Washington DC, November 11, 2014 — On Thursday, November 6, 2014, the Young Americas Business Trust alongside the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) of the Organization of American States (OAS) led a presentation where more than 30 young rural leaders and entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 years old from various regions of Colombia of the YouthLead 2014 Program.
Chief Executive Officer of YABT Luis Viguria led the opening the first encounter of the YouthLead 2014 program – an event sponsored by the State Department of the United States, implemented by Partners of the Americas in coordination with SENA from Colombia.
Mr. Viguria welcomed them and gave a brief introduction of the OAS and YABT programs in youth leadership and entrepreneurship in the Americas. Furthermore, Economist Andrés Felipe Sánchez of SEDI carried on and explained in more existing operations in the OAS and projects implemented by SEDI.
After the presentation concluded, young participants presented their projects aimed at solving both environmental and social issues in their communities across the Colombian territory.
“Strengthening knowledge and skills in the process of the transformation of raw materials provided by the corn crop with the aim of reducing inflation, strengthening consumption and reducing the problem of hunger in Colombia and the world”, this is the project an 18-year-old young entrepreneur, Diego Alejandro Escarpeta Barreto.
Another example is the project of Ricardo Jaime Sabogal Soda, also in his eighteens. His project is based on the “implementation and management of irrigation and drainage systems for agricultural production”.
Young entrepreneur Laura Marcela Gallo Rave, 22, is working on her project titled “Animal welfare and best farming practices”. Leidys Esther Bravo Morelo from Cartagena-Bolívar focuses her project on the evaluation of the endemic micro-fauna found in the soil where cassava is cultivated; also on implementing a system of biotechnical production of vegetable and agro-biological material in order to meet the needs of the department of Bolívar.
Given the innovative projects presented by these young Colombians during the YouthLead 2014 encounter, YABT invited them to participate in the TIC Americas competition and get involved in the IV Young Americas Forum. YABT also invited them to take part in the national dialogues that will take place next week in Colombia. These activities will be held in Bogota and Cucuta on November 12 and 13, respectively.
Finally, these young entrepreneurs and leaders actively contributed to the consultation as a part of the process towards the Summit of the Americas. During this event, these young entrepreneurs expressed the need for decent first employment opportunities to those that haven’t had a previous work experience as a priority. They linked this priority directly to the problem migration and highlighted that this issue were to be solved, the youth wouldn’t migrate to cities or other countries with the purpose of finding better opportunities.
“The youth in my country migrate from the countryside to the city looking for work or better opportunities but end up in unproductive situations or enlist in violent armed groups. We need more training and resources”, said Lina Vanessa Tofino Moncada, 23.
Regarding the participation of youth in decision-making processes and other priorities, Dennis Luz Vergara confessed, "we want to be heard and participate in the policy-making in our country. Youth Councils are required to address issues of substance abuse, employment, education, environmental impact, etc (…) to have real and lasting solutions for these young people involved in complicated situations".
The aim of YABT is to promote social and economic development between young people across the world while accompanying processes to empower youth and build channels to develop their projects. For this reason, welcoming the Colombian Youth becomes an opportunity to take action in a Member State, Colombia, in a reality that requires such action like the rural communities of this region.