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Christian Aid launches experimental youth project

Christian Aid has launched an innovative youth project aimed at giving voice to the impassioned desire to change the world felt by Britain's young people.

Launching on 16 June, Ctrl.Alt.Shift is the first 'user-generated' project of its kind, and seeks to meet the needs of the vast majority of British young people who, according to research commissioned by Christian Aid, are keen to understand and get involved in global development issues.

While the youth of today are often portrayed as self interested and idle, there are a growing number (85%) that care about the world in which they live, but do not know how to affect change.

Christian Aid is harnessing this passion and energy by embarking on a radical UK first: an experimental youth project aimed at combating disengagement with global issues amongst British youths. The initiative aims to create a global community of proactive, outspoken agitators seeking change – an uncompromising movement of young revolutionaries who can and will make a difference.

Young people can register their support on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift site (www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk) to join a global community of outspoken young radicals from all over the world, people who are working together to fight against global poverty and social injustice.

Users can engage with issues, sign up for petitions, upload their own content and involve themselves in action groups.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift will be a network of people who can marry their passions and lifestyle to reframe these issues in ways that are relevant to them and actively shape and drive the agenda, by coming up with their own ideas for action – by generating content, campaigns, sharing ideas and inspiring each other.

The project will harness today’s youth culture, and act as a vehicle for engaging young people in some of the most important global debates that are shaping their lives now, and will continue to do so in the future.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s research shows that young people do want to make a difference, but don’t necessarily know how because currently there is no outlet for their passions.

One in four 18-25-year-olds spoken to agreed that traditional methods of charity engagement do not feel appropriate for them. A further 48% agreed that they would be more inclined to get on board with charity activity if the call to action felt more accessible, relevant to their lives or involved doing something they actually enjoyed. 

The project will speak to young people in their own language, and give them a menu of ways to get involved – whether they have 5 minutes to send a text or register their support on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift website, or a few hours to attend a flash demonstration.

Katrin Owusu, head of youth marketing and innovations at Christian Aid, comments: 'The key mission of Ctrl.Alt.Shift is to bring about the democratisation of charity, by being the first ‘consumer generated’ charity brand.

'Using concepts of co-creation, the project will act as a vehicle for people to connect and take action by creating content and campaigns, sharing ideas and inspiring each other.

'We want young people to engage with and understand these issues now, as they are an unavoidable part of their daily lives. We need to change attitudes, and increase the number of younger supporters. This is about driving radical and revolutionary agitation.'

Ctrl.Alt.Shift has initially created a three-year cultural collaboration programme which will harness contemporary youth culture as a means of stimulating interest around global and cultural issues.

Working across the full youth culture and lifestyle spectrum, the initiative will include partnerships with cultural institutions, projects with higher and further education in the arena of music and film, digital social networking and a youth focused magazine. Launch activities include:

  • In year one, the programme will see Ctrl.Alt.Shift collaborate with a select group of globally recognised organisations, renowned both for their innovative and creative approach to the arts and culture, and methods of reaching youth audiences. The chosen organisations for 2008 are Sadler’s Wells, the Baltic and Central St Martins. Driving credibility around the conversation of global issues, the programme will explore the theme of Hypocrisy. Each institution will help to drive awareness of Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s three chosen major global issues – conflict, gender, HIV – by facilitating a series of peer-to-peer projects.

  • To support the programme, Ctrl.Alt.Shift will launch with a web site www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk which allows supporters to communicate with one another, and engage with global issues. Users can register their support, sign up to petitions and involve themselves in action groups.

  • The youth project will also see the release of a radical new magazine, edited by youth culture journalist Chantelle Fiddy, and former editor of Sleazenation, Neil Boorman. The publication tackles some very sensitive issues – such as HIV, prostitution, slave labour, and conflict – in a way that is both relevant and arresting for young people – a controversial approach that has not been seen from the charity sector before.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift stands in solidarity with the abused, the violated and the ignored. Ctrl.Alt.Shift won’t stop until the suffering ends. Ctrl.Alt.Shift wants young people to take control of their world, alter the way it works, and shift the way the future looks.  

For additional information please contact Shine Communications
Nikita Akilapa or Jacqueline Christie on +44 (0)20 7100 7100 or +44 (0)750 734 6783
 nikita.akilapa@shinecom.com / jacqueline.christie@shinecom.com


Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

Notes to Editors

*YouGov, Ramp and LOVE research compiled by Christian Aid, based on a sample size of over 2,000 18-25-year-olds from across the UK July 2007 – June 2008.

85% would like to be involved in fighting against these issues, but don’t know how:

Over 65% of all 18-25 year olds in the UK are completely disengaged with issues of global development and social injustice – including HIV, World Conflict, Gender Discrimination and Natural Disasters.

One in six young adults were unsure about how to take direct action against world poverty and injustice, other than donating money – something which prevents more than 50% of young people in this age group joining the fight.

A further 48% said they would be more inclined to get on board with charity activity if the call to action felt more accessible, relevant to their lives or involved doing something they actually enjoyed.

Case studies (available for interview)

The following comments were made by a group of 18-25 year old young adults who were involved in qualitative research commissioned by Ctrl.Alt.Shift:
• 'Charity Muggers you can’t get away from them – they guilt trip you'

• 'Give me a charity that understands what really matters to me, and the ways that I use the web, the way I speak to my mates and where I get my music from then I’d get involved'

• 'I’d love a charity that gave me cool stuff to do and see like music and film but where I could also have my say on what happens with my money and helping people in their lives'

• 'Community is central to young people. It would be great if there was somewhere that everyone got together to discuss things and say what they think, it would make you realise that you are not alone'