International Youth Foundation

by International Youth Foundation

When she was a young girl, Pratibha and her family moved to Delhi from their home in rural India. Living in the city gave her the opportunity to become the first member of her family to graduate from secondary school, but it took a toll on the family’s source of income, her father’s leather crafting business.

“I used to tutor other students and run errands for neighbors,” says Pratibha, 23, of her efforts to contribute to her family’s livelihood. While training to become a clothing designer, she realized her talents would be best spent reviving her father’s struggling business.

With support from Young Entrepreneurs (YE)—an initiative of IYF and The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth—Pratibha did just that. In addition to receiving one of the over 500 loans disbursed through YE, Pratibha worked closely with a mentor to rebuild, rebrand, and redesign her family’s business.

Over the last three years, YE has provided 1,100 youth, ages 15 to 29, in Delhi and Mumbai with life skills, business, and financial training, along with mentoring and access to finance to launch or expand small businesses.

“Young Entrepreneurs honed my potential and taught me to encourage potential in others,” she says. “I no longer dream, but can see our business doing well.”

Hear more of her story in the new video Young Entrepreneurs: They Call Me Pratibha.

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20 Young Innovators, 20 Bold Solutions

They’re smart, driven, idealistic, and pragmatic. Keenly aware of the problems facing our planet, they’re equally passionate about solutions. They are the 2015 Laureate Global Fellows. Among their social innovations, Fellows are equipping university students in the United States with cloud-based tools to help small businesses curb their carbon emissions, empowering school communities in Peru to build libraries out of recycled materials, and creating safe spaces for Syrian refugee women to learn about their rights.

The Laureate Global Fellowship is the result of a partnership between Laureate International Universities and the International Youth Foundation through its YouthActionNet® program. Each year, 20 accomplished young social entrepreneurs, ages 18 to 29, are selected to take part in the program, which offers advanced leadership training, advocacy, and networking opportunities.

The 2015 Laureate Global Fellows are the newest members of the YouthActionNet global network, which over 15 years has expanded to include more than 1,200 young change-makers in 90 countries. Fellows receive support through 21 youth leadership institutes around the world, including 12 established at Laureate International Universities.

“As YouthActionNet celebrates its 15th anniversary, we are especially proud to welcome these young founders and CEOs to be a part of a unique network that offers a lifetime of relationships and learning opportunities,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “Our close working partnership with Laureate over ten years speaks volumes about its commitment to supporting—and connecting—an emerging generation of leaders as they tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges.”

“Congratulations to each of the 2015 Laureate Global Fellows, whose entrepreneurial approaches reflect our belief in the power of today’s young leaders to innovate solutions and inspire their peers,” said Douglas L. Becker, Chairman and CEO of Laureate Education, Inc. “We are proud to work in partnership with IYF to support these proven leaders—and others like them around the globe—as part of our enduring commitment to creating positive and lasting change."

Among the 2015 Laureate Global Fellows are:

  • Blessing Mene Oritseweyinmi, 27, who founded UNFIRE in Nigeria, which produces a sustainable, low-cost animal feed that results in higher profits for small farmers and enhanced nutrition for community members.
  • Deepa Gupta, 27, who created, which has mobilized more than 100,000 citizens in India to take action to combat racism, prevent gender-based violence, and address other critical social issues.
  • Carolina Candelario, MD, 29, who launched GUIMEDIC to deliver health care in remote regions of Mexico through mobile medical clinics.

From October 2 to 9, the 2015 Fellows will participate in an in-depth training workshop held in Washington, DC and will share their innovative approaches with corporate, civic, and public sector leaders at a special event held in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

For more information, please visit the YouthActionNet website.

Manal graduated from the Arab American University of Jenin with a major in Management Information Systems; yet, like thousands of her peers, she realized that her years of study offered no guarantee of a job.

