Investing in and Involving Youth
This month, youth advocates around the globe celebrated the 23rd UN-designated International Youth Day on August 12. This year’s International Youth Day was dedicated to the concept of intergenerational solidarity, reinforcing the idea that youth play an indispensable part in tackling global issues. Youth engagement has the potential to generate positive development outcomes for the most pressing economic, social, and political issues around the globe.
In a rapidly evolving world, emerging challenges must be tackled with the fortitude, resilience, and creativity of our youngest and brightest minds. However, CIPE acknowledges that the full potential of youth can only be unlocked by allowing them access to meaningful services and economic opportunities, as well as through encouraging civic and political participation in their communities.
Investing in and involving youth in the decisions that impact their own lives, as well as the lives of those in their households, communities, and nations, ultimately translates to building a more equitable and prosperous society for future generations. CIPE is dedicated to empowering youth to reaching their full potential as change agents and leaders in their communities. Over the past fifteen years, CIPE has led successful Youth Programming and been involved in youth issues. CIPE’s youth-focused work can be divided into four main categories: creating and maintaining entrepreneurship training and certification programs, nurturing policy leaders, building capacity, and developing resources and guides.
Last year, CIPE launched its first ever Youth Leadership Program in April 2021. The Youth Leadership Program is a non-residential program that grants five emerging leaders from around the world the opportunity to conduct a research or advocacy project in their home country or region. Projects covered in 2021 included poetry activism to encourage youth participation in Zambia’s election, an advocacy campaign to foster the financial inclusion of refugees in the host community of Turkana-West, a policy paper with recommendations on improving the Philippines’ approach to upskilling Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students in the country, research on resilient youth-led SMEs and the influence of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) on youth-led businesses in East Africa, and advocacy workshops focused on youth activists operating in shrinking civic spaces in West and Southern Africa.
CIPE also hosted the first annual Youth Leadership Conference in September 2021, which provided the Leaders with a platform to showcase their research and advocacy projects. The conference brought together CIPE staff, local partners, and relevant organizations to raise awareness around the economic and political challenges facing youth. The keynote speaker of the event was Hanni Rosenbaum, the Executive Director of Business at OECD. Following her remarks, CIPE partners participated in a panel discussion on youth-focused initiatives, featuring Nadia Fairuza Azzahra, a Researcher at the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS), Samiya Abdulkader Godu, President of the Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneurs Association (EYEA), and Miloš Nikolić, President of Libek (Serbia).
CIPE recently selected this year’s cohort of Youth Leaders who will present their projects and key findings at the second Youth Leadership Conference later this year.
Meet the 2022 Youth Leaders:
Valeria Ciolac (Moldova)
Valeria is a young professional in the Moldovan non-governmental sector. Her main field of expertise is corruption and anticorruption in healthcare, the justice system, and public procurement practices. She has implemented numerous anticorruption projects in partnership with USAID, the U.S. Embassy in Moldova, TI Moldova, UN Women, NED, EED, among others. Valeria has also served as Moldova’s Youth Delegate to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, a position where she exemplified her continuous passion for improving the safety, welfare, and well-being of Moldovan children and young people. Valeria’s research project during CIPE’s Youth Leadership Program will raise awareness and equip community stakeholders and policymakers with information about the implications of corruption on the lives of Moldovan youth, specifically from a socio-emotional and economical perspective.
Aurelio Mofuga (Tanzania)
Aurelio is a seasoned Tanzanian entrepreneur, business consultant, and technology enthusiast with extensive experience in management consulting, technology, and innovation. He is the founder of Kipepeo Edutainment and AfyaChats, startups that are transforming access to early childhood education and health information in Tanzania. Aurelio has amassed expertise in advising organizations, corporations, and governments on integrating technology, data, and design thinking to address humanity’s challenges. His advisory experience spans the Internet of Things (IoT), space and satellite, Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and Fintech. He hopes to facilitate the adoption of emerging technologies in Africa in order to ensure effective utilization of resources and to create long-term impact, particularly for the vulnerable living in low-income households. As a CIPE Youth Leader, Aurelio’s project will investigate how the increase in remote work and entrepreneurship opportunities in Rwanda can serve as an enabler for economic inclusion of Rwandan youth.
Blossom Egbude (Nigeria)
Blossom is a qualified lawyer working at the intersection of law, public policy, and international development. She works as a Policy and Partnerships Fellow at Global Citizen, an international advocacy organization with a vision to end extreme poverty. She was also chosen as 1 of 20 fellows for the Carrington Fellowship of the United States Consulate in Nigeria, where she worked as part of a team that conducted a training project for 300 teachers across 15 secondary schools in Lagos Education District IV on digital skills and modern teaching methods. In recognition of her contributions to creating tangible impact in the private sector through innovation and collaboration, Blossom joined a coveted class of 112 young Africans recognized by The Future Awards Africa in 2022, where she was nominated for The Prize for Professional Service. During the CIPE Youth Leadership Program, Blossom will conduct an advocacy project on voter education and empowerment in the upcoming Nigerian election. She will host a series of radio shows to enlighten Nigerian citizens on their civic responsibilities and the importance of voting.
Yussef Núñez (Mexico)
Yussef is a Mexican youth advocate with a BA in International Relations and a minor in International Economics. His projects involve strengthening youth civic engagement in democratic processes and incorporating the youth perspective in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He was selected as a member of the Ibero-American Center for International Studies’ (CIBEI) Youth Leadership 2030 Program in 2021 and represented Universidad Anáhuac Mexico’s School of Global Affairs as student-body president in 2019, during which he earned his diploma in Youth Leadership and Team Management. Yussef is an incoming student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he will earn his Master’s of Science in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. Yussef’s project as a CIPE Youth Leader focuses on youth and digital participation and will explore how the digital gap is a limitation for e-participation in Mexican democracy.
Maftuna Mavlonova (Uzbekistan)
Maftuna is an emerging expert in research, social impact, and communication. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in International Public Policy at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. Maftuna has worked with several European startups such as Lifebonder and FreeW, where she created the content strategy and managed outreach. She is also a member of the Switzerland-based think tank ACIT Global. Maftuna also works with the Fujitsu Research and Development Team where she monitors and gathers intelligence on EU-funded programs. As a CIPE Youth Leader, Maftuna will conduct research on the issues hindering women from entering STEM in Uzbekistan. She will create a framework through literature reviews and in-depth interviews.