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HomeHomeTake ActionGlobal Youth in Action Awards2004 Winners

Global Youth in Action Awards 2004: The Winners!

Honorable Mentions

2004 Winners Kids Rights
Project: Yes! For Street Girls
Project Leader: Esther Mburu, age 21

Text Box:

Kids Rights is a community based organization determined to protect the rights of vulnerable children from all forms of abuses and neglect. Most of our projects involve strengthening young people's ability to make their own decisions and navigate life's challenges. We also seek the support of local communities in imparting life skills to adolescents as well as advocating for youth's rights.

Poverty characterizes life in the rural villages of Uasin Gishu District, Kenya. Adolescent girls are forced to the streets to exchange sexual favors with money to assist their families meet basic needs. By empowering street girls with life skills, my organization, KidRights, has managed to offer the girls with fundamental income-generating knowledge to enable them establish their own small-scale businesses and hence fulfill their families; needs. We also managed to strengthen their ability to understand their sexuality.

The project incorporated the girl�s input by allowing them to identify their priorities, design the project, oversee the implementation as well as monitor activities, with supervision from our staff members. In this way, we managed to meet our goals through peer-led learning and action, which allowed the girls to be the catalysts in solving their own problems.

By the end of the project in April this year, 20 girls who had successfully gone through the project were able to set up their own small-scale businesses. Each has been offering practical skills in business management for 3 hours every day to an average of 3 new girls every month. 78 percent of the girls who took part in the project have been re-accepted into the community after being ostracized when they became commercial sex workers. Another 12 percent have successfully been re-admitted into primary school after undergoing rehabilitation and self-esteem building sessions.

Unite for Sight
Program Leader: Jennifer Staple, age 22
United States

Unite For Sight is a youth-led nonprofit global humanitarian organization with 2,500 volunteers who empower local communities to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness.  Unite For Sight's sight-restoring cataract surgery program was launched during June 2004 in Humjibre, Ghana, and the successful pilot model will be implemented again in Ghana, Nigeria,India, and other countries beginning in November 2004.

In June 2004, the first four Unite For Sight volunteers traveled to Humjibre to screen and arrange for cataract surgeries, educate about eye diseases, and prescribe and distribute eyeglasses and sunglasses.  Eight hundred patients were screened, and cataract surgery was provided to 27 Humjibre patients at the Cape Coast Christian Eye Center.  Four hundred pairs of glasses, including reading, sunglasses, and distance glasses, were given to children and adults in Humjibre.  Six patients were brought by Unite For Sight�s volunteers to the Cape Coast Christian Eye Centre to receive care for glaucoma and river blindness.  The program was a great success: Shortly after the volunteers� departure, village members began asking when volunteers would return to address their eye health concerns.  

Youth Intervention for Peace Project
Program Leader: Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi, age 30
Burundi/United States

Jean-Paul grew up in Burundi, but fled the country in 1993 due to the ethnic conflict that erupted between the Hutus and the Tutsis.� He was temporarily in a refugee camp, then re-located to the US, where he attended University of Notre Dame and studied Peace and Conflict Analysis.� He began his project shortly after graduating, as he felt the need for focus on younger people to be able to have a clear and informative dialogue on peace and intervention, free from biases and manipulation.�

The Youth Intervention for Peace Project is an effort to establish a social mechanism within local communities to build and sustain peace in Burundi.� It is specifically designed to restore interethnic relationships between rival ethnic groups, forge a culture of non-violence and withstand possible outbreaks of violence - particularly violence based on political/ethnic motives - during this promising, yet fragile, peace process.�

The Youth Intervention for Peace Project has brought together 3500 active young people from rival ethnic groups, Hutu and Tutsi, in their respective communities for a series of intercommunity training seminars, not only to raise conscience about the ethnic-ism and political manipulation of youth, but also to provide them with a nonviolent alternative as a viable political and social participation in community and nation building.� To make this dialogue more real and meaningful, YIPP has developed an intercommunity networking of youth leaders from former ethnic adversaries in their respective community by establishing intercommunity services project and youth peace clubs interactions.�� With these programs young people have began to foster a spirit of cooperation, restore relationships and build trust among rival ethnic groups.���

Libraries in Kabul Schools
Project Leader: Zuhra Bahman, age 21

Having grown up in Afghanistan and studied there, I always felt the need for books within the schools. I had access o books at home and they gave me great pleasure as well as knowledge in time of war. As the schools reopened in Kabul, I decided to create libraries in schools there so that the education standards could be raised as well as to provide a healthy way of passing time for students.

I decided to carry out an initial pilot project. I got $3800 from the Be the Change program of Pace Child International. I� used this money to build a library that now contains 2000 books and a computer in Maryam High schools for Girls in Kabul. The process of setting up the library also benefited the student�s personal development. I created three groups of students that took leadership role in creation of the library. This was important as development of leadership, communication skills and self esteem is hardly considered in a country such as Afghanistan.

The library was a complete success. Within three months the students had access to books. The students and the staff showed great appreciation.

Following that success I set up a two years long project for creation of libraries in Kabul. For this I have already obtained permission and support of Ministry of education, UNICEF and a range of schools.

