How to be part of the YAS
YAS is an opportunity for young people of all genders, abilities, and identities between the ages of 16 and 24.
Applications for our 2024 program have now closed.
If you have any questions about the program, please get in touch.
About the Youth Activist Series
To achieve our vision of a more equal world, where all children can live happy and healthy lives, and where girls can take their rightful place as equals, Plan International Australia supports young people around the world, particularly girls and young women, to be agents of change.
The Youth Activist Series does just that – it works to make sure young people are at the centre of what we do. It amplifies the voices of young people and it equips and empowers the participants to change the world around them.
Our YAS program is an opportunity and a platform to create change, develop valuable skills, forge lifelong friendships and channel your passion for gender justice campaigning and speaking truth to power.
What do Youth Activists do?
Youth Activists bring their passion, skills and lived experiences to the issues Plan International Australia advocates for.
The YAS provides a platform for young people to learn more about global issues surrounding climate and gender justice, and presents a space where they can build their capacity and advocate and campaign with young people all over the world. The purpose of YAS is to give participants the chance to drive real change that is informed by their voices and solutions.
The Youth Activist Series is a 12-month commitment. We expect you to attend 80% of the workshops, to maximise your skills development and ensure that you are ready to fight for gender justice.
We expect that you will actively partake in activities and events throughout the year. Some months will be busier than others (particularly February, May – July, September and October). There will also be ad-hoc opportunities to speak with the media, present at forums, build your skills, and engage with stakeholders.
The Youth Activist Series training weekend is compulsory and will take place online in February 2024. A compulsory training workshop will also be held in-person in Melbourne in March. Dates to be confirmed.
If you are under 18 years of age you will need to seek permission from your parent or guardian to participate in the program.
In 2024, the Youth Activist Series will be supported by a Corporate Partner that aligns with Plan International Australia’s values for gender justice and empowering young women.
As a part of this, our youth activists will have the opportunity to be involved in public engagement activities, training and events with the Partner. This support may also include in-store photos and storytelling from the YAS to engage the Australian community to support the next generation of leaders.
Our partner provides funding for the Youth Activist Series program, including the youth-centred research project that takes place later in the year. The partner may use a commercial product to raise funds in support of the project, and to amplify the campaign ask that YAS will be advocating for.
Over the years, the YAS have achieved incredible things
Plan International Australia’s Youth Activists were involved in co-designing the Free to Be crowd-mapping tool, rallying participation in the research and adding girls’ voices to the national conversation about our right to live safely in our cities. Advocating for girls and young women’s safety, the YAS engaged with numerous power holders and stakeholders to push for change and implement the recommendations they wanted to see from the Unsafe in the City report.
In 2020, alongside Plan International’s youth leaders in Vietnam, the Youth Activists led research into the challenges faced by girls, young women and non-binary folk as a result of COVID-19. Not only did they delve into the issues that COVID-19 exposed in our systems, but they also highlighted young people’s dreams and solutions for a ‘better normal’ – a just, equitable and sustainable future for all. Then guess what they did? They took their report ‘A Better Normal: Girls Call for a Revolutionary Reset’ and their recommendations to the United Nations General Assembly – calling on global leaders to centre youth in the recovery process.
In 2021, alongside Plan International’s youth leaders in Indonesia and Vietnam, Youth Activists explored the role of online bystanders and how active bystander intervention can fight the growing levels of gender-based violence and harassment that young people experience online.
These youth leaders worked together to design The Future Online’s guiding project questions, conduct focus group discussions with peers, and take their demands of accountability and change to stakeholders in Australia and the Asia-Pacific, including the ESafety Commissioner, TikTok, and Twitter.
In 2022, YAS and Youth Activists from Indonesia and Vietnam came together to collectively inform what inclusive, and truly representative, civic spaces could look like. The Voices for Change project allows us to explore young people’s leadership and political participation, and propose solutions for a new way forward.
Every International Day Of The Girl, YAS also get involved in ‘share the mic’ opportunities, where young people consult with leaders and decision makers to bring youth experiences and voices to the forefront. In 2020, the Youth Activists spoke to Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter to demand commitments from social media platforms to create safe and empowering spaces for girls and young women online. Read the Free to Be Online? report and our youth activists guide to Instagram and Facebook.
In 2023, YAS along with youth activists in Nepal and Indonesia, led research on the impact of the climate crisis on girls’ education. They will take these recommendations all the way to COP28, where they will speak truth to power, by calling on wealthy countries, like Australia that have contributed disproportionately to global warming, to invest in a global loss and damage fund.
Periods don’t stop when times are tough, or in an emergency. But all too often in crisis situations, girls, women and people who menstruate struggle to manage their periods with dignity, as access to basic supplies and essential health services…
Reflections from Plan International Australia Youth Activist Jemma Rule, on a recent trip to Canberra.
With International Day of the Girl and Mental Health Day running side-by-side this year in October it is a good time to look at what it means to be a neurodiverse young woman in Australia.
One in five young women in Australia feel less safe at night, compared to before the pandemic. But together with L’Oreal Paris, our Youth Activists are taking a stand – and helping others to do the same.
A Tough Period
Voices for Change: Youth Activists in Canberra
Neurodiverse women and girls finally being seen, but there is much more work to do
Standing up against street harassment, with L’Oreal Paris