For International Youth Day this year, USAID, YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation, and Generation Unlimited hosted the Global LEAD #WatchOurImpact Dialogue. The highly anticipated virtual event featuring USAID Administrator Samantha Power and the winners of the #WatchOurImpact Digital Storytelling Contest drew more than 1,000 registrants from around the globe.
The morning began with a screening of three of the contest winners’ videos and a welcome from Generation Unlimited. Administrator Power then led an engaging discussion with contest winners Chaima Amraoui, Ineza Umuhoza Grace, and S. Abida Bhirawasiwi. The young changemakers shared their perspectives on making their voices heard, with Ineza offering the following advice to government leaders, stakeholders, and donors: “It is our future, and we have a right to be at the decision-making table.”
Administrator Power lauded them for taking action in their communities and inspiring others with their stories. When asked by one of the panelists about what she had learned from hearing their stories, Administrator Power replied, “I am struck by the other kind of story that we all need to tell, which is the story about the impact that we have made, even if it’s very, very small. Because, I think the way I would put it, is hope is fuel. What a lot of people who are on the sidelines lack is fundamentally a belief that they can make even small change,” Power said. “It is really inspiring to hear the different ways you all have done so on such different issues and in such different settings. I thank you for this inspiration. It is going to inform what we do here at USAID.”
The dialogue between the Administrator and the contest winners was followed by two breakout groups, where attendees were able to see the remaining contest winners’ videos and have an in-depth discussion with all the winners, including Padili James Mikomangwa. The contest winners shared advice on creating one’s own videos, and resources were provided to guide changemakers in crafting their stories and expanding their network and connections on the YouthLead.org platform.