August 12 is designated as the International Youth Day and theme of this year, 2019, is ‘Transforming Education.’ Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development- to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all- International Youth Day 2019 is to examine how young people, youth focused organizations and other stakeholders are transforming educational practices, tools and services in order to achieve objectives of 2030 Agenda.
Five initiatives by UNSESCO in India with local partners need a special mention on this day.
‘Millennial Indian Writers’—an essay contest in association with local partner Takhte.com for children aged 13-15 and youth aged 16-18 years is certainly one notable initiative. The contest launched in April this year is in closing stages. Under this a book titled, ‘Inside Millennial Mind: Essays by 100 Young Indians’ will be released soon. The essays have been submitted under five categories which include bullying, local climate change, sports in curriculum, instant news, heritage and history by over 150 schools. The essays are being reviewed by experts to choose the final ones to go into the book. “We had publicized the contest for the students in the age groups but some schools in their usual filtering practice have tried to send the essay as a single school entry, which actually defeats the purpose of exploring original ideas and much more participation. Nevertheless, we got very good number of original essays and 25% were bullying and 26% on sports education. The insights from these essays will be helpful in knowing about the young minds firsthand,” said Shivani Kasturia, content lead Takhte.
PRIA’s Youth and Democracy Campaign is another initiative supported by UNESCO, which uses art and street theatre to empower youth and engage them in dialogue and expression. Another is Heritage Education for Youth run by NGO Itihaas which focuses on cultural awareness and transformative effect of heritage education on Indian youth.
The Ideosync UNESCO information Fellowship (IUIF) Programme is being run in partnership with Ideosync Media Combine for helping youth from communication stream to enter into developmental sector for social change. In its first year under the fellowship, six fellows were placed with grassroots institutions, think tanks and media organizations like community radio stations for a hand on experience.
National Alliance for Women’s Football and SDG school along with HackaDev in Sri Lanka are another youth initiatives by UNESCO in this region.
On August 9, UNESCO India at a special event showcased these initiatives before a group of youth in New Delhi. The occasion was also used to spread awareness on UNESCO MGIEP’s the #Kindnessmatters Campaign. It is an initiative run by MGIEP during the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year and under this youth can share their stories of kindness and other experience on special hashtags created and social media platforms. The purpose of campaign is to mobilize the world’s youth to achieve the 17 SDGs through transformative acts of kindness. https://mgiep.unesco.org/kindness