These young leaders at Davos are fighting our societal divide 

The backs of three women wearing colourful coats. A diverse set of young changemakers will share their stories in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week.
How can we make sure our societies aren't divided? Young changemakers will share their stories in the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week.
Image: Unsplash/Vonecia Carswell
  • Young people are mobilizing global movements, creating innovative ideas and are no longer waiting to be heard.
  • Here are eight young changemakers from across the world that share their stories on how to tackle societal divide, fragmentation and polarisation.
  • And these are just some of the stories from the 100 young innovators, activists and other forward-thinkers who are coming to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Around the world, a young generation is demanding to be heard. From mobilizing global movements to advancing innovative solutions and building more inclusive communities, young people from all walks of life are finding new ways to make a difference in a time of urgent need and uncertainty.

Take for example, Fedir Serdiuk from Odessa, Ukraine.

In 2014, Fedir Serdiuk left university to join the Red Cross Rescue Team following the Ukrainian Revolution. He went on to found FAST, which has provided first aid training for companies and their employees. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Fedir responded by launching an infectious disease safety operation and in 2022, he changed course again.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fedir has equipped more than 50,000 civilians with lifesaving skills in emergency and trauma response, including treating wounds caused by gunfire and shelling. Fedir is 26 years old and is taking immediate action to support his community.

“I don’t want to be a bystander or a witness. I don’t want to be part of the problem for somebody else to take care of. I want to be part of the solution,” says Fedir.

Fedir represents a diverse set of young changemakers who will participate in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week. Together, these changemakers model a powerful truth: that young people will not sit by and wait for the world to change. They are taking urgent and deliberate action to shape a better future starting right now – and they deserve a seat at the table.

Liz Nabakooza Kakooza is a mental health advocate and the founder of MindLab. She hopes that her daughter will grow up in a country where there is no stigma around mental health. “She’s starting to understand some of my struggles,” says Kakooza, who lives in Kampala, Uganda.

Liz was diagnosed with depression in 2015 – more than a decade after it was triggered by trauma. “I see a therapist and do cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps me to cope, but opening up about my journey and working to create awareness is very therapeutic,” says Liz.

Liz tells her truth in the hopes of encouraging others to do so too. MindLab offers peer-to-peer support networks led by trained mental health practitioners and advocates to democratize mental health access and support in Uganda, by training a community of first responders.

Amit Paley is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. He began as a counsellor for the organisation’s 24/7 TrevorLifeline and has answered hundreds of calls from LGBTQ youth in crisis.

Amit is the first volunteer counsellor to become the CEO of the organization in its 22-year history and he still continues to answer calls on TrevorLifeline. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded the number of LGBTQ youth that it serves and the breadth of programming that it offers.

Miguel Rozo was forcibly displaced from his home in Colombia at age eleven when misinformation and fake news was spread about his parents. Now this experience fuels his passion to engage diverse communities to achieve more inclusive societies by creating spaces for dialogue and critical thinking.

Miguel is the Founder of IdeasXChange – a non-profit dedicated to advancing systems change learning. “Today, the lines between online and offline spaces are becoming increasingly blurred and the impacts of mis- and disinformation carry risks not only to individuals but also to the fabric of society. But there are things that we can do”, Miguel says. Listen to his call for action here:

Rhea Mazumdar Singhal is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ecoware, India’s largest sustainable packaging company. Ecoware’s product line features more than forty compostable items including tableware, cutlery and takeaway packaging for food services and retail, which are 100% natural, compostable and biodegradable in less than 90 days.

By founding Ecoware, Rhea created a new packaging paradigm in India mainstreaming circular economy principles and building awareness about the harmful effects of plastics on the natural environment and human health. As a mother to two young children, Rhea knows first-hand the harmful impact of pollution on the most vulnerable. This is her constant motivation to do more.

Taha Bawa is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Goodwall, a social enterprise closing the global youth skills gap. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the existing youth skills gap, leaving millions of young people around the world with inadequate access to employment opportunities.

Goodwall’s platform supports more than 2 million youth in more than 150 countries to develop and demonstrate their skills and connects them to learning and earning opportunities. The LinkedIn-like platform helps students connect with their peers, universities and scholarship opportunities globally.

Faraja Nyalandu is improving learning outcomes via accessible technologies in secondary schools across Tanzania. She founded Shule Direct, a social enterprise improving access to locally relevant content and deploying monthly surveys via SMS and a mobile web platform to assess students learning needs, which can be accessed in a cloud-based repository by teachers anywhere.

Her latest tool, MAKINI SMS, includes short lessons and multiple-choice questions for nine secondary school subjects. With this SMS subscription, students can ask questions and get real-time responses from relevant teachers. Faraja is in Davos this week to advocate for equitable access and use of technology to expand digital learning and its potential, especially in areas where it is needed most.

Edmund Kwame Botchway is the Director of Community Impact and Innovation at Cleveland Neighbourhood Progress, an initiative leading urban revitalization efforts by providing financial support, training and capacity building to community development projects.

Edmund supports economic opportunity programmes to ensure city residents can thrive where they live. His work promotes long-term real estate affordability, and racially and economically inclusive home ownership – key drivers for closing generational wealth gaps and achieving social mobility.

These are just some of the stories from the 100 young innovators, activists and other forward-thinkers who are coming to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting taking place in Davos from 22-26 May 2022 – joining 3,000 leaders from all parts of society that can help them scale their impact.

The median age of the world is less than 30 years old, which means that young people are actually the most important—and most affected—stakeholders when talking about our global future. These are also the people who have the most innovative ideas and energy to build a better society for tomorrow. Listen to their insights and ideas through livestreamed sessions all week.

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