IHEYO REVIEW 2004
Written by Gea Meijers, President IHEYO 2004-2005
IHEYO has continued to formalise the organisation. IHEYO By-laws were amended at the second General Assembly and then submitted to the Belgian Government for formal recognition. IHEYO made the transition to an organisation with formal members and has now 18 member organisations; more are applying for the third General Assembly.
IHEYO third annual conference: "Global Humanism for Peace and Social Justice", in Uganda, from 20 to 24 May was a very rich experience. More than 300 youth applied for the conference, mainly from Africa, of which a selection of around 60 participants was made. IHEYO established contacts with new (youth) organisations. Some of these joined as member and some keep in touch informally, for further collaboration. One of the UHASSO (Ugandan Humanist Association) youth became an active boardmember of IHEYO.
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. IHEYO worked on getting an international petition in place for abolishing penal code to homosexuality in Uganda, but has been unable to finish this project due to lack of time. For 2005, we will probably restart this plan.
IHEYO has been active on the front of spreading information and providing communication. The website has been redesigned and updated. Four issues of the e-newsletter, 'YouthSpeak', were published, a brochure is being made and widely attention has been created for IHEYO through the internet, humanist magazines and some mainstream media. Two e-mail lists are operational; one for discussion and one for informing on IHEYO activities. Next to this, a lot of general queries have been answered and informal contacts been kept. The online World Humanist Youth Database has been extended and updated. It contains information on youth humanist groups from 26 countries.
The international Internship Programme has been existing since 2000. It was the first project for 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, the Internship Programme took place again. We planned to arrange internships for two young active humanists who were selected out of the applicants. Unfortunately due to practical problems one of the internships couldn't take place in 2004. The other intern was hosted by the Norwegian Humanist Association.
Representing the humanist youth voice at international fora
Getting the humanist youth voice represented at international fora is one of the longterm aims for IHEYO. Slowly IHEYO is working towards realizing this aim. In 2004, IHEYO has worked specifically on getting IHEYO represented in the European Youth Forum and information has been sought to get us represented at the UN, Commonwealth Youth Forum and Unesco youth. Information with the IHEU-representative at UNESCO was shared. Also contact was made with the IHEU-youth representative at the Council of Europe.
IHEYO was presented at several conferences and camps through a representative or by a presentation. We were presented at two Ugandan youth camps, one organised by CRY (Conflict Resolution by the Youth) and the other by MVEAT (Missionary Voluntary Action Emergency Troop). We were of course present at the International Humanist Conference in Uganda that was held under auspicien of IHEU. Boardmembers 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 endeavours 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 no 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 more started. And we agreed to support one of our membergroups, the Ghanian 'Liberian Refugee Youths for Sustainable Development' 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 course of IHEYO was outlined. Some of this policy has been mentioned in the previous IHN as to 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, that offer concrete support to people, especially to disadvantaged groups.
Where the EC is the heartbeat, important donors work as motor to IHEYO. In 2004, IHEYO received important support from Hivos, IHS, IHEU and the Norwegian Humanist Association. In total, this was almost 25000 Euros for our projects.
You can read our full Annual Report by following the link to the pdf-document at the top of this page.