Updated: Aug 11, 2019
During my research on youth organizations I suddenly found myself on this wikipedia site that literally lists hundreds of local youth organizations all over the world. I have tried to focus my list on global one's, but, of course, it's non-exhaustive. Are you part of any inspiring youth organizations I should know about? Let me know!
Have you had any experiences (positive AND negative) with any of the one's I listed? Please, get in touch!
Global Changemaker recognizes that youth are essential in solving the world's challenges. They therefore provide the training and funding to support YOUR initiatives. What I love most about them is that you can get access to a lot without spending any money or really leaving your bedroom. They have a great information database and offer a variety of things including:
Webinars on management, networking, reflection, anxiety, zero-waste initiatives and so much more
Toolkits on project management, crowdfunding and using social media
Mentorship** (13-week development program)
Youth projects all over the world (for inspiration)
Many of them provide links to social media and websites. Look for initiatives around you and get in touch!
Each year they also host fully-funded* conferences to bring together inspiring youth to learn from each other. The best thing is: they don't only train and inspire you, they also have funding available for initiatives with a lot of potential.
*They cover transportation, accommodation and the cost of the conference. You may have to pay for visa and insurance, though.
**The program costs 100USD but need-based scholarships are available
AIESEC is a global platform to develop youth leadership potential. When you join, you can be part of local teams working on a variety of change-making initiatives. AIESEC also offers cross-cultural experiences that last between 6 weeks to 1.5 years and are categorized into the following segments.
Global Talent (International internships)
Global Entrepreneur (Internships at Startups)
Youth 4 Global Goals (Learn about the goals and take action)
Moreover, as an AIESEC member you can access a global network of thousands of interesting people!
I want to note one important thing: although membership is free, some of their experiences cost money. How much money may vary but if you cannot spend any money at all you may want to consider looking into crowdfunding or fully funded opportunities.
P.S AIESEC stands for "Association Internationale des Étudiants En Sciences Économiques et Commerciales" (French: International Association of Students in Economics and Management)
Global citizen is like a younger sibling that never gives up until they have reached their goal. Global Citizen urges companies and world leaders to make financial contributions toward important issues and policy changes that save lives. How?
With people like you who
= urge powerful leaders to do something.
This way you cannot only make your voice be heard but also gather points that you can exchange for rewards like tickets to concerts and their annual festivals, where they often have famous celebrities lined up (Oprah, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran (and others!) were for example part of the 2018 festival in South Africa).
They also offer two more opportunities:
The Waislitz Global Citizen Award (For people who are working toward eliminating poverty)
Curtis Scholarship (Annual leadership development program)
I am going to be honest: their website is a bit confusing. BUT this is an amazing organization that empowers young people to implement sustainable solutions in food and agriculture. Annually they hold
the TFF summit (Changemakers in agriculture connect and collaborate on new solutions for the future of food security)
Again, a website that is fairly hard to navigate (although their individual projects often have great websites!). But once you find their initiatives, you will see that they do great things:
AshokaU (works with Colleges and Universities to foster social innovation) includes:
AshokaU Exchange (Annual Social Innovation Conference)
AshokaU Commons (3-month training program)
Ashoka U Changemaker Campus (College/University certification)
Ashoka U Millions of Changemakers (Global Collaboration Platform (Run conferences all over the world all year round)
Ashoka Changemaker Schools (Work with primary, middle and high schools)
Ashoka Youth Venture (Partners with organizations to support changemakers and offers various programs... Currently remaking website so... We will see:)
Ashoka Young Changemakers (Cohort that is selected annually to collaborate)
Ashoka Lead Young Stories (You can read and submit inspiring stories)
Ashoka Network (You can browse changemakers and their initiatives from all over the world)
YSA's mission is to help all young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. Although they are a global organization, their services are mostly focussed on the US. They offer the following events, projects and resources:
Again, for many of the grants you have to, unfortunately, be based in the US. They do have a wide variety of community partners around the globe, though, that may be worth looking into. What I like about their website is their "Knowledge Center" that has a variety of free toolkits (videos and PDF's) in a variety of languages (!) about how to make a difference. If you just have a little bit of experience with global service, you will see that the toolkits are fairly basic and definitely aimed at Western middle-class youth, but you may want to look into it just for ideas and inspiration.
World merit is "a charity that offers rewards and opportunities in exchange for our members taking action toward social issues". It operates similar to Global Citizen in that regard: you simply download their app, take action for positive change and gain points that you can exchange for online classes (e.g photography, coding), mentorship, technology like webcams, cameras, or laptops. As you see they really do have great rewards! Moreover, they also have an opportunity section that you can access once you register, that lists competitions, internships, free leadership courses etc. They are also running something they call Team2030, where you can join (or gather) groups of five that develop solutions to solve challenges to tackle the SDG's. The best teams win great rewards! In summary,
their app gives you rewards for getting engaged (register first)
once registered it informs you about great opportunities
let's you join or start team2030 that compete in tackling the SDG's
annual summit, to which you can apply to
Do you have experience with any of these organizations? Good or bad? Is there an important organization missing on this list? I would love to hear about it!