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Live from Skoll World Forum 2015

With so much going on at the 2015 Skoll World Forum, it's impossible to participate in everything. Our bloggers are sitting in on many of the exciting sessions at this year's event. Read their concise notes and observations to catch up on important discussions you may have missed.


FORUM2015: Young Voices

FORUM2015: Young Voices

April 28, 2015 | 3458 views

FRI, APRIL 17, 2015; 13:15 – 14:30

“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years” –Noam Angrist, age 23

At this session, inspirational young leaders shared their personal stories. We met Misan Rewane, CEO of West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE) in Nigeria. At a young age she realized that while millions of people dream of a positive future, not all can achieve those dreams.

“My hope for a better world is one in which young people are equipped with the skills, opportunity, and mindset to shape their own destinies.” Misan founded WAVE to train self-motivated youth, then place them in entry-level jobs in high-growth industries.

She seeks to teach youth how to think, not simply regurgitate. “If you cannot think, you cannot solve problems for your employer; you cannot solve problems for your nation.”

We met Jimena Vallejos, Poverty Stoplight Coordinator at Fundación Paraguaya. Faced with the extreme poverty in her country, Jimena dreamed of making Paraguay an example for the world.

“I learned that it is possible to create a change, to inspire families to redefine their condition…We make them the main protagonist in their action plans.” Jimena realized that perhaps it’s not just a question of money, but of how to “unleash the potential trapped within the families, so they can come out and accomplish for themselves.”

Recommended: The Age Before Impossible: Young Voices, Big Dreams

We met Joseph Opoku, who at age 22 has founded the Youth Impact Workshop to fund and build capacity for young people as social entrepreneurs in rural Ghana. As a boy, Joseph was fortunate to move to the city and see a classroom for the first time. He saw the poverty, youth unemployment, and hunger that persist today – challenges he believes must be faced head-on through entrepreneurial approaches.

“When I look at the various powerful stories of my colleagues and what they are doing across the continent, I believe the future of the continent is bright…I believe young people will be at the heart of driving change in Africa.”

We met Noam Angrist, 23-year-old co-founder of Young 1ove. “I think I found a way to save a million girls’ lives. The answer is simple. Tell girls that older men are nine times more likely to pass on HIV. They think it’s the opposite.”

Noam learned that if you dispel this myth, you can reduce pregnancy – a proxy for unprotected sex and HIV transmission – by almost a third. To expose the myth, Young 1ove harnesses the pizazz of youth to connect with and educate young people in Botswana.

We also met slightly less youthful experts who support young leaders: Fred Swaniker of the African Leadership Academy, Pamela Hartigan of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, and Ahsan Jamil of the Aman Foundation.

They spoke of building business leaders who bring together “making money” and “doing good,” the importance of soft skills alongside vocational training, and the three ingredients for creating good leaders: potential, practice, and opportunity. “Put all three ingredients in and let the magic happen.”


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