By Cassandra Jessee, Director and Senior Advisor, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
As the COVID-19 vaccine slowly makes its way across the world and we begin seeing a little light on the horizon, we need to think carefully about how we are going to emerge from these challenging times. This global event has slowed the world down, making it impossible for us to ignore the fractures and chasms in our systems, especially when it comes to the 1.2 billion youth in the world that have lost ground in their development.
We will be going through a global reset, and we should use this opportunity to engage youth as partners in rebuilding. It is time to not just hear their voices about the challenges they are facing, but also create an enabling environment for their leadership and contribution.
Unfortunately, we know that, in many low- and middle-income countries, youth are not as engaged as we would hope. The efforts to involve youth often result in tokenism. Youth are brought in after the fact to give a ceremonial blessing of a plan that was decided upon without them.
We heard words to this effect repeatedly from approximately 10,000 youth between 2015-2020. During this period, USAID’s YouthPower Learning and YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation conducted 17 country and regional assessments, identifying opportunities to advance youth development so that youth can effectively contribute to development objectives. We found that, while it was something youth wanted, they seldom had a true opportunity to meaningfully engage. As an Ethiopian youth participant in a focus group discussion put it, “We are usually called by the government official to listen to what they have already decided, and [they] simply consider our participation a decoration.
To read more, head to https://www.youthpower.org/blogs/reset-way-you-think-about-youth
Wellbeing in Diverse Youth Communities (WELLHOODY) is an innovative approach that will upskill YOUTH educators & communities in racially diverse communities to empower youth wellbeing & recognise strengths that are coming from diversity. In the process, they will equip young people to be active citizens, encouraging them to build inclusive diverse youth communities where everyone is welcome & can participate. WELLHOODY addresses youth wellbeing and ground it in the benefits of youth diversity, taking all the benefits of diverse youth communities and turning them into teaching upon which the wellbeing of young people will be based.
EU-wide, youth who are either foreign-born or who are native-born with foreign-born parents account for one in five of 15 to 34-year-olds (OECD/EU, 2018). Their population share is increasing in virtually all EU countries, although their size and composition vary greatly across countries, reflecting countries’ different migration histories. They are one of the most at-risk groups in terms of social exclusion for multiple reasons: lack of economic resources, skills that don’t match employment opportunities and cultural differences; the attitudes of host country citizens, and sometimes outright displays of discrimination.
Youth well-being is one of the most important EU agendas and is at the core of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. We know that being part of an engaging community gives us a sense of belonging. Researchers at the University of Manchester say diversity is associated with higher social cohesion and greater tolerance of each other's differences.
The WELLHOODY project will enable community wellbeing through youth learning and produce wider social benefits. Youth learning rooted in utilising the power of diversity will encourage all community members to become pursuers of mutual wellbeing while nurturing acceptance and inclusion in terms of diversity.
WELLHOODY is working to enable and ensure the inclusion of all young people in society. The Youth Strategy 2019-2027 recognises the need to ensure that marginalised young people are participating in all decision-making processes and are key players, particularly in processes concerning their own rights, wellbeing and interests (Goal 3). At the same time, Goal 4 is to achieve better mental wellbeing and end stigmatisation of mental health issues, thus promoting the social inclusion of all young people.
The European E-learning Institute (EUEI) is committed to providing high-quality learning experiences and innovative educational programmes which engage learners from a range of sectors and socio-economic backgrounds. EUEI is committed to promoting social cohesion, inclusion, and sustainability across Europe, making them a perfect fit for the WELLHOODY Project.
Our experienced team of trainers, researchers and technical experts are uniquely placed to guide educators from VET, HEI, Adult and Youth sectors to harness the opportunities that innovative and collaborative e-learning and digital tools offer for learners.
We specialise in the delivering of high quality, responsive and innovative projects to educators and learners in the topics of pedagogic approaches, entrepreneurial competences, digital skills, inclusion, and sustainability.
Meet our Team working on the WELLHOODY Project
Canice Hamill- Managing Director
Canice has worked in the field of lifelong education for over 20 years and is recognised as an expert in instructional design and the development of e-learning solutions for education and training. A former trainer and lecturer, Canice utilises a holistic approach to creating innovative, interactive learning environments and works closely with tutors, trainers, and development teams, emphasising the importance of empathy and user experience in every learning solution.
Our Logician -Innovative Inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge
Catherine Neill- European Project Manager
An experienced EU project manager, Catherine is an integral member of our team. She is an effective communicator and has a strong background in areas of Inclusion. The oldest of 5 children Catherine quickly learned how to lead the pack, utilising organisational skills alongside her passion for helping others, she is committed to making the world a more accessible, sustainable, and friendly place.
Our Protagonist -Charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerise their listeners.
Aine Hamill- European Project Officer
Aine plays an important role in the learning design and subsequently in evaluating the effectiveness of our eLearning products on completion. Aine is always keen to engage with her creative side and implement the newest digital tools, pedagogies, and trends into our e-learning solutions. She is passionate about finding effective and relevant ways to engage learners from all walks of life.
Our Defender-dedicated and warm protectors, able to implement ideas and “create order from chaos”.
Including our key role in the initiation of the WELLHOODY project we will also work tirelessly alongside our project partners to deliver the highest quality project results as possible. Within the project EUEI will develop the project website and be responsible for the technical realisation of the materials.
Learn more about EUEI here:www.euei.dk