Driving through the Lagos morning traffic in a rush to catch the first presentation slot in an on-going training, I mulled over what would…
In the spotlightFebruary 16, 2015
Member Spotlight: Alian Ollivierre
Region: The Caribbean
1. What first got you interested in youth issues? The fact that youth often are not heard in totality to the issues that directly or indirectly surround them. In Barbados, I grew up in a ‘be seen and not heard’ society; therefore, being opinionated was always classed as ‘being rude’. What fully ignited my passion for being heard was lack of employment my generation was facing. One of the key elements within my region I see that could easily combat that is a comprehensive succession plan, not only implemented, but executed. As such, I thought I would stop asking to be heard and find a way to be noticed so that being understood, rather than heard, would make an impact with my peers and youth to come after me.
2. What are some of the groups and activities you are involved in? i. UN Major Groups of Children & Youth, Caribbean (SIDS) Focal Point – a. Generate awareness among youth in the Caribbean (SIDS) region about voicing their opinions at the UN Level; and, b. Sensitize policy makers on the issues of youth and advocate for the same through providing recommendations from youth; ii. JCI Barbados, VP Project & Business Development – a. Manage all project chairpersons and ensure growth within each project under the Chapter’s mandate; and, b. Develop business and fundraising opportunities for the Chapter to grow and enhance other initiatives that aid young people to create positive change within the community; iii. I AM A GIRL BARBADOS, Founder/Trustee – Aid in the comprehensive growth of “atrisk” girls within Barbados through the development of monthly programmes directly linked to their transition to adulthood in areas such as, entrepreneurship, business etiquette, inner beauty building, etc. iv. One Young World, Ambassador – This global movement and entity is a platform for young world leaders to build a strong network that aids in their work as active citizens. Therefore, I promote the strength of the same to the youth within my region to becoming active citizens themselves and encourage change within their communities, whether through outreach or publications.
3. What is the situation in your country right now that makes your organization’s work particularly relevant? This question is directly related to the organization I founded called, I AM A GIRL BARBADOS. In Barbados currently, our culture has been influenced tremendously by external markets and as such the girls in our communities are losing their way in terms of development on a mainstream scale. Communities are no longer taking responsibility for their own, the educational system is failing in the growth of youth and the term “at risk” is becoming more wide spread among young people, specifically females. This organization helps to combat this growing trend through comprehensive mentorship programmes and the use of alternative and non-traditional training methods, such as creative arts and drama therapy, to help challenge the minds of our girls to wanting to become active and productive citizens within their communities and the region at large.
4. If you could have any policy or law reform happen in your country right now, today, what would it be? The policy and/or law reform desired would be directed towards violence against girls and women, in ensuring stronger administrative procedures are implemented. At the moment, domestic violence is not taken as seriously as it should. In this country, because of its conservative history, has somewhat classed that form of violence as one of personal triumph and as such in order to truly be noticed by authorities the furthest extent of abuse has to be reached; i.e. black eye or bruised head; and even then it is not handled with the severity it deserves.
5. What global issues do you feel strongly about? I am completely passionate about violence against girls and women. It truly touches my being more so when girls do not understand that at times they stand in their own way of being helped through fear or intimidation and there are not enough persons willing to support them through mentorship. The topic is becoming more prevalent, especially under the umbrella of gender equality. I think what concerns me most is that both genders do not understand that it affects us all and if we truly banded together globally it could be eliminated. It’s a societal behavior that needs to be address both at the policy and grass roots level because no one is immune to its existence and our economies directly and indirectly suffer for it because of the same.
6. What is your favourite quote and why? I do not necessarily have one but rather two (2) that truly stand out to me, which are as follows: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou
Although I never met her, Maya Angelou had one of the purest hearts I have seen in my lifetime, and her entire life she always carried herself with grace and virtue. She has always inspired me to improve upon the self I was yesterday and her words directly reflect how I live my life to date and the standard I intend to leave with my legacy. Everything I do or get involved in is only because I can passionately execute it without it feeling like work and I will never give up on the change I desire to see within my community, region and the world.
