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Rwandan activist pushes donors to trust girls and youth-led organizations

Investments in youth-led organizations are rare, donors need to trust young people to manage and effectively use resources easily. Joselyne Izere is challenging this status quo and advocating for change.

Joselyne Mucunguzi Izere, a determined advocate and project lead of Impanuro Girls Initiative. It is a young women-led organization, striving to improve women’s and girls’ lives through education, capacity building, counseling, socio-economic empowerment, and advocacy to ensure a healthy and dignified lifestyle.

According to Izere, Impanuro faced a lot of rejections from donors simply because it was youth-led and could not be trusted.

She said, “Some funders do not trust the youth because they don’t think that they can manage money effectively. Ageism is still a problem in the growth and development of youth-led organizations like ours.”

Joselyne Izere believes that with the impact young people are creating it is imperative to help them

According to research, only 5.56% of worldwide Official development assistance was given to youth-led organizations. And the 5% ODA does not match the high adolescent and youth populations.

The majority of ODA goes to UN agencies. ​​There is still a lack of investment into feminist CBOs. The very small community-based programs are still not getting the kind of attention that they could and they are the ones who are probably working closest to communities”

For Izere, unfair perception of young people, and institutional barriers such as the criteria of minimum years of experience can stifle the potential of youth-led organizations, but with flexible donors, the true impact of these organizations can be unlocked.

“Girls and youth-led organizations must be meaningfully and actively engaged.”

She said, “There are criteria like the minimum number of experience which can be a burden for youth organizations but flexible donors can unlock the potential of the youth.”

“They are doing an amazing job, they are creating an impact in their communities. They need to be trusted, they need money to continue to create change,” Izere insists. Her belief in the transformative power of young people is not only inspiring, but it’s also a call to action to those who hold the purse strings.

“Young people are the future, they must start exercising their leadership at an early age in order to build a better common future,” Izere declares, her resolve unwavering. She does not stand alone in her fight but stands as a representative of countless young people committed to making a difference in their communities.

Her message to those leading the charge in youth-led organizations echoes the strength and resilience inherent in her campaign: “They are on the right track, keep moving, and keep being strong. We won’t stop until youth are always on the global agenda, and we will continue to advocate for the growth of youth-led organizations.”

Youth initiatives lead to more effective impact, especially on their own communities.”
“Empowering young people is an investment. They are not the partners of tomorrow, they are partners of today.”

Straight out of Twitter