The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, has launched a new website, YourCommonwealth.org, for young leaders to collaborate, promote their innovations and initiatives, and advocate for action on youth development. In addition to a more modern look, the website continues to provide a dedicated space for Young Commonwealth Correspondents and now has dedicated microsites for the Commonwealth’s 13 youth networks.
Unveiling the new website at the Commonwealth Youth Network Summit in London, the Secretary-General said:
“This initiative is yet another example of our commitment to our young leaders and the 1.5 billion young people they represent. This website will provide them with more tools to share their ideas and solutions to some of the most challenging development issues. In addition, they can achieve their goals by combining their talent, innovation and initiatives.”
She added: “This launch is part of our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. The website will also play a critical role in amplifying our Year of Youth, a landmark declaration by our 56 Heads of Government at their summit last year. At its heart, it recognises the power of our youth and acknowledges that we will certainly fail to achieve our sustainable development goals if we do not empower and engage our young people and prioritise them in all aspects of our development work.”
The new site is an upgrade of the long-running YourCommonwealth.org website – a dedicated platform for more than 70 Young Commonwealth correspondents, made up of commentators as well as practising and aspiring journalists. To bolster its talent pool, the Commonwealth Secretariat is inviting young people, aged 15-29, to apply to become a Commonwealth Young Correspondent.
In 2012, the website was named ‘Communicator of the Year’ in the Nexus Commonwealth Awards. Head of Social Policy, Layne Robinson, coordinated the website in collaboration with young people from across the Commonwealth and staff members from the communications and youth divisions.
“The vision was to give young people from all over the Commonwealth the opportunity to air their views on events and challenges in their country and globally. This gives us a unique insight into issues and experiences on the ground and the opportunity to respond with targeted initiatives and programmes,” said Mr Robinson.
Commonwealth Senior Communications and Engagement Officer Natricia Duncan, who worked with the youth leaders across the networks to manage the upgrade, said the aim was to create a multimedia collaboration space.
She said: “Though our thirteen networks are each dedicated to a different issue, such as health, education, disability and climate change, collaboration among them is critical to the success of their campaigns and initiatives. Therefore, we focussed the upgrade on creating the architecture to accommodate more multimedia and creative content and providing a platform where the networks can synergise and co-create.”
Coordinator of the Commonwealth Correspondents, Chimaobi Omeye, said the upgrade would boost an already powerful platform.
He added: “We already engage thousands of young people through thought-provoking articles, and the tools available from this website will enable us to multiply this number and extend our reach. This is also an opportunity for youth networks across the Commonwealth to further collaborate with the correspondents to share their voices, ideas stories, and hopes.”
Clare Keizer, the new editor of the website, added: “We are really excited about this new platform because it is an important part of our strategy to hone the skills of our correspondents, raise the profile of our networks and increase their membership. We will work to ensure that every young person in the Commonwealth is aware of this amazing resource and the opportunities it provides.”