We’re 1.8 billion strong and we’re going to change the world

12 Aug 16


This International Youth Day (Friday 12th August), thousands of young people are taking to the streets, in over 40 countries worldwide, to call on their 1.8 billion peers to seize their moment in history and change the world.

This year’s Youth Day sees the passing of a major milestone in human history - it is the last time that the planet will have more people under 30 years of age than over it. The phenomenon, known as ‘Peak Youth’, observes that the largest global youth population in history, currently at 1.8 billion, is starting to plateau.

Campaigners for the Youth Power movement, led by Restless Development and connecting over 100 youth organisations worldwide, are using the UN recognised day to rally their peers into action. They want young people to take the lead on the Global Goals [Sustainable Development Goals] and make sure world leaders keep the promises they laid out to them in the document.

A wide variety of actions are taking place across the world. From a ‘Talent Explosion’ show in Sierra Leone, to a roundtable with young people and decision makers in Uganda, and a Festival of creative workshops including spoken-word, zine making and mobile journalism in the UK.

Primrose Manyalo, Youth Power Campaign Coordinator in Zimbabwe, said:

“Young people are the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, poverty and inequalities. Two out of three countries do not consult young people when preparing national development plans for the Global Goals. We must change this. We are strongest when we stand together - at 1.8 billion strong we can change the world.”

Nik Hartley OBE, CEO of Restless Development, said:

“If we change the way we think about youth, if we change the way we talk about young people, then we will find that young people will change our world for the better. This era of ‘Peak Youth’ is an historic opportunity for us all. The challenge is whether we will take it up.”

Details of just some of the Youth Power Events happening worldwide:

  • In India, they will have a "Half day workshop in Delhi targeting line ministries, stakeholders alongside a photo booth managed by volunteers...
  • In Zimbabwe, they will participate in the Mufakose (Harare) district commemorations with other Youth Focused/led organisations, local government and young people.
  • In Nepal they will hold a national Global Goals conference with the Young People, National Planning Commission Line Ministries, Political Youth, Ministry of Youth and Sports.
  • In Uganda their activities are spanning over 6 districts and range from marches, exhibitions and dialogues with decision makers.
  • In Tanzania they will hold a youth symposium with 100 young people and a public youth festival targeting over 800 people with the Minister of Home affairs in attendance.
  • In the USA, they are using IYD as an opportunity to amplify the 1.8 billion strong messages and showcase our collective YouthPower with their list of contacts in the US with the aim of generating some crowd source funding.
  • In Zambia, they will hold a march of peace around town, targeting political leaders ahead of the elections in their country
  • In the UK, they will have a full day Restless Festival featuring a CEOs roundtable, digital, performance, craftivism and power spaces
  • In Sierra Leone they will host a talent explosion with flash mobs, spoken word and creative performances in 3 regions
  • In South Africa, they will host a half day workshop targeting government leaders, young people and other stakeholders outside East London. Young people will also do creative performances to showcase their #YouthPower.

To celebrate Youth Day, Restless Development staff around the world were asked to draw stories of inspiring young people who made change. Meet Soniya, Alaro and Eva. 

Restless Development has launched it's new strategy today. Click here to take a look.

For more information about the activities taking place worldwide, please contact Bobby Dean on bobby@restlessdevelopment.org or on 0044 7595911816


We are the Youth Collective. If you believe in the power of young people, join our movement.