Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Who are we

Global Youth Mobilization (GYM) is a movement of young people taking action to tackle global issues to improve their lives and their communities. It is an initiative of the Big Six Youth Organizations – a network of the world’s largest youth organizations powered by millions of volunteers across more than 170 countries.

Born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and launched in late 2020, the GYM was funded by the World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation through the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund it was designed as an emergency response to the crisis facing young people.

Developed with and led by young people and youth-focused organizations, it supported young people to overcome the negative impacts of the pandemic and improve their lives during and after the pandemic, whilst ensuring the experiences, creativity and passion of young people informed policies and decisions affecting their lives.

Today, GYM exists in its second phase, in partnership with the EU Youth Empowerment Fund. Launched in October 2023, the €10 million initiative provides youth-friendly funding for projects that contribute to the sustainable development of local communities. 

This partnership is dedicated to dismantling barriers to funding and providing crucial opportunities for mentoring, coaching, and capacity building. It aims to ensure that marginalized and underrepresented communities have equitable access to resources.

Young people are an essential part of global solutions, and it is important, now, more than ever, that there be continued investment in programs, policies and initiatives led by and for young people to bring about sustainable change in the livelihoods and health of young people worldwide.

Where we started

The COVID-19 Pandemic has highlighted several focus areas that needed to be addressed, as the impact of the pandemic and its disruptions called for urgent action on nine key policy recommendations.
We know that today’s generation of young people will be disproportionately inevitably affected by the long-lasting consequences of the pandemic.

Global Youth Mobilization provided support to young people to respond to these challenges and help to ensure their experience, creativity and passion inform policies, and decisions affecting their lives and make a meaningful difference in their communities.

Education disruption

Impact on mental health

COVID-19 health effects and lack of healthcare

Economic inequalities and lost employment

Grief and loneliness

Domestic and gender-based violence

Gender inequality and family planning support

Negative stigma of young people

 Through the Global Youth Mobilization, the “Big Six” have succeeded in creating a youth-led, intergenerational initiative that supports young people as decision-makers and leaders to empower millions of other young people globally. This unique initiative demonstrates the catalytic potential of young people to advocate for and enact change at scale, and to create cross-sector partnerships to pursue these goals.

WHO remains completely committed to harnessing the ideas, energy and leadership, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Global Youth Mobilization and each of the “Big Six” as they develop the next phase of the initiative. We encourage other partners to join the next phase and invest in the health and well-being of future generations.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General


Global Youth Mobilization is led by a diverse Board made up of youth representatives drawn from across the Big Six, alongside CEOs of the Big Six and representatives from the World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation.

The Board is supported by a small Project Coordination Team, who are supported by designated leads from across the Big Six and beyond.

  • Carlos Madjri Sanvee – Chair of the Global Youth Mobilization Board Secretary General, World Young Men’s Christian Association

  • Loris Tarazi – Youth Representative, World Young Men’s Christian Association

  • Anna Segall – Chief Executive, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

  • Sachia Reid-Thomas – Youth Representative, The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

  • Ahmad Alhendawi – and Secretary General, World Organisation of the Scout Movement

  • Maria ‘Flor’ Cagliero – Youth Representative, World Organisation of the Scout Movement

  • Casey Harden – General Secretary, World Young Women’s Christian Association

  •  Xavier Castellanos – Under Secretary General, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

  • Michelle Chew – Youth Representative, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

  • Martin Houghton Brown – Secretary General, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

  • Peniel Boye– Youth Representative, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The Big Six

Formed in 1996, the Big 6 Youth Organizations are an alliance of leading international youth-serving organizations. The Big 6 comprises the five largest youth movements in the world.

World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and a leading programme for youth development, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (The Award).

Together, the Big 6 actively involve and engage more than 250 million young people, contributing to the empowerment of more than one billion young people during the last century

Contact us

For further information about the Global Youth Mobilization, please contact: