Young people have tremendous potential to be both present and future drivers of the long-running fight against poverty. Did you know that half of the world’s population is under the age of 25? In fact, this is the largest youth population the world has ever seen, and 90% of these young people live in low-income countries. Demand for change, across the world, is especially passionate from this generation, who are being denied a future in rich and poor countries alike.
Who was it that said the children are our future? Oh yes, Whitney. And she was right! Oxfam understands that the big changes we want to see will not happen unless all generations start working together. Harnessing the energy, strength and creativity of young people, and working to enhance their participation as active citizens is core to achieving Oxfam’s goal of creating a more equitable world.
Oxfam has a number of programs and initiatives both domestically and internationally aimed at supporting and increasing young people’s participation in the movement to end poverty.
International Youth Active Citizenship
With 90% of young people living in low-income countries, Oxfam recognises the need to connect with and work alongside young people as social change leaders in the effort to overcome poverty and injustice. Oxfam’s approach to working with youth in our international programs is a shift in thinking away from doing programs ‘for’ young people, to working ‘with’ young people and supporting them to lead and participate in decision-making that affects their lives and their communities. This approach is highlighted in Oxfam’s theory of change around supporting youth as active citizens.
Oxfam Uni Groups
Oxfam Uni Groups are a national network of university clubs and societies working together to help support Oxfam’s work around the world. Based in universities all around Australia, Oxfam Uni Groups run projects, campaigns and events on and off campus to actively create change and give young Australians the chance to be part of something bigger.
The very first Youth Ambassador Program will take off in 2015, with a select group of young people who will be equipped with the tools and training to take action on the things they care about. Youth Ambassadors will be chosen to develop their voice, skills and expertise by joining a core community of passionate people bringing about social change from within one of the largest development agencies in the world.
Oxfam Schools Program
Oxfam’s Schools Program brings social justice and global citizenship to schools across the Australia through a wide range of student-led projects, inquiry-based education resources, and more. We support teachers to explore issues that span the local and global – including human rights, poverty and hunger, politics and corporate social responsibility, sustainability and climate change, Indigenous issues, aid and development, and more. Students are supported to develop the attitudes, values, behaviours and skills they need to take action on issues they care about.
ChangeCourse was developed by Oxfam Australia in order to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths and their communities through supportive and innovative programs. The program aims to further develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth leadership through direct involvement with youths themselves. Through further support — via follow-up training, active mentorship and one-off small grants — ChangeCourse provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to proactively affect change within their communities.