AYANA Youth Innovation Lab

A project by AYANA International

We teach youth techniques in human-centered design, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking to empower them to positively transform their communities.
Founded by then 14-year-old Mahika Halepete, AYANA International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose program is the Youth Innovation Lab, a weeklong incubator to foster creative problem-solving among young people in the developing world. While the immediate programmatic impacts are leadership training for youth, and creating awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and design thinking at a local level in developing communities, the next tier of impact is sustainable solutions to community problems. In just 10-12 hours, our program covers leadership fundamentals, values-based leadership, styles of leadership, collaborative team-building and teamwork, the Sustainable Development Goals, problem analysis, stakeholder mapping, creative and human-centered problem solving through design thinking, the Six Thinking Hats, strategic project management, goal-setting, and more. In AYANA programs, youth will not only learn what design thinking or the sustainable development goals or change making is. They will apply each of these concepts through projects they design and lead. We intend to answer a lack of sustainable and community driven solutions in the developing world to problems from health and hygiene to education to girls' empowerment. We believe communities should have the dignity and opportunity to take matters into their own hands and design effective solutions with their understanding of the issues (as they are the ones facing them). To do this, we allow young people to view their communities through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and identify the most pressing issues their communities face. Over 300 young people in seven communities have participated to date, and we have found that when we allow young community members to take ownership of problems facing their communities, we get impactful and lasting solutions.

About the Organization /Team

AYANA International is a 501(c)(3) registered organization run by 16-year-old high school junior Mahika Halepete with the help of a team of youth from all over the world.
Project CategoryIncluder
Realated SDGs
4 Quality Education