Statement on World Mental Health Day

man overlooking clouds on hill

October 10 marks World Mental Health Day. Mental health and well-being is something of concern to every human being, regardless of geography, nationality, education, gender or socioeconomic status. According to the World Health Organization “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.” (source)  

While mental illness is a widespread concern that does not discriminate, we also know that some groups are more likely to face challenges than others. Young people are one such group. Most mental disorders begin in youth (12-24 years of age), with early intervention being critical. (source) Additionally, the many problems facing today’s youth, such as unemployment, conflict, and increased catastrophic weather events as a result of climate change, can also have significant negative impacts on the well-being of young people.

We encourage all communities and countries to establish comprehensive strategies and programs that promote and ensure the well-being of their citizens, especially young people. This should include short-term and crisis interventions, long-term supports, and especially preventative measures. These must be present in all areas of young people’s lives, such as education, the workplace, and the justice system.

To all of our readers, especially young people, know that you are not alone and that there is always hope. We encourage you to seek out support and resources; whether that is family and friends or community health supports. Take care of those around you, and stand up and advocate for the proper supports and services that your community needs to ensure everybody can live a healthy life. Together we can take care of each other and lead the change in creating stronger communities that will support all those in need.

At the Global Institute for Youth, our mission is to provide the tools for young people to lead a positive change in their countries and communities, through advocacy, education, and leadership development. For more information, please visit our website at



The Importance of the Youth Database: Strategic Elements in the Global Partnership for the SDGs

the logo

Next week, we will welcome the first year commemoration of the launching of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the world is in its very early steps of implementing the SDGs in every local and national level. Seventeen points of the SDGs with more than 200 specific targets already agreed upon by all UN members in the efforts of making a better world by 2030. Commitments were signed but consistency and credibility are questioned as today’s global circumstances are not supportive enough as more wars and conflicts happened around the world and poverty and poor education exists in more than 100 countries. Those main threats are making young people less focused on contributing to national development as well as global development. This should be tackled by great strategies which apply multi-stakeholder and inter-dimensional approaches. One great strategy is to establish a youth database that could become a critical starting point in strengthening global partnerships for the 2030 agenda.

In the UN Publication entitled “Transform Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which is a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity,[1] the UN stated that the role of data is very important in fostering a shift towards evidence-based decision-making for the SDGs. The data collection processes should be transparent and inclusive which then can result in a quality, accessible, and reliable database. Also, the UN encourages all member states to improve their data availability and coverage so that can keep monitoring of progress on track at both national and global levels. Moreover, in its paragraph 53, the UN declared “The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations” which indicated a strong interest in youth participation in implementing the SDGs. Additionally, with a total population of more than 7.2 billion people around the globe at present and around 4.7 billion in the productive age group (15-64 years old), generation-Y plays the most significant role.[2] The strategy to optimize youth participation in the SDGs must be based on the principle of ‘global direction for local action’ so that they are able to act comprehensively and devotedly.

Young people are now at the crossroad of their roles either being positive ones (agents of change), neutral ones (no action), or negative ones (agents of destruction). On one hand, there is a Pakistani-girl named Malala Yousafzai who won Nobel Peace Prize but on the other hand there are young extremist girls from the UK and the US who joined ISIS, it is a serious matter in global youth dynamics. Many young people now become founders of start-ups and entrepreneurship units in a significant number of countries, but more of them are in many developing and poor countries who cannot find their own opportunities to get out from poverty circles and poor education conditions. The core issue is they need access and access will not emerge without information and data. So, information and data is not just a statistics or report but a fundamental thing to bring youth to a better future.

In addition, I am, as a youth activist in Indonesia, through Inspirator Muda Nusantara launched an initiative on 16 September 2016 named Indonesia Youth Database on SDGs (I-USE) in order to collect basic information of youth-led and youth-based organizations, businesses, and communities in the country which directly and non-directly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. They need to publish their own profiles while at the same time are able to join hand-in-hand with other entities to support SDGs achievement in Indonesia. Also, through this initiative, many partners and stakeholders especially which comes from outside Indonesia can advance their partnership and collaboration with young people in Indonesia more systematically and more well-organized. I and the team feel optimistic that I-USE will be very useful for both Indonesia and international community in the process of implementing SDGs. Last but not least, it will be a good cornerstone for wider and higher quality partnerships on youth between Indonesia and the world.

