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Propelling Youth Voice Through Social Entrepreneurship

July 5, 2016

The power of youth voice is transformational. We’ve seen youth come together to create some of the most powerful and positive changes the world sees today and with their strides, we’ve seen many leaders and policy-makers stop in their tracks to take a listen.

But not only are they listening, they are also committing to the changes youth want to see. From the UK, to Malaysia, and now to Canada, governments are incorporating and imbedding youth voice into their decision-making processes.

And even more, where governments have been unable to provide all of the support necessary to create change in local communities, civil society has often taken the lead in facilitating that change themselves. More recently, there has been a spike in youth-led development and initiatives, which aim to promote youth participation and commitment to local and global change.

From August to November 2015, TakingITGlobal offered the Sprout e-Course to 13 young media makers from around the globe. These countries included Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Mexico, and the USA. Throughout the course youth were expected to develop a plan for a project they feel could create change in their communities. With this plan, the youth set out on their social entrepreneurship journey, developing everything from a solar lamp project to provide light to rural communities in India, to a youth media program to help combat radicalism in Kenya, the youth committed to becoming active agents of transformation in their own communities.

At the end of the Sprout e-Course, 5 youth were chosen to receive a mini grant to kick-start their projects, however due to the quality of work and commitment of the youth, TIG offered a mini grant to all the participants who completed the course along with Coaching Session to help them identify priorities in achieving goals related to launching or growing their initiative.

These coaching session were delivered with 3 main objectives:

  1. Build confidence in young social entrepreneurs to implement an impactful initiative which leverages media to address social, economic and/or environmental needs;
  2. Provide customized guidance and support around the essentials of social venture development; and,
  3. Bolster accountability and achievement by facilitating a process for young changemakers to identify strengths and address areas for growth.

The results of these sessions were incredible – with most of the Sprouts taking great strides in moving forward with their projects.

While many of the initiatives still have a long way to go, and the youth are dedicated to taking them there, we would like to highlight a few of the projects that made the most progress during the sessions! Below are a few excerpts from the summary report put together by their Sprout Coach, Kristle Calisto-Tavares.

Talha Chaudary, Mad Numbers, Pakistan

Tahla was a committed Sprout Coaching participant who completed all sessions with dedication and enthusiasm. Over the course of the three-month coaching period, Tahla was able to undertake a great deal of spec work to design the functionality and structure of his application including some clever gaming elements to engage app users in ongoing and competitive participation. Additionally, he refined the focus of his app to fundraise solely to cover the cost of sending youth to school instead of branching out to other audiences as beneficiaries.

At the close of his coaching journey, Tahla was shifting into the development phase of his app. In March, he had prepared for an interview at a renowned incubator. 

David Muya, Media 4 Youth Resilience, Kenya

David poured a great deal of dedication and hard work into this initiative before coaching sessions began. His work ethic and sense of responsibility was evident throughout the entire coaching engagement. A key area on which coaching sessions were focused included developing a Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning (MEL) framework to support him in effectively measuring the impact of his digital literacy and skill building program for youth. David always came prepared with a set of questions to explore during sessions and this allowed him to engage in more forward-thinking, strategic conversations that could support the sustainability of his initiative.

By the close of David’s coaching journey, he was awaiting transfer of the TakingITGlobal micro grant in order to be able to deliver necessary training to Media 4 Youth Resilience volunteers at participating schools in an effort to launch his initiative publicly.

Ya’Shalan Nelson, The Fifth, USA

Yaya took some brave steps during her coaching engagement to transform her already powerful short film into a full-fledged educational initiative. Through ongoing encouragement and support, Yaya identified a number of values-aligned organizations in the Bay Area with whom to partner on a screening of her short film. She also connected with a highly influential mentor in her field to facilitate introductions in the industry toward her initiative and career development. Finally, following her second coaching session, Yaya committed herself to expand the reach of her film into high schools and colleges as a catalyst for conversation and change-making.

At the close of her coaching journey, Yaya had come in contact with a wholehearted educator from whom she planned to gather feedback and input into the facilitator’s toolkit she created to accompany the DVDs of her film for screenings in schools.

Heba Elshatoury, Women & Sports, Egypt

Heba was a very coachable participant and made some good progress through her coaching sessions. Initially, her initiative had a strong mandate to inspire young women to engage in recreation and sports. Heba lacked a tangible way to achieve and measure the desired impact. Throughout the three coaching sessions, her initiative morphed from a concept into a video interview series featuring local female athletes that would help to promote and build interest in a public event focused on actually engaging women in sport.

At the close of her coaching journey, she had secured interviewees, developed a set of questions, identified some additional marketing components and designed a framework for her event. With guidance around creating time-bound action items and encouragement toward seeking out values-aligned partnerships, Heba is well on her to breaking down gender barriers and creating the sense of belonging she is working toward.

We have been greatly moved and inspired by the work that these youth have put into developing their projects and we are incredibly excited to see what they come up with next.

To learn more about the Sprout projects, their initiative pages can be found below:

Gabi de Carvalho from Mexico, Love For The Self

Mukungu Allan from Uganda, I Am A Writer

Ya'Shalan Nelson from the USA, The Fifth 

Manthan Charles from India, A Way To Reach The Last Mile

Francklin Barbier from Haiti, Haiti Marine Conservation and Education Centre

Rose Aquino from the USA, Haiti Marine Sighting Network

Heba Elshatoury from Egypt, Women and Sport

Chaudhary Talha Waseem from Pakistan, Mad Number

Lubanga Hakim from Uganda, Youth Can Change Media Project

Ismail Swati from Pakistan, Peace Through Piece by Piece

David Muya from Kenya, Media 4 Youth Resilience


Jay Jay is the Communications Coordinator at TakingITGlobal.
  •    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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