• “Open Up The Space”: A call for inclusivity by CIVICUS Youth

    Header image Open Up The Space by daisuke 1230 CC BY SAThe world is filled with injustice, hate speech, violence and oppression. Variant forms of power are exercised to police bodies, groups and human rights work in the interests of privilege. This should not reflect within spaces of advocacy and accountability.

    Civil society should understand the importance of sharing power and enabling inclusion in a meaningful and uplifting manner. We as young people of diversity acknowledge and recognise the importance of having voices of vulnerability at the forefront of change. We need to redefine how we provide solutions and build togetherness. Everyone's area of influence should consider issues of displacement, migration, decolonisation, disability, albinism, indigenous origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics and mental wellbeing.

    Young people are present and ready to steer the mantle of challenging the complex systems and ideologies that impede our progress. We are willing and able to ensure no one is left behind.

    At the Youth Assembly of International Civil Society Week 2019, many topics about youth empowerment were discussed among delegates. We were particularly interested in collaborating to identify ways to bring forward the narratives and concerns as young people of diverse identities. We hence call upon civil society organizations, donor and funding agencies, youth-led and youth-serving organizations and especially, CIVICUS member organizations to:

    1) Continue engaging young people and enhancing civil society organizing without discrimination of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religious belief, political affiliation and any other social, economic, cultural or political identity.

    2) Target the most vulnerable groups, including youth and LGBTIQ, to ensure equity and not just equality in achieving your programming.

    3) Provide resource for youth-led marginalized organizations at country level without pre-empting and restricting

    4) Open up the space, in anyway you can,by listening, linking and learning to/with/about the most marginalised in society.

    5) Broaden your perspective in sharing these elite/exclusive spaces because the voices that are not in the room is likely to be most affected

    Sign the call by filling in this form.


    This call was endorsed by the following youth activists at the Youth Assembly:

    Justin Francis Bionat - Youth Voices Count, Philippines

    Amanda Segnini - Engajamundo

    Dariele Santos - Brazil

    Nini Oñate - DAKILA, Philippines

    Marijoy Liwag - Commission on Human Rights PH

    Wilson Villones - ANSA East Asia and the Pacific, Philippines

    Peng - China

    Natasha - India

    Malebo- South Africa

    Nikhil Taneja - India

    Oliver Andreevski - CYA Krik, North Macedonia

    Jelena Mitrovic, Serbia, Youth Worker, Board member of National Youth Council of Serbia

    Fouzi Mathey, France, Yes! For humanity

    Alan Jarandilla Nuñez, IYAFP

    Wiem Chamsi, Tunisia YAT CIVICUS

    Cynthia Muhonja, Kenya Life Lifters

    Vandita Morarka, One Future Collective

    Ximena Arrieta, Mexico

    Joseph Kagabo, Rwanda

    Dumiso Gatsha, Success Capital NGO, Botswana

    Dessy - Indonesia

    Tracey Martin - Plan International, United Kingdom

    Ripley Wang - Beijing Gender

    Christine - Jordan

    Sohou Enagnon Brice, Bénin

    Karin Watson, Chile

    Kalisito Biaukula , Fiji

    Abdul Mufeez Shared, Fiji

    Jasmina Golubovska, Republic of North Macedonia


    Photo by daisuke1230 (CC-BY-SA)


  • European Youth Event 2018: from reflection to action

    By Elena Ceban, Center for Intercultural Dialogue

    European Youth EventImagine a space where over 8000 young people would come together to discuss, debate, share their opinions on political, social and cultural issues and have a dialogue with policy makers on how the life of young people can be improved. This space is the European Youth Event, a festival held every two years that celebrates youth participation in one of the most beautiful ways possible. It brings together youth from all over Europe and beyond for a 2-day marathon of discussions, sessions, workshops, musical/theatre/circus performances, rap battles, games and simulations, all with the purpose of bridging the gap between youth and policy-makers, and collecting fresh and innovative ideas on how to improve the life of Europeans in all aspects, whether economic, social and labor-related, environmental protection or political participation. The event is held inside and next to the European Parliament, which means that for 2 days the whole space around the European Parliament turns into a vibrant hub of energy, laughter, good vibes, music and positivity.

    This year´s edition of the EYE revolved around the motto: "The plan is to fan this spark into a flame" (Hamilton, My Shot), and covered the following topics: keeping up with the digital revolution, calling for a fair share, working out for a stronger Europe, staying alive in turbulent times and protecting our planet.

    It was amazing that so many young people could benefit from the opportunity of sharing the same space with decision-makers and learning more about how their ideas can shape the future of Europe. What was even more incredible was that the programme was shaped by the young people themselves! In a complex procedure that starts way before the event, youth organisations and youth groups are invited to apply with an idea for a workshop or activity that covers one of the topics mentioned above. This feature creates an amazing diversity of methodologies used for the proposed activities, and the participants get the chance to meet and learn about the work of multiple national and international youth organisations from Europe.


  • Liberian musician, Indian student and Angolan author named as global creative arts contest winners!

    What do a Liberian rapper, an Indian journalism graduate and a young Angolan author have in common? 

    They are all winners of a global contest that encourages young creatives to imagine the kind of democracy they would like to live in.

    Hosted by global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, under the theme, “Re-imagining Democracy: In Search of Silenced Voices”, the Through Arts and Imagination creative arts competition was organised to celebrate International Youth Day on August 12. The aim was to encourage young creative artists to share their vision of what democracy should be and to raise the silenced voices of youth globally.

