Global Youth Work Learner’s Network

Global Youth Work Learner’s Network

What is the Global Youth Work Learner’s Network?

  • The Global Youth Work Learners Network (GYWLN) seeks to enhance youth workers knowledge, understanding, critical thinking capacity and participation in justice issues affecting Ireland and the world.  
  • The network seeks to build local-global understanding and competency, in the youth sector on issues of systemic oppression. 
  • The network seeks to bring youth workers together from across Ireland to engage with professional development and upskilling opportunities. 
  • The intention is to promote sharing of learning and collaborative working within the youth sector and with other sectors including the Global Citizenship Education sector. 
  • The GYWLN is a space to build solidarity and collaboration on global youth work practice, the space is open to all on an ongoing basis, and participation is voluntary. 
  • Youth 2030 recognises youth workers as educators, and for this reason, the network offers a deeper pedagogical opportunity through a Community of Practice model. This is separate to the meetings of the GYWLN, but the two spaces are connected. Please see here for more information on this. 
  • The GYWLN is resourced through collaboration across the sector and also through network members. 
  • The GYWLN is a key support for the implementation of the Youth 2030 Global Youth Work Programme. 

The GYWLN Model

  1. Network meetings are chaired by a member of the Youth 2030 Global Youth Work team, but there is an opportunity to step into a hosting role, and also co-hosting opportunities.
  2. Participants in the GYWLN have the opportunity to review and advise on the work of the Global Youth Work team.  A yearly evaluation informs the schedule for network meetings the following year.
  3. Recognises the different capacities within the membership and works to respond to the different capacities within the group. 

The Working Method

  • Through six meetings each year (in person/online). 
  • Ongoing communications as appropriate between meetings using email/social media/online tools for communication. 

Benefits of being part of the GYWLN 

  • Networking and building solidarity with youth workers across Ireland who are involved in social justice, GYW, and development related work.
  • Support an increased capacity of youth organisations to deliver effective global youth work programmes with young people.  
  • Solidarity in tackling social justice across Ireland and the World.  
  • A strong peer to peer support network to resource your own learning and work.  
  • Development of globally focused working methods across the network. 
  • Offer of Continuous Professional Development.  

What are some of the topics discussed at GYWLN meetings?

Human Rights, the World Cup and Youth Work 

15th November  2022 11:12:30pm 

In December 2010, Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup
The network meeting on the 15th of November 2023 looked at the competition through a Human Rights Lens and the importance of global youth work in responding to the World Cup event. We were joined by Amina Moustafa who brought insight and knowledge through her work with Sports Against Racism Ireland and the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation. 

World Cup fever sweeps up fans and non-fans alike, generating a great sense of enthusiasm for the competition.  At the same time, human rights abuses identified well in advance of the World Cup challenge us in our commitment to social justice, particularly in a global youth work context.  Men and women, mostly from Africa and Asia, built the stadiums, the roads, the metro; they provided security for the football matches, transported fans in taxis to the games, greeted visitors in hotels and served them in restaurants. Since 2010, human rights organisations, trade unions, and media have consistently documented the rampant human rights abuses in the country, especially against migrant workers, including widespread wage theft, high recruitment fees, unexplained deaths, and passport confiscation, among others. 

We wanted this network meeting to be an entry point to interject and have conversations with youth workers about some of the social and global issues the World Cup competition brings.  We were interested particularly in the intersection with poverty, workers’ rights as a global phenomenon, football as a social issue, LGBTQ rights and the role of youth work.  Also, what is the role of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in this conversation? 

The discussion was deepened and developed thanks to the youth workers participating in this discussion.   

Watch the session here: 

Human Rights, the World Cup, and Youth Work 


The following resources may of of interest to members interested in doing work on this area: 

Globalisation, the Youth and the Truth (Section on the World Cup) 

Qatar 2022 Fair or Foul Amnesty International 

Youth work responses to anti-Migrant and anti-LGBTQ Hate

21st March 2022  11-12:30 pm 

One of the requests coming through our GYWLN evaluation was to look at the theme of  solidarity, in responding to a rise in anti-Migrant and anti-LGBTQ hate.   For the network session, we focused particularly on how we, as youth workers, can develop strategies to respond, and to work collectively, in this regard. 

We hosted our network meeting online in association with MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland), to discuss how a global youth work approach can educate and empower against rising anti-migrant sentiment. The meeting was addressed by Kate O’Connell, from the Intercultural and Equality Programme at NYCI, who has been collaborating with the Hope and Courage Collective, and Nancy Waheng from MASI. Kate gave a good insight into protest developments in recent times and how this has impacted on young people, and what kind of responses we need to develop to these.  In terms of addressing issues raised by the Far Rights in youth work, she focused on de-escalation, listening to fears and concerns so people feel heard, talk about the ‘we’, and the power of connection, inclusion and diversity.  

