Getting to know me!
Getting to know me!
My name is Joao Felipe Scarpelini, I’m a 24-year-old social entrepreneur, but as a true globetrotter, have worked in over 40 countries so far, developing a range of youth-related development projects.
I was involved in volunteering since the age of 7, but in fact it was only after visiting a slum area in Santos city for the first time at the age of 13 that my life has completely changed. That visit appealed to me so much that I felt I needed to do something, I needed to change that, but at the time I was told I would have to wait until I was old enough to be able to help somehow. I was told that with my age and no higher education I couldn’t do much for these people.
I decided not to wait any longer and I started with some friends an organisation dedicated to share stories of young leaders, who were already transforming their communities, trying to inspire others to make a difference. I also started with something really small, basically sharing the few skills and knowledge I had at that time. I started teaching English, IT and basic life skills for young people of my age. It didn’t take me too long to fall in love with the work and to start dedicating a huge amount of my time to the community. It was never really planned but I started working in different slum areas, schools and youth groups in the city of Santos and Sao Paulo working on different issues such as sexuality, HIV/Aids, nutrition, basic health care, IT, professional skills, media, etc. My main goal was to engage young people like me and support them to develop small actions to improve their own lives.
It was also at this time that I realised there was a real need for more platforms that would allow young people to take part in decision making. The problems of the city were affecting also the young people; therefore it was only clear to me that young people needed to be part of the solution too. After lots of work in lobbying the local government and different stakeholders in the community I helped founding the Municipal Youth Commission in the city of Santos – a platform that allows young people to advice on the youth polices and strategies of the city. Realising the impact and the power of those platforms, I decided to work even harder to create more of those spaces and opportunities in as many places as possible.
Since that I have never really stopped and I have been working as an activist on different campaigns, causes and in various organizations. I’ve been in the forefront process of recognizing youth participation within the UN System since 2004.
From July 2002 until August 2010 I’ve worked for Peace Child International (www.peacechild.org) first in Brazil – later (August 2005) at its headquarters in England, where for 5 years I worked as the Institutional Development Manager and Special Projects Coordinator. Since 2008 I sit in two Advisory Committees for the UN-HABITAT – United Nations Human Settlements Programme, advising the agency on its youth mainstreaming strategy and on the management of the UN-HABITAT Urban Youth Fund, a fund financing and championing youth-led development worldwide.
Currently I’m consulting for UNICEF Zambia, working in a program called Unite 4 Climate Zambia which trains young people (13 to 17 years old) to design, implement and manage climate related projects in their communities.
I’m also a member of YouAct – European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights. And work as a correspondent on youth issues for different media outlets and publications including the World Bank’s Youthink initiative.