Why Wait? How Youth are Affecting International Development

Why Wait? How youth are effecting international development

Submitted by Melissa Bird-Vogel Wilkes

Highlighting the emerging role of youth in international development, this panel offered insight into best practices, challenges and the future impact of youth involvement in finding solutions to global social and economic issues. Four young leaders who hold senior level or founder positions at Washington-based organizations lead the conversation.

Key takeaways from the conversation were:
– These young people are doing great things and bring a lot of new enthusiasm to the development community. The underlying voracity for social connection made possible through technology provides a unique opportunity to encourage others to contribute and helps build momentum behind projects and share new ideas. Additionally, the ability to for those young philanthropists to engage directly with potential beneficiaries through technology, increases awareness and fosters passion for making a difference.
– Lack of experience can be a challenge. As a result there is a need to find ways to integrate young people’s enthusiasm with institutional knowledge, so that new ideas thrive by leveraging best practices. For example, Jessica Markowitz, founder of Richard’s Rwanda, a local NGO has a board of older development experts who provide historical perspective.

Why Wait? How youth are effecting international development

Notable quotes from the conversation:
“We’re making things an EXPERIENCE and bringing it to the individual vs. making the individual come to us.”

“Our demographic grew up on Facebook, growing up on Twitter now, and utilizing mobile applications. It’s happening in general in the sector, but it’s really on the forefront of our organizations.”

“Crowd-sourcing is a huge advantage in solving problems- a tool that can help someone find the best hotdog in San Francisco can also be used to find the best loan in Ghana.”

Jessica Markowitz, Founder, IMPUWE/Richard’s Rwanda
Cole Hoover, Outreach Coordinator, Lumana Credit
Nadia Khawaja, Co-Founder & COO, Jolkona Foundation
Nandie Oothuizen, Founder & Executive Director, Hand and Heart Now
Moderater: Britt Yamamoto, Executive Director, iLEAP