In their words, Spark Fund leaders share reflections

By Maria Creamer | July 24, 2023 | The Americas | Youth Empowerment

In Medellín, Colombia, Spark Fund leaders from Peru, Colombia, and Mexico came together to create a space for learning and reflection, establish meaningful connections, and nurture youth-led activism in Latin America. 

Supported by Avast, the Spark Fund pilot program is a youth-led fund that invests in youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling important issues such as inequality, climate change, and mental health.

In June 2023, 28 youth leaders from 14 Spark Fund grassroots organizations explored their common regional context as activists, while noting the different challenges they face within their areas of work, communities, and countries. A collective conclusion was the necessity of understanding political and social systems built around culture, race, gender, and class, and how this complex environment impacts their work and their commitment to promoting social change.

Although all the organizations are youth led and share a passion for activism, their approaches differ, and their areas of focus range across several social issues.

For instance, in Colombia, one group is promoting the rights of trans youth through creating community of support public performances and public speaking.

In Mexico, one group is building awareness around food security and strengthening sustainable agricultural practices within urban communities.

In Peru, one group is providing mental health support to children and young people, with deep respect for ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity.

In their own words, hear reflections from some of the youth leaders within this cohort.

Shelley, 25

 “We need to remember that politics and psychology go hand in hand, because the fight is against the system, and questioning its influence on mental health must be through an intersectional approach.” 

Leonardo, 28

“Fostering the roots of young farmers is vital for the sustainability of the countryside, food sovereignty, and farming culture; the support of GFC has been crucial to the fulfillment of these goals.”

Mar, 25

“We can’t talk about mental health without exploring the oppressive systems of gender, race, and class, since they don’t allow us to exercise our rights and reach opportunities for development.”

Alejandra, 29 

“We are a group of young people committed to the care of the environment. We teach children, young people, and adults through programs in urban agriculture and recycling. As young people, we are happy to do something for future generations, and to leave a clean planet so they can enjoy the natural resources we got to enjoy.” 

Eduardo, 28

“Indigenous youth are the crucial link between our ancestors and Indigenous childhoods. Being this link, we are fundamental to the process of resistance to preserve our language, culture, and worldview. For this reason, intergenerational dialogue is essential to the fight of our people.”

In its first year, the Spark Fund pilot program:

The youth panels in the Spark Fund pilot program selected grantees from 13 countries who work on a wide range of issues, including climate justice, gender equity, disability rights, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and education. Spark Fund grantees are supporting peacebuilding work at the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan; fighting to end period poverty in Lesotho; building climate resilience in Pakistan; protecting Indigenous cultural identity in Mexico; and much more. Meet our Spark Fund partners here.







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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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