In the spotlightFebruary 11, 2015
Iniciando conversaciones sobre Latinoamerica y el Caribe
Parecer ser una realidad para todos que la situación de los Derechos Humanos en Latinoamérica es un tema que amerita atención y mucho trabajo en estos dias. La represión, la intimidación y el intento de supresión de derechos como la libertad de expresión, el derecho de asamblea o de asociación, el derecho a protestar o a pensar distinto (disentir) están en el ojo del huracán desde unos meses en nuestros países latinoamericanos.
Esto por un lado ha impulsado a muchos más jóvenes a trabajar por lograr el respeto de las libertades y establecimiento de mejores condiciones en sus distintas naciones, muchos más jóvenes nos hemos involucrado con temas políticos, con activismo y organizaciones de sociedad civil. Aunque por temas que no suelen ser positivos, esas situaciones adversas han estado sacando un lado positivo de nuestras sociedades: el espíritu de lucha democrática de muchos de sus jóvenes.
Y el World Youth Movement for Democracy es un espacio que trabaja para apoyar estos liderazgos, por eso que queremos fortalecer la presencia de temas relacionados a Latinoamérica y el Caribe en nuestros espacios digitales. Fomentar las publicaciones de noticias, oportunidades, reportes o consultas referentes a la región, y propiciar espacios para la interacción de la comunidad miembro del WYMD en torno a estos contenidos.
Para iniciar estas publicaciones queremos conocer sus opiniones sobre el anuncio del restablecimiento de relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos, anunciado el pasado 17 de diciembre de 2014 por los gobernantes de ambas naciones.
¿Crees que esta es una nueva oportunidad para el activismo democrático en Cuba?
¿Crees que ahora habrá oportunidades para los jóvenes cubanos de tener acceso a las tecnologías y nuevas formas de comunicación?
¿Qué retos crees que implica esta medida para el activismo democrático de la isla y la región?
¿Cómo ves la gestión de libertad y amnistía para los presos políticos de la isla, tras este anuncio?
¿Cómo crees que influirá esta decisión en la cooperación democrática entre jóvenes de la región?
Por favor comparte tus opiniones, esperamos sus comentarios. – ATNC
In the spotlightFebruary 2, 2015
Welcome 2015 Hurford Fellow, Moh. Sayed Madadi
Moh. Sayed Madadi a 2015 Hurford Youth Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy where he would be working on developing community-based/owned mechanisms to promote democratic governance and accountability. A native of Afghanistan, Sayed is a freelance writer and activist concentrating on democratic governance and human rights. He has frequently published on Foreign Policy Magazine and Al-Jazeera English. A 2015 Fulbright Graduate Candidate, Sayed is part of the leadership team of two civil society organs in Afghanistan; The Afghans’ Coalition for Transparency and Accountability (ACTA) and the Youth Empowerment Organization (YEO). For details, see his profile in World Youth Movement for Democracy OR in Foreign Policy Magazine.
In the spotlightFebruary 2, 2015
Welcoming 2015 Hurford Youth Fellow, Saadat Baigazieva
Saadat Baigazieva is 23 years-old youth activist from Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. Since 2012, Saadat coordinates Youth Activism initiatives at Bishkek Feminist Collective SQ, co-coordinates Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights initiative, and mentorship as co-organizer to coordinators of Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan. She has an extensive experience in national youth policy-making, education advocacy, prevention of child abuse and school bullying, promotion of young women’s and girls’ rights, especially of migrant and rural youth. Currently, Saadat is advocating on national level to ensure that youth policies are human rights based and sensitive to gender aspects. She also uses different youth platforms to challenge “token” youth activism and advocate for meaningful youth participation at all levels. Saadat is a fierce activist who networks and builds solidarity with all other youth, migrants’ and women’s rights groups and works well with interest groups and leaders who resist and oppose youth rights. Saadat is a rare example of outspoken youth advocate, who is embodying her expertise and thought, inspiring her peers and bringing positive change in her environment.
In the spotlightOctober 21, 2014
Thanks for your involvement with World Youth Day for Democracy 2014
World Youth Day for Democracy was a success! Thank you for sending in all of your photos and videos in support of prisoners of conscience. We received many photos and videos from around the world. We look forward to using your contributions in our larger campaign with CIVICUS to urge the release of these human rights activists!
Recent News & Blog Posts
March 3, 2015
Afghanistan Foreign Service to Be More Transparent and Youthful, By Hurford Fellow, Moh.Sayed Madadi
March 3, 2015