[1] Further reading accessed on

[2] Further reading accessed on

This post was published as part of the Global Institute for Youth’s Guest Blog series. For more information, please click here

Steve HarisonSTEVIE LEONARD HARISON was born in Bandung-Indonesia, August 30, 1988. He is the founder of Inspirator Muda Nusantara, a youth empowerment organization in Bandung. He has a strong passion for youth, democracy, human rights, climate change, peace, and sustainable development. He is actively involved in youth forums at national, regional, and global levels and is also an experienced volunteer. At present, he is the country representative of Indonesia to the Asia Youth Climate Network (AYCN), member of World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). You can reach him via

Connect with him on social media:

Twitter: @steve_harison


Instagram: Steve Harison

LinkedIn: Stevie Leonard Harison

‘We believe in yEUth’: Reflections from a sinking ship

EU heart

Last Friday, I woke up in my childhood bedroom, having returned to the village where I grew up the day before to vote in the UK’s EU referendum. Turning over in the well-worn tie-dye IKEA sheets my mum had fitted on the bed, I fumbled for my phone I had placed on the bedside table seven hours before. Seven hours before, when contemplating staying up for the referendum results to flood in, I’d thought, “It’s never going to be a ‘leave’ victory anyway” and had slunk off to bed.

In true millennial fashion, Facebook was the first to inform me that our country had voted to leave the European Union. Scrolling down my newsfeed at 6.30am in the morning, post after post cried out in disbelief and upset at the result. It was the first time I found myself actively turning to the little upset emoji as my response to an incredulous amount of outpours of sadness, confusion and bitter disappointment from friends across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. With my British friends largely sharing live ‘Breaking News’ updates from the BBC and The Guardian as well as ironic, bittersweet memes and Buzzfeed articles about what a post-Brexit UK might look like (this, for example, helped lighten what was a truly bleak day), I found the most heartbreaking reactions being those of my friends and family scattered across the rest of the EU and further field. Britain, they asked, what is happening?

I’m still struggling to articulate how I felt that morning. Embarrassed, confused, shocked, dismayed, defeated…? Ten days on, the feelings of despair, anxiety and pit-in- the-bottom- of-my- stomach, are still simmering away. With each new resignation of an MP, and each announcement of a new Conservative party Prime Minister candidate, I can only wonder how long this will go on for. No end to this ‘crisis’ is in sight; there is absolutely no sign of a concrete plan for what a future post-Brexit UK will entail either. With Boris Johnson of the Conservative party and Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader, having both resigned despite the Leave campaign being largely driven by their slander, lies and ignorance, I can’t help but feel furious at their cowardly escape from resolving the mess they have led this country into. Symbolic safety pins are being worn to show solidarity with non-UK citizens residing here. Although we are going to need a lot more than just safety pins to fix the rising hate crimes and racial discrimination taking place across the country in the wake of the Brexit decision.

I have grown up in the EU. I am proud to be a Scottish, British and European citizen. As a young twenty-two year old, I hope to continue to grow, learn and discover myself as an individual in this union and I reach out a hand to wish to do the same. By taking the UK out of the union, we are closing off opportunities for individuals to live, study, work, trade and travel across the other 27 EU nations and equally, closing off these opportunities to those who wish to experience British culture and society themselves. This new future is not one I ever thought to imagine. Or one I want to imagine now, for that matter.

Whilst, of course, I respect the democratic public decision to leave the EU, it is sad to see that the majority of young people aged 18-25 that turned out to vote, voted to remain. I can begin to understand and empathise with the frustration felt by many young people across the UK who feel they have had their voices dampened and their futures somewhat sabotaged by the older generations who made up the majority of the Leave vote.

However, I can’t help but feel this argument blatantly ignores the more deep-rooted issue of youth political engagement. Instead of hotly pointing the blame to the ‘old biddies out of touch with the youth of today’, we, as young citizens, should really be tuning our attention and concerns to the state of youth participation. Yes, the majority of young voters voted to remain however, statistics have revealed that 64% of UK’s youth aged 19-25 didn’t vote at all in the first place. How can we expect our youth voices, hopes and agendas to be part of the EU to be heard, and accounted for, if only 36% of us actively participate in the decision-making processes that directly affect our lives?

