Rebuilding a Post-Pandemic World Means Investing in Young People to Lead the Charge

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This week, IYF President & CEO Susan Reichle shared IYF's perspective, priorities, and plan for investing in and working with young leaders and communities.

Yesterday, Reichle spoke as part of Making Cents International's virtual town hall "Re-Imagining Youth Economic Opportunity in a Post COVID-19 World." Her remarks emphasized the way COVID-19 has harmed young people and vulnerable communities. Even before the current crisis, Reichle reminded us that historically youth unemployment has been three times greater than the rate for adults. With so many young people previously engaged in the gig economy and hard-hit industries such as the hospitality and service sectors, youth economic opportunity must be a global priority.

Reichle underscored this point in a new article, Investing in the Front Line of the COVID-19 Crisis: Young People as Partners and Leaders, published this week in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. The need to invest in youth economic opportunity topped her recommendations to decision-makers. “As we gear up for the heavy lifting to come,” she wrote, “we must engage young people. Not just as beneficiaries, but as partners—and leaders—in finding solutions to problems that affect us all.”

At the town hall and in the article, Reichle cited various young leaders who are already demonstrating how valuable they are as passionate, visionary partners for progress. For instance, young social change business owners have pivoted to producing personal protective equipment, and they're disseminating reliable information to rural communities and supporting food security.

In the Georgetown article, Reichle recounts a conversation with Mariana Pacheco, a young social change leader from Mexico: “Solidarity and action are what will help us overcome this crisis. We aren’t just waiting for the authorities to tell us what to do—we’re organizing and doing it ourselves.” Reichle also notes that many youth-led organizations around the world are “fighting hard even as their funding sources disappear.”

It is with these young leaders and frontline heroes in mind that IYF is announcing the Global Youth Resiliency Fund to partner with trusted youth-led organizations who can quickly and effectively address their community needs.

Doing so, Reichle explained, “is not only the right thing to do, it’s critical to our long-term recovery.”

covid-19 Recovery Response youth leadership