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Youth Voices

Entered in Voice


We launched Youth Voices—in partnership with Cortico, the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and Accenture—in April 2022 in order to include youth perspectives in our strategic plan. As one of the world's largest youth-serving NGOs, we recognized that our strategic planning would be stronger by inviting young people (16 to 25 years old) to have a strong voice in our plans for the future.

The objective was to record audio of the experiences, ideas, and struggles of our younger alumni around the world, and then to amplify their voices by combining their audio with visual aids. 

In addition to the short-term goal of helping form JA Worldwide’s strategic plan, the project had long-term goals, too:

Strategy and Execution

We started by inviting 100+ JA students and alumni across 45+ countries and all six JA regions to join recorded small-group conversations with three to four participants, facilited by a trained JA alumnus their own age. Ιn these conversations, we invited them to share their stories and experiences around four questions:

1) Reflect on your current experience with JA; tell us how the pandemic has shaped your experience as a learner.

2) These times have been difficult for many.

3) Close your eyes and picture your future 5 or 10 years from now.

4) For our last question, we invite you to share one thing you heard today that you’ll be taking away from this conversation and that you’d like other people to hear.

After the conversations were facilitated and recorded, the sensemaking team at Cortico and the MIT Center for Constructive Communication actively engage with the recorded conversations to analyze, make meaning, and thematically organize the stories and experiences that were shared during the conversations. Our guiding questions were:

Using tools and methods developed at the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, we identified themes and patterns in the conversations and mapped related experiences to six thematic categories: is an interactive platform that enables the public to explore and listen to the stories and experiences of young people in a thematically organized way. Organized by theme and by region on the website, users can also navigate conversations through the six themes that emerged. In order to keep the site visually stimulating, a on-screen transcript syncs with the audio, enabling users eyes to be as engaged as their ears. Anyone can use the portal to listen and better understand the hopes, concerns, and experiences of JA Worldwide students and alumni.


The project turned out better than anyone could have anticipated. Not only did youth have a strong voice in JA Worldwide's strategic plan (which now includes targets and methods for scaling from 15 million youth per year to 100 million in 2050), but they also have a platform for sharing their voices with the world.

Through the process, we learned even more than we expected.

Small-group engagement: Small, intimate groups lead to full engagement. Everyone was allowed to speak and everyone felt  heard, thanks to the small group size. Participants know they were part of something bigger than just another Zoom call.

Safe spaces: Youth Voices conversations function as peer-to-peer engagements because they are facilitated by JA alumni their own age, creating a safe space for participants to openly express themselves in a way they might not have had in the past. 

Qualitative approach: JA has often relied upon quantiative data to share our impact. Youth Voices tells a unique, qualitative story about JA's impact using an old medium (audio) that is new again.

Global connections: Some Youth Voices participants had never met a person from another country. Because they shared their voices in small groups, the experience enabled bonding and global community creation.

Due to the success of the project, we've entered Phase 2 that will reach students in dozens more countries, with an eventual goal of representing the 119 countries in which we operate. To encourage participation, we're chatting with Phase 1 participants on Instagram Live every week. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

JA Worldwide, in partnership with Cortico, the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and Accenture


Entry Credits