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 Nixon Chege

Part of the Young African Leaders Initiative program is an online platform, YALI Network, which offers free online leadership development courses to young Africans.

The YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa also has an online platform, U-Learn, offering courses to young Africans to help them sharpen their skills.

17-year-old Nixon Chege tells his story about how YALI online courses helped him get opportunities he never dreamed of!


Before the YALI Network course on Effective Communication for Healthy Outcomes, which I did in February 2017, the only experience I had in terms of giving speeches was what I saw in other people on TV and YouTube.


The hype around former President Obama’s visit to Kenya was so much that I learned about YALI but I didn’t pay much attention until sometime in 2017, when I opened an account on the YALI Network and started taking the Effective Communications course.


I used the knowledge I got from the first part of this course to win an essay competition by a UN docket called Trust for Sustainable Living (TSL), a competition dubbed "How we can beat climate change by 2030".


I was one of the two people representing East and Central Africa in a conference held in Oxford, Britain, featuring more than 86 countries. I presented really well due to the lessons I learned from the YALI course and after the event, I was chosen to be one of the four Global Ambassadors representing Climate Change and The TSL Cause. I was the only African in the group, and was asked to give a maiden speech a day after the competitions.


Giving a speech to hundreds of people on a difficult topic of climate change at such a historic venue (the National Museum of Natural History, the same hall where Charles Darwin defended the theory of evolution) was scary enough. I knew that I had to perfect my speech delivery skills and the only place I knew would offer good advice for such was the YALI Network. This pushed me to use an entire evening to finish my Effective Communications course in preparation for my great day. Thanks to the confidence I got from this course, I delivered the speech the next day and it was so successful that I was invited to talk to students of The Holy Family Catholic High School in Yorkshire! This little boy from Kenya getting international recognition all because he had a dream and has landed on the right platform to build his confidence to follow that dream.


I look back at the great opportunities I have had ever since I made the decision to go online and take up free courses on YALI Network, and I can only say that the step I took to take up these courses has opened doors I never imagined before.


I am now doing a course on Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business, and I can’t wait to see the opportunities the course will bring my way. I want to commercialize what I am doing now, and this course is a stepping-stone.


Furthermore, I believe the knowledge gained from the YALI Online courses was crucial to my admission to the African Leadership Academy in September 2018!


Want to hear more from Nixon about his leadership journey? Reach him on

Friday, 22 June 2018, 4:58 AM