Young People

and International Social Change


INTRODUCTION: The Freechild Project believes that young people around the world are making positive social change a constant, validating reality in many countries.  These young peoples' leadership and vision are driving government, economic, education, religious, and societal changes.  


Point to Ponder: "A century that began with children having virtually no rights is ending with children having the most powerful legal instrument that not only recognizes but protects their rights." - Carol Bellamy UNICEF Executive Director. (Taken from here.)


Resources: Freechild's youth researchers have included here organizations, programs and publications resources that explore the role of young people in international social change. 

Programs, Projects & Organizations

Global Youth Connect

Young people, intent on finding new ways to prevent the crimes against humanity then ravaging the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and other zones of conflict around the world, formed this group of international young activists in 1997. Today, GYC aims to prevent such atrocities from occurring in the first place.

Global Youth Action Network

The Global Youth ACTION Network is a growing collaboration among youth organizations in almost 200 countries, providing resources and recognition for positive youth action and facilitating intergenerational partnership in global decision-making. GYAN enables communication and resource-sharing among youth organizations to maximize the collective impact of their work for a better world.


United Nations Programs on Children, Youth, Young People and Social Change


UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund)

Provides a global platform for communicating, networking, and problem-solving international issues for young people.


Youth at the United Nations
Updates on youth policies and initiatives around the
word; opportunities for youth; announcements for youth events and competitions;
reports; publications; and links to organizations worldwide. Includes national youth policies information.


The World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond
This section of the United Nations Web site lists ten priority areas for action
aimed at well being of youth.

An excellent information source on subjects including juvenile justice.


United Nations Youth Agenda

A global manifesto for young participation and empowerment.

Voices of Youth

VOY is a youth community website created by UNICEF.  It is a platform where young people can explore, discuss and partner on issues related to human rights and social change by using tools like e-discussion boards, guidelines and news.   It's about linking children and adolescents in different countries to speak out and take action on global issues that are important to them and to creating a world fit for children.  VOY offers all children and adolescents, including the hard-to-reach, a safe and
supportive global cyberspace.


An international organization that is led by youth and empowered by technology. TIG brings together young people in more than 200 countries within international networks to collaborate on concrete projects addressing global problems and creating positive change.


Youth Action Net


Peace Child International

Human Rights Watch


Oxfam International Youth Parliament

The International Youth Parliament is a network of young leaders in 150 countries with a vision of "youth building an equitable, sustainable and peaceful world."


Free The Children

Free the Children is dedicated to eliminating the exploitation of children around the world, by encouraging youth to volunteer in, as well as to create programs and activities that relieve the plight of underprivileged children.



Childhope's projects aim to create opportunities for street children to get off the streets and rebuild their lives by enabling them to go back to school, to learn skills from which they can earn a living and to be reunited with their families where appropriate.


United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
Working to eliminate illegal, unjust and cruel child labor practices in sweatshops worldwide.


Child Slavery and Chocolate


Iqbal Masih
Information on Iqbal Masih, the sweatshop worker who became a martyr at 12 for children's labor rights.


Child Rights Information Network

An excellent source of information on the Convention and Committee on the Rights of the Child and on child rights issues such as children in armed conflict and displacement, child labor and initiatives against the sexual exploitation of children. Also very useful for links to other organizations working on children's rights.


Chernobyl Children's Project

An Irish Charity responding to child victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster in 1986. CCP has sent in excess of IR£12m in aid to Belarus, Western Russia and The Ukraine and brought 7,200 children to Ireland for summer holidays. Life saving operations for dozens of kids are arranged through CCP's Long Term Care Programme.


Youth In Action Network

Learn about important issues, Talk to young people from over 80 different countries, and Take Action with surveys, petitions and lobbying tools! Meet new people, have fun, and help make the world a better place. Your voice matters - Use it!


Young People's Organization

We are a group of young people who are dedicated to the world and all young people in it.  Young People should get equal opportunities in jobs, and should be paid as much as other adults are paid in the same positions.


