3 ways to strengthen your journey as a young changemaker
Knowing the right steps to take and the best decisions to make as a young changemaker can be difficult. But first, who is a changemaker? A changemaker is a person who sees a problem around them and does their best to find solutions to that problem, either by using resources they already have or by collaborating with others to take positive actions that change a situation for the best.
Oftentimes, young people do not get the right support they need whether in terms of mentorship, financial assistance, onboarding passionate team members or getting their communities to believe and support their ideas. This can be difficult and stressful. Below are 3 suggestions to help you as a young changemaker or social entrepreneur to move forward in your journey.
3 suggestions to strengthen your change making journey as a young person
1. Understand that there are no one-size-fits-all guides or instructions on how to discover your path and build a successful project/social enterprise
While there are many well written guides and several schools of thoughts on how to build a successful project and social enterprise, it is important to understand that not everyone faces the same challenges and not everyone has the same opportunities. Circumstances are different and what worked for person A may not work for you as your environment, access to support and environmental resources may differ. And the outcomes from implementing a strategy in community A can also differ from the results gotten from the exact strategy in community B. When working on new projects or expanding an already existing one, it’s advised to embark on community consultation trips or take a survey of the audience or market you are looking to work with. This will help you understand the gaps that need to be addressed, the actions that need to be taken and understand what the people want. With proper research, strategies can be adapted to local context for better impact and results.
The power and impact of volunteering cannot be overemphasised. The more you volunteer and give your time to helping others, the more you learn about your interests and your passions while changing the lives of people around you or making a place better. As a young changemaker, volunteering also opens you up to meeting new people you never may have expected to meet. According to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report, some of the top 10 “causes supported by donors worldwide include hunger and homelessness (13%), children and youth (12%), health and wellness (12%)”and much more. What are some of the issues that you care about the most? Take some time to think about them and once you have identified this, research organisations that are working in that area and see how you can get involved. You can also start your own initiative or project that addresses the issue you are passionate about. Volunteering further opens you up to new opportunities while you learn on the job and increase your experience.
3. Network with other changemakers
Networking is an important part of growing as a young changemaker. By connecting with experts and peers, you can learn from their experiences, gain new insights, find new opportunities and collaborate with them for better reach and impact. Attend conferences, workshops and events. An example is the upcoming SEWF Youth Forum (March 28) which includes enlightening sessions on well-being for young changemakers, how to pitch to get funding, tackling marginalisation and also has opportunities for participants to network with their peers from all over the world. You can also join online communities and social media groups that are dedicated to social change.
Taking action is the most crucial step to growing as a young changemaker. Once you’ve found a cause you’re passionate about and have connected with other changemakers, it’s time to take action. Start by setting achievable goals and creating a plan of action. Use your skills, talents and resources to make a positive impact in your community. Remember that even small actions can make a big difference so celebrate your small wins, learn from your failures and keep pushing forward. Growing as a young changemaker takes time, effort and dedication. Remember that you are not alone on this journey and there are many other young people who share your passion for creating change and several organisations willing to support you. The SEWF Youth Forum (28 March) is truly an opportunity to connect young changemakers all over the world with the ideas, resources, knowledge and networks they need to grow. It’s designed by and for young changemakers (aged 16-30) and free tickets are available here.
Also read about what it feels like to be a young social entrepreneur in the Netherlands and get to know SEWF Youth Forum speaker, Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne.