IHEYO had an ambitious Action Plan for the year 2009 with great expectations and projects.
Realistically, not all projects or plans were realized but a great measure of success was registered.
In principal IHEYO did her best in trying to take an extra step further to fulfill the aims of this
umbrella organization as described in our By-Laws, article 3, section 2:
“IHEYO aims to achieve the following non-profit goals of international benefit:
- To promote the development of cooperation among member organizations and humanist youth, especially on the international level;
- To promote circulation of information and expertise among member organizations and humanist youth;
- To carry out educational and cultural action in order to promote a Humanist vision of cultural, social and ethical values;
- To represent its members to any and all international governing institutions on all questions related to the organization’s purpose;
- ” To contribute and give a voice to youth humanism on the international level.”
(2) Brief Overview
2009 was broadly marked with a process of strongly connecting the members and partners and
broadening the range of activities on an international level. We aimed at identifying the active
members of IHEYO and trying to keep in touch with members that have less contact with IHEYO
in the past. This was intended at strengthening the local and national youth work that our members
and partners carry out in order to empower young people, to strengthen the human rights of all
people and to enable youth develop themselves and their societies further.
In a bid to initiate a coherent program that captures our main thematic fields for action, IHEYO
took steps in implementing a three-year program which was started in 2008 to run up to 2010 and
this was geared towards strengthening its members and partners through regional working groups
that could coordinate and carry forward activities to support these members and partners in
combination with international spaces (online, face to face, etc.) In this line henceforth, IHEYO
used 2009 to focus on the future of IHEYO in relation to other organizations like IHEU, our
American humanist friends, Eastern Europe, South Asia (Nepal, India and neighboring countries)
plus West and East Africa.
IHEYO tried very much to bring together qualities that are not often seen in many international
organizations. It should be remembered that IHEYO as an organization is not only for youth, but
also carried forward by youth. There is very limited hierarchy in IHEYO and a lot of team spirit and
solidarity was maintained as well in 2009. The responsibility for the network and its activities lied
completely within the young people themselves which created a maximum learning experience for
the youth on an international level, and intercontinental level. This continues to make IHEYO one
of the most unique youth international humanist organizations. We contacted many people from
diverse backgrounds in touch with each other in an open space where they shared experiences and
opinions on different topical issues. We still think that this is a very good quality and method of
working with young people.
Like many other organizations, IHEYO still depends on external financial grants and membership
fees both for the general operations and the projects that are carried out. IHEYO worked very hard
to get funding for the action plan of the year. However some projects were changed or delayed
because of the funding challenges. It is therefore unfortunate that some of the projects were not
realized in the past but we still score in line with the highly implemented projects which put IHEYO
above an ordinary youth organization. Realizing this short fall, we think the same projects can be
modified and re-examined for future implementation.
We also agreed in the last GA in Washington that IHEYO remains and over seer and above monitor
in the implementations of several projects, maintaining its role as an umbrella organization than a
grass root projects implementer.
(3) Regional Achievements for 2009
The Asian Working Group that was established in 2007 as result of the IHEYO 2006 Conference
in India is strengthening South Asia through personal contacts and an active networking between
humanist organizations and people interested in related issues. They have had regional meetings and
workshops and increased their connections next to Nepal and India to countries like Bangladesh,
Pakistan and also Australia. They have worked greatly in advocating for fairness and the liberty of
the minority Delits of this part of the world.
This group focused its work on the poor and oppressed such as dalits, women, young people in rural
areas enabling them to rely on their own strength and thinking. For that reason, the Working Group
was mainly responsible for the 8th IHEYO’s Youth Conference 2009 in Nepal.
IHEYO has strengthened its out reach and have connections in Eastern Europe. The European
Working Group has been in contact with the European Forum and other organizations to map out
possibilities of more activities in Europe. All the needed preparation to formally establish the
European Working Group of IHEYO and prepared an action-plan based on a discussion of our
thematic priorities in Europe are now in place and we think 2010 will even be a better year for this
group. The group still has the responsibility of finding all the necessary avenues and logistical
needs in the 2011 Humanist conference due in Norway.
New Member organization have now been included from Poland and Germany that have joined
IHEYO and the European group ( EWG ) to create a stronger network inside Europe as well.
New Communications among the African Working Group have been made to take the group to the next level. Yemi Johnson from Nigeria and Asaba Lawrence from Uganda are responsible for the AWG and in charge of the East African region. New volunteers from the East and West have been contacted and they are ready to move forward with a more active and visible out put. The AWG is looking forward to reaching out to as many young Humanist as possible with better results and networking. The Western region of Africa also intensified her efforts in line with publications using funds from other sources. The group is also proud that Yemi Johnson was working for IHEYO as editor and publisher of the YouthSpeak in 2009.
