Youth: Catalysts for Change – Promoting Youth Civic Engagement and Empowerment under the ConnectEd Program

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World Education believes that it is youth themselves who offer the greatest potential for breaking the cycle of their own exclusion and disadvantage, if given the right tools, technologies, resources, skills and space to do so. From Australia and China to Brazil and France, ConnectEd has done just that. Since 2011, the program has seen over 5,000 youth getting involved in their communities in new ways – volunteering at orphanages or elderly care homes, leading campaigns, calling meetings, using art, theater, video, photos and social media to express their values, ideas, concerns, and dreams. ConnectEd has enabled youth to enter a much wider public arena and have their presence felt. Testimonials and project data reveal that, as a result, youth have experienced new feelings of belonging, agency, and responsibility.

This article describes the foundations and inputs that were needed to foster these transformations; showcase some of the notable results; and, reflect on what was learned along the way. World Education, 2016.

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