Research released today by a leading international development agency, Christian Aid, reveals that the vast majority of British young people are keen to understand and get involved in global development issues. Whilst the youth of today are often portrayed as self interested and idle, there are a growing number (85%) that care about the world in which they live, but do not know how to affect change.
Christian Aid is harnessing this passion and energy by embarking on a radical UK first: an experimental youth project aimed at combating disengagement with global issues amongst British youths. The initiative aims to create a global community of proactive, outspoken agitators seeking change – an uncompromising movement of young revolutionaries who can and will make a difference.
Launched today, Ctrl.Alt.Shift is the first 'user-generated' project of its kind. Young people can register their support on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift site (www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk) to join a global community of outspoken young radicals from all over the world, people who are working together to fight against global poverty and social injustice.
Users can engage with issues, sign up for petitions, upload their own content and involve themselves in action groups. Ctrl.Alt.Shift will be a network of people who can marry their passions and lifestyle to reframe these issues in ways that are relevant to them and actively shape and drive the agenda, by coming up with their own ideas for action – by generating content, campaigns, sharing ideas and inspiring each other.
The project will harness today's youth culture, and act as a vehicle for engaging young people in some of the most important global debates that are shaping their lives now, and will continue to do so in the future.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift's research shows that young people do want to make a difference, but don't necessarily know how because currently there is no outlet for their passions. One in four 18-25 year olds spoken to agreed that traditional methods of charity engagement do not feel appropriate for them. A further 48% agreed that they would be more inclined to get on board with charity activity if the call to action felt more accessible, relevant to their lives or involved doing something they actually enjoyed.
The project will speak to young people in their own language, and give them a menu of ways to get involved – whether they have 5 minutes to send a text or register their support on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift website, or a few hours to attend a flash demonstration.
Katrin Owusu, Head of Youth Marketing and Innovations at Christian Aid, comments, "The key mission of Ctrl.Alt.Shift is to bring about the democratisation of Charity, by being the first 'consumer generated' charity brand. Using concepts of co-creation, the project will act as a vehicle for people to connect and take action by creating content and campaigns , sharing ideas and inspiring each other".
"We want young people to engage with and understand these issues now, as they are an unavoidable part of their daily lives. We need to change attitudes, and increase the number of younger supporters. This is about driving radical and revolutionary agitation".
Ctrl.Alt.Shift has initially created a three year cultural collaboration programme which will harness contemporary youth culture as a means of stimulating interest around global and cultural issues.
Working across the full youth culture and lifestyle spectrum, the initiative will include partnerships with cultural institutions, projects with higher and further education in the arena of music and film, digital social networking and a youth focused magazine. Launch activities include:
In year one, the programme will see Ctrl.Alt.Shift collaborate with a select group of globally recognised organisations, renowned both for their innovative and creative approach to the arts and culture, and methods of reaching youth audiences. The chosen organisations for 2008 are Sadler's Wells, The Baltic and Central St Martins. Driving credibility around the conversation of global issues, the programme will explore the theme of Hypocrisy. Each institution will help to drive awareness of Ctrl.Alt.Shift's three chosen major global issues – conflict, gender, HIV – by facilitating a series of peer-to-peer projects.
To support the programme, Ctrl.Alt.Shift will launch with a web site www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk which allows supporters to communicate with one another, and engage with global issues. Users can register their support, sign up to petitions and involve themselves in action groups.
The youth project will also see the release of a radical new magazine, edited by youth culture journalist Chantelle Fiddy, and former editor of Sleazenation, Neil Boorman. The publication tackles some very sensitive issues – such as HIV, prostitution, slave labour, and conflict – in a way that is both relevant and arresting for young people – a controversial approach that has not been seen from the charity sector before.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift stands in solidarity with the abused, the violated and the ignored. Ctrl.Alt.Shift won't stop until the suffering ends. Ctrl.Alt.Shift wants young people to take control of their world, alter the way it works, and shift the way the future looks.