VSO works with over 5,000 young people globally who are bringing about lasting change in the communities we operate. These young people are our regional champions, advocates and campaigners.
By equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to take charge of their own development, they can build and strengthen communities, shift social norms, and amplify their voices and that of their communities.
What are VSO Youth Networks?
VSO has youth networks operating in approximately 17 counties across Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe.
Youth networks are formal or informal youth spaces or platforms designed to unify and amplify the voices of young people at a local, national, regional and global levels.
They are established and led by youth and include young people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including the most marginalized youth.
The networks can operate virtually, physically or both. They can be registered or operate as loose networks, and can operate independently depending on the requirements of the network.
Our members are a mix of young people including International Citizen Service (ICS) alumni, national youth volunteers, community volunteers, marginalized young people that VSO is supporting through its programmes, and other youth interested in VSO’s work.
What types of initiatives have the network been involved with?
The networks work closely with VSO programming teams to design and lead on key projects for VSO. Examples of their work include:
- Setting up a global-wide task force team to disseminate lifesaving information about COVID-19 to marginalised communities
- Leading research actions and collecting insights on barriers to youth employability and entrepreneurship to inform our multi country programme on youth empowerment
- Delivering employability events in response to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on youth unemployment levels in the UK
- Distributing emergency food supplies and hygiene kits to over 10,000 people in Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the wake of Cyclone Idai
Women and girls’ rights
- Advocating against gender-based violence in Kenya through social media.
Sexual reproductive health and rights
- Challenging the stigma associated with people with disabilities for continued access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights services and information in Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Influencing policy makers
- Consulting key policy decision makers and championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nepal, Pakistan and Malawi.
Raising awareness about climate change
- Creating awareness about the effect of climate change in marginalised communities through social media and media outlets in Tanzania and the Philippines.
Raising awareness about VSO’s work
- Speaking at major global forums and conferences such as the Women Deliver Conference, Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit and Sustainable Development Goal forums.
Members of our youth networks are involved in:
- Developing their leadership skills, and taking charge of their own development and growth
- Representing the interests of the communities we serve, including youth, women, children, and people with disabilities
- Creating youth-led innovations and actions that build resilience in hard-to-reach communities
- Exploring and testing inclusive and innovative ways to provide services to the most vulnerable communities
- Promoting inclusive and responsible policies, holding key decision makers to account
Young people are given the opportunity to connect with other young people from different countries, contexts and experiences and expand their social networks.
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