The World We Want

By Mark Mathew Operiano, Young Voices campaigner, Philippines

I recently attended “ and Friends” – a workshop with 20 other youth delegates in Bonn, Germany. is part of the current consultation on the new development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The workshop was an opportunity to meet young people from all over the world with diverse views on the post-2015 agenda, and discuss our ideas and hopes for the future. We also got to attend “Global Partnership and the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in Bonn, and voice our opinions to high-level policymakers.

Following the workshop, we came up with a manifesto that will be presented to international leaders on the formulation of the new development agenda. Key points from the manifesto included:

1. Ensure equal opportunities in areas such as education, healthcare, employment and social integration are available for all, including marginalised and vulnerable communities. These groups should be involved in decision and policy-making processes including those concerned with the post-2015 development agenda.
2. Raise awareness among vulnerable groups and disadvantaged communities of their rights to ensure their full participation.
3. Remove barriers that prevent vulnerable and disadvantaged groups from participating in social and civil life, including promoting technologies that are accessible t4. o all.
4. Reach out to the hardest to reach, listen to their stories, know their aspirations. Make sure they are empowered and have the chance to reach their full potential. was a great avenue for young people to come together voice our perspectives on the post-2015 agenda. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to attend.

Young Voices campaigners at the World Conference on Youth

WCY logo - a grey circle with 7 different coloured triangular-like shapes coming off it7 Young Voices campaigners are participating in the 2014 World Conference on Youth which takes place this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 1500 delegates are coming together to discuss mainstreaming young people in the post-2015 development agenda.

The conference aims to produce a unique joint outcome document between states and young people called the “Colombo Action Plan”. The Young Voices campaigners will be doing all they can to make sure that young people with disabilities are recognised in the action plan.

The Young Voices campaigners attending are: Ashura and Lawrence from Kenya, Turkson and Courage from Zimbabwe, David from Zambia, and Janitha and Umesh from Sri Lanka.

Join the debate

Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Kenya, standing in front of a map of the worldYoung Voices campaigner Wanja Maina will be on the panel for the Guardian newspaper’s live online Q&A on disability and development on Thursday 13th February at 1pm GMT. Dr Raymond Lang from the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre will also taking part.

You can join in, ask questions and post your views too via this link from 1pm – 3pm, Thursday 13th February.

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Young Voices at the UN in New York to discuss Disability and Development

Of the 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, nearly 40% live in poverty. Yet there is no mention of disability in the Millennium Development Goals. Millions of people are being left behind as a result.

From 23 – 27 September, heads of government and leading voices on disability are coming together at the UN. As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, they will be agreeing an action plan to make sure that people with disabilities are a priority in the new post-2015 development goals.

Ashwini from India and Ishan from Sri Lanka are representing Young Voices in New York. They will be calling on world leaders to make sure that all goals and targets to end poverty include people with disabilities.

Here’s Ishan talking about the importance of including people with disabilities:


Today the first ever High Level Meeting on Disability and Development will take place at the UN in New York. UN member states will come together with civil society to discuss how people with disabilities can be included in development efforts.

In this video, Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Nairobi, Kenya explains the significance of this meeting.

Young Voices campaigners contribute to open letter to influential UN panel

In an open letter to the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, a coalition of young people has demanded that the new agenda is transformative, not just an updated version of the MDGs. Key among their requests is the provision of measures to tackle discrimination and inequality – and an explicit commitment to the meaningful inclusion of the most excluded groups including people with disabilities.

The open letter was put together by a coalition of youth advocates and organisations, including Young Voices campaigners from Indonesia. Their participation helped to make sure that people with disabilities were explicitly included in the coalition’s demands.

Read the letter

Kenya Young Voices Member Speaks at High Level Panel Youth Event

Young Voices member, entrepreneur, university student and charity founder Hannah Wanja Maina lives in Kenya and campaigns on a wide range of disability and human rights topics. Now Hannah will raise disability as a development issue at the highest levels – a youth event held alongside the High Level Panel on what should replace the Millennium Development Goals. UK Prime Minister David Cameron will co-chair the panel in London from 1–2 November, and Hannah will represent young people with disabilities at the youth event attended by the UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of targets to reduce global poverty and improve living standards that run until 2015. Disability was not originally included in these goals, and Hannah and others are campaigning for disability to be central to any post-2015 development framework.