2004 is the first full year IHEYO will be functioning as a structured organisation with an independent board. Yet, this year, a lot of effort has been and will be done to fully establish the organisation. In particular: bylaws, fundraising, practicalities on standing orders, registrations, membership and so on. These organisational elements keep us a little bit from the 'real' work.
But once these practicalities are over and done with, we can focus on the 'why' and 'how' of young humanism today. Nevertheless, this year IHEYO will realise:
1) The International humanist youth Conference in Kampala, Uganda 20-24 May.
The yearly humanist world conference for youth is really
a trade mark from IHEYO. It is a unique opportunity for young humanist from
all over to exchange ideas, getting to know the organisations, exchange information
about youth training and camps…
All elements for this 2004-conference are organised by IHEYO and UGASSO. Main aim is to reinforce young growing humanism in Africa and in Uganda in particular. One of the expected outputs is a higher involvement of African humanist youth groups with humanism and IHEYO (resulting for example in a membership application). Another aim is to get to know African humanism and the issues they are dealing with.
2) Increasing formal membership and having Second General Assembly.
Not only groups are welcome as members. Also individuals can become a member of IHEYO. One of the major goals is to make IHEYO a representative organisation for worldwide young humanists, so our voice can be heard in (amongst others) advisory-boards of institutions.
The democratic structure IHEYO that was set up in 2002 and 2003 has now taken much more definite form. Though it is still capable for improvement, this is a great leap forwards.
The organisation consists of the Executive Committee and the members in the General Assembly. Since the latter has the power to take all the decisions it is important that they are well aware of the line of action. If the GA is willing, IHEYO will be officially registered as an independent international NGO.
3) Preparing for the 2005 IHEYO Conference Paris.
Our conference in 2005 will take place in Paris, a city in one of the most laic countries. In fact, it was on the Mont Ventoux in France, after a bit of a climb, that the philosopher Petrarca saw the world in perspective (very much in contrast with the flat two-dimensional medieval view of 'the here and the transcendent').
In this cradle of humanism we want to work around European matters. What will the new constitution bring us, what do we think about a common defence system, what policy should the European institutions carry towards immigration, youth, etc …?
After that flight over Europe, we should be able to formulate a few down to earth recommendations towards the commission and other institutions.
Off course we will hold a General Assembly as well. One of the major issues will be to elect a new board and develop the strategy for the coming years.
4) Start joining the European Youth Forum for humanist youth in Europe.
Once IHEYO has been formally registered as an INGO, it will
be possible to send a delegation to the EYF. Via the EYF we will have the
possibility to raise our voice in European matters. For the first period we
would prefer an observer membership. Then we would have the right to be present
and speak at the General Assembly and the Council of Members, as well as the
right to present candidates for all working structures of the Forum if we
have the potential to make a special contribution. Once we know about European
Affairs we hope to require some support from the commission or other institution
so we can expand our services.
5) Support our affiliated organisations in Africa and Asia with their projects and plans.
One of the unique factors of IHEYO, is that it is an international organisation. In that regard we cannot focus all of the action on western issues. In a lot of countries atheists, freethinkers and humanists are still regarded as strange and they are not allowed to speak up about their convictions. Besides that the work of local non western humanist youth groups is very much different from the work in Europe or the US. It has to do with elementary work and creating the conditions for people to reflect upon their on beliefs.
IHEYO is still a young organisation, so it is difficult to support bigger projects. But a smaller support is possible and off course we will try provide the organisations with information and literature about humanism, freethinking. IHEYO will search for possible fundraising and support for future projects.
6) Publish regularly the newsletter 'youthspeak' and keep the website interactive and updated.
We developed a few communication channels. Besides the website of IHEYO, we publish an e-newsletter 'Youthspeak' about small and big news concerning young humanism worldwide. As it is an open newsletter everyone can make suggestions about articles or news to add. In the future we will develop the possibility to subscribe to the mailinglist of the newsletter.
In each number of the IHN (international humanist News) we try to include an article about youth, young humanism and IHEYO.
7) Start planning a secretariat's office with staff supporting IHEYO for 2005.
This may sound as a far fetched idea, but with support from different institutions (European Commission, private funding, Council, local employment programmes) it may be possible to have a half-time employee. This would facilitate the mailing-system and would be lightening for the EC (concerning practicalities) so that they can focus on the content and the steering of the organisation.
8) Publish more information-material and continue with the online Humanist youth world database.
This has to do with the 'sign-board' of IHEYO. What kind of image do we want people to have from IHEYO? One of the goals is to develop a nice promotional brochure with a short introduction to IHEYO aiming at potential member organisations. Also an IHEYO-T-shirt, pins, pens and blotting-pads can do the job. The main aim is that people know that IHEYO exists.
Besides that, we want to enhance the contacts between humanist youth groups all over the world and give them information about possible funding channels. A few years ago we developed a worldwide database. We want to maintain the database updated, and add new contacts.
9) Continuation of the IHEYO Internship Programme.
This is a beautiful possibility for young people to get to know IHEYO's lock, stock and barrel from inside. A stay of a few months with a humanist organisation can learn you more about how an organisation works. The contacts you made during the internship can be very useful.
We hope we will maintain and maybe expand this unique possibility for exchanging ideas and knowledge.
10) Preparing an IHEYO-Choice training for 2005 or 2006.
IHEYO is planning to prepare a training on (sexual) rights and education of young women living in European and Mediterranean countries. The target group is young women in NGO's, and we plan to organise the training with Choice, an international network supporting the rights to sexual freedom, education and care. They have responded positively on our idea. We plan to ask for money for this training through the Euro-Med programme of the European Union.
11) Planning and coordinating European projects.
IHEYO will try to increase the European exchanges among young humanists, and offer support to humanist groups in Europe that want to set up international exchanges.
12) International campaign for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Uganda.
IHEYO will start with an international campaign to support the Gay and Lesbian rights in Uganda. This campaign will entail an e-mail petition, asking groups to contact national or local humanist and Gay and Lesbian groups, and lobby with governments to ask them to be critical to the Ugandian Government in denying of Gay and Lesbian rights in Uganda.