First of Its Kind Impact Platform Dedicated to Address Urgent Youth Issues in Asia

In a time of growing resource constraints, resource efficiency and strategic leadership are key. 

The need for capital aggregation and resource-matchmaking

The Youth Opportunities Platform marks a turning point for the region’s youth funding community. The Platform breaks down silos and streamlines collaborations amongst donors, investors, policymakers, and young impact leaders. By offering a neutral ground for under-represented youth voices to be heard, the Platform identifies scalable opportunities, through which diverse players and investments can aggregate resources and match them to youth needs. 

“The Youth Opportunities Platform is a key part of Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative,” says Batara Sianturi, CEO of Citi Indonesia. “We are proud to be working with AVPN to empower young people and support inclusive growth across the region.”

Authentic collaboration is greater than the sum of all its parts

Empowering youth at scale takes collaboration at various levels. As such, the Youth Opportunities Platform is doubling down on efforts to grow strategic communities of stakeholders, including funders, advisors, policymakers, and young impact leaders to facilitate relevant matchmaking. Within two months of its inception, the platform has already aggregated over 60 funders and resource providers from 20 global markets, to support a pilot cohort of 10 Young Impact Leaders. 

As champions for youth priorities within 10 Asian markets, the first cohort of Young Impact Leaders are driving advocacy movements around: youth employment and upskilling for marginalized communities; socio-emotional learning and mental health support; refugee rights; coastal protection; music education; and more. 

The platform will help them open more doors to highly selective capital providers, such as Cisco LaunchPad, Lorinet Foundation, The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, responsAbility Investments AG, Patamar Capital, Villgro, and more – all of whom are bringing their expertise to the table to provide advisory support to the young leaders. Already, long-held sectoral boundaries and funder-founder power imbalances are fast being overturned. 

“At PLDT-Smart Foundation, we believe that if we want to maximise potential, we must invest in the leaders behind the project, not just in the project itself,” says Ma. Esther Santos, President of the PLDT-Smart Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the biggest telecommunications company in the Philippines.

“That is why the Youth Opportunities Platform speaks to me and the Foundation because it opens the doors for funders and young leaders to come together in an unprecedented way. It challenges funders to remember that they do not have all the answers, and I urge all funders to leverage the Platform to listen directly to young problem solvers who have the solutions to drive change.” 

Anchoring The Youth Opportunities Platform are 6 partners, representing leading youth-led organisations and seasoned youth funders across Asia. They are: Indonesian Youth Diplomacy (Host of Y20 2022) and Yayasan Anak Bangsa Bisa (Foundation of GoTo Gojek Tokopedia); PLDT-Smart Foundation in the Philippines; YuWaah (Generation Unlimited India) at UNICEF; Social Ventures Hong Kong; and Youth Co:Lab co-led by UNDP. Along with the Citi Foundation, these anchor partners form the backbone of the Platform. In the coming months, the anchor partners will not only harness their expertise to amplify priority youth areas in the region, but identify collaboration pathways to enrich existing youth initiatives. 

Effective resource matchmaking, however, will not change the status quo on youth empowerment, unless mindsets are changed and relationships with traditional decision-makers are redefined. The Youth Opportunities Platform will have the opportunity to partake in Y20 (the youth arm of G20) happening in Indonesia this year and India in 2023, bringing the voices of Asian youth to a global stage.

“AVPN has been building the social investment ecosystem in Asia in the last decade, and the key to a strong community is trust,” says Naina Subberwal Batra, Chairwoman and CEO of AVPN, “While we are seeing a growing awareness around governments and private funders to incorporate voices of the next generation in their impact strategies, they must learn to recognise them, not as token voices, but as partners at the decision-making table. Until and unless global leaders can break this power dynamic, and create trusted spaces for authentic listening, youths will not be empowered to drive generational change.”

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