Youth empowerment programs with a particular emphasis on promoting the participation and leadership of young women have become the focus of many global youth organizations. For almost two decades, Non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in Nicaragua have been advocating for young women by focusing on youth rights. They have also been guiding youth through a transformative process to develop new knowledge, awareness and skills. The purpose of this study is to examine the different ways organizations are working toward the empowerment of young women. Thus my research question is: How are young women becoming empowered to act as agents of social change in Nicaragua? Leadership programs are a popular means of promoting women’s empowerment in Nicaragua and are highlighted. This research explored young women's experiences with leadership and participation. Data was collected through observation and semi-structured interviews conducted with young and adult women affiliated with NGO’s. In Nicaragua, Socio-cultural issues, discrimination against and among women, and generational issues bring complexity to this topic. The research findings indicate the youth participants are highly motivated to become active members of civil society and do feel empowered by this work. However, primary and secondary support mechanisms are necessary for young women to confront challenges and sustain their participation in social change initiatives in Nicaragua. Effective youth-adult partnerships are emphasized as key to the success of young women’s empowerment programs. The findings support the implementation of formal mentoring programs which bring adult and youth mentors together to equally exchange experiences and ideas for the sustainability of youth participation and women’s programs in Nicaragua.


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