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The Possibilists: New study reveals the pressing needs of young changemakers worldwide

Young people are creating change everywhere we look. Some of them dedicate everything they have to tackle the most pressing issues of our time; it is their work and way of life. They are changemakers, activists, social innovators, disruptors, dreamers, doers, people who believe social and environmental change is possible. They are Possibilists.

There are 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15-24 across the world – roughly 16% of the global population.

The Possibilists is a study driven by the desire to better understand the lives and realities of young changemakers. It was conducted in 2021 by an alliance of 16 of the world’s leading youth social innovation networks, including Ashoka, Changemakerxchange, The Diana Award, Global Changemakers, The Kofi Annan Foundation, MasterPeace, Obama Foundation, One Young World, Peace First, Social Impact Award, Social Shifters, SOS Children’s Villages International, UNLEASH, We Are Family Foundation, Yunus&Youth, and YSI – Young Sustainable Impact and supported by SAP Foundation and Google org.

791 young Possibilists, 137 countries, one global study

See the Possibilists findings

On June 16th 2021, the results of the study were launched, revealing the pressing needs of young changemakers worldwide who dedicate their lives to social and environmental causes.

The report outlines eight recommendations for organisations to better support changemakers personally and in their work with their initiatives and organizations.

The Recommendations

  1. Focus on the person, not just the initiative.
  2. Ensure the personal financial stability of young social innovators.
  3. Prevent burnout of young social innovators.
  4. Support the initiatives of young social innovators to grow, improve their quality and be financially stable.
  5. Build upon the strong local – international connection of young social innovators.
  6. Leverage the strong motivation of young social innovators to make a difference.
  7. Reduce the barriers in our own programming and support diverse young social innovators.
  8. Connect young social innovators with relevant decision-makers.

The Kofi Annan Foundation is proud to support and collaborate on this important research. Sofia Anton, Programme Officer at the Kofi Annan Foundation, explains, “We believe youth are a driving force for positive change. The ‘Possibilists’ alliance with Changemaker Xchange and other leading youth organizations has enabled a diverse global group of youth leaders to be heard. Their hopes, concerns and demands reconfirm the pressing need for us to continue amplifying youth-led action, fostering their representation in peace and security efforts as well as their inclusion in places and processes where decisions are made.”

Want to get involved? Here’s how:

These changemakers are fighting hard every day to make the world a better place. Let’s make sure they have all the support they need to succeed! To that end, we are launching the Ecosystem Solutions Initiative – you can contribute your solutions and become part of the Ecosystem. Find out more at