IWHC’s Young Visionaries Contest: Empowering Young People to Change the World


Did you know that there are1.2 billion people between the ages of 10 and 19 in the world today-the largest generation of adolescents ever?
As the Feministing community knows, around the world, strong and dynamic youth movements are gaining momentum–and so is the global agenda for human rights, social justice, and feminism. From Nigeria to Peru, young people are securing access to comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive health care, and engaging with policymakers locally, nationally, and internationally.
That’s why I’m so thrilled to announce Young Visionaries, an exciting new campaign- and contest- from the International Women’s Health Coalition(IWHC), the NGO where I work. Until March 25, 2010 if you’re between the ages of 18 and 30 you can share your vision for a just and healthy life, and get a chance to win a $1000 grant from IWHC to fund a project that works toward this vision. Feministing’s very own Jessica Valenti is a guest judge for the contest, which aims to highlight the voices of young people working on sexual and reproductive rights and health from all corners of the globe…Voices like that of Aysel Asgarova (Azerbaijan), who writes:

“In almost every Muslim country women experience gender-based discrimination and inequality. Azerbaijan is not an exception. So, if I win a $1000 Young Visionaries grant, I’d organise a 5-day Theatre-based Training of Trainers in the field of Peer Education and Reproductive Health in one of the regions of Azerbaijan.”

And voices like that of Joseph Sewedo Akoro of Nigeria, who says in his entry that his “vision is to have a world that will be absolutely non-discriminatory and where everyone of diverse status can enjoy fundamental human rights.
If Shannon O’Reilly of Iowa, USA could tell world leaders one thing, it would be that:

“‘The world isn’t a power struggle. There’s no war of good against evil. Your ideals are not diametrically opposed to those of every other country. You have a choice: stay at a standstill until the world changes, chaotically, without you- or work together to make sure it changes to benefit everyone.’”

And Wagatwe Wanjuki of New Jersey, USA believes “that ignorance plays a huge part in the revictimization of survivors and the perpetuation of inadequate sexual violence policies.”
If you meet the eligibility requirements and share IWHC’s vision for promoting and protecting the health and rights of women and young people worldwide, you can add your voice to the mix by nominating yourself today. The process is pretty painless. Be sure to read the full contest rules here first.
And even if you aren’t eligible for the contest, I encourage you to check out the nominees and vote for the youth activists who inspire you. You can also click here for more information and resources on the sexual and reproductive rights and health of young people and adolescents, from IWHC’s extensive online Information Library.

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