Second library is in process of being built. Once again students have leading role in process of the setting up of library. The second library is in Amina Fedawi School in Kabul and is due to complete in July 2004. The program in Kabul will last 2 years finishing in year 2006.

Providing Comprehensive Reproductive and HIV/AIDS services by Community Youth Participation: A NGO Experience in Rural/Tribal Area of a Developing Nation
Project Leader: Shankpal Vaishali, age 27


In 2002, Shankpal began this project because of the massive amounts of people she witnessed daily who were HIV/AIDS victims; these people are neglected by both the government and society and remain untreated. India�s rigid societal structure does not allow dialogue regarding HIV/AIDS, and as a result many people are misinformed and do not know how HIV can be prevented. The organization was originally funded through parent organizations and local donations, and today is funded primarily through their Community Learning Center and the Ministry of Agriculture. However, its main challenge was, and still remains today, lack of money. Shankpal needs money to distribute educational materials and train teachers. The strength and innovation of this project is that it teaches women sustainability so that they do not resort to selling themselves for money. Also, Shankpal believes that part of the strength of her program is in its simplicity; they are just trying to increase basic knowledge about sex, sexuality and STD�s through youth-lead conversations.

Alternative Youth Participation in Florida Blanca
Vladimir Alberto Sequera Rodriguez, age 25

Vladimir recognized that young people in his community were not interested in politics or community engagement. He then decided to organize his friends and created a space for representative participation, generating discussions and community development among young people. He also wanted to create a safe space for the creation of projects among youth community leaders.

The result was an alternative setting for youth participation, which resulted in the creation of a municipal youth council in his community. So far the municipal youth council has positively affected over 1300 young people, whom have not only participated in the different events organized by the council, but have also become engaged in different capacity-building sessions.

The council is political, but not partisan in its nature. Decisions are taken by consensus, guaranteeing openness and democratic processes within the structure of the council.

The council has served as the incubator for other youth organization that have been formed by youth leaders who met during the council meetings.


Voice of the Youth Network
Project Leader, Pocholo Gonzales, age 24

How do you empower apathetic and ignorant young people to make a difference? How do you maximize the efforts of youth leaders who are actively promoting social change? Where will you get the information that is necessary for the real youth development? Such questions have long motivated Pocholo Gonzales in his work as a youth advocate. He sees great promise for engaging the active participation of Philippine youth in helping to revolutionize a range of critical social problems.

The Philippines has firmly established its reputation as the "texting" capital of the world, with this technology and "pay-it-forward" strategic plan VOTY had informed and reached more than 100,000 youth through email, 5,000 through SMS and continuously collecting more emails and mobile phone numbers. VOTY uses General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), it allows information to be sent and received across a mobile phone network. He has also educated countless newspaper readers and VOTY radio program "VOICE OF THE YOUTH" and "LAKAS KABATAAN, TINIG KABATAAN! RECHARGED! " (YOUTH POWER, VOICE OF THE YOUTH!! RECHARGE!! aired every Saturday at DZME 1530 khz. 12-1 P.M. with 500,000 youth listeners the right uses of technology.

He utilized today�s communications technologies by strengthening youth participation, leadership and empowerment. VOTY�s flagship program the YOUTH ACTION FORUMS has already created a big impact to its members and its communities. VOTY dream of creating a national youth centre in the Philippines and has given numerous Filipino youth the opportunity to understand organizational issues, develop their own advocacy skills and actively engaged in identifying their needs, capabilities and talents allowing them to be empowered to change the cycle of their lives and make a difference.

Kijana Project
Project Leader: Alexandra Grovere, age 16

Kijana Project is a youth founded and run project that was started by Alexandra and Saunsuray Govere in response to AIDS orphans in their village in Zimbabwe.�

Kijana Project assists AIDS orphans in Africa and educates youth world wide about HIV/AIDS.� With 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa and with over 50% of all new HIV infections in youth ages 15-24, Kijana is addressing both of those areas of international community need. That is assisting AIDS orphans and educating youth about HIV/AIDS.� This is need particularly outstanding in Africa.

Kijana�s goals are to 1) help HIV/AIDS orphans, 2) Empower youths to help both themselves and other youths, and 3) Make youth world wide aware of the dangers of HIV/AIDS through peer HIV/AIDS education.

The project grew to include international youth members, so the project now assists children in several African countries who have lost one or both parents to HIV.� Project members educate youth around the world about HIV/AIDS through the use of oral presentations, newspapers, magazines, Internet, youth publications, books, conferences, newsletters, and the radio and television. Project members also help other youth design and start their own community service projects.�

Jovenes Lideres El Salvador
Project Leader: Diego Echegoyen, age 22
El Salvador

Diego created a youth-led, on-line based communications system among Salvadorian youth called Jovenes Lideres El Salvador. Jovenes Lideres El Salvador works to give Salvadoran youth of all social classes, direct access to information and knowledge tied to social development issues in the country. It offers Salvadorian youth an alternative vision to engagement in public policy, concentrating on participation and access to information. It also showcases leadership opportunities for young people across the country, raising the profile of youth as strategic actors in society.

The project is very innovative as it concentrates on:

-          Information Exchange

-          Exchange of Experiences

-          Networking

-          Opportunities

-          Safe spaces for Action

-          Strategic Alliances

For further information check: www.joveneslideres.org/.