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Nurturing Youth-Led Innovation: The Wologizi Fund

This new participatory grantmaking initiative is designed to uplift young people and their communities in Liberia through economic empowerment and education. Dorah Muhanuuzi, a consultant with the Fund’s Children and Youth Rights Program, shares more.

Group of grassroots activists holding pieces of paper
The advisory youth panel of the Wologizi Fund.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Fund for Global Human Rights is pleased to announce the Wologizi Fund—a participatory grantmaking initiative designed to promote the livelihoods of young people in Liberia.

Through this initiative, 10 youth-led social enterprises, spanning various industries, have been selected by their peers to receive crucial funding to advance their initiatives. Composed of individuals aged 18 to 30, these dynamic groups share a collective ambition: to uplift themselves and their communities from the grip of poverty and advance positive social change.

The Wologizi Fund is hosted by the Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL), a Fund grantee with an exciting approach to youth economic empowerment and education. Beyan Flomo Pewee, CEO of YOCEL, emphasized their commitment to nurturing young talent, saying:

As a social enterprise accelerator, we have mentored hundreds of young entrepreneurs in Liberia, providing them not just with financial support but also invaluable guidance. Through YOCEL’s initiatives, ambitious young people gain access to small seed grants, networking opportunities, and insights into government support for small and medium sized enterprises.

This initiative represents a strategic investment in the economic and social rights of Liberia’s youth, addressing a critical need for sustainable development. These young innovators, driven by a shared commitment to positive change, have undertaken initiatives in agriculture, technology, education, finance, and more. They are social enterprises that address critical challenges in the communities within which they work, including unemployment, food wastage, climate change, computer illiteracy, among others. By fostering a supportive environment for their endeavors, we aim to catalyze a ripple effect that will not only transform individual lives but also help uplift the broader community.

John Kabia, director of the Fund’s Children and Youth Rights Program (CYP), spoke to the significance of this initiative in the context of the UDHR’s founding principles:

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, it is crucial to recognize the interdependence of economic and social rights. Our support for these youth-led civil society organizations and social enterprises aligns with the UDHR’s vision of a world where individuals can fully participate in the economic and social fabric of their societies.

Additionally, he highlighted how crucial it is to boost social and economic rights, especially for young people. These rights, covering aspects like culture and the economy, have often been overlooked in lieu of political and civil rights. The Wologizi Fund aims to change this oversight by focusing on a broader view of human rights, making sure that all important aspects, including those affecting our communities’ well-being, get the attention they deserve.

This initiative is part of the new CYP strategy to promote economic empowerment and livelihoods for young people by resourcing youth-led social enterprises, skills building initiatives, and advocacy campaigns for youth-friendly business environment. The Wologizi Fund is a commitment to providing the tools and resources necessary for young Liberians to become active contributors to their nation’s development. By acknowledging the economic and social rights outlined in the UDHR, we strive to create an ecosystem where youth-led innovations can flourish, ultimately fostering a more resilient and self-sufficient society.

In the spirit of the UDHR, the Wologizi Fund echoes the document’s emphasis on education, work, and a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. The participating organizations—whether in agriculture, technology, or education—inherently address these fundamental rights. By supporting projects that promote knowledge dissemination, sustainable livelihoods, and community development, we aim to contribute to a society where economic and social rights are not merely aspirations but tangible realities for the youth of Liberia.

As we embark on this transformative journey with the Wologizi Fund, we extend a warm welcome to all the selected groups who are the heartbeat of this initiative:

  • Afriktech Solutions
  • AgriLife
  • Exclusive Group of Companies
  • Big Time Tailoring Shop
  • Bopulu Motorcyclists Susu Club (BMSC)
  • LUA Spicy Chips
  • Pro-juice Enterprise
  • Smart Agriculture Liberia Enterprise (SALE)
  • Torch Minds
  • Youth for Sustainable Agriculture Development (YOSAD-Liberia)

Their dedication to driving positive change and addressing pressing challenges is truly commendable. Although we may come from diverse backgrounds and industries, our collective goal is to uplift ourselves and our communities from poverty. Together, we stride toward a future where economic and social rights are not just ideals but realities for every young person.

We look forward to witnessing the profound impact that these youth-led social enterprises will have in their communities, their country, and the world.