Champions of Change is Plan International’s community-wide strategy for promoting gender equality and social norm change through youth engagement and peer-to-peer mobilisation. In Sweden, this strategy has inspired a programme that features an educational youth camp, with follow-up meetings and activities. The objective is to enhance children and young people’s knowledge of their rights, global development issues, gender equality and advocacy. The programme allowed for meaningful youth participation, increasing understanding of the importance of gender equality and reinforcing youth engagement with topics that affect children and youth rights and gender equality.
With and for young people
This was a youth-led project with meaningful youth participation. From start to finish, young people were central in drafting the funding application and planning both the project and the camp. They also acted as youth leaders or participants in the camp as well as in the follow-up meetings and evaluation. Such an approach is essential in delivering a project that was truly with and for young people.
Do no harm
Plan International always prioritises and works towards the safety of all children and young people in all its activities. This includes putting in place a thorough safeguarding policy as well as undertaking risk assessments prior to any activity that involves children and young people.
Base of knowledge
Through its work around the world over many years, Plan International has developed broad expertise on youth participation and gender equality; Champions of Change is an excellent example of bringing this knowledge together to become creative, to think outside the box and to create interactive activities and learning opportunities together with young people. It also seeks to take advantage of digital tools in order to continue working together after the camp and the meetings.
Young people meeting one other
Young and active people need places to come together and meet, so that each region feels represented. This project addresses this need and provides young people with a platform to do something positive about the issues they identify both in their communities and on a global level.
Plan International works with children and young people with the goal of shifting the agenda towards gender equality. Inspired by the global Champions of Change strategy, Plan International Sweden developed ‘Champions of Change Sweden’, a programme with separate but interrelated journeys of change for both boys and girls. For girls, this journey focuses on self-esteem, rights awareness, collective power and economic empowerment. For boys, it focuses on learning how to avoid contributing to inequality, transforming discriminatory attitudes and behaviours and learning how to support girls’ rights and gender equality. It also shows them how to stand up for their LGBTQIA+ peers and to help build communities free from stigma, exclusion and violence.
Champions of Change Sweden was created together with the organisation’s youth advisory panel. Its purpose is to enhance children and young people’s knowledge of global development issues, children and youth rights, gender equality and advocacy. It also provides them with the necessary tools to engage in, and contribute to, sustainable development and a more equal world.
Camp participants are aged 15-19 and come from various parts of Sweden. After they have participated in the camp, Plan International Sweden invites them to follow-up meetings and activities. This works as an extension of the camp, to create a platform for young people to continue with their engagement and to share their knowledge and their experiences.
Increased knowledge of the rights and challenges that children and young people face, with a focus on gender equality.
Increased understanding of the need to work to accommodate gender equality from an early age in order to achieve just and sustainable global development.
Better conditions for young people to engage in topics that concern children and young people’s rights and gender equality.
Network of young people who can be continuously supported in their development.
Motivated engagement throughout the country and reached more people of different ages through the Champions of Change participants.