In these uncertain and saddening times, I can only hope young people across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world can treat this as an example as to why we must continue to campaign and advocate for the youth voice in decision making. Moreover, I hope this highlights why we must make greater efforts as young people to reach out to and engage more youth in politics, otherwise our voices will continue to be drowned out before we’ve even had the chance to speak.

Our next Google Hangout “Voices of Youth in the EU” will take place on the 24th July at 2pm GMT. Keep an eye out for updates and announcements of our panelists in the forthcoming weeks.

Katie Reid is the Program Director at the Global Institute for Youth.

Harmonizing SDG Implementation and National Development: The Case of Indonesia


While Indonesia is becoming one of the world’s largest economic powerhouses and at the same time one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, the current government is trying to accelerate its national development and advance the strategies within the Sustainable Development Goals framework. In previous years, Indonesia through Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the country’s 6th President already contributed to the UN High Level Panel of the Post-2015 Development Agenda with 2 other state leaders from Liberia and United Kingdom. Indonesia is expected to be a good role model in the world to achieve SDGs successfully by 2030 due to its strong leverage in Southeast Asia as well as in Asia Pacific.  

In accordance to that, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) Indonesia with full support from the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) and collaborating with United in Diversity (UID) Foundation and Regional Climate Change Centre (RCCC), University of Indonesia organized a national SDGs conference on Monday, 16 May 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The conference was attended by around 300 participants with diverse backgrounds such as government officials, press media, civil society organizations representatives, business groups, and youth. At the opening, Sofyan Djalil as Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning/Head of National Development Planning Agency confirmed the strong commitment of the government of the Republic of Indonesia to adopt SDGs principles in its all national development agenda. Minister Djalil also encourages many partners both international and national to strengthening coordination and intensifying collaboration in the process of achieving SDGs.  


Steve Harrison

Blogger and UN SDSN Youth Member Steve Harrison

Also, Professor Jeffrey Sachs as the Director of the UN SDSN attended and gave a public lecture about SDGs and the Indonesian context with Mari Elka Pangestu, one of the SDSN Indonesia Leadership Council members, as moderator. Professor Sachs affirmed that Indonesia has enormous opportunities and huge challenges at the same time to achieve 17 goals of the SDGs. Indonesia must work hard and create breakthroughs to ensure that environmental protection, economic development, and social empowerment are on track for the betterment of the world’s largest archipelagic country. In his session, Professor Sachs also suggested the Indonesian government define its national priorities clearly and measure the strategies comprehensively so it would be easier to gain improvement to achieve the goals. There were some recommendations suggested by Professor Sachs for Indonesia such as poverty eradication, rural development, educational quality, ICT for sustainable development, job creation, energy transformation, climate resilience, and biodiversity conservation. These things are very important to Indonesia’s mid-term and long-term development progress.

Last but not least, Professor Sachs also emphasized about the two most important players in achieving the goals, local government authorities (LGAs) and communities. On one hand, LGAs play more vital and more direct roles than national government in mapping challenges and finding opportunities regarding the SDG implementation. In the other hand, communities as popular social hub in the 21st century becoming more popular and reliable for being a partner for development especially to gain public support, generate ideas and solutions, and as action booster. Although, still many LGAs in Indonesia are less capable to become the first mover in SDGs-oriented policy making process, slow but sure they will follow the steps. However, communities in Indonesia, especially youth-led, are very active in creating solutions and making actions to support the SDGs implementation even though they still less aware of SDGs details. It is an undeniable fact that the national government everywhere, not only in Indonesia, must embrace them to make the SDGs implementation successful and then will be a great global euphoria by 2030.

This post was published as part of the Global Institute for Youth’s Guest Blog series. For more information, please click here

Steve HarisonSTEVIE LEONARD HARISON was born in Bandung-Indonesia, August 30, 1988. He is the founder of Inspirator Muda Nusantara, a youth empowerment organization in Bandung. He has a strong passion for youth, democracy, human rights, climate change, peace, and sustainable development. He is actively involved in youth forums at national, regional, and global levels and is also an experienced volunteer. At present, he is the country representative of Indonesia to the Asia Youth Climate Network (AYCN), member of World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). You can reach him via

Connect with him on social media:

Twitter: @steve_harison


Instagram: Steve Harison

LinkedIn: Stevie Leonard Harison


How To Be A Delegate-From Home!


