Beyond the Net Journal: Youth Observatory #1 Episode
“The voices of young people are not heard when it comes to Internet policy” said Carlos Guerrero, project manager of the Youth Observatory. “We are the generation that has been using the Internet since we were children, and we are the ones who will be using it for the next 50 years. Our voice matters.”
The Youth Observatory is a nonprofit organization founded in September 2015, and supported as a Special Interest Group (SIG) by the Internet Society’s Beyond the Net Funding Programme since 2016. It is formed mostly of young people between 18 and 25 years from different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The main objective of the Observatory is to generate interest among the young people about core issues related to Internet governance.
Currently the project team is working to create an Open Call for Papers, written by young people, about knowledge dissemination and research in cyber security and digital rights management. We are grateful to Carlos Guerrero for answering few questions to gain a deeper understanding of this interesting project.
How many people have been trained so far?
We have trained more than 100 young people about Internet governance and related topics during YouthLACIGF, an event held in San José, Costa Rica (26 July 2016) and during our guided courses.
What is the impact of the project on the community?
We are empowering young people by providing them the tools to engage with different local operations. Moreover, our members are working in different Internet governance initiatives in their own countries and other related projects. The main focus of the project is to enrich the current Internet ecosystem with new participants and ideas, and to act as a kickstarter for young people who want to get engaged.
What has changed for the community since the project started?
- The increase of active participation of young people in Internet governance spaces, not just as “youth talking about youth issues” but addressing serious subjects such as policy, digital economy, cybersecurity, and regulation.
- The creation of a global community inside the Internet ecosystem, where young people can share experiences, knowledge and support in a friendly and relaxed environment.
Give us one reason why others should apply to “Beyond the Net”
Our generation is more connected than any previous generation in the world. This means that now there are fewer barriers to communication and travel, and in sharing our ideas with others. This means we can make big changes just by doing small things. “Beyond The Net” gave us the tools to turn our ideas into action.
How has the funding contributed to your project so far
The funding has allowed us to achieve these objectives:
- Creation of a youth organization inside the Internet ecosystem.
- Creation of IG spaces of dialogue and exchange of knowledge between young people around the world (YouthLACIGF).
- Improvement in the ability to run capacity building programmes on IG.
Which are the activities planned for 2017.
We are working to make an Open Call for Papers, written by young people, on Internet-related issues (analysis, essays, etc). This initiative will culminate in a book of articles promoting our work on different topics. We are working to make our organization global, which will also translate to deploying capacity-building programmes in other regions, like Africa or Asia, in partnership with other organizations.
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