Engaging Youth Globally through the Internet
August 19, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.
|Presenters:||Thomas Johnson, USAID West Bank and Gaza|
Annie Bertrand, Mercy Corps
Robert Sherman, Mercy Corps
Edwin Gragert, iEarn
|Moderator: ||Robert Schware, Academy for Educational Development (AED)|
This session focused on harnessing the global power of the internet to bring together youth from around the world in leadership roles. The propensity of youth-to-youth and youth-to-mentor dialogue to enhance development, communication, and action translates into a widely untapped resource for international development goals. Annie Bertrand and Robert Sherman of Mercy Corps described the Global Citizen Corps (GCC), a leadership program that brings together youth from around the world to dispel conflict, promote empathy, prepare a global workforce, and foster positive psychosocial development among youth. This program allows disaffected youth to address grievances, provides them with alternatives to violence, and prepares the future workforce. Through in-person and computer-based trainings, GCC joins youth from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Scotland, and the United States in a joint effort to learn market-driven skills, build a foundation of experience for a knowledge-based transformation in the Middle East, and foster positive youth development through psychosocial support that imparts a life-long commitment to civic and social responsibilities.
Thomas Johnson then discussed the Palestinian Youth Portal, a forum through which Palestinian youth leaders are able to access educational, news, ESL, and other information, as well as directories of educational institutions and other youth groups in their area to develop activities. Through participation in the Palestinian Youth Corps, young leaders can create their own communities (YDRCs) and access information provided by other communities via the portal. The Palestinian Youth Portal is still being developed, but will be available to an estimated 6,000 members, to be eventually utilized by many more.
Lastly, Ed Gragert of iEarn USA described his organization’s YouthCan programs, which provide tools and human networks to young people so that they can engage in collaborative online projects, develop professional skills and promote the use of ICTs in the classroom, and work on various MDGs like health, hunger, and human rights. YouthCan’s Collaboration Centre allows student-to-student interaction in text, photos, graphics, etc., and multiple interconnected technologies are used in order to ensure inclusivity and avoid marginalization.
Key take away points included an emphasis on building local capacity and that workshop and teacher development endeavors need to be as local as possible. Session attendees questioned how these projects developed their evaluation indicators. Methods to meet this need included interviewing participants directly, teachers, or quantifying actions undertaken by youth themselves (fundraising, publications, petitions, etc.). Another attendee questioned oversight of youth postings and how to keep online communities empowering, not obscene. Johnson emphasized cooperation with advising partners and using the Boys and Girls Club code of ethics to govern the forum.
To view the presentations, please click on link below:
iEarn, Gragert :