Mobilisation for change
As news that Ireland's unemployment rate continues to rise sinks in, 20 young people from across Ireland are gathering in Galway this weekend to prepare their effort in bringing about much needed change.
The SpunOut.ie Academy of Activism, supported by the Huston Film School at NUIG, is a free training course for young people of different backgrounds who are passionate about making a difference in the world around them. The training is offered by the multi-award winning SpunOut.ie youth charity as part of its work in empowering young people in their personal and social development.
According to the Founder of SpunOut.ie, Ruairķ McKiernan, the Academy is unique in that it is targetted at young people and seeks to support them in addressing the issues they feel strongly about rather than pushing a particular agenda.
"Young people make up 40% of our population and they are disproportionately affected by unemployment, emigration and health and education cuts. Young people don't often have access to channels of decision making and influence but yet are crying out for ways to get involved in making a difference. Our Academy is a response to this need and comes at a critical time in Ireland's development. If we don't engage young people as we plot a healthier development path then we are doomed to repeat the history of the past and see an energetic, educated, skilled and passionate generation go to waste. Providing them with opportunities to participate and upskilling them with tools and technique of campaigning, fundraising, strategy and media are vital to raising their voices and becoming a force for change" says Ruairķ
This weekends Academy (Friday evening to Sunday night) will include a range of workshops, discussion and debate sessions and guest speakers. Participants, who were chosen based on a competitive application process, will be offered sessions on understanding media, online activism, the political system and campaign planning and strategy. There will be a questions and answers section with government representative Senator Niall O'Brolchain (Greens), MEP Marian Harkin (Independent) and Mayor of Co. Roscommon Luke Flanagn ('Ming the Merciless'). The weekend will be facilitated by experienced campaigners including Ruairķ McKiernan and Emily Lindenmuth from SpunOut.ie and ex-Amnesty Western Campaigns Manager, Sarah Clancy.
Speakers include young Cystic Fibrosis campaigner Orla Tinsley, author and former Irish Times Latin American Correspondent Michael McCaughan, Mark Conroy from campaigning website Contact.ie and Niamh Moloughney who coordinated the Free Gaza Irish Flotilla to Palestine (Rachel Corrie ship).
"Ireland stands at a turning point in our history. We can't stand by and be inactive. It is up to every single person to become active in some shape or form. How you do this is up to you but we're calling on everyone, young and old, to get vocal and participate. Whatever the future holds, young people hold an essential key to unlocking the vast potential of our island" concluded Ruairķ.
About SpunOut.ie http://www.spunout.ie/about/
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SpunOut.ie is an independent youth powered national charity working to help people create personal and social change. SpunOut.ie combines an interactive online community providing health and lifestyle information, signposting to help services, an alternative youth media space, dynamic discussion forums, and a platform for youth engagement, participation and advocacy. SpunOut.ie reaches over 500,000 users online each year, millions more through the media and has won numerous awards including a Golden Spider Award and a Net Visionary Award.
We are partially funded by a mix of philanthrophic, foundation, state and community funding and rely on the support and involvement of people from across Ireland to make what we do possible. Please support us in whatever way you can.