Profile - Innovations in Civic Participation

Profile - Innovations in Civic Participation

31 May 2016

At the Trust we believe that there is more to democracy than simply showing up at the ballot box and casting your vote in elections. A more participative democracy is ultimately a more healthy democracy. 

When thinking about this we came across an organisation called Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), who we think are doing some excellent work in getting young people involved in the society around them.

ICP is a global leader in the field of Youth Civic Engagement.

Founded in 2001 by Susan Stroud through a multi-year grant from the Ford Foundation, ICP grew out of Susan’s 30+ years of experience in designing programs and policies and building networks that result in many more young people having the opportunity to engage in civic activities that positively change their communities. 

Since 2001, the team at ICP has worked to expand opportunities for tens of thousands of young people throughout the world to engage in service.  ICP has been highly acclaimed for its innovative thinking and contributions to the field by policymakers, practitioners and donors working in youth civic engagement.

ICP envisions a world where young people in every nation are actively engaged in improving their lives and their communities through civic participation.  They believe well-structured youth service programs can provide innovative solutions to social and environmental issues, while helping young people develop skills for future employment and active citizenship.

ICP carries out its mission through four main activities:

  1. Incubating innovative models for youth service programs;
  2. Creating and expanding global networks;
  3. Conducting research and publicizing information on youth civic engagement, especially national youth service and service-learning; and
  4. Serving as a financial intermediary to support program innovation and policy development.

In addition to these activities, ICP regularly consults with its extensive network of over 2,500 academics, policymakers, program entrepreneurs, and other leaders in the field on program and policy work.

ICP has also helped to initiate and develop the leading global network on higher education community engagement, the Talloires Network , and serves as secretariat to the only global national youth service organization, the International Association of National Youth Service (IANYS).

The International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS) is a unique global network of practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and other professionals actively working to encourage countries worldwide to implement policies and programs that support youth civic engagement.

In addition to advocating for strong youth policies, IANYS also facilitates the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices in youth service and provides assistance to nations wishing either to introduce new programs or to reshape existing programs.

Another of the projects they’re currently working on is Summer Trek.

SummerTrek is a six week summer curriculum that engages middle school youth as community problem solvers. Formerly known as Summer of Service, SummerTrek builds upon several years of research and pilot testing aligned with quality principles for out-of-school time educational enrichment, service-learning and youth development programming.

Through a series of fun and highly motivating project-based activities, youth participants called “Trekkers” explore ways to make positive contributions to their communities and the world.

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