Teenagers from North Macedonia win global recognition for innovation to end violence
The team of teenagers is one of the five global Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge winners who will receive expert mentorship and $20,000 in seed funding to scale up their initiatives
SKOPJE, 12 April 2019 – Today in New York, UNICEF and partners announced the five winners of the global Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. A team of teenagers from North Macedonia - “AndroMeta” with their mobile app “Speak Out” to build a community of support for victims of bullying – is among those who will each receive expert mentorship from Generation Unlimited partners and $20,000 in seed funding to scale up their initiative.
The Youth Challenge is part of the global Generation Unlimited initiative launched by world leaders including the UN Secretary General, António Guterres and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, together with UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore to get every young person between 10 and 24 years old into school, learning, training or employment by 2030.
“The country should be extremely proud of these bright young minds. They prove that when given the chance, our young people have the ideas and energy to create a better world for themselves,” said Mr. Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative. “Through collaboration they not only tackle some of the biggest challenges facing their generation, they learn new transferable skills like problem solving, innovation, entrepreneurship that will help them keep up with the changing demands of the jobs of tomorrow and contribute to the country’s prosperity.”
The Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge has worked with more than 800 innovators across 16 countries to answer an urgent question: how can we ensure every young person has the education, skills and empowerment to build a better future?
“SpeakOut is a mobile app that motivates young people to ask for help anonymously and be a support to their peers. They are offered two choices to get help. To post publicly and get help from other members in the community or a private one-to-one chat with a volunteer,” Aleksandra Popovska, 18-year-old team leader. “I feel like adults don’t always believe in our capabilities, but experience doesn’t always come with age, it comes with doing things that matter. Young people can make a difference.”
Recognising that while talent is universal, opportunity is not, the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge was created to support young people who have brilliant ideas but lack the resources to turn ideas into reality.
“I experienced violence myself, and this experience in a way helped me in the process of designing the application,” said Matej Plavevski, 16-year-old team member. “The opportunity for continuous learning during the development process is the best part of the Generation Unlimited challenge. For me, it was also interesting to learn that sometimes we don’t have to agree on everything to function, even after lengthy discussion. We can just agree that we don’t agree and to respect each other.”
“Young people can make a huge difference if they have the will and motivation to embrace all the possibilities around them and if they learn to unite and work together. It is challenging for a single person to make a change in society, but when more people are working together, almost everything can be achieved,” said Dario Stojanov, 16-year-old team member.
“A lot of friends at school are asking me how we found out about the Challenge and if they can join – I think they start to see me differently but in a positive way. What I’m telling them is that one needs to start something and then everything will fall into place,” said Amra Licina, 17-year-old team member.
“I see a lot of change in us as well, we all have a lot more confidence and started believing in ourselves,” said Danche Petrusevska, 18-year old team member.
With 1.8 billion young people in the world, Generation Unlimited is a dynamic global partnership that draws on the expertise of young people, representatives from governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society to inspire urgent investment in education, skills training, and empowerment for the rapidly growing global population of adolescents and young people aged between 10 and 24 years old.
Generation Unlimited brings together partners to co-create and support solutions that are proven and have the potential to deliver results at scale, and to develop a platform to share knowledge and learning and provide young people with a space to engage and co-create.
Earlier this week, The World Bank announced a $1 billion investment in young people and is partnering with UNICEF to align this funding with Generation Unlimited.
To find out more about Generation Unlimited visit www.generationunlimited.org
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.