logo of big six youth organisations


Formed in 1996, the Big Six Youth Organisations are an alliance of leading international youth-serving organisations.

Together, the Big Six 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.

Since its formation, the Big Six alliance has collaborated primarily at the CEO level (e.g., through strategic consultations and preparing joint advocacy statements and publications), as well as through ad hoc project collaborations among their local and national organisations. The GYM is the Big Six alliance’s first joint operational initiative.

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.

From Young People to Young People: Community, Hope and the Power to do good

“Young people understand the potential of and have the power to, do good.

As the Big 6 Youth Organizations worldwide, we know that when the compassion of youth is lit, it is young people who make a real difference, drive change, commit fully, work with passion and their leadership shines.

It is you volunteering, you lifting the spirits of communities and you lighting the world with your action.

We recognize that during challenging times, both as individuals and as communities, we need to take a moment to remind ourselves that it is OK not to be OK.

This is a time to care for each other, but importantly to look after ourselves: our own health and our own wellbeing. This period will pass and we will come away from it stronger, a generation of responsible and resilient citizens.

Heroes are born from terms of adversity. The origins of many of the Big 6 member organizations and leaders bear testimony to this. More than ever, we need to exercise deep compassion and lofty hope.

As volunteers, by your nature, you are bearers of hope and compassion, willing to make your contribution to society and effecting change through moral influence.

Volunteering is at the heart of community and is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to engage in the life of a community. Through volunteering, we create social connections and develop a sense of belonging, especially in times such as these. Connection is what sustains all of us, regardless of geography, age or gender.

Today, we join you in volunteering and lighting the world with compassion and action. Let us be our best selves in this time – a multigenerational global network of hundreds of millions – doing good together.

Joint Position on COVID-19, a Message from the Big Six Youth Organisations

Driving Change through the Big Six

Driving change through the activation of the Big Six national organisations and networks is at the heart of the Global Youth Mobilization.

Millions of young people, supported by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across more than 190 countries and territories have been working to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and global issues on young people and their local communities.

From community organisations, religious groups, sports organisations, schools and colleges through to refugee camps and universities, local chapters and groups of the Big Six are at the front line of supporting young people and communities to build back better from the pandemic.

Representatives from the Big Six youth organisations meet in Geneva, in 2022 to agree on a new strategic collaboration

Representatives from the Big Six youth organisations meet in Geneva, in 2022 to agree on a new strategic collaboration

Meet the Big Six

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World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (World YMCA)

The YMCA is one of the oldest and largest youth-focused movements in the world. Founded in 1844, it now operates in 120 countries and reaches 65 million people. YMCA associations are strongly rooted in their communities and offer a variety of programmes and services based on local priorities and issues affecting young people and their communities, with a focus on inclusion for all. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, World YMCA supports the local and national associations to bring social justice and peace to young people and their families, regardless of age, gender, religion or socio-economic background.

world ywca logo

World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA)

The World YWCA is a global movement that connects and mobilises the power of millions of women, young women, and girls from across regions, cultures, and beliefs to transform their lives and the world for the better. Our work is grounded in local communities and rooted in the transformational power of women, giving us a unique approach and the legitimacy to effect change and promote gender equality. We provide support and opportunities for women, young women, and girls to become leaders and change-makers who inspire and mobilise their peers. With a presence in more than a hundred countries, and over a century of experience fighting for women’s rights alongside a network of allies, partners, and activists, we know that a collaborative, intergenerational approach that centres young women’s leadership is vital to a progressive women’s movement. The World YWCA movement works to realise the common Goal: By 2035, 100 million young women and girls will transform power structures to create justice, gender equality and a world without violence and war; leading a sustainable YWCA movement, inclusive of all women.

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World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM)

Scouting is one of the world’s leading educational youth movements, engaging more than 54 million young people in over 224 countries and territories to be agents of positive change in tackling the most pressing social, environmental, and economic challenges facing our communities and planet. Scouting offers a unique non-formal educational experience that contributes to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential as active global citizens. Scouts worldwide have delivered more than 1.9 billion community service hours since 2013.

world association of girl guides and girl scouts logo

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. Our diverse movement represents 10 million girls and young women from 152 countries. For more than 100 years, Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world. Our strengths lie in innovative, non-formal education programmes, leadership development, advocacy work and community action, empowering girls and young women to develop the skills and confidence needed to make positive changes in their lives, in their communities and countries.

international federation of red cross and red crescent societies

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, with 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and around 14 million volunteers. Its volunteers are present in communities before, during and after a crisis or disaster. IFRC work in the most hard to reach and complex settings in the world, saving lives and promoting human dignity. It supports communities to become stronger and more resilient places where people can live safe and healthy lives and have opportunities to thrive.

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (The Award)

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global, non-formal education and learning framework. The Award is available to all 14- to 24-year-olds and equips young people with the skills they need for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability and interests. Since its launch over 60 years ago, the Award has inspired millions of young people to transform their lives and find their purpose, passion and place in the world. Completing the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their individual limits and recognises their achievements. Alongside quality formal and non-formal education, the Award can play a critical role in young people’s development and help to build resilient communities. Over 80% of the Award’s programme is delivered through schools, and it collectively supports the delivery of seven million community service hours per year.

Contact us

For further information about the Global Youth Mobilization, please contact: info@globalyouthmobilization.org