up in Nigeria.
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, West African NGO Network (WANGONET) National Association of Computer Science Students (NACCOSS), YIELD, TakingITGlobal Nigeria, and the International Young Professionals Foundation (IYPF)
The 1st Philippine Youth National Consultative Meeting on WSIS was held in the first week of September, drawing 100 young people from different sectors, as well as other key stakeholders and high-profile speakers. Other activities include a road-show through schools and universities, a series of e-learning seminars, an online discussion, as well as a 2nd meeting to continue collaboration.
Young Volunteers for Sustainable Development, TakingITGlobal, and Asian Development Bank
In a country emerging from years of conflict, this Campaign focuses on the potential for young people to use ICTs to promote understanding and peace. One-hour radio programs are planned for two of Freetown’s most popular FM radio stations to raise awareness around the issues, in advance of a 3-Day Youth Forum to be held at the British Council headquarters
TakingITGlobal Sierra Leone, Youth Empowerment and Development Ministries, Firestone Community Development and Cultural Organisation, Earth Charter Youth Group Sierra Leone
Singapore Indonesia Brunei Malaysia
The World Assembly of Youth is planning a Regional Consultation Forum for early October, bringing together youth, government ministries, and other agencies to diffuse information on WSIS, discuss key information society issues, strengthen digital opportunity projects, and draft a declaration and action plan.
World Assembly of Youth, TakingITGlobal, and the National Youth Councils of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei
Having already run a series of focus groups and conducted a survey of 450 Turkish youth on WSIS in 2003, the Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 is now planning to undertake a secondary survey with 1000 youth across 76 cities to determine the interests and concerns of young people related to the Information Society
Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, UNDP-Turkey, IULA-EMME, and the State Planning Organization
* National Campaigns are being provided with some coordination support from international youth network, TakingITGlobal (www.takingitglobal.org) which helps facilitate the Youth Caucus.
About YOUTH CAUCUS:
Participation of youth in WSIS is organized around a "Caucus" with over 1000 members from 150 countries. The Youth Caucus has been very active at all WSIS Preparatory Meetings on the regional, national and international levels. National WSIS Youth Campaigns have begun in many countries like Ghana, Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and India to initiate local activities and projects around WSIS. At the Summit itself, the Youth Caucus has an ambitious slate of activities including a Youth HUB Space at the ICT4D Platform with exhibitions and workshops, the YCDO Awards Program, a Youth Media Program, and the launch of a publication and video on best practice Youth ICT4D projects. The WSIS Youth Caucus is facilitated by TakingITGlobal, as part of the Youth Creating Digital Opportunity initiative.
The World Summit on the Information Society provides a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to develop a common vision and understanding and to address the whole range of relevant issues related to the Information Society. It aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society entities, industry leaders and media representatives to foster a clear statement of political will and concrete plan of action to shape the future of the global information society and to promote the urgently needed access of all countries to information, knowledge and communication technologies for development.
The Summit has been endorsed by the UN General Assembly and will take place under the high patronage of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, with the International Telecommunication Union taking the lead role in its preparation.
The Summit will be held in two phases: Geneva (10-12 December 2003) and Tunisia (16-18 November 2005).