As Loom looks forward to the new decade ahead, we’ve gathered online with social innovators across Africa to discuss their vision for their communities. While we discussed the immense challenges they face in areas of education, job creation and healthcare, one theme that kept emerging was that of generations.
“This is about the youth, the young people, the next generation of Africa,” one leader shared. “We’ve all been working for years with youth, but this is about not just making them the beneficiaries of our services, but the drivers and carriers of the vision itself.”
This emphasis on youth dates back to the first flagship project of Loom that began in 2009 – the Celebrating Children Workshop first flagship project of Loom that began in 2009 – the Celebrating Children Workshop. In every training since then, we have tried to champion not just the future but the current potential of children and youth. Children are not just the future of communities – they are living and active members, right here and now. They have ideas to contribute, hopes and visions to share.
“It is designing with the end in mind,” said Colleen Milstein, Executive Director for Loom. “In all we’re doing, that we ask: how do we design intentionally to make sure that all generations are represented – not just as beneficiaries but as contributors?”
“As we stand on the brink of an uncertain future, it has never been more important to invest in the entrepreneurial capabilities of Africa’s youth,” says Maryana Iskander, CEO of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. “More must be done to enable young Africans to unleash their potential, for they are the solution that our continent needs.”
In the decade ahead, Loom is renewing our dedication to including youth and young, emerging social innovators in this vision of sustainability. We work to empower students and young entrepreneurs, artists, and leaders to have the same opportunities as anyone else to contribute to the well-being of their communities. Yes, they are the future of Africa – but they are also Africa now.
“Together” means everyone. And together, change is possible.