By Nick McGirl, 4th November 2020
We are thrilled to share updates and insights from an exciting new program we are implementing in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, a global Non-profit that works with children and youth without parental care and families at risk.
The Youth Power Program
The Youth Power Program, supported by Deutsche Post DHL and Allianz, features 18 initiatives led by young changemakers, aged 15–24 years old, from the SOS Children's Villages Network. They have developed initiatives on a vast range of issues from micro-credits in Ghana and guidance for care leavers in Belarus to LGBTQ rights in Brazil. The program brings them together in a community, aiming to showcase their work and build their capacity to sustain and scale their initiatives.
At the heart of this program was the Youth Power Summit, a gathering initially conceived to be face-to-face but pivoted online after the outbreak of the pandemic. This online summit was co-designed by ChangemakerXchange and SOS Children’s Villages and facilitated by 3 people from the CXC Global Facilitation Pool, Jacklina Eshaya, Ivo Degn, and Ingi Mehus. Completely different from a regular virtual conference with lots of top-down sessions, the Youth Power Summit followed a fully interactive and participatory flow, filled with engaging breakout rooms, deep connections and bonds, laughter, and collaborative energy.
At the same time, we also facilitated parallel online sessions around youth participation for the youth workers to support them in creating enabling environments for the young changemakers’ initiatives to thrive. Finally, we made the most of Zoom’s features to host an interactive panel for high-level supporters and partners where the young people had the opportunity to jump into and ultimately take over entirely.
While the summit is the launch and just the beginning of a year-long program, the young people shared that it has already had an impact on them, as summarised in the quotes below. For instance, many have started to work on a number of collaboration projects, including a new global campaign to end stigma for those who grew up in alternative care.
An evolution for CXC
This marks a new evolution and pillar of our strategy, where we bring the CXC philosophy and methods of human connection, peer-to-peer learning, collective action, and wellbeing to other influential events, networks, and communities.
This came following a realisation that hosting more and more activities directly as ChangemakerXchange naturally has a ceiling in its scale and impact. While we will continue to host our own summits and community activities and bring in new cohorts of changemakers, we are becoming equally excited about the ‘indirect impact’ of our work and of spreading the ChangemakerXchange principles and practices to other contexts.
A key driver to achieve this indirect impact is our Global Facilitation Pool, counting 30 (soon to be 60) community members who are changemakers and have been trained as ‘CXC facilitators’ to share our unique convening approach to different physical and virtual settings.
Our key takeaways
This summit and a new direction have been an enriching learning journey for us as well and here are our main four takeaways from the experience.
The potential of virtual facilitation is endless. Once we get out of the ‘webinar mindset’, there are a million ways of creating dynamic, engaging, and participatory spaces online. With difficult visa logistics no longer an issue and ways of including people virtual gatherings also have a huge democratization potential. Check out our latest virtual facilitation toolkit (include link) for many of the activities and approaches we used in the event.
These spaces are more necessary than ever as the pandemic rages on. With much of the world in lockdown, creating positive change in our communities is becoming an even lonelier job. This summit brought together changemakers from as far afield as Brazil, Belarus, Ghana, and Bangladesh and despite the geographic distance the bonds between them and moments to be vulnerable and authentic were very powerful.
We need to make the youth changemaking ecosystem more accessible. Too many of the flagship programs of big global networks have been available only to changemakers from more privileged backgrounds. It is vital that we reach young changemakers who do not have regular access to such opportunities. Watch this space for more partnerships and initiatives from ChangemakerXchange to create a more inclusive youth changemaking ecosystem.
We need to make space for fun. All of our work in the social change space these days is difficult, urgent, and important. However, what the young changemakers once again taught us in this summit, is that we should not forget the importance of fun, laughter, and joy and that this is often the foundation of a lot of the deeper collective impact that occurs later.
ChangemakerXchange is a global community providing safe, supportive, fun, and empowering spaces for changemakers. If you are interested in partnering with us, reach out at . We would be more than happy to explore different collaboration opportunities!