SNV USA Launches Youth Speak Up on Poverty Contest

Jan 24, 2013, 10:35 ET from SNV USA

Global Leaders Encourage Youth to Think Big on Poverty

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Barack Obama began his second term as President of the United States by participating in a National Day of Service to honor the civil rights legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. His call to action has inspired the North America affiliate office of SNV, a nonprofit international development agency that operates in 38 countries, to launch Youth Speak Up on Poverty, a contest targeting 11 to 18 year-olds and asking them to share their ideas on how to create a more prosperous and peaceful world.

"In the spirit of Dr. King, the real question that we must pose to ourselves each and every day is, 'What are we doing for others?' says Neil Ghosh, Executive Director of SNV USA. "My childhood years in India taught me that the concepts of giving and interfaith dialogue are essential pre-conditions for promoting development. This contest is a call to action directed to middle and high school students to think big about solutions to address global poverty."

Dr. Martin Luther King never lost sight of his dream: a world where all men and women are created equal and where freedom and justice prevail. President Obama's invitation to volunteer in community-based activities is a way to inspire greatness among people.

By inviting youth to participate in this contest, SNV USA and its partners hope to cultivate a generation of compassionate leaders who are committed to improving the lives of millions of people globally.

"I believe that engaging youth at an early age on issues of global development and interfaith dialogue will empower and energize them to address local, national and global challenges throughout their lives with a firm belief in their own unique perspectives and capacity to contribute," explains Ghosh.

Prominent global leaders have shared inspirational quotes through the SNV USA Youth Speak Up on Poverty contest including President Bill Clinton; Israeli President Shimon Peres; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Chief Muslim Imam of India Umer Ahmed Ilyasi; Governor Tom Ridge; Grammy-award winning singer and song writer Angelique Kidjo, and American actress, singer and activist Rosario Dawson

"Every child is born the same way, not as a conflict of color but as a human being with a role to play on the planet," says Angelique Kidjo.  These global leaders and cultural icons, Ghosh observed, want to inspire and engage young people today because they will be tomorrow's change-makers.

The rationale for this contest is embedded in a quote by Dr. King: "If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective." This concept is at the core of SNV's mission to break the cycle of poverty.

For more details on SNV USA's Youth Speak Up on Poverty contest, dates and rules for submissions, please visit Prizes consist of cash vouchers and inspiring books signed by President Bill Clinton and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Media Contact:
Kimberly Keeton, Resource Development and Communications Manager, SNV USA;; Tel. 1-360-582-7243.

SNV is a global nonprofit organization with over 40 years of experience working in 38 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. SNV connects people's capacities to develop solutions in food, water, and energy, providing opportunities for people to transition out of poverty.  Through locally based teams of technical advisors that collaborate with local partners, SNV equips communities, businesses, and organizations with the tools they need to increase their incomes and gain access to basic services. SNV USA is a 501(c)(3) affiliate of SNV which connects North American partners to SNV's innovative solutions around the world.