Youth Leadership Conferences
We nurture future changemakers with entrepreneurship training, mentorship and financial support, framed in local context with global vision.
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
We co-organize youth leadership conferences with local NGOs to connect aspiring underprivileged youths with the necessary skills and resources to design and implement impact projects in their communities. The conferences combine rights-based approach, open-space technology and design thinking to create an infrastructure that fuels innovation, and the impact projects are seed-funded, matched with experienced mentors, and a network of conference alumni to support with implementation.
The beneficiaries for our Youth Leadership Conferences are marginalized youths in underserved countries and communities where our partner schools or organizations have expertise, knowledge, and interest. We define "marginalized youths" as those between 12 to 25 years of age (flexible range) who live in under-resourced communities that are struggling with economic, environmental or social issues.
Youths participants from six urban slums in Nairobi at RUKA!("Jump" in Kiswahili) Leadership Conference in June, 2016.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU
JUMP! Foundation is a non-profit social enterprise based in Asia, and soon in Australia. Our development branch supports young changemakers from underserved areas in their journey to tackle the toughest challenges in their personal lives and communities in collaboration with capable local NGOs.
WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?
EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)
Yes, for more than one year.
EXPERTISE IN SECTOR
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year
HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?
Our beneficiaries viewed empathy and trust-building activities at the beginning of conference to be critical in enabling open-space technology and design thinking. This was encouraging since our organization’s experiential learning branch can train local facilitators.
Our local partners also felt empowered by their autonomy to tailor the conference to fit local needs, hence the need for us to balance flexibility and program fidelity. Our partners who did not do extensive pre-conference workshops felt that the conferences were not as impactful as the ones that did. It highlighted the importance of building some level of skills and knowledge prior to the conference. Partners also felt that the winning community project teams should continue to be trained entrepreneurship skills but the mentors may not have the time and the capacity to do so.
Therefore, to develop the capacity of our local partner organizations and empower the youths, the model requires a few weeks of pre-conference workshops and post-conference engagement, which demands that we find strategic partners and diverse funding source, and to develop robust criteria to evaluate potential local partners.
HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?
Many existing youth leadership conferences require application fees and participants to have a certain level of knowledge and skills, are highly selective, and are conducted in English. They are often in the format of sessions with professional networking opportunities. The target population is well-educated and typically privileged. This effectively leaves out a large youth population in East Africa who lack the opportunities and the resources to attend these conferences.
Our model serves underprivileged youths from marginalized communities, filling a desperate need that has been missed by other conferences. We work with partners who will be implementing our model according to local needs in their preferred language so the impact will be maximized contextually and linguistically. In doing so, we develop the capacity of our local partners to implement the youth conference year after year. Our model also focuses on skill and knowledge building, idea exploration, and project creation. We believe our idea serves a population that has tremendous potential for grass-root efforts in their communities while empowers and enables capacity building for our local partner organizations.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?
Many NGOs dedicated to youth development in East Africa have deep connection with the community as well as local knowledge. But their impact can be limited due to lack of resources and overall capacity. Also, many youth conferences lack hands-on, participant-focused activities. Without a proper framework (i.e. rights-based approach) and experienced facilitators to build a sense of trust and community during the conference, it is difficult to create a safe space in which youths—many of whom have just met each other—are free to express their thoughts and brainstorm ideas. And, without adequate front-loading of knowledge and skills, it is hard to create innovative projects that are feasible.
This team of youths won the Community Impact Challenge at the Kenya JUMP! Youth Leadership Conference! Their project will be seed-funded and the team paired with mentors as they implement the project in their community!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?
Much of the unanswered questions revolve around the feasibility of our model in terms of implementation fidelity, and the ability of our local partners to consistently mentor the winning project teams post-conference.
We know that our model, when implemented according to fidelity (as was done in Kenya), was able to create a large impact on our youth participants. However, this was not always possible depending on our local partners’ ability to organize the conferences and the available resources that we were able to provide our partners.
Lastly, we are still trying to figure out how to balance between allowing for flexibility in implementation and maintaining fidelity to the model.
IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?
This idea has been operationalized in various countries for several years, including Latin America since 2009, and Kenya, Thailand, China, and Cambodia in 2016.
In other words, we have had one year of experience implementing this idea in Kenya and that conference has actually been the most successful by far, mostly because it was implemented very closely to the intended program model. We have served over a thousand youths as well as developed the capacity of our local partners by providing funding and human resources, and collaborating with them on facilitator training and the organization of these conferences.
Although the idea has been in existence for a while, the model remains quite flexible depending on the local context and the needs and our local partner’s resources and capacity. Because of this, some conferences have been more successful than the others. As we continue to improve our model, we strive for a better balance between giving our partners the autonomy to plan the conferences and adhering to program fidelity.
WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?
Our local partners in the countries where we co-organize these conferences will implement the idea and our role is to facilitate and provide oversight. Our program model complements our partners’ strengths (i.e. local network and expertise) and limitations (i.e. resources and capacity). We give them the autonomy to tailor the youth conferences to their unique context, and address their limitations by providing financial support, facilitator training, and curriculum and operational support.
SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.
We hope that this project will produce a regional/global network of entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to creatively solve social challenges, in addition to a community of local NGOs with increased capacity to carry out youth development projects. To get there, we need to answer the question: how do we sustainably scale-up our conference model in various geographical locations and contexts while maintaining quality?
MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:
Between $100,000 and $500,000
MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:
Within 500 km of where our team does most of its work
HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?
WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?
We know from experience that our idea, when implemented to fidelity, has a ripple effect in and beyond the communities that we serve. But we are limited in our knowledge and funding to solve our biggest road blocks as we scale up—implementation fidelity, quality assurance and funding. We hope to join a network of Amplify innovators for idea-exchange, to benefit from the knowledge and funding of IDEO, and to find solutions to our biggest challenges as we scale our impact in East Africa.