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Global movement funding youth-led community projects announces expansion plans

Melanie May | 13 April 2023 | News

Global Youth Mobilisation Makerspace Project. YMCA Scotland
The Global Youth Mobilisation Makerspace Project, YMCA Scotland.

Global Youth Mobilisation, which funds youth-led community projects in more than 125 countries, is seeking $15mn (£11.3mn) over the next three years so it can expand.

So far, GYM has invested in 654 projects led by over 73,000 young people in 125 countries, including the UK, helping 3.6mn people in its first phase. All aspects of the initiative are youth-led, from governance to decision-making on funding allocation.

Supported by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the United Nations Foundation, phase one saw GYM invest funds in youth-led initiatives and national Big Six organisations* to support the pandemic response and recovery effort. The projects in phase one sought to tackle a global crisis in education that has worsened since the pandemic, rising unemployment, a mental health crisis, and increased domestic and gender-based violence.


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After the first phase of the campaign, GYM found the young people were making major improvements to the way community schemes were delivered because they designed solutions that met important local needs, avoided “top-down” solutions and allowed those working on them to benefit from the experience of managing the schemes instead of being told what to do.

Investing directly in young people and community grassroots organisations anywhere in the world, the initiative enables young people and community organizations to apply for funding via one centralised platform, available in multiple languages. Phase one was backed by $5mn of funding, with micro-grants made available to young people around the world in four tiers, from $500 to $5,000 and an ‘accelerator’ program that scaled and replicated the most promising solutions.

The additional investment sought will enable the movement to continue addressing worldwide issues such as child abuse, education, unemployment, and mental health.

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General, World YMCA and GYM Board Member, commented:

“We have seen that young people must be involved at the highest level of decision making and trusted to develop solutions. By enabling and trusting them to deliver projects on the ground, young people have made a real difference to their local communities, as well as creating a collaborative network that can make an impact in the future as they learn from each other.


“Global Youth Mobilization has shown it can be a model for grassroot community action across the world, and has clear potential to continue making a significant contribution to the development of young people.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said:

“WHO is proud to support the Global Youth Mobilization to engage, empower and equip young people as a driving force in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


“This unique initiative demonstrates the catalytic potential of a youth-led model for leadership, decision-making and localized solutions. WHO remains committed to continuing to work with the Global Youth Mobilization and we encourage other partners to join the next phase of the initiative and invest in the health and well-being of future generations.”

A full report of the first two-years of global youth mobilisation can be found here.

*Formed in 1996, the Big 6 Youth Organisations is an alliance comprising the five largest youth movements in the world: World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.