Changing How Youth Adapt to Change: Fishing 2.0Read All Posts
Dina Buchbinder is a young social entrepreneur who is passionate about children's potential and ideas. In 2007, she founded Deport-es para Compartir (Sports for Sharing), an educational and civic program that teaches children how to become better citizens in a fun, meaningful way through games and sporting activities. In 2009 Dina was selected as a YouthActionNet® Global Fellow at the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Currently serving as the director of the United Nations Youth Association in Mexico, Dina joined IYF's board of directors in 2013.
Earlier this month, I flew from Mexico City to Washington, DC, to participate in the USAID Education Summit and a round table discussion at the World Affairs Council. Wearing three hats—as Founder and Director of Deport-es para Compartir/Sports for Sharing, a YouthActionNet Fellow, and a current member of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) Board of Directors—I had the opportunity to listen to different points of view and add my voice to discussions around the future of young people, especially when it comes to the challenges they face today securing jobs and livelihoods.
There was much talk during those days about teaching young people how to fish, rather than just feeding them. What does this really mean? In Mexico, where the population has doubled… twice…since 1950, there are 112 million people, and over 43 million of them are under 20. Sadly, one of every 10 Mexican youth is a “NI-NI”—neither studying nor working. So, when it comes to “fishing,” today’s challenges will require much more than just learning new technical skills. We need people who are able to adapt to a quickly changing world.
To construct a sustainable future, it is paramount to develop a different kind of workforce where people have the ability to innovate. We need to empower youth through the teaching of soft skills like creative thinking and flexibility. When we learn how to adapt, we are able to acquire new skills in a more organic—almost instinctive—way. I like to call this fishing 2.0, or, in other words, focusing on what it means to be a learner—such as being curious and following your passion where it leads you! In the process, people are more likely to develop empathy, use today’s vast access to information more effectively, and connect with meaningful jobs.
At my organization, Deport-es para Compartir (DpC), we share IYF’s mission to act upon the youth unemployment crisis. Through the power of games and sports, this civic education program shapes children into better citizens and, eventually, change-makers. To date DpC has reached 230,000 people in Mexico and the United States who are now DpC ambassadors of social innovation. Together, we are building a future based on transforming the way we perceive employment.
Change is the only constant. In an always-changing environment, many challenges lie ahead. I am certain that youth who master empathy, who adapt, who innovate, and who keep learning will create or find meaningful jobs that will allow other young women and men to feel useful. Our challenge is to embrace this new paradigm and to learn and apply fishing 2.0.