    Contestants submitted entries in three creative arts categories: written arts, which included poems, short stories and essays of 500 words or less; visual arts, which included drawings, paintings, cartoons and photography; and multimedia arts, which included short films of no longer than 2 minutes and songs. Creators had to be under 30 years old to enter.

    Prizes for the winners, whose submissions included a song, a poem and a cartoon, include a USD300 cash prize to be donated to a social change organisation of their choice.

    Music artist, Amaze, wowed judges with his song promoting voter awareness in his native Liberia, entitled “Know Who To Vote For”.

    “I feel democracy should be everybody business,” said Amaze.

    “My inspiration was to educate voters to vote right and not base on ethnicity, scholarships, or religious background,” said Amaze.

    He was one of 15 finalists and was selected for the best multimedia arts entry from among dozens of entries from across the globe by a panel of judges and almost 1,500 online voters worldwide.

    Amaze, whose name is Henry Amazin Toe, started his music career at age 14 in Guinea and is currently a hipco Accountability Ambassador who mentors other underground artists to create music for social change. Hipco is a genre of dance music that blends hip-hop, R&B and traditional Liberian music with lyrics in colloquial dialects spoken in Liberia. 

    The contest’s the visual arts category winner, Vandita Sariya from India, came out tops for a cartoon, entitled “One” that she says was inspired by a surge in intolerance in society where she lives.

    “A wave of pseudo-nationalism is going on in my country, India and people are judging and even killing others for who they are, what they look like, what they eat and what their beliefs are,” said Sariya.

    Sariya, who says she plans to donate her prize money to towards children’s education and nourishment, is an emerging creative artist who has been practicing her craft for just six months.

    A poem by Angolan author, Cláudia Cassoma – encouraging youth to see themselves as the “master key” to all the solutions they seek – was chosen as the winner of the written arts category.

    Cassoma, who has had four books published, says the poem, entitled Chave Mestra" (Portuguese for master key), was inspired by a common attitude she encounters among young people in her country, Angola and globally.

    “Today, one thing I hear a lot are complaints by youth about the million things that are wrong with the world while they themselves are doing nothing. Usually, that's the case because they feel they can't do anything,” Cassoma said.

    “The piece is a message for youth to reimagine democracy by seeing themselves as the master key, the key to solve any if not all issues we face,” she said.  

    Said Elisa Novoa, CIVICUS Youth Working Group coordinator: “The aim of this contest was to give a space for young people to express a vision for the kind of democracy they desire. It was also an opportunity to mobilise young creative minds from every corner of the globe, offering a platform to amplify their messages related to the respect of democratic values and social justice.”

    “In a world where information is shared with so much hate, discrimination and stigmatisation, we want to enable arts to be a tool to share messages of hope, justice and equality,” said Novoa.

    The winning entries will also be featured in CIVICUS’ State of Civil Society Report 2018, to be released in September 2018.


    For more information, contact:

    Grant Clark

    CIVICUS Communications team





  • Webinar: “How to Resource Youth-Led Movements in the 21st Century”

    Did you know that most youth-led groups and movements operate with an annual budget of less than 10,000 USD? It´s known that young people in the activism and development sector in the Global South face significant resourcing challenges: little capacity to attract funding and comply with donor requirements; ​restricted social, political and economic spaces to participate and grow; extensive gaps between the funds available to serve youth versus those managed directly by youth, and significant disparities between the resourcing opportunities that target young individual leaders within groups and movements rather than to the group itself, just to mention a few.

    These and other challenges, as well as potential resourcing opportunities, best practices and innovative models that can help to overcome them were discussed during the webinarHow to Resource Youth-Led Movements in the 21st Century”. This event was organised by CIVICUS with representatives of the CIVICUS Youth network and RECREAR on June 26th, 2019. If you missed it, watch it on CIVICUS’ Youtube channel and share your thoughts in the comment box.

    This webinar is part of CIVICUS’ efforts to help increase the resiliency of civil society in a context of systemic repressions and discriminations against it, and to promote changes in the behavior and culture of the funding community and the traditional civil society sector.

    The 21st century has showed us new dynamics in how citizens claim their rights, which is more evident in the case of youth-led civil action. Both funders and civil society organisations are invited to be part of this change by re-thinking how to work with this generation of young change-makers, especially those in the Global South, working at the local level and organising in more innovative ways. Together, we must advocate and raise awareness on the need for wider support to leverage our common networks, knowledge and visibility within the funding community to push for more and better resourcing mechanisms for young activists.

    The webinar’s panelists were Elisa Novoa, CIVICUS Youth Engagement Coordinator; Gioel Gioacchino, director of research at RECREAR; and Wilson Villones, researcher and a Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator advocate.

    We invite you to watch the webinar session where the panelists shared:

    • The key findings from CIVICUS’ “Landscape and trends ​analysis on resourcing​ youth-led groups and movements” ​
    • Why youth-led movements and groups need differentiated resourcing practices and models
    • Personal experiences with program that is intentionally tailoring support and resources to young activists: Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator

    The “Landscape and trends ​analysis on resourcing​ youth-led groups and movements” ​will be published as a toolkit and available to the public in September. Stay tuned!

    If you have any questions about this webinar or the analysis, please contact  

    Watch webinar: