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 Kakel Mbumb, Democratic Republic of Congo (Cohort 6)
Even though my professional background is in Computer Technology, I have a strong passion towards business and entrepreneurship, for this, I have taken a number of short certified courses to gain a clearer understanding of the field.
Over the years, I have had my hands in entrepreneurship and agribusiness engagements with the youth with a desire to change the lives of many young people in my country. I have served as a Co-founder and Coordinator of Agriprocessing and Pastoral Cooperative of Young Congolese (CAAPJECO), an organization that gives practical aid and advice to young farmers.
I also run a project, Solidarity Network of Young Congolese Entrepreneurs (RESOJEC) that supports aspiring and established entrepreneurs by facilitating coaching, mentoring, business registration, and access to financing.
Looking at what I do today, the YALI RLC EA program was a turning point in my life. I am simply replicating the model of the Center, which is big on offering skills, resources and networking opportunities for young leaders. Had I not gone through the Center, I am sure I wouldn’t be playing in the league I play today.
I am forever grateful to my friend who encouraged me to apply and I was accepted to cohort 6. I left the Center a more confident leader, with knowledge on pitching and where to look for opportunities to grow. It was just amazing how the program centers on the person to transform you from inside so that you never find yourself going back to do things the same way. You get to the Center and a fire is ignited in you to go all out to transform our dear continent. This is Africa class gives you a lot of emotions and you are angry about the perception of Africa, but passionate about your role in changing that. As an entrepreneur, the Design Thinking course becomes a game changer. You learn how to make outstanding and powerful pitches and practice that with the design challenges presented by business organizations to the participants.
I had a “wow” moment while at the Center, when I collaborated with my fellow participants from Kenya to form a regional youth-centered project, Mashinani Hub. This hub incubates the youth from the rural DR Congo and Kenya, and we offer entrepreneurship and design thinking to enable the youth living in the marginalized and rural areas be innovative and disruptive to solve their challenges. We also link participants with mentors that help them follow their goals. Our core drive is to avail and link the youth to opportunities through provision of free internet and business training.
The hub is the definition of my transformed self. Before YALI, I thought my services were needed in DRC. I was just passionate about my country. I was focused on solving DRCs problems. Going through YALI, I actually was mad at myself for harboring such a limited world view. Today I am working to transform the lives of young entrepreneurs in the East African region, and Mashinani Hub will soon be Africa wide. That is what YALI does to you!
Apart from the birth of Mashinani Hub while at the Center, I returned home to redesign the business model for RESOJEC, applied the pitching and networking skills I got from the Center, and today the project is in 14 counties across DRC, up from just two before my time at the Center.
When I look through the future lens of the RESOJEC network and now the Mashinani Hub, I see an entry point to opportunities of investment for the many local and foreign investors, and reduction in the rate of unemployment among the youth all over Africa
YALI fueled me to run my race, the race of amplifying impact in the lives of young people. I smile at the many independent thinkers and entrepreneurs I have guided to shine. I see a reborn Africa, and I will continue to do whatever I can to propel greatness and eliminate poverty in Africa.
Incase you want to reach out to him, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.