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Picture above: Representatives of student- and youth-led movements and organisations with survivor-advocates and Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, at a global meeting organised by the 100 Million campaign in Accra, Ghana.

In recent years, support for youth and student participation in decision-making spaces has become more popular, but how genuine and representative is the majority of this engagement?


Youth- and student-led movements have a long and proud history of organising themselves, many long before most INGOs and even the United Nations. Yet too often when students and young people are invited to policy-making forums and processes, collective and democratic youth- and student-led groups are ignored in favour of token individuals. This approach undermines the self-organised leadership of students and young people, risks co-option by governments and other organisations and often means their engagement is unrepresentative of their peers. 

At 100 Million we are committed to supporting the strength of existing autonomous networks of students and young people to access power and create formalised routes of influence over the decisions that affect their lives. As well being governed ourselves by a majority youth-led, representative board we actively advocate to creating spaces and platforms for representative students and young people to collectively and democratically participate in decision-making structures. 


An important way of building support for youth- and student-led representation is getting involved with, and amplifying the visibility of, their existing structures of self-organisation. We are incredibly proud to have supported the establishment of two powerful entities that we urge you to engage with

The Global Student Forum: Umbrella organisation of the world’s major representative student federations and the only independent, democratic and representative student governance structure dedicated to promoting the rights and perspectives of student organisations and movements on the global level. Through its membership it currently represents 202 student unions from 122 countries


The ECW Youth- and Student-led Subgroup: Education Cannot Wait is the first and only global multilateral fund in which young people can democratically and directly participate in its decision-making structures. Organisations led by and representing children and young people are invited to join a ‘sub-group’, which is represented by a youth/student-led organisation elected to sit on highest governance bodies of Education Cannot Wait.

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