Why invest in youth?

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Youth can be compelling agents of change, and they are full of potential. However, they are often excluded from opportunities such as education and employment, and this can be devastating to developing nations. The global community must acknowledge the fact that young people need to be prepared for employment. The key to this transformation is programs that meet the needs of youth members of communities all over the world.

So, why we should invest in youth? First, it promotes the Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 goals for a better world, created by the United Nations. Additionally, investing in youth means future generations will be more equal through promoting gender equality. Youth investment can benefit the economy as well, as it helps in creating jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, and ultimately leading towards massive global change.

AYANA is taking huge steps to benefit the next generation of changemakers. Considering the importance of investment in youth, AYANA has held Youth Innovation Lab workshops in five countries in Africa, in order to incubate ideas from young people. We believe young people are best equipped to understand and recognize the problems in their communities, and to come up with and implement creative solutions.

An example of investing in the future is a recent project AYANA funded. As a result of the Youth Innovation program, one participant proposed a Girl’s Empowerment Project, which focuses on the education of girls from impoverished backgrounds who have dropped out of school. After AYANA funded the project, a team of students in Nairobi arranged for trauma healing counseling, as well as computer science and entrepreneurship training. Their hope is that this will help them acquire the skills to improve their lives, despite dropping out of school.

As in most rural areas, girls’ education is not given any value. Girls are discouraged and pressured to stay home and do household chores. Globally, girls are forced into marriage at a very young age, which results in dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth as well as domestic violence.

Above all else, it will give them hope; to work hard towards their dreams.