Markus Gander

Ashoka Fellow
Switzerland,
Fellow Since 2008

THE IDEA

Markus is giving young people across Switzerland the chance to connect with each other through a platform that facilitates younger and older people's engagement,  to work together towards social change. He founded
Infoklick in 1998. Infoklick connects youth with their peers and serves as a “platform of platforms,” offering a centralized infrastructure for youth participation activities. Through infoklick, Markus brings together youngsters both virtually and physically, and strengthens their bonds with supportive adults, youth organizations, sponsors, and communities.

IMPACT
To date, Infoklick has a network of 6000 young people in 60 towns. 30 000 beneficiaries have been impacted, 300+ projects were launched and 1 million viewers per year are reached through the website.

THE PERSON
Markus was born in a small village in Switzerland and is the first child of two teachers. When he was young, he was very active with the boy Scouts and by the time he turned 28, he had created a new nationwide train-the-trainer curriculum for
boy Scout supervisors. Because Markus was one of only four “village children” admitted to his local high school, he was often disregarded by middle-class students and teachers. This experience of being treated like an inferior had a great impact on Markus’s life, inspiring him to be more self-determined in society. After high school, Markus graduated as a math teacher.

 

Citation

This profile was prepared when Markus Gander was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Markus’s organization, Infoklick, connects youth with their peers and serves as a “platform of platforms,” offering a centralized infrastructure for youth participation activities. In it, he brings together youngsters both virtually and physically, and strengthens their bonds with supportive adults, youth organizations, sponsors, and communities.

Understanding that most youth cannot be engaged to shape societal processes with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, Markus brings kids into his movement by drawing on their specific interests and addressing their needs through tailored engagement opportunities. For example, hard-to-reach teenagers are attracted to the movement through entry points such as teenager information websites, concerts, or football games, and are gradually connected with more active youth in the network.

While Markus provides each segment of youth with the appropriate arena to engage, he especially uses the “early adopters” to push his movement forward, training them as multipliers who then bring their own youth networks into the system. In this way, Markus has built a network of nearly 6,000 youth in 60 towns who are either participating in youth projects, creating their own social ventures, volunteering for youth organizations as mentors, helping other youth with starting social ventures, or engaging as decision-makers in municipalities.

Markus is expanding his movement through regional hubs in Switzerland. As the main youth organization, Markus works to unify youth policies at the federal level and to certify youth participation as skill development by the government. His organization is currently being exported across Europe, offering easy-to-scale methodologies to national partners who are encouraged to add their own content.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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