Engaging Youth


It is absolutely critical as the world works together to develop solutions to world challenges, that youth who are most affected are involved in the solutions. The youth we serve are resourceful, thoughtful, creative, and ready for the challenge of developing new solutions to make their lives and communities better.

I had the chance to speak with Steve Vosloo while he was in the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford Universty. Now a Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, Steve advocated for youth participation during his presentation, “Enabling Access to Participation” at Web4Dev in New York City on 11 February 2009. I was happy to hear Steve emphasize the importance  of engaging youth in problem definition, solution generation, and action.  Only through engaging youth in decisions can youth receive the most appropriate support, skills, and freedom to create the world that they would like to live in. Check out Steve Vosloo’s blog here on Innovating Education.

YouthAssets is ready to engage groups of five youth on mobile phone teleconferences to give youth the opportunity to define their own strategies for thriving while engaged in a supportive community of peers. Keep in touch as we raise funds for our pilot program.

Listening to Youth in Swaziland

YouthAssets wants to hear what the youth we serve have to say. Facing some of the largest challenges our planet has ever faced (HIV/AIDS epidemic, large inequities between rich and poor, limited economic opportunities), youth in our pilot country of Swaziland are also facing some of their own personal challenges (watching their loved ones dies in their family and communities, becoming a role model and caretaker for younger siblings, and working to love, feed, clothe, and education their family).

In July and August of 2008, I had the priviledge with Gcina, Bongani, and Thembie to talk in person with 54 youth who were living in rural Swaziland and were the primary caretakers and head of household for their family. We asked them about what made them happy, what was most important to them in life, how they were currently being supported, and their access to information and information technologies. These youth, although tasked with some immediate concerns, were long-term strategic thinkers, loving and caring for their siblings, and generous with their abilities and resources for their families and communities.

I can’t wait to share with you what they had to say in our upcoming report.

Welcome to YouthAssets’ New Site

Encouraged by colleagues at our local “social tech for social good” NetSquared Twin Cities meetings, I opened up a Twitter account (@youthassets) and took the plunge into “micro-blogging”. Not thinking I had too much to say, the 140 character limit seemed to be perfect for my foray into writing. I reported in real time our interviews via mobile phone with youth-headed households in rural Swaziland and realized that not only did I not have a lot to say, but these youth had lots to say, too. We look forward to sharing our thoughts in a longer format and hope you will share your thoughts as well. Welcome to our new YouthAssets’ blog and online home.