Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards 2018
News29 May 2018
Young Social Innovators of the Year 2018 from Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, Limerick with YSI Guide Lorraine Kerin
Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a not for profit organisation, established in 2001, dedicated to harnessing young people's energy and passion to build a fairer, more equal world. YSI's Social Innovation Action Programme raises awareness of issues concerning social justice, equality, inclusion and fairness. It is youth led and enables young people, working in teams, to take action on issues of concern to them in today's world.
The YSI team from Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, Limerick, are the new Young Social Innovators of the Year 2018. At a special event in Croke Park on 8th May they were selected from a total of 33 shortlisted teams for their project 'Sexting, Get the Message #keepitpg'. The project aimed to make young people aware of the consequences of sexting and to equip them with the skills to react appropriately when they receive a sext message.
In order to strengthen the Global Citizenship dimension of the awards, Irish Aid has funded the Making Our World One World Award since 2005, to acknowledge projects which have a global context and in which young people seek justice and equality as global citizens. The winning project in the 'Make Our World One World' category this year was 'The Cycle of Life' from Portmarnock Community School. Concerned about the issue of desertification and resulting insufficient crop growth they set about developing a no till or low till ploughing device to help combat desertification. Their tool, modified from an old bicycle, ensures that soil disturbance is kept to a minimum, thus maintaining the structure of the soil.
Winners of the Make Our World One World award, Portmarnock Community School, with YSI Guides Colette Cronin and Niall Fitzgerald and Rita Walsh, Director, WorldWise Global Schools
Many projects affirmed our young people as champions of global justice and equality. F.R.E.E. (For Refugees Entering Éire) was the project from the girls of Loreto, Letterkenny. They wanted to issue a special Céad Míle Fáilte to the thirty Syrian families who are about to make the town their home. After first consulting with the Donegal Refugee Resettlement Programme and the local Arabic community, they prepared welcome packs for each family containing gifts for the home and a Hotspots board game translated into Arabic. They arranged a bus tour of Donegal, and a Culture Week and Culture Day for the wider Letterkenny community. Their efforts secured them first prize in the 'Make Our Country More Inclusive and Poverty Free' category.
Winners of the Make Our Country More Inclusive and Poverty Free award, Loreto Secondary School, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal with YSI Guide, Siobhan McKeague and Kathleen Stack, Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Students from Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton in Limerick raised awareness of direct provision in Ireland in their project called H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities Made Equal). Their big idea is to raise money for an education fund for a child in asylum in Limerick and to campaign on the issue of accommodation for asylum seekers.
Students from Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton raising awareness of direct provision in Ireland
A group of students from Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road in Cork focused on the taboo surrounding menstruation, comparing the experience of girls in their own school with that of girls in other countries including India, Uganda and Nepal. They explored the theme of 'period poverty' and developed a sustainable and reusable sanitary pad which could be used both here in Ireland and abroad.
The students of Castleisland Community College in Kerry decided that making not only their school but their whole town a Fair Trade Zone was the best way to promote a more fair and just world. They succeeded in raising awareness in the whole community and achieved not only Fair Trade town status this year but also first prize in the 'Make Our World More Fair and Just' category.
Castleisland Community College, winners of the 'Make Our World More Fair and Just' category
Making the future more sustainable for all of us was of interest to a second group from Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road. Their project, 'Global Warning' determined to make their school a plastic free zone. The students from St Fintan's High School, Sutton were also concerned with securing a more sustainable future for the planet. Their project 'Off Grid' won the 'Make Our Future More Sustainable' award for being the first student group in the nation ever to install solar panels in their school.
Winners of the Make Our Future More Sustainable award, St. Fintan's High School, Sutton with YSI Guide Wissam Abdel Samad and Daniel Kearns, Department of Education and Skills
Each of the teams who presented their Big Ideas on 8 May was required to explain to the panel of judges how their project was helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Irish Aid's development education programme strengthens understanding of the global justice dimension of each of the Goals, inspiring and enabling people to take action at local, national and global levels. This is critical to achieving the promise of transformative change that defines the SDGs and that is why Irish Aid is so committed to our development education programmes. The optimism, intelligence and infectious enthusiasm of all of the young Innovators at the event makes us very hopeful that the 2030 agenda can be achieved.
Rachel Collier, CEO and co-founder of Young Social Innovators, said: "Every year I am blown away by the work presented by the young people in the Young Social Innovators programme, and 2018 has been no different. Young people are one of our most valuable resources for fuelling social change, and at Young Social Innovators we are proud to capture their passion and to provide them with a platform on which to present their ideas and be heard."