University of South Africa

Young African Leaders Initiative 4 Change (Y4C)

Youth development

Providing transformational leadership development programs aimed at inspiring young African leaders to seek solutions for challenges facing the continent.

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Lead Organization

University of South Africa

Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Africa’s youth population is the largest in the world comprising 70% of its young people under the age of 30. Without adequate support, these young people could find themselves perpetuating Africa’s underdevelopment into the future. The resulting frustration is likely to lead young people to crime and violence causing political instability for the continent.Over the last four years Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI Africa) has successfully provided transformational leadership development experiences to 14,000+ young leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa. YALI Africa has the capacity and potential of forming a critical mass of innovative youth and problem solvers who together can enact large-scale change across the continent. Through alumni, we are catalyzing grass-roots, African grown solutions to problems identified by their communities. YALI Africa has reach into rural areas, impacting marginalized populations to stimulate grassroots change.

Problem Statement

Africa is quickly becoming home to the world’s largest number of young people and this has potential for great success or insurmountable challenges. Sub-Saharan Africa's current population is expected to double within the next 35 years and its under-18 population to increase to almost one billion. The current youth population comprises 70% of under 30’s. This growing youth population has implications for the future of the continent, and the world. Population growth which is not accompanied by economic growth is fertile ground for socioeconomic challenges of the future. Social stability defined by the absence of war and violence as well as long-term economic growth are an absolute necessity to realize the potential of this burgeoning youth population.The YALI Africa youth leadership development program’s ability to inspire confidence in young people to confront these challenges is critical to this situation. The model is best suited as it ignites the energy to generate multiple solutions. The emphasis on post-training alumni engagement presents more opportunities for YALI alumni to further ignite energy amongst other young people in their communities resulting in a multiplier effect. The current first-generation impact per YALI alumni is estimated at over 10 people. Second generation impact will be even greater. This is demonstrated by the demand for the YALI program which has registered over 300 000 applications received from young aspiring leaders who are hungry to access this network of leadership development support. YALI alumni have an established reputation as agents of change

Solution Overview

To address these challenges, YALI Africa recognized that all development takes place in an ecosystem comprising the public, private and civic sectors of society. At their core, the centres are therefore designed to address development barriers within the whole ecosystem by supporting young leaders in all the three sectors bringing them together in ways that encourage cross-sector collaboration and the pooling of knowledge, experience, and resources.To date, YALI Africa has successfully provided transformational experiences to over 14,000 promising young people who are innovative problem-solvers and self-starters. The program helps its alumni form a strong network that accelerates their growth as leaders. Over the duration of the grant, alumni are expected to build new businesses and upscale existing ones, create jobs within their communities, deliver critical social services to marginalized areas, and influence key policy debates in the public domain.YALI Africa will during the implementation of the project, track the number of applications received to monitor program market reach, the number of participants who participate in the program as well as their demographics to ensure inclusion of marginalized and minority communities. Focus will also go to harvesting most significant change stories attributable to the program to monitor progress. This will also include maintaining records of trainings and community engagement activities undertaken by alumni for the program multiplier effect. The impact of the program will be monitored across the full geographical area of implementation. Participants and their immediate communities are expected to experience the programs’ deep and intense impact.

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Project Funders

  • MasterCard Foundation
  • DOW

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