Conferences and summits are excellent opportunities for young people to network, learn from others in their field, and share and promote their own work. There are an increasing number of opportunities for young people to be delegates or attendees at such events, from small community events to international summits, especially as organizations and networks realize the importance of the perspectives of young people and giving them a literal seat at the table. Despite these increasing opportunities, many barriers to participation remain for young people, such as access, availability, and financial barriers, particularly when there are travel and accommodation costs involved. Fortunately, youth who have access to the internet can get around these barriers by ‘attending’ the event virtually! Not sure how to make the most of an event without being there in person? Read below to learn how you can be an effective virtual delegate from the comfort of your own home.

1. Live Streams and Video

This is our preferred method-see and hear what everybody in the room is experiencing! Live streaming is increasingly available at large scale events (particularly anything associated with the UN, which we follow closely at GIY), and is more accessible for events of any scale or budget with free or cheap live streaming tools such as Periscope and Youtube Live. You may not be able to find every moment online, particularly smaller breakout or panel sessions, but you’ll often be able to view opening and closing sessions, plenary sessions, and keynote speakers. If a live stream isn’t offered, or you can’t tune in at the time, check their website or Youtube channel, as videos will often be posted for later viewing.

2. Twitter

Sharing and engaging via twitter at conferences is common place, and you don’t have to be an official delegate to take part. Use the conference hashtag (find it on their website or twitter handle) to see what’s happening, what people are saying, and engage in conversation with them.

3. Delegate Docs and Apps

You may not be able to walk up to the registration table to receive a welcome package, but you may still be able to receive the same documents as delegates. Check the conference website, as these documents are increasingly available digitally.

Conference apps are another tool on the rise, and you don’t need to be a delegate to download. Conference schedules, documents, media releases and notifications are all common features of these apps that you can make use of wherever you are in the world.

4. Network From Afar

While you won’t be in the conference hall able to shake someone’s their hand and introduce yourself, you can still connect despite the distance. Engage via social media or arrange telephone calls or Skype chats with delegates or presenters who caught your eye. You may even be able to find delegates who are local to your area to meet with upon their return to discuss both of your thoughts and experiences.

The internet is a wonderful tool for building connections, and can be an effective for those unable to be physically present at an event. We encourage you to try one (or all!) of these methods to engage with and ‘attend’ an event and to take part in the education, inspiration, and networking opportunities these events have to offer.

6 Reasons To Apply For Youth In Diplomacy


May is always an exciting time for the Global Institute for Youth Team; it means that Youth in Diplomacy is on the horizon! This is one of our most popular programs (and one of the team’s favourites) and we encourage youth in Rwanda to apply for a chance to participate. Not sure about applying? Here’s six reasons why we believe you should!

1. Engage with and learn about global issues, diplomacy, and development

Youth in Diplomacy is an experience like no other, you’ll be meeting high-ranking people working at the heart of international diplomacy and development. Through discussions and the chance to ask questions, you’ll walk away with a wealth of knowledge coming directly from those in the field. And knowledge doesn’t just come from so-called experts; the 11 other young people in the program will also have their own fantastic life experiences and knowledge that you will be able to share with each other.

2. Be Inspired

100% of participants in 2015 said they were motivated to become more involved in their local and global community.

YD Photos1

3. Networking

While we want to make it clear that Youth in Diplomacy is not an opportunity to search for a job or internship, it is a valuable opportunity to meet and connect with both fellow young people, the GIY team, and those working in the field of diplomacy. Networks are important for building a future career, so the chance to meet new people is a valuable part of the program. In the words of a 2015 participant:

“…and sincerely speaking I met my expectations and even went beyond my expectations because I gained many new friends!”

4. Connect with GIY

For many participants, this is their first time partaking in a GIY program, but for many it is not their last. Some of our past participants have even gone on to become staff members!

5. Ask questions

As a Youth in Diplomacy participant, you will not just be sitting and listening to speeches. You will have the unique opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue, and benefit from the greater knowledge that comes from this exchange.


