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AIW Founder wins 2021 Youth Leadership and Innovation Award

Caroline Caporossi, 27-year old founder of the Assocation for the Integration of Women is pronounced one of three winners of the 2021 Youth Leadership and Innovation Award at the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

''About two years ago I met Ella, another young English speaker, like me, and a refugee from Nigeria. She shared that she came to Italy to continue her education and work, but after three years had not accomplished either...We soon discovered that Ella's story wasn't the exception, but the rule, that many most migrant women have skills and dreams that they are not able to realize, so we saw an opportunity to connect women like Ella and their skills to jobs, and at the same time show our town what these women can do.'' (Presentation excerpt)

The Association for the Integration of Women (AIW) since its founding in April 2020, in the peak of coronavirus in Italy, has positioned itself as a new kind of modenese nonprofit. ''What distinguishes us is our asset-based approach that we bring to the migration conversation. We see a huge potential in the talented and hard-working migrant women living in our society and we are working to empower them by providing the tools and resources they need to demonstrate their skill, talent, and potential.''

Since its founding in April 2020, during the peak of quarantine, the AIW has come a long way, distinguishing itself for an agile and community-based approach to development. (Agility you see in the organizations quick pivot during the pandemic from culinary training to mask-masking through the employment of migrant women who were seamstresses in their home countries). The latest recognition came last Monday the 18th of January from the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), as the organization was pronounced one of three winners of the Youth Leadership and Innovation Award, a new prize recognizing the role of youth led projects as core actors of development.

Out of 1000 applicants, 9 finalists were selected for their work in three priority areas of investment: skilling migrants for development, shaping narratives on migration, and leveraging technology to empower migrants. Each were assigned mentors and given one month to prepare a 4-minute pitch on the opening day of the 13th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). Judges from Microsoft, UNICEF, IOM, UNMGCY, as well as government representatives from Tunisia, the UAE, and Switzerland were asked to score based on track record of impact, potential for replication, return on investment, and originality and creativity. Youth pitches took place on the opening day of the GFMD, and starting them off, Caroline Caporossi, 27-year old founder of AIW.

''My name is Caroline, great granddaughter of Rosa and Salvatore, Italian immigrants who arrived in New York in 1902. I grew up in a migrant household, my holidays spent gathered around the table where generations of women were cooking Italian recipes re-written over time''

After all finalists had pitched, three winners were selected, and the AIW was pronounced the winner in the category ''skilling migrants for employment,'' winning 8,000 USD to launch its model. "This funding will be put towards the opening of a unique food-based integration model and social business called Roots that we are launching in 2021." As it scales up to launch, the AIW is hoping to align with additional partners in the private and public sector to meet universal development priorities associated with migration (1) Increase employment of migrant women (2) Drive migrant entrepreneurship (3) Shape positive narratives on migration to reduce xenophobia and (4) Model multistakeholder partnerships for building back better after the pandemic.

To get in touch with the AIW you can email AIW's founder, Caroline email or visit the website: and social media handles @weareaiw

#unmgcy #youth4migration #youthleadershipandinnovationaward


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