Investing in Young People on World Population Day 2014

Screenshot (6)by Lisa Lieberman

Inspired by Five Billion Day back in 1987, around the time world population reached five billion, World Population Day (WPD) has been shedding light on global population trends and issues every July 11th since 1989.

This year’s theme for WPD is right along the lines of one of GOJoven’s values: changing the world by investing in youth.

According to the United Nations, today, there are over 7 billion people in the world and 1.8 billion of them are young people, making up the largest-ever generation of youth. Many of these youth are facing roadblocks such as poverty, inequality, and human rights violations that get in their way when trying to get ahead.

GOJoven trains young leaders to address these roadblocks. Throughout the program, GOJoven Fellows develop skills and knowledge in a wide range of topics including: personal leadership, strategic communications, facilitation and training, financial management and fundraising. Those skills and knowledge empower and support the individual’s vision to create positive change that spreads past their own lives, into their communities and their countries.

Esther Barajas who became a GOJoven fellow in 2006, grew up envisioning herself with a doctorate in public health and overcame many challenges to get it, including her father discontinuing to pay for her education.

Her work going through the  GOJoven Youth Leadership Fellowship was an investment that is paying off because now, Esther is giving back to the community. She works with Tan Ux’il, an organization in Guatemala that focuses on providing youth firendly sexual and reproductive health services and investing in youth so they can live happy healthy lives.

John F. Kennedy said “the youth of today, they shall be the leaders of tomorrow.” An investment in today’s youth in an investment in tomorrow.

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