AYANA is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to transforming the futures of communities in developing countries by empowering youth to design innovative solutions to local issues they identify. Developing countries face issues from discrimination against girls to lack of knowledge about sanitation, and these issues affect us all as a global community. Youth understand problems in their communities very well and want their societies to move forward, but are often not involved in changemaking or decision making processes in their communities. Our impact is in both empowering youth and allowing them to realize their potential as entrepeneurs and changemakers, and also to directly transform communities with critical programs ending poverty, empowering women, and creating educational opportunities for all.
Often times, the problem with aid is the lack of subjectivity and sustainability. Additionally, aid projects must be able to integrate into communities; successful humanitarian projects do not happen in a vacuum. There is no better resource with knowledge of their communities and the issues faced than youth. Having experienced the plight of disadvantaged communities often times first hand, youth are equipped with the knowledge to identify the problems and come up with solutions that work. AYANA was founded with a desire to accomplish three things: (1) to allow youth to build their self-confidence as they realize their true potential to create change in the community and the world, (2) to further sustainable development and lift communities out of poverty, all at a grassroots level, and (3) to transform philanthropy & allow small donations to have a large impact. Our Youth Innovation Lab teaches students to understand the Sustainable Development Goals, identify problems in their communities, analyze them, and create effective solutions.