Change is happening - and young people are leading the way forward

Young people are adopting a do-it-ourselves ethos. Image: Steven Su/Unsplash

Natalie Pierce
Head of Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum
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Now more than ever, people under the age of 30 are demonstrating the power of open, participatory and collective action. Rather than waiting for big social problems to be solved by government action, young people are adopting a do-it-ourselves ethos, actively shaping systems and structures to meaningfully include and empower more people.

Take Basima Adulrahman. She runs a green design and construction initiative in Iraq; a country trying to rebuild after decades of war. She and her fellow Global Shapers in the Erbil Hub, run the Social Cohesion Youth Dialogues where they work to build trust between disenfranchised young people from various religious and ethnicity backgrounds – a vital step for the community’s efforts to combat violent extremism.

Basima will join four-hundred members of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum in Geneva this week to find scalable solutions for organizing and mobilizing the full potential of young people around the world.

Tackling a worsening crisis, William Stubbs of the Brisbane Hub is a mental health campaigner and co-founder of Spur: Labs. More than 320 million people suffer from depression worldwide, but many suffer alone. Will campaigns to encourage men to talk about their mental health, giving them the resources, skills and the language they need in order to take action. His campaigns have reached young men and women in over 100 countries.

Samantha Jones of the Christchurch Hub is the founder and CEO of Little Yellow Bird, a pioneer in organic and ethically made workwear. Little Yellow Bird manufactures garments in India and partners with reputable production units employing fair trade principles. Sam, a former military officer, is able to trace her raw materials back to the source and funds educational projects in the communities where her products are made. Her goal is to revolutionize the garment industry through a verification platform that uses blockchain technology to track products from origin to sale.

Andres Escobar of the San Salvador Hub runs an ethical coffee company that uses its revenues to build schools in El Salvador, a country experiencing a rapid increase in the number of out-of-school children due to widespread insecurity. He and his fellow Shapers in San Salvador run ocean clean ups – removing over 500 pounds of plastics from ocean waters while building awareness for co-operative climate action in the city.

Doreen Kessy of the Dar Es Salaam Hub is the COO of Ubongo, a multi-media educational platform in Africa. Using the power of entertainment and mass media, the company provides educational material at low cost and high volume. Over six-million households in 31 countries currently watch, listen and learn from Ubongo’s cartoons each week, improving outcomes in maths and school readiness.

Carlo Delantar of the Cebu Hub is the country director for Waves for Water Philippines. Wanting to do his part after Typhoon Haiyan, Carlo’s mission is simple: get clean water to every person in need. He mobilizes a network of volunteers who complete 10 clean water missions per month, providing rainwater storage and point-of-use filtration and chlorination systems to rural and remote communities. He’s reached over 50 provinces so far.

These are just some of the stories of Global Shapers – a community of seven-thousand young people working together to address local, regional and global challenges in over 150 countries worldwide. Follow the official hashtag #ShapersSummit on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more about these extraordinary young people who are changing our world for the better.

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