6. Try Something New, See What You’re Capable Of

You may be thinking “I’m not good enough for this, there’s no way they’ll accept me.” But here is the thing; if you don’t send in application, then you have already decided that you will not do the program. If you send in your application, then you’ve made it a possibility! While there is the risk of failure and it always disappointing to be rejected from something, but these are the risks that you have to take to succeed. We’re not just looking for an expansive resumé, we’re also looking for passion, dedication, and a willingness to learn. While we can’t take every applicant (we wish we could!), we encourage all youth who are interested to have confidence in themselves and what they would bring to the program, and just apply!


So, have we convinced you to apply? We hope we have! If any questions or doubts remain, please send us an e-mail at, or connect with us through social media. We look forward to reviewing this year’s applications, and hope that yours will be one of them!


Break Free From Fossil Fuels

fossil fuels

In the wake of unending fossil fuels exploration in virtually every oil producing nation around the globe, Nigeria has grown to be overly dependent on oil as the mainstay of her current industrial development and economic activity. However, little or no serious attention has been given to how oil exploration and exploitation processes create health, environmental, and social problems, especially in local communities near oil producing fields.

Until now, we have relied heavily on the infrastructure entirely reliant upon fossil fuels. Ostensibly, the burning of fossil fuels in the conversion to energy creates waste Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Hydrogen oxide (H2O). While CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas (GHG), too much of it in the atmosphere has been scientifically proven to cause global warming – A sustained increase in the average temperature of the earth, sufficient to cause climate change. The increase in emissions of CO2 has been projected to increase even more dramatically in the next 15 – 20 years if we continue to increasingly depend on the production of energy through the burning of fossil fuels.

Regardless of whether the transition from fossil fuels to other forms of energy will be easy or extremely difficult, sooner or later, we all have to face some major changes different from our current way of life. The challenge to adopting sustainable measures is not as a result of lack of knowledge, but because we are simply resisting such constraints, as many would call them. From a social perspective, the oil producing communities in Nigeria have experienced severe marginalisation and neglect from concerned stakeholders (government and private oil companies). A typical example of this scenario is the massive oil exploration in the Niger Delta, which has posed and is still posing serious threats to human health, indigenous culture, and the environment. Whereas, the economic and political benefits are given more attention by the government rather than the resulting damage to our ecological balance. Sadly, this is the reality people in oil producing communities of a developing country like Nigeria have to deal with on daily basis.

Let’s face it, breaking away from fossil fuels is easier said than done. But then, the tough decisions and the right actions can be taken only if we genuinely care about the generations to come. As opined by (Ajugwo, 2013) in his research presentation titled Negative Effects of Gas Flaring: The Nigeria Experience – “Nigeria flares about 17.2 billion m3 of natural gas per year in conjunction with crude oil in the Niger Delta. This high level of gas flaring is equal to approximately one quarter of the current power consumption of the African continent”. This trend is utterly hazardous and unsustainable. Under tremendous and increasing pressure, our politicians will have to address the fossil fuel and pollution crisis. They have to provide answers to certain questions, and key among them are: What road maps are underway on national energy transition? What alternative energy sources are considered to substitute our huge dependence on fossil fuels in the nearest future? What are the new technologies to be employed? And what are their economic and social impact?

Auspiciously, never in human history has there been a summit to negotiate a treaty as ambitious as the recent Paris climate deal. A summit that brought exactly 195 governments together. As listed by some agencies, that is the total number of independent nations on the planet. The scope of the treaty involves a total system overhaul to the lifeblood of the global economy: decarbonisation of energy. The best way to go is to significantly transition to renewable energy sources, and let it play a larger role in the supply of energy. Converting earth’s heat, sunlight, nuclear power, and wind could in the next century, meet most of our energy needs. Indubitably, renewable green energy sources will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuel products as well decisively cut down environmental pollution in the society. Wind and solar do not create dangerous waste products and are secure, indigenous, and freely available in abundance.

Moving forward, oil might not be departing the scene anytime soon or even in some decades to come. But going the way of renewable energy will significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Transiting to this path can certainly not be achieved in few days, but by collective long term actions. Hence, the time to radically speed up the process and start breaking free from fossil fuel is now.

