#YouthWill launches to recognize global development leaders

Youth Will aims to recognize young leaders in international development and showcase ways to empower the next generation. Photos by: Dah H, Steve Wilson, United Nations, Prashanth Vishwanathan of CCAFS and ashraful kadir 

Young people hold the key to our future — and they are making a difference today. To recognize young leaders in international development and showcase ways to empower the next generation, Devex is launching Youth Will today.

Youth Will is an interactive online conversation that explores the power of youth around the globe to affect change today and in the future. The campaign will engage online audiences in a variety of ways over the next month, highlighting a new theme each week via the Youth Will site as well as YouTube, Facebook and @devex #YouthWill on Twitter.

Youth Will is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, The Commonwealth Secretariat, The MasterCard Foundation and UN-Habitat.

In Week One — under the banner #YouthWill Embrace Learning — the spotlight is on education. Michael Tetteh, the Ghanaian soccer player and author of a forthcoming book, recounts how sports pulled him out of poverty. The World Bank’s Ravi Kumar travels back to his Nepalese home with a laptop. And Devex captures video messages from U.N. Youth Assembly attendees, including Microsoft’s Yvonne Thomas.

We’ll take a close look at the relationship between youth unemployment and radicalization, list the top 10 peace-building NGOs and share advice for those eager to work in this area. We’ll explore the importance of soft skills and technology’s role in improving access and quality of learning, with a special focus on the potential — and limitations — of massive open online courses.

Malala Yousafzai was 11 when she wrote a BBC blog post about her life under Taliban rule in Pakistan that set her on a path to the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her advocacy on behalf of women and girls seeking education. Mohammed Bouazizi, a street vendor from Ben Arous, was 26 when he lit himself on fire to protest harassment by government authorities, setting in motion the Tunisian revolution and Arab Spring across North Africa and the Middle East.

A generation raised in conflict can hold the key to peace and security — or sustained violence. How can youth contribute to peace building in meaningful ways? That’s the focus of Week Two, titled #YouthWill Build Peace.

It’ll feature an interview with Alaa Murabit, a 25-year-old medical doctor from Libya who’s working on a front line in the battle to end violence against women. After being put on the Libyan regime’s “most wanted” list for providing health care and information to revolutionaries and survivors of sexual violence during the Libyan uprising, she founded The Voice of Libyan Women; in 2013, Newsweek named her one of 25 women under 25 to watch.

Youth Will, a new campaign by Devex and partners, explores the power that youth around the globe hold to change their own futures and those of their peers.

Employment, or the lack thereof, has not just been identified as a potential cause of radicalization. It’s also a measure of an economy’s health: Economic wealth and prosperity tend to grow with employment.

Are there enough jobs for young people? And are we well-preparing today’s youth to enter the workforce? Week Three — #YouthWill Create Opportunity — explores these questions.

The campaign will end with #YouthWill Lead Tomorrow, a week focusing on leadership.

What are the qualities of a participatory citizen and how can we increase civic engagement where there may be challenging governance and rule-of-law obstacles? How can the global development community prepare future leaders and how can youth be encouraged to take action to build the communities in which they wish to live?

We’ll take a look at these and many other questions through the eyes of prominent contributors.

The goal is to inspire an open and constructive conversation about ways the international community can — and should — empower young people to lead.

Want to learn more? Check out the Youth Will website and tweet #YouthWill.

Youth Will is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, The Commonwealth Secretariat, The MasterCard Foundation and UN-Habitat to explore the power that youth around the globe hold to change their own futures and those of their peers.

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About the author

  • Rolf rosenkranz 400x400

    Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.