Youth-led social change took center stage in Honduras last week when five YouthActionNet® Fellows—the first to be honored through the newly-launched Premio Yo Emprendo (I Am an Entrepreneur Award) program, were received by President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and his cabinet. The youth each described their work during the nationally-televised event, with the President encouraging his ministers to think through how they might support the role of the nation’s young change-makers.

“As these youth said, as Hondurans we need to open our hearts to those who need a helping hand and see the reality of peoples’ lives,” commented President Lobo.

A program of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), YouthActionNet works to strengthen and scale up the impact of youth-led social ventures around the world. Premio Yo Emprendo, funded with support from the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, is one of 11 local leadership institutes that are part of the YouthActionNet global network. It is managed by Universidad Tecnologica Centroamericana (UNITEC), a member of the Laureate International Universities Network.

“When YouthActionNet was launched 11 years ago, one of our key goals was to provide young social entrepreneurs with a platform from which to increase their visibility and advocate their causes,” said IYF President & CEO Bill Reese. “The recognition given these young leaders by President Lobo and his cabinet demonstrates that the time is ripe for these young leaders – and thousands like them around the world – to gain the legitimacy and support they need to take their social innovations to a whole new level of scale and impact.”

The five Honduran youth to be selected for this distinction are among more than 680 YouthActionNet Fellows® working for change in 70-plus countries around the world. Collectively, their work is benefiting more than 1.2 million lives.