When I first heard Nafula speak about her work, I was struck by the confidence, conviction, and authority of her words. As someone who feels more comfortable expressing herself with a pen and paper than in front of a crowd, I was in awe of her ability to powerfully advocate for gender equality—connecting emotions with data and linking personal experiences with the everyday reality of millions.
In isolated rural communities in Mexico, where the distance villagers must travel to find a doctor can mean the difference between life and death, Dr. Carolina Zuheill Rosales delivers urgently needed medical care.
For many students, classes related to science, technology, engineering, and math—the so-called STEM fields—can be intimidating. Stereotypes persist that you either have what it takes to succeed in these subjects, or you don’t. Period. Oscar Contreras-Villarroel grew up with a passion for science and believes most young people would feel as he does—that is, if it were taught differently.
IYF has witnessed a powerful positive trend: the rise of young social entrepreneurs. Recognizing a lack of high-quality data as a key challenge keeping these youth change-makers from garnering all the attention they deserve, we've set out to gather and share information from YouthActionNet® global network. Read an analysis of this infographic, with data from Latin America, in a separate, complementary post.
As part of my role overseeing YouthActionNet®’s Latin American portfolio, I recently analyzed data on 475 young social entrepreneurs who had applied to our institutes in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico in 2015. A new infographic is part our work to address a lack of high-quality data on the sector, and it offers a snapshot of the pool across the three countries.
“I dream of an Africa where all young people have a quality education,” affirms Peggy, who was elected to IYF’s Board of Directors in December as one of two designated youth members.
The three don’t seem like they met only days before. The way Ayaz, Nafula, and Queen are quick to hug and tease one another, I’d think these young leaders were longtime friends. But, really, they only just found one another when they reached Washington, DC, for the week-long YouthActionNet® Laureate Global Fellows retreat.
For powerful examples of youth driving positive change, look no further than IYF’s YouthActionNet® global network, which recently welcomed 52 accomplished young social entrepreneurs through its leadership institutes in Brazil, Morocco, Nigeria, and Turkey.
Five years ago, the forested trail leading to the most scenic waterfall in Bogotá, Colombia, was crime-ridden and awash with waste. Today, the same area is safe and well maintained. As part of the trail, a mural, depicting two swans and a human figure enveloped in a sea of tears, calls attention to mankind’s imbalanced relationship with nature. While in 2010 people avoided the area over safety concerns, now the site attracts more than 1,500 visitors a month.
Twenty-five-year old entrepreneur Sara Idohou interned with IYF and our YouthActionNet® team this fall while participating in the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative. Here Sara reflects on her internship, YALI fellowship, and overall experience as a young woman driven to create change in her community.