This post was published as part of the Global Institute for Youth’s Guest Blog series. For more information, please click here

DSC_5298Babajide Oluwase is an Entrepreneur and Development Practitioner. He is passionate about helping vulnerable people and marginalised communities lead healthy and productive lives. Over the past 3 years, he has designed and led the implementation of several initiatives in a bid to address various social problems relating to environment, health, and education.

Babajide is the Founder of RenewDrive, an initiative which focuses on providing alternative clean and affordable cooking energy for every household in Nigeria, especially in the rural communities.

Follow him on Twitter @jideoluwase

Facebook-Babajide Oluwase

GIY Joins SDSN Youth

Logo - Global Institute for Youth (GIY)

The Global Institute for Youth is pleased to announce that our organisation is now a member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network-Youth (SDSN-Y). The Sustainable Development Solutions Network was launched in August 2012 to mobilize scientific and technical expertise in support of sustainable development problem solving. SDSN-Y is the youth division of this network, focused on engaging youth in the post-2015 agenda.

We were thrilled to receive this initial invitation to apply for membership, and are pleased to move forward as a member of this network. We look forward to working with the network and partner organizations, particularly in the areas of educating youth about sustainable development and the SDGs, and providing platforms for youth to voice their concerns and connect with other youth around the world.

For more information on SDSN Youth, visit their website at

A Closing Gap? The Role of Youth in Achieving Gender Equality

Event Page

View Discussion Live

March 8 GH Image-2
Progress has been made and voices are getting louder, but there remains a long way to go in achieving global gender equality, especially if the SDGs are to be fully realized by 2030. Join the Global Institute for Youth and global experts working towards gender equality to discuss the critical role that youth can play in continuing to close the gap and truly ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.


Samantha Lint

Samantha Lint is a Program Analyst on the USAID-funded SHOPS Plus Project, at Abt Associates Inc. She has been working at the intersection of gender, health, and women’s empowerment through both university and early career work. Of a range of US domestic and international experiences, a few Samantha will share are; design and implementation of an empowerment program for young women in Rwanda, gender and HIV/AIDS work as an intern at the White House, serving as a youth delegate at the International Conference on Family Planning, and approaching work on the SHOPS Project with a gender lens. Samantha is a 2014 graduate of the University of Richmond with a BA in International Studies, French, and Gender Studies.

Sadaf Ayaz

Sadaf Ayaz is a 16 year old published author and freshman at Hunter College. She is the eldest of the three Ayaz Sisters who are all published authors. Sadaf wrote her debut novel Crossing Red Lights when she was in 9th grade and she is currently working on two more novels. Crossing Red Lights was optioned for film in Hollywood by seven producers for a Studio Feature Film and TV series. Sadaf is also a screenwriter for Pakistan. Along with being a motivational speaker, she was also a delegate at the United Nation’s Youth Assembly and is passionate about helping women and youth from around the world achieve all the rights they deserve. For that, she started her own print and web magazine by the name of Rev 21 to empower youth from around the globe and to create a platform for people of all color, races, gender, religion, etc. to showcase their voice and express their concerns.

Twitter: @AuthorSadafAyaz


Facebook Page: Sadaf Ayaz – Author

Vivian Onano

Vivian Onano is a women and girls’ advocate and youth leader who was born and raised in rural Kenya. Her arduous upbringing has forged her strong commitment to education, to women, and to leadership. Vivian has a deep interest in re-defining Africa’s growth and development.

A Moremi fellow, she is recognized as one the top 25 emerging women leaders with the courage to lead change on the African continent. Vivian recently graduated Carthage College and currently is the Community and Partnerships Manager at Africa 2.0 Foundation. She is a Youth Advisor to the UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group, Women Deliver Young Leader and a Global Youth Advocate for the Mara Mentor Program. Vivian is a respected speaker who often speaks on global education, finding one’s passion and purpose, gender equality, youth entrepreneurship/empowerment, and international development. She has presented at the United Nations General Assembly, Nexus Global Youth Summit, and the Clinton Global Initiative, among others. She also served as a United Nations Youth Representative and was profiled as one of the 70 outstanding leaders of United Nations Association -USA. Intel featured Vivian as a Girl Rising hero.

