Nestlé and UNESCO’s Impulso Joven Honors Innovative Projects in Latin America

Twenty young innovators from 17 Latin American countries gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to present their final projects aimed at creating positive social and environmental impacts in their communities. Launched by Nestlé and UNESCO in October 2023, the “Impulso Joven – Because Youth Matter” program equips young people with essential resources and skills to develop and implement their innovative solutions. This event marked the conclusion of the pilot program in Latin America.

The changemakers, aged 18 to 30, were chosen from over 900 applicants and received training, workshops, and mentorship from Nestlé and UNESCO experts to develop, implement, and scale their projects. The program focused on three main themes: fostering climate action and sustainability (8 projects), reducing inequalities and promoting social inclusion and diversity (7 projects), and addressing mental health and well-being (5 projects). Each participant received USD 10,000 to initiate and advance their project, aiming to generate tangible social and environmental impact.

“Partnering with UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector has been a significant step in Nestlé’s commitment to youth,” said Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé Latin America. “Youth employability is a pressing economic and social issue, one of the greatest global challenges we face. For the past decade, we have been dedicated to improving youth employability in Latin America, positively impacting nearly three million young people. Congratulations to the young entrepreneurs. We will continue working together to promote entrepreneurship and build a sustainable future for all.”

This partnership builds on 11 years of the Nestlé needs YOUth initiative. Aiming to provide 10 million young people worldwide with access to economic opportunities by 2030, the initiative helps youth find apprenticeships, traineeships, and jobs. It focuses on three pillars: employment & employability, agripreneurship, and entrepreneurship. Globally, more than 5 million young people have benefited.

Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Sector, commented: “The importance of our collective efforts through this partnership cannot be overstated. As representatives of UNESCO and Nestlé, we are united by a shared commitment to harnessing the potential of young minds to drive positive change in our communities and beyond.”

“Impulso Joven – Because Youth Matter” is part of UNESCO’s Global Youth Grant Scheme, which aims to mobilize financial and in-kind support for young people worldwide. It builds on UNESCO’s 20 years of experience in establishing and supporting youth-led initiatives and networks, enhancing young people’s capabilities, knowledge, and creating spaces for dialogue between young people, policymakers, and other partners.

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