The following is an excerpt from an article published as part of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda on January 29, 2021. Read the full article here.

It is high time for international development actors to shift their approach from defining problems and identifying interventions towards developing the agency and leadership of people in developing contexts. Such a change enables affected communities to define their own problems, identify solutions and continuously improve over time.

This change feels more necessary than ever in the midst of calls to fight systemic oppression by elevating the leadership of those in marginalized communities and at a time when economic, education and health resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on local leadership.

Image: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The pandemic that has disrupted our world and exacerbated its inequities threatens to hold back a generation of young people — young people who, in most cases, we were already failing to equip to navigate an uncertain future. If we make it a priority to learn from the incredible leadership and innovations that have kept many of the most vulnerable children learning during the pandemic, we can ensure today’s young people do not become a left-behind generation.

More than 1.5 billion children have at some point been driven out of school by COVID-19, with half of them out of school for seven months or more. A survey from UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank showed that about about half of students out of school were unable to…

Student speaking about education in the community to members of the Commission on Educational Equity

Across Edgecombe County, North Carolina, an area of 52,000 people about an hour east of Raleigh, community members have been considering this question: What do we want to be true for our students by the time they’re 25?

I know about this endeavor because it involves a married couple, Dan…

Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp is CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All — the global network of over 50 independent organizations cultivating their nations’ promising future leaders

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