Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
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/financial modeling, customer development and investor readiness. Currently, I remotely support the academy mentors to develop the skills and mindsets that help them to manage, sustain and evaluate the business incubation.
My encounter with YALI would change my dreams and passion! Not completely change, but rather propelling them to a whole new level. The experience, the robust curriculum that tackles important skills and tools that one needs in order to succeed in their change-making and leadership journey, the active learning and learner-centered approach used by the center, and the networking with like-minded young people from different countries is just invaluable.
With 14 nationalities in the class, we had some brilliant minds of young African leaders bring in their transformational stories, perspectives and heated intellectual debates and critiques that the RLC's facilitators leveraged so well to prepare us for leadership in the different contexts of our countries. I learned the value of radical but constructive feedback, emotional intelligence for leadership and management of team dynamics, and human-centered design amongst many other important tools. The training at the Center built my project management skills, the process of crafting ideas, and my entrepreneurial zeal.
After the YALI training, I realized that I have an opportunity to contribute to reduce youth unemployment rates in DR Congo and Africa at large. Two years down the line, I have finally finished the research that I started while at the Center and I have just launched the Ajira Academy.
The Ajira Academy www.ajiraacademy.com is an early-stage startup contributing to solving the youth unemployment challenge through a one year hands-on postgraduate career preparation program that aims to equip young graduates with employability and career readiness skills. We basically package them to become highly effective, adaptable and productive employees. The program consists of: (a) year-long internship contract, (b) four intensive boot camps taking place in four different East African countries every three months, (c) quarterly robust feedback from the internship host organization, and (d) career/life coaching, among other benefits. Graduates finishing our program are therefore better placed not just to compete in today's demanding job market but also to positively impact the organizations that employ them because they embody skills, experience, values and virtues that pushes them to pursue excellence in their chosen career.
Up to now, we have trained 50 young people in a curriculum testing program. We are now satisfied that the curriculum is working and will roll out “the Ajira Experience” in April 2018. We will have cohorts of 75-100 participants. Applications open from November 27th 2017 to March 10th 2018. At the moment we are targeting applicants from DRC, Uganda, Rwanda & Kenya but we shall expand to other African countries in subsequent cohorts. To apply, visit our website www.ajiraacademy.com from 27th November and click on the APPLY button. We can be reached on email: email@example.com
We are currently looking for partners in this work to ensure that DR Congo is changed for good.
Personally, I forever remain grateful for the opportunity to learn at the YALI RLC EA and the continued support the Center and its partners extend to the alumni.