One of the points raised at the meeting was that the Department of Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth recently launched the National Action Plan Against Racism, 2023-27 (NAPAR). The plan was developed by an independent Anti-Racism Committee, and covers key objectives, priority actions and mechanisms for implementation and monitoring. Read or download the Plan here. 

The following resources may of of interest to members interested in doing work on this area:  

Gender, power, and status: youthwork responses 

18th April 11-12:30pm 

Another request coming from the GYWLN evaluation was to look at youth work responses to the Andrew Tate phenomenon. We had a powerful session at the meeting the 18th of April, thanks to Ontla (Ontlametse Rachel Raleru) and Thembe (Thembelihle Madi) from Sonke Gender Justice Project in Botswana and South Africa, and to Danni (Danielle Mc Kenna) from Rialto Youth Project, Dublin.   

We looked at: 

  • Questions of gender, identity, power, status, and youth work responses 
  • Specific examples of the youth education and empowerment work of Sonke Gender Justice Project, South Africa and within a regional context, and, Rialto Youth Project, Dublin.  
  • How the intersecting issues of gender and poverty perpetuate systemic gender inequity.  

Thanks to Philomena Ilobekeme Obasi, Scouting Ireland for her closing point on the strength and inspiration across all the methodologies presented in today’s session, and how we can all learn from this. 

The recording of the session is here 

The following resources were discussed in the meeting and may facilitate you to explore the topic further in your work. 

A focus on SDG #10, Reduced Inequalities on World Refugee Day with the Young Voices of Africa Online Network

Thanks to everyone for their participation in the GYWLN on 20th June-World Refugee Day.  We were so delighted to have representation from Chad, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Sudan for our discussion on SDG #10 on Reduced Inequalities.    We were also delighted to have Jessica Gill, UN Youth Delegate and Rocayra Vanga EU Youth Delegate in the space along with all the youth sector voices who contributed.  

This is our first time to host this space with the Young Voices of Africa Online Network, supported by Kelvin Akpaloo, Ireland/Ghana and Alhassan Kallon, Sierra Leone.  We were delighted to be joined by Alamin Durmas from Sudan, and he spoke about the current reality of young people and their families in the conflict, and the hope for peace.   We appreciated participation from across membership of the Young Voices of Africa Online Group. 

We had some challenges with data, both in Ireland(storms) and with our African based participants but the big win of the day was to have all the voices in the space.  Another great outcome was around building links and connection with African based collaborators, a key part of our project objectives and a contribution we hope to make to the youth sector.  

Prince Amankwah Gaisie from Ghana left us with an important question at the end of the session on why the active engagement of women in public spaces doesn’t translate to greater political representation in Irish parliament.   We know that childcare is an issue not specific to Ireland, so it doesn’t explain the lack of female representation,  leaving us with an important point to ponder on. 

Since the meeting, elections have taken place in Sierra Leone with a new Gender Equality and Empowerment Bill in place, the challenges of female representation are significant but female leaders are stepping forward to represent their communities in the national government. 

Thanks to Vicky Donnelly, Galway One World Centre for her quiz on inequality, which we adapted for the session. 

The session ‘Dear Poverty’ hosted by the Young People’s Committee (YPC) on 17th October 2023.

Thanks especially to the members of the 2022/23 YPC for hosting this GYWLN session. The YPC facilitated this interactive event, explaining their own work in the YPC, and leading a spoken word exercise to explore people’s personal connection with poverty.  This personal connection is key to supporting wider conversations on poverty as something that links individual experience with systemic inequality, and how looking at the different intersecting layers of our identity can explain how poverty impacts people differently.

The YPC launched their resource ‘Dear Poverty’ for One World Week on 24th November, 2023, which you can access here.

Here is a recording of the session:

The 14th December gathering of the Global Youth Work Learners Network Online was a very rich and inspiring learning and networking space,  ‘Food Choice, Food Security and the Monday Morning Sausage Roll’ brought in analysis and lived experience insights from Kildare, Uganda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Dublin and beyond. 

Thanks to our panellists-Lavina O’Reilly, Newbridge Youth Training Centre, Caitlin Breen, Airfield Youth Board, and Darragh Wynne, GOAL, and to all of the fantastic contributors from this global network of youth leaders and educators.

We really do hope to continue this conversation in 2024, and develop further analysis and tools to support direct engagement by young people in shaping the future of food and farming, as a local and global issue.

Please see the Monday Morning Sausage Roll Case Study here which links local and global food security issues.

Watch the video of the session here:

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