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Impact Stories & Blogs

Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.

Falecia Massacky, Tanzania (Cohort 11) The beginning of 2016 took me into major career shifts. I had started a new path as an assistant lecturer in economics at Ardhi University in Tanzania officially and I had started Mimi Ni Nani, a social enterprise that invests in African children and youth through leadership development so as to raise a generation of ethical, visionary, innovative and entrepreneurial leaders who will disrupt the status quo.   These tasks required a lot of tact and leadership skills to be effectively executed. I remember one da...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:43 PM

By Owen Okoko, Republic of Congo (Cohort 5) I am born to parents who are very dedicated to education. Out of their dedication, I grew up knowing that going to school is one of the steps to build a better society. I thus worked hard in school and earned a degree from Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville and a transport pilot license in Brussels. I have worked as an electronics technician, ground controller at the airport, and as a junior pilot for a national airline. In mid-2012 I got a dream offer from a national airline in Congo for a pilot training and a job opportunity at the end. I ...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:40 PM

By Darlene Keza, Burundi (Cohort 17) I never thought I could be unemployed for a long time after my university graduation. Like many students in my country, I used to think I was going to have a prestigious job until I applied more than 20 times without any success. I was disillusioned and discouraged. In fact, I wasn't really aware of the reality of unemployment in my country. Sometimes, we need to get into a specific situation to know how painful it is.   I discovered during this time how many young people in Burundi were discouraged from being unemployed. Some had resorted to drug and ...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:38 PM

By Priscilla Ruzibuka, Rwanda (Cohort 11) By the time I joined the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa for the life-changing leadership training, I was already running a children’s clothing brand Ki-pepeo (the Swahili word for butterfly.). You’d wonder why I chose butterflies; they start as ugly caterpillars that go through lots of life transformation to become beautiful and rare creatures! This is how I saw my business transform the lives of the women I work with and all the others that will join us in the years to come, impacting their lives beautifully and permanently. The YA...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:35 PM

By Pascal Mulindwa Bukuru, DRC (Cohort 2) Since a young age, I have been passionate about youth and how they can be change makers in their communities. I have been involved in coaching them on how to start, grow and scale social ventures. I started the Jenga Miradi Hub startup to promote this passion. I also worked with the German-funded Social Innovation Academy in Uganda, supporting the team to design, test and iterate the incubation model that they use. In addition to being a trainer of the academy’s mentors, I have supported 25 of their projects in the ideation process, business/finan...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:34 PM

By Joseph Ngugi Nyambura, Kenya (Cohort 7) Being a professional psychologist, I started by interning with Kenya Probation Services at Milimani High Court, Nairobi. I quit later to follow my desire of promoting entrepreneurial culture among youth as a tool to eradicate unemployment in Kenya. This desire was given a big boost by my training at the YALI RLC East Africa. I have also been so fortunate as to attend the Mandela Washington Fellowship and reap the full benefits of the larger YALI initiative. I am the founder and CEO of Cleanstar Limited, a soap manufacturing company. We manufacture...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:29 PM

Marius Gnalis-Rafai Central Africa Republic (Cohort 3) The history of Be-Africa Innovation Lab (Bailab) cannot be told without mentioning the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa. In 2007, I was appointed as Loan & Risk Analyst at the Commercial Bank Centrafrique (CBCA). During my four years with the bank, I reviewed thousands of loans requests, interacted with small and medium business owners and felt their motivations, their frustrations and their experiences. Through these interactions, I came to realize that informal management without any record keeping is one of the bigges...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:27 PM

By Ahumuza Ignatius, Uganda (Cohort 14) Born in a large family of 18 children in a small poverty-ridden village in Masindi, Uganda, my family depended on peasant farming for our livelihood. This automatically made my siblings and me farmers by birth, leaving us with no other career choices.   This however turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Backed by my past experiences as a son of a peasant farmer, I was inspired to start the Art Planet Academy in 2015 when I was just 19 years old. By then, the Academy was simply an initiative that promoted agriculture within educational institution...

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Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:22 PM

By Joan Kanja (Kenya, Cohort 3)   My journey with the Center began on November 16th, 2015 when I enrolled as part of the third cohort. My experience at the Center was inspiring, and both humbling and exciting to know that I had been selected from almost 2,000 applicants. Meeting other like-minded young leaders from 14 countries across the region was one of the best parts of the program. Hearing the great things young people were doing in their communities to bring about social change renewed my faith in our generation and the future of our continent. The Center gave us an opportunity to b...

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017, 11:34 AM

By Justine Nyaruri Abuga (Kenya, Cohort 6) Growing up I saw how my mother struggled to provide for us, and being from a humble background, she would cook using paraffin or firewood, and the smoke had debilitating effects on her health. As I grew older I grappled with the question of how to make it easier for my mother to prepare meals without harming her health. Upon graduating from university I set up the Ecobora Company which focuses on making fuel out of sawdust. Our solutions at the initial stages of setting up Ecobora were very simple: we would collect sawdust and mix it with clay soil...

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017, 11:31 AM