Redefining (YOU)th: Nurturing Potential to Accelerate Change

“Youth have the potential to bring about incredible change for themselves, their communities, and the world. What young leaders need is more than appreciation and kind words, what they really need is active involvement in decision-making and support in financial, technological, educational, and networking forms.”

Reuben, quoted above, is a young changemaker from Liberia, a country that according to UN estimates has one of the world’s highest levels of out-of-school children, with just over 50% completing primary education. At the age of 16, Reuben decided that he could not solely rely on the elected leaders in his home country to improve education accessibility, soaring poverty rates, and rising mental health concerns among his peers. He is an example of how youth today are capable of being the change the world needs; they are not waiting for tomorrow.

Like most “Possibilists,” Reuben sees education as a major lever for reducing inequalities and creating change. Through founding the not-for-profit organization Rehab Africa, he made his dream of transforming the lives of young people in his country through education a reality. Nearly five years later, Rehab Africa works on advocacy, research, and capacity building for young people to make sure that everyone has equal rights, access to better education, and opportunities to change their lives no matter their color, sexual orientation, who they are, what they can afford, or where they are from.

Studies by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicate that although the youth population will increase to 1.3 billion by 2030, their proportion will come down to 13.5 percent by 2050. Youth are an incredibly powerful demographic of the world’s population and a precious resource. While this tremendous potential is largely untapped — mainly due to lack of equitable access to resources and opportunities to leverage their power — SAP and its partners are committed to making sure that young changemakers know that they are not alone. Through SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (SAP CSR) initiatives, SAP is constantly working toward ensuring that youth have the opportunity and resources to succeed and make lasting change in the world.

The TRANSFORM Support Hub is one such initiative that aims to enable youth with resources to bring about incredible change. A collaboration among SAP, MovingWorlds, Unilever, and TRANSFORM, this virtual pro bono consulting initiative from SAP and powered by MovingWorlds is focused on connecting social entrepreneurs with skilled professionals and other resources to help their businesses scale and succeed.

While the program is beginning to expand and will soon include even more social businesses and corporates, we have already learned so much from the youth that we have met through this partnership, youth that are truly changing the way businesses work and making an impact in their communities and the world.

Tony Joy of Durian has taught us about the importance of circular economy; not only as a sustainability practice, but as a way to support women. Ronald Mugaiga exemplifies creativity and problem-solving through the innovation of transforming plastic waste into building materials with Ecomak Recyclers. From Angela Busheska of EnRoute we have learned about the powerful intersection of technology, education, and environmentalism. These young social entrepreneurs have different ideas and solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, but they share one common goal: to take immediate action to create lasting positive impact.

Angela Busheska’s story exemplifies that the TRANSFORM Support Hub has to offer young social entrepreneurs, as well as this year’s UN theme of intergenerational solidarity. Angela joined the Acceleration Collective with the social enterprise she founded, EnRoute, through the We Are Family Foundation. She has seen many successes during and after her time with the Acceleration Collective, including receiving funding for EnRoute from National Geographic and landing a new role as an expert consultant through the Youth To The Table partnership between SAP and We Are Family Foundation. This partnership gives skilled young leaders and experts like Angela a voice in high-level decision-making at SAP.

It is not hard to find stories of inspiration and hope for our future from among the millions of young people fighting for change across the world. Over the course of the next month — between World Youth Skills Day, today, and International Youth Day on August 12 — we will share more inspirational profiles of tenacity, courage, resilience, and perseverance through our Redefining (YOU)th campaign. These exceptional people from around the world are all driven by a single purpose: to make the world a better place on their own terms.

Follow along with @SAP4Good and @ThePossibilists to discover the amazing work being led by young changemakers and learn more about how you can get involved and support their work in meaningful ways.