Started in 2010, the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program counts 400 youth advocates from more than 100 countries who are advancing the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
The Young Leaders Program provides youth advocates with opportunities to build and strengthen their advocacy capacity and skills, through:
- Digital University: Structured course work led by a faculty of experts provides a solid foundation that enables each Young Leader to enact change and deliver for girls and women. The in-depth online curriculum, comprised of two 10-week intensive e-courses, focuses on gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, advocacy and communications, project design, and proposal development. Young Leaders also engage directly with faculty and each other through one-on-ones and peer-to-peer learning.
- Speakers Bureau: Women Deliver elevates the voices of Young Leaders and supports their participation in the global conversation on the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. The Women Deliver Speakers Bureau identifies national and global speaking opportunities for Young Leaders while elevating them to positions of influence and power, including on panels, on commissions, and on boards.
- Seed Grants: Women Deliver provides seed grants to select Young Leaders to implement short term advocacy and communications projects that they create in order to advance the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in their communities and across the globe. To date, 46 Young Leaders have been provided seed grants, and the impact of those projects can already be felt. Learn about the World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project here, explore the 2014 seed grant recipients' project here, and meet the newest group of seed grant recipients here.
- Women Deliver Global Conference: All Young Leaders receive a full scholarship to attend a Women Deliver Global Conference. Young Leaders attend at two-day Youth Pre-Conference, participate in sessions at the Youth Zone, and receive numerous media and speaking opportunities. At the Women Deliver 2016 Conference in Copenhagen, Young Leaders spoke at 65 plenary and concurrent sessions.
- Media Opportunities & Training: The program provides in-depth media messaging and engagement training, designed to provide Young Leaders with a strong foundation to work with the media as a successful advocacy tool. Women Deliver Young Leaders are connected with local and global journalists, as well, elevating their work and their voices to even broader audiences. Young Leaders have been featured at high-level publications like The Guardian, BBC, NPR, Marie Claire, Forbes, Reuters, Huffington Post, and many more.
- Direct In-Country Advocacy: As an established global advocate for meaningful youth engagement, Women Deliver is well-positioned to integrate youth engagement with on-the-ground advocacy and action. In their respective countries, Women Deliver Young Leaders Young Leaders work on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the grassroots and national levels through partnerships with civil society organizations and other key stakeholders. Young Leaders also support and advance the Deliver for Good campaign, a movement to fuel investment in girls and women and concrete action and implementation of the SDGs to power progress for all.
- Alumni Network & Mentorship Opportunities: Current Women Deliver Young Leaders not only benefit from the knowledge and experience of the faculty and each other, but from previous Women Deliver Young Leaders, as well. Issue and country-based connections between 2010, 2013, and 2016 Young Leaders provide an opportunity for peer engagement and often, partnerships on advocacy work.
Every day, Young Leaders make change happen and have a real impact on their communities and countries:
- Young Leaders demonstrate increased engagement with key target audiences on advocacy issues. In 2016 alone, nine Young Leaders were appointed to high level boards and task forces, including the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 World, and the Women Deliver Board of Directors.
- Young Leaders have most recently spoken at the following high-level events: 27th African Union Summit (January 2017); World Breastfeeding Conference 2016 (December 2016); Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Annual Meeting (October 2016); United Nations General Assembly (September 2016); International AIDS Conference (July 2016); Women Deliver 2016 Global Conference (May 2016); and many more.
- Women Deliver’s Conferences and Youth Pre-Conferences offer meaningful participation, speaking, and networking opportunities to Young Leaders. At the Women Deliver 2016 Conference, Young Leaders met with world leaders and influencers like the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development Baroness Verma, the United Nations President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft, and many more. In fact, the conference led to Melinda Gates including Young Leader Dr. Joannie Bewa as "One of Six Influential Women on Why We Need Worldwide Contraceptive Access Now."
- Young Leaders were strong advocates for the development of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health's (PMNCH) Adolescent and Youth Constituency. Their efforts, with the support of other young people and partner organizations, Women Deliver, and PMNCH, evolved from a call for more youth engagement at the 2015 PMNCH Board of Director's meeting to something more concrete: Women Deliver Young Leaders ultimately held the first youth Board of Director member positions, and the constituency was officially established in 2016.
Through their seed grant projects, Young Leaders have impacted their communities and countries.
- Young Leader focused their seed grant project on removing key barriers that hinder adolescent girls from accessing reproductive health services in rural Northern Tanzania. SMS messaging was used to educate and inform adolescent girls on family planning and evaluate adolescent girls’ knowledge on family planning and behaviors. Adolescent girls were able to anonymously ask relevant personal questions via text and receive answers from qualified, educators, counselors or medical professionals. This model allowed adolescent girls to access correct family planning information in a private and confidential way while avoiding the embarrassment and potential stigma. The project sent a total of 4310 mobile phone SMS messages to 649 males and 3661 females adolescent on friendly ASRH and Family Planning Mobile phone subscribers in the district.
- Another Young Leader’s seed grant projected aimed to influence the crafting and enforcement of laws to protect children from marriage in the five most affected provinces in Zimbabwe. Support was built through awareness-raising activities through a series of activities, including: the development of an online petition, radio programs, and sensitization sessions in schools, and community dialogues with youth serving organizations. The Young Leader then partnered with a local youth organization in holding a street march and street bash, which drew approximately 250 participants. The Young Leader organized a national consultation with Members of Parliament, civil society organizations, and young leaders, which meeting resulted in a documented commitment from a Member of Parliament to propose a change to the Customary Marriage Act in order to officially outlaw child marriage.
- Women Deliver supported Young Leaders' call for the creation of a Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) Youth Group during the RHSC annual meeting in Oslo in 2014. Through diligent efforts of Young Leaders and other key individuals, the Youth Discussion Group was created in 2015, and held official sessions at the RHSC annual meeting in Seattle in 2015. A 2013 Women Deliver Young Leader co-chaired the group in 2015 and was succeeded by a 2016 Women Deliver Young Leader.
- See more of the impact Young Leaders are making at the local, national, and global level at our Young Leaders: Advocacy in Action tracker.
Women Deliver began its youth engagement work in 2010. The inaugural class of Women Deliver Young Leaders attended the Women Deliver 2010 Conference and underwent an intensive digital curriculum. In 2013, The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program was officially founded, with the support of the Dutch Government and Women Deliver C Exchange partners Johnson & Johnson, WomanCare Global, and Bayer. The program has since grown and continues to be supported through our generous partners and contributors from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Danida, and NORAD. This vital support has allowed Women Deliver to provide young people with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge, and advocate for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.