Youth movement groups organize online

A group of young Canadian entrepreneurs has launched an online knowledge management tool to prepare international youth movement groups for the upcoming United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development.

EarthYouth.Net, the brainchild of Toronto-based TakingITGlobal will be launched Aug. 21st at the Johannesburg summit. TakingITGlobal is a non-profit international organization that aims to educate youth on the potential of using technology to drive social and environmental change.


Created and maintained by TakingITGlobal members as well as partners from international youth organizations, the site is the first fully comprehensive information resource for young people interested in sustainable development, says TakingITGlobal strategy and partnership coordinator Nick Moraitis.

The WSSD summit is expected to be one of the largest of its kind, according to president of the International Young Professionals Organization James Moody. More than 80,000 delegates and 100 world leaders scheduled to attend the environmental issues and economic development forum. Moody’s organization is one of the key partners in EarthYouth.net.

“”The lack of organization on an international level is a major issue for many activist groups. Youth is identified as one of those very clearly,”” says Mary Pattenden, special projects director at Toronto-based environmental agency Pollution Probe. “”There have been efforts to organize them on an international level, but linkage is still a major issue and this Web site is a great opportunity for that to happen.””

With the help of UN agencies, international NGOs and corporate sponsors like Sony, EarthYouth.net is going to act as an information portal during the WSSD. More importantly, after the summit, the Web site is going to act as a linking tool for youth organizations worldwide, something that is sorely needed, Pattenden says.

Facilitating organization on an international level is a major focus for the site, says Moraitis, but the Web site aims to do more than just disseminate information on issues.

“”One of the major issues with youth groups is that they don’t have any money,”” he says. “”The Web site is going to have a listings of ways you can tap into financial opportunities-scholarships, grants, awards to allow you to get the resources you need to take action. “”

And action is what the EarthYouth.net team expects to facilitate using information technology, says TakingITGlobal co-founder and director Jennifer Corriero.

“”There’s always all of this energy that’s generated at international events but a lot of it is contained so that the people who attend the events are the only beneficiaries of it,”” she says. “”It’s also very difficult to sustain that momentum after the event. So one of the critical parts of EarthYouth.net is that post WSSD it’s going to be a vehicle to allow people to stay connected and to engage different stakeholders.””

As well as offering areas where youth delegates to the summit will be able to get information about the different activities and presentations going on at the Johannesburg meeting, the site will be an information source for youth globally.

“”There’s going to be eight young journalists in South Africa reporting on what’s happening and they’ll be publishing to the site,”” says Moraitis. “”Young people can tap into that news and find out what’s going on, not from the corporate news perspective or independent news perspective, but from a youth perspective, which is different.””

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