Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Verónica Inés Yábar Davies, the Lead Next Generation Fellow of the United Nations Foundation. Let’s learn what’s happening at the United Nations Foundation and how Inés is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Inés, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your role as the United Nations Foundation’s Lead Next Generation Fellow?
Inés: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Did you know that half of the global population is young people under 30? Slow progress on the SDGS impacts us, young people, the most. Young countries spend five times more on debt than on the SDGs. So if we want to achieve the SDGs for all, we need to invest in the next and future generations. We are often overlooked or tokenized, which is why through “Our Future Agenda”, we want to make sure we rally political support, invest in young people’s leadership, and amplify the collective dreams of young people for a better future.
Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?
Inés: I find motivation to take action through personal conviction and collective hope. As a believer, creation, to me, was placed under our care linking directly to SDGs 11-15. I also believe that we have a responsibility to care for one another linking to SDGs 1-10. So I just started to take action at a young age. The trust people put in me as a young woman is the trust I now give young people taking action around the world. Believing that as a collective we can achieve the goals leaving no one behind.
Spiffy: That is awesome! Could you elaborate on the impact of your work?
Inés: Sure! Through our Engine Room, we support grassroots innovators, organizers, and changemakers in collaborative spaces that harness collective intelligence and foster dialogue to achieve the global goals. These more than 3000 young people are mentored, equipped, and showcased, along with having the opportunity to engage in multilateral spaces. Whether they want to tackle climate change or gender equality, transform education or carve out pathways to justice, our work helps amplify the impact and build leaders up.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?
Inés: At the SDG summit, we launched our Road to 2100, a five-year Action Plan to empower all young people, particularly the most marginalized and underserved, to help them unlock their full potential. It was co-developed by the Unlock the Future Coalition convening 24 youth-focused organizations reaching almost one billion people worldwide. We will continue to advance shared goals, amplify young voices to influence the global agenda, and boost funding for the young people shaping our tomorrow.
Spiffy: Amazing! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Inés: No action is too small to help achieve a more just and sustainable world. I have the privilege of working with young people who are seasoned campaigners, incredible innovators, and fantastic advocates—something that brings them together is that they all started somewhere. To whoever is reading, it’s never too late to start. If you don’t know where, finding a community that is already doing something is a good place to be. You don’t have to be a founder, an inventor, or even a leader to do something.
Spiffy: Wise words! Thanks for speaking with me today, Inés—it’s been an honor!
Verónica Inés Yábar Davies is a changemaker. Her desire to build a more just and sustainable world is tangible in actions she supports around the world, starting with Peru, her home country. Currently, as a UN Foundation Lead Next Generation Fellow, she mentors, showcases, and supports young people with solutions to achieve the SDGs. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 1, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.