Children Believe partners with Generation Global: Youth expand local conversations to worldwide dialogue to become global citizens

A joint program with the UK's Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is building the knowledge and influence of vulnerable teens in Ghana, Burkina Faso and India

Crystal Lee, Children Believe

'I love being a teacher,' says Odette Kuunaa Dery (above, left), a member of the science faculty at a junior high in a Children Believe-supported school in Tamale, the capital of Ghana's Northern region. 'I get to interact with young people at an age when you can have a powerful impact and shape them.' Fellow teacher, Brenda Amadu Amoah (above, right), nods in agreement.

Odette and Brenda developed their passion for teaching in college and, several decades later, their enthusiasm has only grown. Their commitment to students is increasingly important given the evolving complexities of our interconnected world. They understand how critical it is for young people they teach to access education and training to develop the knowledge and skills needed to find gainful employment, secure a stable living and help advance our world.

Marginalized youth face barriers to building a better future

Global disparities in access to education and training put youth from poor or marginalized communities at a distinct disadvantage. For example, the World Bank reports that in Ghana's Northern region - the country's poorest and most educationally deprived - 62 percent of its population received less than four years of education. And, as almost 90 percent of young people around the world live in developing countries, as reported by UNICEF, the gap is alarming. Further, UNICEF reports youth are about three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

It's clear the education and resources many young people receive are not setting them up to succeed.

A partnership to create global citizens is making a difference

To help address this gap, Children Believe and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) are implementing Generation Global in Ghana, Burkina Faso and India. As teachers, Odette and Brenda are excited to be participating in this educational program for young people aged 13 to 17.

The program will help teens embrace the future, equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become active, open-minded global citizens.

Children Believe and TBI piloted Generation Global in schools and youth clubs supported by Children Believe in India last year. And, the popular program is now being ramped up there and expanded to students in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

How Generation Global is giving youth access to new opportunities

Generation Global is putting intercultural dialogue at the heart of meaningful human connections and young people's ability to authentically engage as global citizens.

In small groups of about 20, young people are learning five core skills of dialogue - global communication, active listening, critical thinking, questioning and reflection.

The program provides a platform and facilitates video conferences for young people to learn and practise these skills, gaining greater knowledge of different cultures, perspectives and worldviews through interaction with local and global peers.

The online global community supported by Generation Global provides a safe space to learn and explore contemporary global issues, such as climate change, the rights of women and girls, human rights and action against hate speech.

In addition, free, flexible teaching resources on various global issues are offered as well as quality training for educators to support the development of their students' global citizenship.

Generation Global first launched in 2009 and has since extended to 30+ countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It has supported 570,000+ young people and trained 15,000+ teachers in the skills of intercultural dialogue.

Creating lasting change starts with a committed team in the classroom at home

Since completing teacher training, Brenda and Odette have been looking forward to introducing the program to young people in September. 'This will be very good for our students', says Brenda. 'They'll be exposed to other ideas and ways of being, and they'll gain confidence and be able to better express themselves through the dialogue practice.'

Odette is equally optimistic. 'Through interacting with peers from other parts of the world, more awareness will be created among our students about current global issues and ways to address them,' she says. 'This will change their characters, and, in turn, they will change their communities.'

This article originally appeared on the Children Believe blog on 16 August 2022.