Young people changing the world: Reflections from a Spark Fund panelist

By Global Fund for Children | November 3, 2022 | The Americas | Youth Empowerment

This article was originally published in Girls’ Globe. It was written by Flor Campos Rivas, a Spark Fund youth panelist, and it is also available in Spanish.

Flor, a 20-year-old activist from Peru, shares her experience designing the Spark Fund in the Americas with other youth leaders in the region.

Hello! My name is Flor. I am 20 years old and I am originally from Piura, Peru. I am currently studying law at the Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego. I have always been a fan of volunteering and youth activism because I believe that they are great opportunities to leave a positive footprint on society. Additionally, they allow you to connect with other young people who are in the same fight to build their dreams for a better world.

Flor Campos Rivas

A photo of Flor. © Flor Campos Rivas

At the beginning of 2022, I found out about a wonderful opportunity that would change my perspective about youth-led activists and organizations in the region. I am talking about the Spark Fund in the Americas, an initiative established by Global Fund for Children (GFC) with support from the Avast Foundation that seeks, through a collaborative process, to bring flexible funding and capacity development to youth groups that contribute to the improvement of their communities in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

I must confess that, more than once, I thought I would not be chosen for the youth panel that makes regional Spark Fund grant decisions due to the great competition among applications from different countries. When an email arrived about an interview, I was very excited because I thought how incredible it would be to represent my country on the panel and collaborate with other young people to design an opportunity that would impact many organizations and their leaders.

Through the panel, I was able to meet other selected members who, as representatives of their countries, were doing different types of youth activism work.

It was fascinating to see how these young people had achieved great things for their communities, often with scarce resources and only one desire in their hearts: to fight through the resistance to achieve social change.

To reach this goal, it was necessary to make good decisions and take on a role within the panel. Everything had to be done in a meticulous and responsible way, especially in the voting phase to select the organizations that would receive Spark Fund grants.

This was one of my favorite parts: getting to know the work of other organizations within these countries and their impact. Not only for me, but also for my fellow panel members, it was a mix of emotions, including joy and tears. They were very difficult decisions to make. On the other hand, when we had to decide on the last finalists, I was always able to acknowledge the capacity to reach consensus among my colleagues, and their empathy and leadership in defending the organizations until the end. There were moments when we came to identify with the leaders of the organizations because we knew perfectly well the obstacles that arise when you are in the middle of the fight.

Finally, when the grantee partner finalists were selected, it was a great joy to know that we are contributing to them and their communities. There was also sadness for those we could not select; however, we are sure that in the future, thanks to the beautiful work they are doing, many doors will open for them.

I do not want to miss the opportunity to greet my panelist friends: Fat, Enrique, Sofia, Fer, Bicky, Kevin, Nohora, Carlos, Sofía, and Angy. Thank you for everything I have learned from each one of you on the panel and for giving me the security and confidence to express myself and feel free with you.

And so, that was my Spark Fund experience. More than a process to provide funding, it was a window to give a hand to many youth organizations so that they could continue to fight hunger, the environmental crisis, and violence, among other issues in their communities. It was also an opportunity to learn about and make visible thousands of problems and how youth leadership is willing to confront them. Thank you for allowing us to be part of it.



The Spark Fund is a youth-led fund that invests in youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling injustice and inequality, driving transformational change, and building a more inclusive post-pandemic world through the power of digital technologies. 

Header photo: Children holding up decorated picture frames from an art workshop carried out by Centro Cultural Popular Victor Jara, one of the Spark Fund Americas partners, in Usme, Bogotá. © Centro Cultural Popular Victor Jara

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