Colin Mc Andrew is currently in fifth year in Portmarnock Community School. He took part in the YSI Action programme with his team Global Citizens Mapping the Future.
When did you take part in Young Social Innovators and what was your project about?
I was very lucky to have taken part in YSI in 2015 with my team and our project “Global Citizens Mapping the Future”. Our project was based on humanitarian mapping. We used a website called www.openstreetmap.org that allowed us to examine satellite images and add data to them, such as the names of places and the purpose of land and buildings. This allows people in developing countries to use this vital information to plan and develop their future. We worked on #MapLesotho as an example. Here we communicated with people from all around the globe and locally to advocate and demonstrate the value of humanitarian mapping.
What impact did your project have on your local or wider community?
In our local community we were fortunate to get to know schools in our locality and were able to teach mapping to students within our school and beyond, from Fingal in Co. Dublin to as far away as Milford in Co. Donegal. Our project worked throughout the globe. The project #MapLesotho has also inspired planners and local government within Lesotho to take a new and more enlightened approach to their country and its future with the information that has been provided through Open Street Map during “Mapathons” such as the one we held in January, facilitated by Fingal County Council with the huge help of our original mentor Ciaran Staunton. During this Mapathon we had 5,600 members mapping at the one time, including native Lesotho planners and also students of Red Rock High, Chattanooga, USA, with whom we now have a strong friendship. Our work spread across the globe.
What impact did taking part in YSI have on you?
Taking part in YSI made me realise and discover something at the very core of everyday life, the fact that everybody is important and has a deep desire to add value to the world. YSI has shown me that each person can contribute in their own way. I learned how I can make a difference and what I can bring to the world. Most importantly I learned how we can connect through the Internet with people from all over the world with efficiency, and for the benefit of the world.
How has your YSI experience influenced the person you are today?
I feel much more fulfilled as a person for doing YSI. Not only have I learned the power of speaking and confident leadership, but I have learned something more valuable, how to utilise this. I feel that I have a greater sense of clarity about myself and the world around me since I have started my YSI adventure.
Why do you think it is important to empower young people to realise their potential as positive change-makers?
I feel very deeply that all people want to make a positive difference. Young people like myself have a lot of energy that we can expend to make the world a better place. YSI is a platform to help young people get out there to learn about their environment and change it. It is essential that a powerful thing like YSI is available to young people.