At a recent ITU event in Uruguay, I learnt that we are about to reach 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. Roughly 60% of these subscribers will be aged between 18 – 30. This means that by 2015 the true power of mobile communications will be in the hands of young people. Perhaps this doesn’t come as a surprise to many. However, the question remains; what are young people going to do with the power and potential of communications? At Telecentre.org we believe that this is a key question we have to encourage young people to discuss at the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit in Costa Rica and around the globe.
The evolution of ICTs and communication around the globe has transformed almost every aspect of life, and young people have experienced changes with a level of intensity like no other generation. Technology, accessibility, and mobility are becoming increasingly important for young people to interact with their surroundings, family and friends; and the basic platform for exchange, learning and entertainment. Young people drive social networks for the most part, and this is just the beginning for a new era of interaction across cultures, languages and nations. We can’t anticipate what the future is going to look like; but today we can ensure that young people will be central to the construction of the future.
At the BYND2015 Summit, Telecentre.org Foundation would like to illustrate to the youth community of the world, that although technology continues to evolve and becomes more affordable for people around the globe, a significant gap remains between the young people living in urban areas and those who live in underserved, remote or rural areas. The young people living in these places experience serious challenges because of poverty, lack of socio-economic opportunities, cultural discrimination, social exclusion, war, environmental degradation and more. This is a global issue that requires the collective talent, creativity and commitment of today’s young people to change it. We have to work on this issue, because young people that remain disenfranchised cannot show their talent, cannot realize their dreams and are missing out on new opportunities. At BYND2015 we have to unite our voices to make sure that young people support other youths around the globe.
All stakeholders and in particular young people have to make sure that new platforms are built and shared with every young man and woman on this planet. This is exactly where the telecentre global community plays a significant role, enabling the talent and potential of those young individuals that cannot afford the cost of technology tools on their own. We bring these tools to them and we do our best to connect young people to ideas and resources that can turn their dreams into practical and tangible benefits for them and their communities.
In a world where roughly 35% of the population is connected to the Internet on a regular basis (that is approximately 2.3 billions), we, the members of the global telecentre community, provide access to almost half of that total every day. Without public access to; computers, telecentres, digital libraries or community centers, change and development would be hard to implement.
The telecentre community has over 600 thousand active telecentres in almost every country on this planet managed mainly by young people. They are women and men that become community leaders, curators of information and knowledge for their communities. Although, we touch the lives of millions every day, much more must be done to bring good news, create opportunities, and make ICT and technology solutions available to the young people that remain excluded from these opportunities.
We are working with them and depend on them to help others find what they need. The young people in our community are true champions; they are changing the world one person at a time, and help their communities embrace change with enthusiasm and hope. They never stop exploring how to learn and collaborate with one another. Young people from the telecentre community are driving and nurturing innovation, ideas, and solutions that give new meaning to ICT and technology, thus, enabling new opportunities for community development.
At the BYND2015 Summit, Telecentre.org Foundation will showcase the incredible capacity of a small number of Telecentres from around the globe. We’d like the world to know the faces and the stories behind these incredible young people that are transforming lives for the better through great ICT and technology solutions; and we want the world to connect with this incredible group of young people. I would like to invite you to join the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit by visiting any telecentre around the world. We want to learn from you and offer you a platform to connect with other youths, who like you, have ideas and plans for a better tomorrow. Be part of it!
@MiguelRaimilla is the Executive Director of the Telecentre.org Foundation. He is a Chilean native based in California, a Social Entrepreneur and the founder of several multinational/multicultural initiatives linked with youth, social development, and social enterprise throughout Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the United States.