THE YOUTH INNOVATION LAB
AYANA’s program is the Youth Innovation Lab, a weeklong incubator to foster creative problem-solving among young people in the developing world. While the immediate programmatic impacts are leadership training for youth, and creating awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and design thinking at a local level in developing communities, the next tier of impact is sustainable solutions to community problems.
In just 10-12 hours, our program covers leadership fundamentals, values-based leadership, styles of leadership, collaborative team-building and teamwork, the Sustainable Development Goals, problem analysis, stakeholder mapping, creative and human-centered problem solving through design thinking, the Six Thinking Hats, strategic project management, goal-setting, and more. In AYANA programs, youth will not only learn what design thinking or the sustainable development goals or change making is. They will apply each of these concepts through projects they design and lead.
We intend to answer a lack of sustainable and community driven solutions in the developing world to problems from health and hygiene to education to girls' empowerment. We believe communities should have the dignity and opportunity to take matters into their own hands and design effective solutions with their understanding of the issues (as they are the ones facing them). We allow young people to view their communities through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and identify the most pressing issues their communities face.
We are a data-driven organization that uses tools and techniques in human-centered design, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking to develop curricular materials. When we allow young community members to take ownership of problems facing their communities, we get solutions that are a breath of fresh air to the communities and something they are willing to invest their own time and energy to see them succeed.
We truly believe that investing in the ideas of young people is a solid and impactful way to transform communities for the better. We have funded projects entirely designed and implemented by youth from mobile libraries to pop-up educational events to slum clean ups to vocational training to get female high school dropouts back on their feet.