Any region’s youth population dictates the direction in which the country is headed and what its priorities will be, and this is a fact beyond any doubt. The UNFPA estimates that India will have (and will continue to have) the youngest population in the world until 2030. Youth in India has the ability to not only change their own country but also change the world around them.
In this regard, Manav Subodh- Managing Director of 1M1B ( One Million for One Billion) Foundation, UN-accredited – 1M1B mobilizes youths in the fields of climate change, environment, entrepreneurship, sustainability, health & wellness, future leadership, etc., shared his insights to bring the change among the youths for being future leaders. Excerpts
In your view, what does it mean to be a youth change-maker and influencer?
It means having a voice and seat on the table on agendas that matter to youth and future of youth. To build the future youth change makers and influencers must play an active role to engage and drive discussions that matter
Why are youth leadership skills emphasized at such an early age?
It is imperative that we nurture leadership skills in kids from an early age. Teenage could be the right time to start developing their leadership skills. This is a time when they start forming their own opinions and start feeling strongly about matters. If given the right guidance and mentoring young boys and girls can achieve incredible results and we have witnessed so many such success stories at 1M1B. Youth are at the forefront of climate action today making global leaders to change their way of governance. Youth globally are demanding a seat at the table when it comes to taking important decisions relating to their future. In this fast-paced world when everything is changing rapidly, one thing remains constant – leadership will always remain human. So developing leadership skills from an early age is a necessity today.
Why do you think there is a need for young change-makers in India?
It is an uncontested truth that the youth population in any region play an essential role in dictating the direction that their country is heading and the priorities that it fosters. According to projections by the UNFPA, India has (and will continue to have) the youngest population in the world until 2030. Not only does this imply that India’s youth can change our own country but it also implies that our youth have the potential to change the entire world.
India is facing a number of challenges which have been prevalent for decades. We need to look at these challenges with a new lens and this is where young changemakers come in. Youth can look at these solving challenges with new mindsets and new age tools. Gen Z can use their passion, zeal, creativity and energy along with leveraging emerging technologies like AI, AR-VR, blockchain, and data to find answers to age old problems.
What are the main issues and areas that these students want to address?
If you speak with any student today, you will likely find that they are brimming with ideas and changes that they would like to make in our country: be it to fight the spectre of climate change or spread awareness on human rights to equal opportunities. This is a highly motivated generation who want to drive change and take action. All they need is a framework and mentoring to activate their ideas to reality.
What exactly is 1M1B trying to achieve?
1M1B’s mission is to activate 1 million young leaders who will impact 1 billion people for a sustainable planet. We believe that the key to a sustainable future lies in the actions taken by the youth of today to drive the future of our world. Nurturing human-centered leaders who care for the planet and people is the need of the hour and that is our vision at 1M1B.
What courses does 1M1B offer youth? What do students learn from these programs?
1M1B offers 2 main programs for young adults:
- Future Leaders Program – A program to nurture promising youth in high schools into human centered leaders. Through a tested, well researched and intense mentoring process, these Future Leaders are given access to high impact opportunities and leadership coaching. The program is designed to help students develop their leadership and 4th industrial revolution skills by supporting them to find their passion and purpose through a framework to convert them into an actionable project aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Top students from the program are given an opportunity to showcase their work at the 1M1B Youth Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The 6th edition of the 1M1B summit at the UN is slated to take place in December 2022.
- The Purpose Academy – In collaboration with the University of California Berkeley, College of Engineering SCET and the Innovation Acceleration Group, the program aims to equip students with technology, ideas, creativity, resources, and the motivation to build disruptive solutions and create real impact. Real problems solvers from schools will work on developing AI solutions for farmers, to activate people staying near forests and buffer zones in the fight on climate action, to provide clean water and health services to the marginalized and more. The third cohort starting this summer, June 2022 will be working on these bold topics. Students will participate in a 5-day immersion at Silicon Valley and UC Berkeley in October 2022.
How do your courses help youth in getting jobs in the future?
Our programs support youth to acquire future skills which are very important for future jobs, like AI, AR/VR, and also creators skills and entrepreneurship. Besides this, 1M1B at a larger level develops core soft skills or 4th IR skills amongst youth that are important for jobs, like empathy, collaboration, teamwork, communication, resilience, cognitive flexibility, etc. 1M1B programs are based on frameworks that support youth learning by getting immersive experiences, internships and project work. They become aware of their strength, passion, and purpose. This approach supports young people to choose careers that they feel most deeply about.