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 Elie Mwumvaneza Mandela, Rwanda (Cohort 7)
I am a graduate in Pharmaceutical studies from the University of Rwanda and my zeal is in promoting healthy leaving across Africa. When I started out in University, I served in the Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association and Rwanda Village Concept Project, all student-run organizations. I realized from that experience that the young people can do so much to benefit themselves and the society even with very little resources. However, there were still lots of challenges when it came to skills development, few or unavailable opportunities for further growth. In 2015, my colleague Janvier Kabogo (YALI Cohort 4) and I created an online platform called Shared Opportunities that connects young people to tailored opportunities worldwide.
From that point forward, I have been actively involved in initiatives that enable young people to grow to fulfill their potentials such as running capacity building training, organizing conferences, the most significant being the World Healthcare Students Symposium (www.whss2017.com) that brought more than 1500 students in the healthcare field from across the world. I also head the national program of the Hult Prize, which is the world’s biggest student program for social entrepreneurship to ensure that students from Rwandan Universities can get access to practical entrepreneurial skills. When I started working with the Hult Prize, I started with just the University of Rwanda, we are now working with 7 Universities across the country.
Before my admission to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, my focus was on creating as many opportunities and platforms that would enable young people in Rwanda to fulfill their potential. While at Center, my horizon was broadened, and my dreams became bigger. Through the This is Africa class, I realized we have more things in common as young people on this continent than differences. The interactions I had at the Center made me grow a passion for the Content and not to just focus on my country. YALI helped to sharpen my vision, bring more clarity to what I really wanted to do with my life. Having been part of YALI, I have gained the confidence to turn down opportunities that I don’t find in line with what I want to do, something I would have never done before.
In collaboration with fellow alumni of the program in Rwanda, we started Unitia Foundation in 2017. The Foundation’s main goal is to be the bridge that connects young people to resources and skills to enable them to reach their full potential as they transform their communities and countries. We currently support/sponsor initiatives run by youth organizations mainly Health related initiatives.
The Foundation is new, but it is bringing together the experience and work that its co-founders have been doing across different organizations for more than 5 years now. By the turn of a decade, we see this organization across several countries on this continent, playing a huge role in enabling young people to fulfill their potential and transform their communities through their various initiatives.