IAbolish – the Anti-Slave Portal


The Campaign to End Child Labor

The Progressive Era campaign to end child labor, with photographs, political
cartoons, poems, essays and books by Jane Addams, Edwin Markham, Scott
Nearing, Mother Jones, Felix Adler, Lewis Hine, and others.


Resources for Social Change with Young People in Palestine & Israel

Young people around the world can make a difference.  In the MidEast there are many groups of youth making a difference, and this page features information for some of them.





Youth Activism and Global Engagement

A One World Special Report. An excellent summary of various components of global youth activism.


Growing Up in an Urbanising World

By Louise Chawla. More than half of all children in industrialised countries live in urban areas, and the same will be true in the developing world in the near future. Yet, by almost all indicators, cities are failing to meet the needs of young people, prejudicing their chances as adults. This important volume marks the revival of the Growing Up in Cities project of UNESCO — pioneered in the 1970s by the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch — which seeks to understand the reasons why young people find their city a good place in which to grow up, or a place where they feel alienated and disconnected.

Youth Sourcebook on Sustainable Development
The Youth Sourcebook contains information on youth's concerns with sustainable
development issues, case studies of youth action, skills for organizing action, useful resource lists, and a directory of international and regional youth organizations.

Special Report: Young People Count, by World Bank Institute
This special issue of Development Outreach features a number of articles
discussing how to better include young people into the development process and
how to work with and to learn from them.


Youth Actions & Proposals for Social Change

Young people with the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural, and United World wrote this proposal notebook.  It includes proposals of strategies for change as well as youth

actions in different fields of development and human betterment that include culture; poverty; HIV/AIDS; education; conflict resolution; governance; lifeskills and lifestyles.


United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights – civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights for people under 21. The US has refused to ratify it and make it law for more than 10 years.


Youth in Cities: A Cross-National Perspective

Whether in the ghettos of the United States, the barrios of Brazil, or the ethnic neighborhoods of Germany and Lebanon, a growing number of urban youth find themselves marginalized from the social mainstream, facing problems of fragile families, segregation, little or no education, and involvement in illegal activities. Both rich and poor countries are failing to meet the needs of their urban youth owing to weak institutional frameworks coupled with global economic restructuring that undermines traditional ways of earning a living. Youth in Cities compares the circumstances of urban youth cross-nationally, illustrating the formidable challenges faced by young people trying to define their place in a rapidly changing world. Using both comparative evidence and case studies, this volume illustrates the common needs of youth throughout the world and makes a case for the role of youth as creative social assets and positive forces for social change.


Amnesty International’s page on the Convention on the Rights of the Child


Trafficking Nightmare for Nigerian Children

Trafficking is when people are sold as slaves.  Read this true account.

Disposable People – New Slavery in a Global Economy

Fact Sheet #14 – Modern Forms of Slavery

Children's Participation: The Theory and Practice of Involving Young Citizens in Community Development and Environmental Care

By R. Hart. Hart details his conviction that all children can play a central and lasting role in sustainable development if their genuine participation is taken seriously and if communities recognize their developing competencies and unique strengths. This guide introduces the organizing principles, successful models, practical techniques and resources for involving children in environmental projects, with useful further reading and contact addresses. 


Former Soviet Union: Portrait of the Next Generation
This article focuses on youth trends in Azerbaijan and is based on a survey that
compares youth in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.


Child Slavery Profiles


"Globalisation of youth activism and human rights"

Global Uprising: Confronting the Tyrannies of the 21st Century

By N. Welton and L. Wolf. This visually and emotionally striking book reflects the new global youth movement for peace and justice. Told through compelling personal narratives, poster art, poetry, photographs, and interviews with new and seasoned activists, Global Uprising captures the spirit of youth activism and honors young people's power to effect serious change. It highlights a wide-range of critical international issues and actions.

Report's Agenda for Action

Youth Guide to Globalisation's "Practical Responses To Globalisation"


The Freechild Project Section Investigating Youth Involvement


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