International Youth Day 2019: Transforming Education
Happy International Youth Day!
There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world, so it makes sense to have a day entirely dedicated to youth! International Youth Day was created by the UN General Assembly in 1999 to both raise awareness about the unique challenges that young people face and to celebrate their unique role in creating positive solutions.
This year, International Youth Day is focusing on ways governments, young people, and youth-focused organizations (like us!) are transforming education into a powerful tool to help achieve UN development goals by 2030.
One of our projects that is transforming education is CyberRwanda.
Co-designed with Rwandan youth, CyberRwanda is a digital platform that aims to improve knowledge, quality, and access to health services. This user-friendly website and accompanying activities weave together choose-your-own-adventure storylines, games to test knowledge, a robust resource directory, and a clinic locator to deliver age-appropriate family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) information and employment skills to young people.
“This isn’t like information that you can get in a textbook,” said a young boy in one of our focus groups in May. “This is something every student should have.”
The narrative storylines make learning along with relatable characters easy and engaging. If a young person has a specific question, they can turn to the FAQ portion of the site for down to earth advice on everything from online etiquette to consent. If they decide that they need services like contraception or advice from a clinician, they can search for local pharmacy or youth center.
Why is this different from traditional education? Imagine if you could design your own curriculum - everything from the topics covered to the way the lessons were planned. CyberRwanda is a great example of how YLabs and our partners are using youth-centered design can help to create products that are engaging, valued, and actionable.
CyberRwanda will launch as a pilot program in the Kigali and Nyagatare Districts of Rwanda this month. After continuing to iterate on the product with young people, full implementation will begin in early 2020.
Find out more about this innovative project here.