what: the Oxfam International Youth Parliament (IYP) is an initiative of Oxfam International, managed by Oxfam Community Aid Abroad (OCAA). IYP supports a global network of young leaders and activists in 150 countries who work to bring about positive and lasting change in their communities. It does this through supporting youth led initiatives, facilitating skills and capacity building programs and supporting young people to advocate for their rights and freedoms and those of their communities.
who: IYP is run by paid staff and volunteers. The Board of OCAA sets policy and strategic goals that become guidelines for the way that Oxfam Community Aid Abroad operates and for how each of its programs (including Oxfam IYP) is managed. The IYP staff team works closely with 3 consultative groups to determine the strategic direction taken by IYP towards achieving its aims. These groups are: the International Advisory Board (representing the views of action partners), the Indigenous Reference Group (advising on Indigenous programs) and the Oxfam International Youth Project Team (from July 04).
goals: “Youth Building a Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable World”. IYP aims to support youth led initiatives that will make a significant contribution to an increase in the number of people:
IYP is a cyclical process whereby each Parliament sitting launches the next round of activities. Namely:
- who have a sustainable livelihood;
- who have access to social services;
- who have an effective voice in decisions that affect their lives;
- who are able to live free from fear and discrimination, especially those who are currently oppressed or marginalised due to their gender, ethnicity, indigenous status or cultural identity;
- who are safe from conflict and disaster.
action partners: the IYP is run by young people, for the empowerment of young people. The Action Partners are at the heart of Oxfam IYP's global youth network: they have been selected according to their ability to effect change at home in their local environments, following their participation in IYP2004. They are enacting Action Plans around the world and are networked by e-lists to support them in implementing change globally and on the ground. Representatives are from Australia, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, Central and East Africa, East Asia, Eastern Europe and FSU, Horn of Africa, Maghreb and Middle East, North America, Oceania, South Africa, South America,
- Supporting youth led initiatives: IYP supports Action Partners in the development, implementation and evaluation of social change initiatives (individual and collective action plans) through the provision of strategic and financial support.
- Developing skills and building capacity: IYP works to increase the effectiveness of Action Partners as social change leaders through further developing skills and knowledge necessary for implementing positive and sustainable change.
- Networking and alliance building: IYP encourages and supports action partners to build alliances and partnerships amongst themselves and with others to support their work for change.
- Research and information exchange: IYP aims to establish a significant exchange of learning, information and research relating to the issues that face young people and the actions they have taken for positive and sustainable change locally, nationally and globally.
- Promoting youth participation: IYP actively promotes the right of young men and women to meaningful participation in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. IYP empowers Action Partners to participate in policy development and decision making at all levels.
South Asia, West Africa and Western Europe.
work-in-progress: the International Youth Parliament has harnessed the energy and interests of young people involved in development and social action. High levels of support and interest have come from organisations in local communities and from the international community, particularly UNESCO and the United Nations Youth Unit.
It should be seen as a process of empowerment, which, according to Dennis Duggan a delegate from Ireland, “broadened the horizons of delegates, rejuvenated their energy and widened their experience.” As a process, rather than an event, IYP’s activities will continue as delegates use the channels of communication set up for them, share their knowledge and expertise, and work through their individual action plans.
greetings: “(…) Today, we are so interdependent that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are a part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence - let alone bring about peace and happiness. A universal humanitarian approach to world problems such as poverty and conflict seems the only sound basis for world peace. How do we set about this? We begin by recognising the simple fact that, irrespective of their creed, colour, sex or nationality, others just like ourselves share the same desires. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering.(…)” [from the Dalai Lama greetings letter to the IYP].