Her twitter handle is @vivianonano and below are some of her online features:

Valentine Camano

Valentine is a student and youth advocate for gender and humanitarian equality. This is his last year of college at Borough of Manhattan Community College, studying business administration. Next, year he will be enrolling for a bachelor’s degree/ NBA in International Business & Linguistics (Japanese) in two years by 2019. As a youth advocate, Valentina volunteers for gender and humanitarian equality and is an active LGBT supporter. He wishes to be part of society along side other youth advocating for a gender prejudice free environment so our future generations can live equally. He recently attended the Youth CSW Forum in New York.

Twitter: @valentinecamano

Dr Tabi Joda

Award-winning Social Entrepreneur, Disaster Risk Reduction Champion, Author, Poet, Farmer and Green Sustainability Professional. Keynote Speaker on Climate Change, Human Security, Entrepreneurship and Ethical Conduct.

Moderator: Noella Bigirimana

Noella is a health policy consultant who has a strong interest in policy issues around women’s and children’s health. She has previously consulted on health financing projects including for the World Health Organization and an international NGO providing cardiac care in Rwanda. She currently serves as an advisor to the Global institute for Youth.

Gender Equality Resources

SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality

UN Women Watch: Curated news and events on gender equality from across the United Nations

UNFPA: FAQs about Gender Equality

Teaching Materials on Gender Equality from TeachUnicef

OECD: Gender Equality 

Kelas Inspirasi: Building Dreams for Future Generations, Promoting Quality Education in Indonesia

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” 
― Plato

This year, we entered the first year of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it requires great efforts from all of humankind on the planet. Although every goal of the SDGs are important, one of the most crucial goals that is universally accepted is goal number 4, quality education. We have to believe that through education, the human civilization in the 21st century would be much better and moving forward in all aspects, dimensions, and levels.

However, in Indonesia itself, the world’s largest archipelago, there are some difficulties to solving education-related problems such as school infrastructure and facilities, unequal national distribution of teachers and educators, inadequate academic curricula, and so on. DSC_1339xThus, many Indonesians still regret that the government does not make it a national priority but we still have hope through booming initiatives led by civil society organizations on both national and local scales. One of them is Kelas Inspirasi, established since 2012, a part of Indonesia Mengajar, and an initiative by Anies Baswedan, who is now becoming the Indonesian Minister of Education.

Kelas Inspirasi is a one-day program which invites various professionals (individually-based) to come to schools and meet elementary schoolchildren to explain about their professions and motivate them to find their dream career path. Surely, this is an extraordinary thing that is not included in conventional academic curricula. It is one of many brilliant efforts in Indonesia to involve professionals to move out from their making-money activities and contribute to social development, especially on educational development matters. Year by year, nationally, more professionals joined this voluntary movement and more schools joined as partners. We all move together to make Indonesia’s future generations brighter and better quality than before as declared in our national constitution.

DSC_0685xOn February 24th, I joined the movement in my city named Kelas Inspirasi Bandung batch 4. More than 1,000 volunteers were recruited for positions like educators, photographers, and videographers and with more than 100 committeemen and committeewomen. More than 60 schools in my city are being covered in this one-day program indicating high social awareness to improve our quality of education. In my own group, Group 35, there are individuals coming from various professional backgrounds with different ages. We enjoyed our diversity and even we made it our key strength to collaborate together in overcoming our nervousness to do teaching before elementary students.

We got so many responses after informing them about our professions in their class, such as questions, enthusiasm, admiration, and so on. Information and knowledge are important and essential for children to build their dreams. Also, we must educate them about values and principles on how to achieve dreams such as honesty, perseverance, persistency, and independency. Last but not least, we also learned from them about the power of listening because every good conversation starts with good listening.


This post was published as part of the Global Institute for Youth’s Guest Blog series. For more information, please click here

Steve HarisonSTEVIE LEONARD HARISON was born in Bandung-Indonesia, August 30, 1988. He is the founder of Inspirator Muda Nusantara, a youth empowerment organization in Bandung. He has a strong passion for youth, democracy, human rights, climate change, peace, and sustainable development. He is actively involved in youth forums at national, regional, and global levels and is also an experienced volunteer. At present, he is the country representative of Indonesia to the Asia Youth Climate Network (AYCN), member of World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). You can reach him via

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