Her determination led the 22-year-old to enroll in the Youth Earn project offered through Partners for Sustainable Development with support from the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Through the program, she benefited from life skills instruction based on IYF’s Passport to Success® curriculum, along with training in entrepreneurship and how to develop a community service project. The experience equipped Manal with the knowledge and skills she needed to pursue her passion.

“On a personal level, it [the training] gave me the confidence I needed to be more social and outspoken,” she says. “Professionally, the training challenged my thoughts, and allowed me to tap into my creativity.” Currently employed part-time at an electronics store, Manal is driven to provide other youth in her community with opportunities to gain the skills she learned.

To reach her goal, in late 2014, Manal, along with 20 other youth, launched a new social enterprise to train women with the skills needed to enter the labor market and channel their abilities and entrepreneurial spirit into money-making ideas for a better livelihood. The organization currently engages 100 volunteers and conducts roughly 10 activities per month in Jenin and surrounding communities through partnerships with local businesses and NGOs.

Manal and her team seek to address the high rate of unemployment among Palestinian youth through strengthening their skills and connecting them to opportunities. So far, 50 youth have benefited, with an additional 35 young people being trained currently.

Roughly 44 percent of young Palestinians are unemployed, half of whom hold university degrees. “I know how hard it is to find a job and I know what the labor market requires,” says Manal. Manal is one of 839 youth to benefit from entrepreneurship training through IYF’s Youth Entrepreneurship Development initiative, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to the West Bank and Gaza.

Fortune Photo
Fortune Photo

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people. Founded in 1990, IYF builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments, and civil-society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. IYF programs are catalysts of change that help young people obtain a quality education, gain employability skills, make healthy choices, and improve their communities. IYF currently works in over 70 countries and the following story includes highlights from one of our programs. 

Zimbabwe:Works (Z:W)

Growing up as a young girl in Zimbabwe, Fortune got the impression women weren’t meant to be entrepreneurs. Now a successful poultry farmer, Fortune and the Zimbabwe:Works (Z:W) program that helped her identify and reach her goals, are dispelling popular stereotypes of what the nation’s youth can achieve. Fortune received life skills and entrepreneurship training, along with access to financing, to start her business.

Initially funded through its first phase by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Zimbabwe:Works (Z:W) offers unemployed youth, ages 16 to 35, a menu of options, including life skills training, entrepreneurship development, access to finance, and civic leadership opportunities. Recognizing that there is no magic bullet in solving the nation’s youth livelihood needs, the program pursues an integrated, holistic approach firmly rooted in developing the capacity of local partners to deliver services.

Now entering a second phase, the program has brought together USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the U.K. in a dynamic partnership to expand these services to thousands more young Zimbabweans. Over the next three years, IYF and its partners will provide increased economic opportunities for youth—with a particular focus on young Zimbabwean women—by creating improved pathways for young people to get jobs, access financial services, and start their own enterprises.

In this video watch as Fortune and Talent share what they have achieved through the program. They are two of the 8,500 youth reached through the IYF program—so far.

EquipYouth Picture
EquipYouth Picture

“I believe I can overcome any limitation,” says Titik, a young woman from Jakarta, Indonesia who is the first member of her family to get a professional job. Her journey to full-time employment and economic independence is the subject of a new video highlighting the impact of EquipYouth, a global job training and workforce development program being implemented by IYF with support from the Caterpillar Foundation. The video also introduces Mithun, a young man from India who credits the skills he learned through the program—including how to interview for a job, build a team, and manage time effectively—for getting him his current position with a local technology company.

Launched in 2012, EquipYouth has replicated Titik’s and Mithun’s stories of personal achievement and employment success thousands of times around the world, equipping young people with market-relevant life, technical, and entrepreneurship skills; internship opportunities; on-the-job training; and job placement support. To date, the program has positively impacted the lives of nearly 8,000 young women and men in 12 countries, with 67 percent securing jobs.


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Organization Information

International Youth Foundation

Location: Baltimore, Maryland - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Lindsay Vignoles
Director, Corporate Programs
Baltimore, MD United States