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Collaboration Beyond Borders: Interactive Event connects Global Change Makers

Catalina Diaz, born in Chile and raised in Sweden, and Ilena Saturay from the Philippines operate a project in Holland to support women in India. OUR RIGHT is Overall Champion of the European Youth Award 2013 and an outstanding example for international cooperation.

Graz/Austria, December 4, 2013. Do you have access to a clean toilet? If yes, you are better off than 2.5 billion people on this planet. Catalina Diaz and Ilena Saturay are originally from South America and the Philippines. In Amsterdam they are part of Voices of Women Media, an organization pushing Digital Empowerment campaigns. Their project Our Right teaches young women in New Delhi to use the power of new media to make a change. In this case, to put an end to the abysmal sanitary conditions in their communities and force authorities to provide clean toilets for everyone.

“We are proud and honored that Our Right was selected overall winner of the European Youth Award 2013. From Voices of Women Media in the Netherlands, to Feminist Approach to Technology in India, we all believe that technological skills can play a crucial part in empowering young women”, said Catalina and Ilena as they received their award.

Together with 12 other teams from nine European countries they were honored for their commitment to use internet and mobile technology for social good. During a three-day conference the young change makers were connected with other smart minds, such as international experts and digital natives from all corners of the world. Student groups from five different countries already spent some time ahead of the event engaging with the winning projects, trying to find room for improvement.

“The business plan developed by the student group was better than anything we would have wished for had we hired a professional marketing company”, says Florian Jungwirth who was awarded for the app Woody. Woody is a mobile timber worm that encourages kids to interact with real trees in their environment. The gameplay mechanics combine fun with informative features, boosting the player’s awareness of trees and nature in urban areas.

“You are actively using Internet and mobiles to change the world for the better, while others use them solely for entertainment and distraction”, said Peter A. Bruck, Honorary President of the International Center for New Media, when presenting the award.

Altogether more than 200 people from all over the world took the trip to the Styrian capital Graz to participate in the European Youth Award Festival 2013. Three days were spent exchanging ideas, creating new networks and inspiring each other.

“Offline gatherings are the cement of online communities”, said Justine Hannequin of Jerry Do It Together, which won in the category Go Green. Her words embody the spirit of the festival. Most participants believe that the network developed in Graz will be a base strong enough to build bigger things on it.

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