The Resolution Project believes deeply that young leaders, prepared and supported, can deliver path-breaking ideas, new ways of thinking, and an energetic approach to problem-solving – whatever the problem. Thus far, we have helped over 450 young leaders on every inhabited continent launch their own social ventures – and our faith in these emerging social entrepreneurs has been rewarded over and over again. In fields as diverse as health, humanitarian aid, education, development, and sustainability, the youth we have supported have delivered on their potential and have already produced incredible results; and it’s still early!
Here are five reasons we believe in young people’s power to transform our world, and why you should too.
Young people are good at exploring things – they have a natural permission to press up against the walls and see what lies beyond. That makes them good at seeing solutions that might be lying in plain sight.
For example, after nearly 20 years of instability and conflict in Uganda, undergraduate students Kayiza Isma and Nsubuga Thomas noticed that farmers faced significant harvest losses, leading to food insecurity. Along with co-founder Okettayot Lawrence, they responded by creating a low-cost machine that can dry produce ten times faster than the conventional sun drying method. In the U.S., Hannah Dehradunwala built a food redistribution app to rescue leftover food on-demand, while Edwin de Win and Jamie Boon tackled the lack of emergency care in disaster and refugee camps by designing a conversion kit that can transform an average TukTuk into an emergency medical care vehicle. These were all social ventures founded by Resolution Fellows, with first funding and support from Resolution, with that curiosity paying dividends every day in their home communities.
They bounce back
It’s often said that young people are resilient – they can recover from disappointment quickly, perhaps because they don’t know any other way. It’s a great trait, and it means they respond well to difficult challenges.
Consider 25-year-old Carlos Vargas, who faced harassment while leading peaceful protests demanding free and fair elections in his country of Venezuela. Fighting for democracy inspired Carlos to empower young women through his first venture as a Resolution Fellow, Fempoder. Another is 23-year-old Abd al-Rahman, who worked long hours in Syrian hospitals and refugee camps caring for the sick and wounded during the ongoing conflict in the region. This experience ultimately led him to develop Refuge, an organization that empowers refugee populations through intercultural dialogue and higher education, alongside co-founders Jackson Frazier and Nima Dahir.
They work well together
Maybe it’s the nature of social media, maybe it’s the way classrooms are organized, or maybe it’s something else. No matter the reason, we’ve found that young adults are good at cooperating and collaboration. We see this all the time at youth conferences like WorldMUN (World Model United Nations) and CGI U (Clinton Global Initiative University), where we host Resolution Social Ventures Challenges. These events bring together thousands of college students who partner with each other in order to find solutions to some of the world’s most urgent issues. They also inspire further collaboration, as seen in social ventures like MUN for Everyone, which invites low-income communities in San Salvador to take part in future conferences.
They network like crazy
Despite what we hear about technology isolating today’s youth, young people understand the value of having strong social networks. They also know how social media platforms can bring people together. Michelle Mboya started SiChana to connect girls aged 9-18 in Kenya so that they can share their stories and skills – and 500 girls signed up to beta test the SiChana app.
Marvin Ambutu, Asterix Hassan, and Brian Kirotich, undergraduates at McGill University, are leveraging the power of the digital age in their venture HappyDel, which utilizes social media and Internet penetration in Kenya to offer peer-to-peer counseling services to give students someone to turn to when they are mentally, emotionally, or physically struggling.
They don’t rest until they get an impact
Young people sometimes seem impatient – that’s because some of the issues they work on are urgent. We’re really proud that Resolution Fellows set their eyes on big problems; their projects have directly and indirectly influenced the lives of more than 2.5 million people globally. Young leaders don’t need to wait until tomorrow; they can lead today.
Each year, our Geraldine Acuña-Sunshine Young Leaders Now Award Dinner celebrates youth leadership and honors community and business leaders who exemplify these qualities. On June 25th, we will be honoring Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, and Ronan Dunne, President of Verizon Consumer Group. You can find more information here.