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Reflections: A Year of Beating Odds and Finding Hope

Posted 10 January 2024 in EMpower News   |   Share

In 2023, we experienced a dearth of global optimism amidst conflicts, disasters, and trauma that hit several parts of the world and whose impact is bound to linger. And yet, last year, EMpower partners and the young people we work with emerged as a wellspring of pride, accomplishment, and inspiration. Our mission to make long-term investments in strong local organisations proved especially critical against the backdrop of emerging market communities experiencing crises.

Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey last February, our grantee partners demonstrated agility by swiftly mobilising to provide emergency relief and support tailored to the specific needs of affected communities. With strong community ties, they pivoted and continued to help the most marginalised recover and rebuild, serving as guiding stars for other major funders and organisations to ensure the needs of girls and young women were addressed.

In Ukraine, we set out to make a meaningful impact through our first grants to local organisations addressing areas often overlooked by other funders such as critical healthcare access needs, including mental health support for youth in war-affected regions.

Our focus on authentic youth engagement is not merely lip service. Recognising the wisdom and purpose-driven nature of young people, we doubled down to ensure they have the tools and resources to step into their power and make decisions on issues that affect their lives. In each region where we work, we identified Youth Fellows, who will help us validate that our programme strategies are relevant to their current realities, while simultaneously growing their leadership skills.

In 2023, EMpower hit the incredible milestone of directly impacting 1 million young people since its inception in 2000. They got jobs, finished school, learned new skills, and changed their communities through our support—via yours to EMpower. Additionally, we reached the lives of a further 3.5 million individuals, including siblings, parents, teachers, and peers.

Our EMpower community helped fuel this work. Even in mercurial markets, our dedicated supporters came through for us: giving generously, advancing new initiatives for giving, and providing feedback and connections. We would not be able to do what we do—and to have achieved what we did—without the steadfastness, passion for the cause, and creativity of this solid community.

While the world may not produce many reasons for hope, we find it in our grantee partners, team, and young people. We start 2024 brimming with commitment and confidence to make a difference in the lives of young people we serve.

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