CONCAUSA: Strengthening Youth Initiatives in the Americas

By: Adam Mohawk-Breen and Rebecca Nelson

31808400214_41bdcfb671_kFor International Youth Day, we celebrate the initiatives of America’s young people to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals!

Today is International Youth Day, which was started by the UN in order to celebrate youth contributions to conflict prevention and the transformation of their communities. This day gives us at América Solidaria a chance to reaffirm our commitment to ensure that every child in the Americas has access to the basic resources they need to live, learn, and grow. One of the most important ways that América Solidaria works to realize this vision is through our CONCAUSA initiative, which supports youth leaders who pursue sustainable development projects in their communities, in conjunction with UNICEF and CEPAL. These youth-led community development projects creatively address one or more of the Millennium Development Goals developed by the UN, which outline ambitious sustainable development goals to be achieved by the year 2030. Through CONCAUSA, América Solidaria selects three of these projects to sponsor with seed capital and mentoring, and invites the youth leaders of these projects to an international conference in Santiago, Chile, where the youth present their projects to their peers and an audience of UN representatives. Youth at the CONCAUSA conference also participate in group workshops and lectures, which are intended to improve the capacity of youth leaders to effect meaningful change in their communities.

On Thursday July, 20th, we closed this year’s CONCAUSA application period with 341 proposals, up from 244 in our pilot year in 2016. The proposals are currently being evaluated by a jury of youth peers and development experts, and the top groups will travel to Santiago de Chile in November of this year to participate in a series of training activities, which will culminate with a seminar at the headquarters of ECLAC. The results will be announced on 30 August through social networks and CONCAUSA web site.

In its first year, 60 young people from 11 countries met in the Chilean capital, sharing their experiences and thereby enriching their own projects, which have continued running during the following months. América Solidaria is looking forward to holding our second conference this November for a new class of youth leaders. As we hope to provide this opportunity to more youth in the future, contributions to our cause will have a great impact on the number of youth we are able to serve, and the communities we are able to impact. We hope that, on International Youth Day, you consider supporting our commitment to improving the lives of youth throughout the Americas!