From the design of a backpack that uses solar energy to charge a computer to the launch of the Jordan’s first-ever women’s self-defense training center, the first class of Fellows to be honored through BADIR, a program of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Starbucks in Jordan, demonstrate that youth-led innovation is gaining ground in Jordan.

BADIR, which in Arabic means “Take the Initiative,” is a three-year program designed to equip young Jordanian leaders with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to strengthen and scale up their social change projects. It was created in the belief that engaging the creativity, talent, and compassion of today’s young change-makers is one of the best ways of securing a more productive and prosperous future for all Jordanians.

The Fellows were recognized during an awards ceremony held in Amman under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Ali Al Tabaa on December 5. In attendance were nearly 200 representatives of government ministries, local and international institutions, and key opinion leaders.

“Congratulations to the inaugural class of BADIR fellows,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “We are extremely grateful to the Starbucks Foundation for its vision for and support of BADIR. Through its ongoing commitment to young people leading change, Starbucks is working to ensure that today’s generation of young innovators has the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to realize their visions of a better world.”

Rana Shaheen, Regional Communications and CSR Manager of Starbucks Coffee MENA, added: “As the cofounder of the BADIR initiative, Starbucks is delighted to be supporting these incredible youth leaders and their unique projects and to follow their progress as they inspire change and development within their communities, leaving a remarkable, positive impact on Jordan.”

The 23 Fellows, ages 18 to 30, were selected from an applicant pool of over 140. Their projects address a variety of community issues, ranging from the promotion of volunteerism to women’s empowerment to vocational and professional development. Through BADIR, Fellows will benefit from social innovation skills and management training and will be eligible to receive a monetary grant, as well as ongoing mentorship and support from the Friends of BADIR, an array of public, private, and civil society organizations actively engaged in the program.

The 2012 BADIR Fellows are the newest members of IYF’s YouthActionNet® Global Network of 680 youth-led social ventures in more than 70 countries. BADIR is among 11 national/regional youth leadership institutes that identify, support, and connect YouthActionNet® Fellows around the world.