Youth can be a dynamic and creative source of innovation. Throughout history, youth have contributed to, participated in, and even catalyzed important changes in political systems, economic advancements, and social opportunities.
Youth are a tremendous source of power and inspiration, which is why youth empowerment and inclusion is essential. Plan International USA recognizes this valuable idea, and through its Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) program, the organization has empowered hundreds of young people over the past decade.
YUGA is a nationwide network of ambitious young people who take action on world issues. Through campaigns and awareness-raising activities, YUGA members educate their schools and communities on global challenges and engage them in finding solutions.
Through workshops, campaigns, toolkits, and the annual YUGA Leadership Summit, Plan has educated hundreds of young people on important global issues including water insecurity, girls’ rights, humanitarian law, and climate change. YUGA has fostered global-mindedness and international awareness among its members. Participating in these educational activities has led many YUGA members to become passionate about international development and awareness-raising for important causes.
With the support of Plan, YUGA members have pursued their passions by gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to take action and make a difference in their schools and communities. YUGA members have started chapters throughout the country, held Walk for Wells events, led Because I Am a Girl campaigns, and organized documentary screenings. In this process, members have gained valuable leadership skills such as communication, organization, and determination. They have become a part of a global network of young leaders, and they have had unique opportunities to attend conferences where they have met global leaders.
The result is that dozens of communities and schools have gained a new perspective on the world and have benefited from the actions of YUGA members. These emerging leaders are paying it forward in their communities, while also taking on numerous other leadership positions.
Through YUGA, Plan has sparked a sense of service, passion, leadership, and persistence within youth participants. Over the past 10 years, YUGA has impacted hundreds of young people, empowered them to give back to their communities, and helped train them to become part of the next generation of global leaders.