Global Changemakers: A Driving Force in Empowering Young People

Helping thousands around, Global Changemakers is an organisation working hard for young people. We sat down to find out more about them.

To date, Global Changemakers, has trained thousands of young people in over 180 countries through both online and in-person training. 

Also, it has provided grants to over 400 youth-led projects which have had a combined impact on over 8.3 million people. 

These numbers illustrate young people’s lives being positively touched and changed thanks to Global Changemakers, an international youth organisation supporting youth-led sustainable development.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, this organisation is exceeding its borders and making a global change.

In this Youth Time piece, Gabriela Jaeger, Co-Founder and Programmes Director, Global Changemakers, reveals more about this supportive community.

Read on to learn how this global pioneer in supporting youth-led sustainable development achieves its mission to support youth to create positive change towards a more inclusive, fair and sustainable world.


Building Opportunities for Young People

Initially, Jaeger highlights a few very effective events in getting young people not only to learn skills, but understand the power and necessity of working together.

“For the last 13 years we have been working to create a tight-knit international network, through events where selected participants got to know each other, learn new skills to become more effective and impactful in their work and integrate into the larger community of Global Changemakers.

“Also, to exchange ideas and best practices and support each other’s initiatives.”

Considering that the selection process is very competitive and every year they noticed that many talented young people were missing out on this opportunity, they have been working on different ways to open up opportunities for more young people.


Adapting to a Virtual World

The spread of the COVID0-19 pandemic during 2020 pushed them to go further and organise two Virtual Youth Summits and various online trainings and workshops. 

“We have many programmes in our portfolio that allow us to support young people in different ways depending on their needs, level of experience and engagement.”

Global Changemakers_2.jpg
Moving Online: Global Changemakers have had to adapt to virtual events during 2020 and 2021

All participants of different programmes can then connect in different ways with the wider community through internal events and opportunities.


Virtual Youth Summit

Changemakers School, launched in 2019, is an online school where all teachers are young people that have “walked the walk”. 

“Currently we offer courses on Facilitation Skills and Project Management. Graduates of the Project Management Course can apply for funding to implement their initiative.” Jaeger elaborates.  

“We had two Virtual Youth Summits last year, the aim is to get more young people to become active in their communities and become Changemakers themselves.”

“These combined inspirations through the stories of some of the members of our network who shared their experiences in how they are bringing positive change to their communities and some skill building and networking sessions.”

Whereas, the Global Youth Summit was their flagship event until 2019 where 60 young people from across the world were selected amongst a pool of an average of 4,000 participants to attend a week of training, networking and ideating initiatives. 

“We look forward to seeing what new shape this event might take once the COVID-19 crisis is averted.”

During March, Global Changemakers launched a third course on Menstruation, Sexual and Reproductive Health (MSRH) aimed to bridge the gender gap and provide young people with science based relevant information on MSRH from a young perspective and breaking taboos.

For people who want to share their skills, Global Changemakers offers the opportunity of recording webinars to be featured in their YouTube channel or write a blog. 

“This not only allows us for a platform to share one’s skills but is also something extra offered not only to our core network and participants of our programmes, but also to anyone who is interested.”


A World of Possibilities

As already mentioned, Global Changemakers provides skills development, capacity building, mentoring and grants. These grants are very often the first funds received by Changemakers. 

Jaeger elaborates more on this and how these possibilities are a driving force in empowering youth’s role within their communities.

“We offer different opportunities to develop skills. We have free online toolkits on Project Management, Fundraising, Design Thinking and Social Media which are downloadable and available in different languages.” 

For those who are looking for a guided path to change making, Global Changemakers offers a Mentorship Programme that pairs participants with an experienced Changemaker. 

To offer some inspiration and motivation of what young people can achieve, see here the work of Changemakers on their Podcast.


How Can You Support Global Change?

Even though Global Changemakers is already a great and influential organisation, it is always working with different partners to provide platforms and opportunities to Changemakers doing important work.

“These initiatives have shown repeatedly that young people have the capacity to meaningfully impact their communities for good. 

“They know them, understand the issues at hand and very often are personally affected by the issues they are tackling.”

Jaeger believes that this combination of ownership and knowledge of the community added to youth’s enthusiasm and optimism has proved to be a very impactful formula.

Access to funds and opportunities are usually at the top of what young people list as their top challenges, she goes on, while sharing her say on what are some of the biggest challenges and shortcomings faced by youth today and how their work contributes towards tackling them.

Donations are a very important component of Global Changemakers’ work. They offer a lot of content either for free, through scholarships or at very subsidised prices. 

You can join your voice with Global Changemakers too! By donating and supporting different aspects of their work directly through their website, and through their portal on Global Giving.

From Switzerland, let’s go to Denmark and read about the Crossing Borders organisation and how it enables youth to become active global citizens.

Crossing Borders: Enabling Young People to Become Active Global Citizens

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