Global Social Leaders enables young people to practice and develop Empathy

News | 29th February 2024

This week the world marks Empathy Week, an annual  festival celebrating and supporting young people to develop the skill of empathy.

Research shows that empathy is an essential skill in workplace leadership, it increases social connection and dramatically reduces the risk of cyberbullying among teens and can also significantly boost young people’s creativity.

It is key to understand not only that empathy underpins all other life skills but crucially that it can be practiced, taught and developed over time. Luckily, creating meaningful opportunities for young people to practice and develop empathy, both in and outside the classroom is where Global Social Leaders can help.

“This journey definitely changed our perspective on the world’s problems and brought out feelings of empathy and sensitivity” Mirel, Students, Hisar School in Turkey

GSL Membership is a unique global community of values driven schools whose young people are supported to lead social action projects addressing the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. We provide Member schools with a solid framework of project-based learning, which can either be integrated into school curriculum or offered as an extra-curricular activity. Our programme enables young people to connect and work together to identify, analyse and design solutions to the most pressing social issues they see affecting their communities and is modelled on an empathetic approach

“Empathy is simply crucial to a human-centered design process such as design thinking as it helps you set aside your own assumptions about the world to gain insight into your users and their needs instead.” (source: Interaction Design Foundation).

We believe it is crucial for young people engaging in designing and delivering social action projects to harness the power of empathy. To be effective in taking social action, it is important that the journey young people take to identify problems and design solutions is truly human-centred and the training we provides reinforces this.

“We have learnt to be more empathetic and tolerant towards people since we had the opportunity of working with people from various backgrounds. Knowing this educates us on the importance of equal treatment in a society with multiple ethnic groups” Maxine, Students, Alpha Beta Christian College, Ghana

During one of our regular Team Check-ins last month we got to hear some inspiring ideas and project updates from Teams from across the world, one in particular harnessing the power of empathy whose approach has now been adopted by GSL teams worldwide. A group of from Byram Hills School in the USA shared a social action project they are working on that is tackling post-partum depression in women in their community.

To deepen their understanding of the problem they have been using Empathy Interviews with women affected by the issue and OB-GYN  professionals. Empathy interviews can help identify issues that need to be addressed by the system, unpack the root causes of a problem from a community perspective, and gather information that inspires new, human-centered change ideas.  It was wonderful to hear from them how the Empathy Interviews helped them identify the nature of the problem, gain perspective and create a more contextualised solution!

Over the past decade we have supported over 10,000 student to lead their own social action projects and gain valuable life skills. GSL Membership 2024-5 is now open for registration and will launch in schools later this year. Click here to register for Membership