Today we celebrate International Youth Day, and this year’s theme is “Transforming education”, highlighting efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people. A perfect opportunity to shine a light on the Young Change-Maker (YCM) programme. Now in its fourth year and more ambitious than ever, it helps young leaders deliver transformative projects in their local communities promoting social inclusion, gender equality and education through sport.
Supported by seed-funding from the IOC of up to CHF 5,000, the new YCM cycle will see 50 new and ongoing initiatives undertaken worldwide over the next 12 months. The previous 2018-19 cycle delivered 39 life-changing projects globally.
Diabetic children in the Portuguese city of Beja will be the focus of Martim Ramôa’s new YCM project, providing sporting opportunities in a safe but fun environment for youngsters with Type 1 diabetes. In Lebanon, Ghina Chahwan will publish a children’s book entitled ‘Rise Above’, designed to empower and inspire young female refugees in the country and promote gender equality.
Paniz Yousefi Mojtahedi is aiming to increase access to sport for 180 disabled youngsters in Sweden with a long-term ambition of producing future Paralympic athletes. “I am confident that individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities can develop their skills, abilities and well-being through badminton,” she said.
YCMs can apply for funding for three consecutive years to help support the growth of their projects, with the funding being reduced year on year to encourage them to find alternative funding sources. One such project comes from Rania Rahardja in her efforts to promote wheelchair fencing in her native Singapore; and Carolina Joly’s ‘Move To Improve’ initiative in Panama aimed at empowering survivors of domestic abuse through boxing and taekwondo classes.
American Kate Anderson was part of the YCM programme in its inaugural cycle with her ‘Hope Sports’ project, helping to build homes for underprivileged families in Mexico. She returns this year with her ‘It’s A Girl’s World’ initiative, encouraging eight to 14-year-old girls to play more sport.
To support the growing YCM leadership pathway, the IOC organised a mentoring workshop in May in Olympia (Greece). The event saw four YCMs – Chile’s Josefina Salas, Brazil’s Pedro Cavazzoni, Ukraine’s Vera Perenderii and Guatemala’s Gabriela Matus Bonilla – learn about social business and community building. The event was run by the IOC and the Yunus Sports Hub, the company set up by Nobel Prize-winning social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus The quartet will join a core team of mentors – which also includes external subject matter experts and IOC staff – to support and guide the next generation of YCMs in the delivery of their respective projects.
Furthermore, in an effort to diversify the community, this year the programme was opened up to participants of the International Olympic Academy’s Young Participants Session. The European Sports NGO (ENGSO) and the Organising Committees of the future Olympic Games were also invited to put forward young leaders to join the programme.
The YCM Programme, a social entrepreneurship through sport initiative, is supported by the IOC’s TOP Partner Panasonic. YCM applicants can submit a project that leverages sport for a better world in their local communities, and the best projects are allocated a maximum of CHF 5,000 of seed funding. Themes cover Healthy & Active Living, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Peace & Development.