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A Good Year for IHEYO
Submitted by admin on 14 March, 2005 - 17:44
In 1998 IHEU relaunched IHEYO, the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation, and in 2000 announced a youth internship programme. Now in 2005, IHEYO can be described as a flourishing organisation, with a new legal status, a formal organisation, a new office and a full time officer! IHEYO’s full Annual Report for 2004 is now available online at www.iheyo.org. Here, Gea Meijers, President of IHEYO, summarises what was a good year for International Youth Humanism.
A Formal Organisation
IHEYO By-laws were amended at its second General Assembly, and then submitted to the Belgian Government for formal recognition. With this IHEYO made the transition to an organisation with formal members – there are now 18 member organisations; more applications will be considered at the third General Assembly.
Annual Conference and General Assembly
IHEYO’s third annual conference: “Global Humanism forPeace and Social Justice”, held in Kampala, Uganda, from 20 to 24 May was a very rich experience. More than 300 youth applied to participate in the conference – around 60 participants were selected from amongst them. In Kampala the General Assembly of IHEYO adopted a resolution on supporting GLBT-rights (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) in Uganda. During the conference, IHEYO spoke out for these rights to the media in Uganda. Further, IHEYO worked on getting an international petition in place for decriminalising homosexuality in Uganda, but has been unable to finish this project due to lack of time. This will have to be restarted in 2005.
IHEYO’s website has been redesigned and updated. Four issues of the e-newsletter, ‘YouthSpeak’, were published, and a brochure is being prepared. IHEYO has received wide attention through the internet, humanist magazines and some mainstream media. Two e-mail lists are now operational; one for discussion and one for information on IHEYO activities. The online World Humanist Youth Database has been extended and updated. It contains information on youth humanist groups from 26 countries.
Existing since 2000, it was the first project of the reactivated IHEYO. In this programme, a young humanist leader can stay for a month at a humanist organisation in another country to gain experience and contacts. In 2004, one internships was arranged – the host was the Norwegian Humanist Association.
Representing Youth Humanism at International For a
Getting the humanist youth voice represented at international fora is one of the longterm aims for IHEYO. In 2004, IHEYO worked specifically on getting IHEYO represented in the European Youth Forum; work is underway to get us represented at the UN, Commonwealth Youth Forum and UNESCO-youth. Information was shared with the IHEU’s representative at UNESCO, and contacts were made with the IHEUyouth representative at the Council of Europe.
IHEYO was present at several conferences and youth camps through a representative or by a presentation. We were present at two youth camps in Uganda, one organised by CRY (Conflict Resolution by the Youth) and the other by MVEAT (Missionary Voluntary Action EmergencyTroop). We were of course participants of the International Humanist Conference in Uganda that was held under the auspices of IHEU. IHEYO Board members participated in a training on poverty eradication organised by the North-South Centre and in a Council of Europe training course on “Developing leadership skills and interaction with public authorities”. Also we were present at a humanist youth workshop in Ghana.
Supporting humanist youth groups
When groups and individuals contact IHEYO, we stimulate them in their endavours and provide them with more information by pointing towards other groups, sources of information and to our own channels of communication and projects. Where possible, we try to offer more support, but we are not a funding organisation. For two groups we made an exception in 2004 due to the difficult circumstances the groups are working in. We supported the group ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’ (SMUG) after our conference, with a small donation for emergency support and for getting them started. And we agreed to support one of our member groups, the ‘Liberian Refugee Youths for Sustainable Development’ in Ghana with a small donation to help 12 kids to go to school for a year.
The Executive Committee (EC) is the working heartbeat of IHEYO. In 2004, one member ended his term with a new officer coming in; in total the EC counted nine members. The EC had three face-to-face meetings where a broad outline of the policy and the course of IHEYO was outlined. Some of this policy has been mentioned in the previous IHN – giving more attention to art and creativity within organised humanism. Also we want to focus especially on the practical side of humanism and want to support projects carried out from a humanist mindset, projects which offer concrete support to people, especially to disadvantaged groups.
While the EC is the heartbeat, important donors work as the motor for IHEYO’s work. In 2004, IHEYO received important support from HIVOS, IHS, IHEU and the Norwegian Humanist Association. In total this was nearly 25,000 Euros.
Gea Meijers is President of IHEYO