(4) General Operations / scores
* We had a fresh and brand new look of our web site with new areas, modern and friendly options
of operations for contemporary humanist thinkers and our other visitors! IHEYO continued
offering advice particularly on fundraising procedures to our members groups that requested for
such help. The website was also made open for member activities and this was an opportunity for
groups to inform people about their activities on an international scale, and encouragement in their
* IHEYO successfully maintained the flow of our YouthSpeak with the intention of informing
people about developments and debates in youth humanism. We were able to publish 12 issues per
year of Youth Speak with interesting topical issues, fun and events information to our members
and interested organizations.
* IHEYO was unable to maintain a staffed office to coordinate the work of IHEYO on a daily basis
as it has been the case in the past. However, measures were taken to make it possible for IHEYO to
keep a close contact with her members and making professional operations in the process of
carrying out her targeted actions. At the moment IHEYO tries to coordinate all administration work
on volunteer basis and to realize all arising matters inside the EC or volunteer support from the
outside. Much has been achieved with this strategy and we think soon we shall have the staffed
office once again in place.
* IHEYO continued to strengthen her competence on fundraising process and vigorously sought
structural funding from long-standing partners and new ones such as the European Union, HIVOS,
IHEU, IHS, Council of Europe, HEF etc…. Much more is expected in this area and IHEYO registers
its appreciation to Gea Meijers from Netherlands and Silvana Uhlrich from Germany for their great effort
over this task.
* The Executive Committee made efforts to become a more efficient structural organ and
continued to be the central operations system of IHEYO. We have been able to have one face-to-face
EC-meeting in Nepal in October 2009! This was supplemented with IHEYO’s EC-monthly meetings online
on Skype to make IHEYO more efficient in delivering her services. The meetings held have made
the EC more focused through several discussions on different crucial matters. These Skype
meetings have increased their periodical happening to a level of a monthly meeting.
* IHEYO was able to hold its annual conference with the support of AHA – IHEYO, and SOCH in Nepal from
20th-25th October 2009! IHEYO looked at that as a great opportunity for further net-working and
strengthening her contact and working relationship with the young Asian Humanists.
Special thanks to Abhilash K. from India and Uttam Niraula from Nepal for their significant input.
* Enormous hours and energy has been spent in finding possibilities of a closer relationship
between IHEYO and IHEU. It has been a priority of IHEYO to strengthen our relation with
IHEU; and we have continued to be present at the meetings of their Executive Committee in the
second half of 2009. This has made the working relationship between the two organizations better
and more firm. Both organizations are working towards a stronger relation between them. The
discussions and communication are still going on a very friendly and open level.
At this point the GA will be presented with the full document with all details for the same and this
should be the final line in realizing this great Idea.
(5) Challenges / short falls
* IHEYO was unable to get funding from IHS which was a set back in the implementation
process of several of the expected projects. Because of this shortfall, we were incapable of
implementing several projects in different areas. IHEYO did not establish communication offices in
Europe, Africa and Asia, as it was planned.
* IHEYO was unable to hire an office staff for 2009. Up to March 2008 Silvana Uhlrich the
elected President in Washington 2008 took over the job till the end of October and this marked the
end of the task and opening of the communication office. This of course delayed many decisions
and projects as well as important communication flow. We think that soon, if we get funds, the
anomaly will be ironed out very fast.
In totality therefore, 2009 had several challenges but all-in-all IHEYO was able to score above the
average performance. Much was achieved and a firm foundation has been laid for 2010. IHEYO has
managed to exist since its reactivation and much has been improved in comparison to its old
fractured structure systems. We are greatly indebted in appreciation to our member organizations,
funders, advisers, partners and current and previous members of the Executive Committee that have
extended a worthwhile voluntary service to IHEYO. We deeply appreciate that.
IHEYO knows that for such a unique international organization, challenges are bound to be part of
our daily encounter and we know that this is more than a simple task but we treasure the experience
that comes along with it and we think that the status of IHEYO is and will continue to be better than
before! IHEYO will continue to develop and promote humanism among our member organizations
on regional, continental and international level. We will still maintain our grip on the impoverished
part of the world.
We look at IHEYO’s future with a positive attitude and we do continue to think that it is extremely
important to maintain close communication between the EC and our members. In line with
continuity and as a way forward, we are looking to a more fascinating and memorable 2010, full of
achievements and making the world a better place for all as well as creating a long lasting legacy
for IHEYO and humanists in general.
Prepared by Asaba Lawrence and Silvana Uhlrich
General Secretary and President – IHEYO (respectively)