-By Allyson Haug, Director, Asante Africa Foundation

Originally, I set out to write a post for Asante Africa Foundation’s Leadership and Entrepreneur Incubator (LEI) program that would be factual, informative and objective. I wanted the numbers and statistics to tell the story of this successful program. I wanted to write a piece that would satisfy our desire for data, but at the same time compel readers to support LEI with both their efforts AND their donations.

I started making notes, asking myself what I knew about Sub-Saharan Africa, about Asante Africa, the LEI program. How much did I know about East African youth? Not exactly an empirical authority on these areas, a statistic-heavy blog post seemed out of reach for me. And if I did source the numbers and statistics, I wondered if I would risk leaving out the human story — the story of young graduates in rural East Africa, hungry for skills and mentoring, excited and focused on their futures. The story of LEI provided the opportunity for youth to change their lives and their communities forever.

Sub-Saharan Africa is young

Demographers predict that by 2020 more than 50% of the population will be between the ages of 15–29 years old. Sub-Saharan African countries are largely considered to struggle greatly with issues of security, food security, poverty and unemployment. East African countries have an unemployment rate of approximately 12%. But here is an interesting fact: Africa not only has the fastest growing populations, but the continent also has the fastest growing economies.

Asante Africa Foundation

Youngest, biggest and fastest

These definitive characteristics are what the Asante Africa team had in mind when they launched the Leadership Entrepreneur Incubator (LEI). LEI brings together high school graduates from remote, under-resourced areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to engage in a dynamic week-long incubator. LEI is seven days of: job-readiness skills, career-mentorship and important leadership training to take students’ experience beyond the classroom and into the work place. LEI alumni are not only more employable, but they ensure those following in their footsteps are, too. Alumni pay it forward and mentor those coming into LEI. A compelling evidence of this is highlighted in Asante Africa 5 year LEI outcome Report. The data clearly shows that students who learned with training, application, practice and then teaching it to others, had a 90% success rate, whereas youth that were only given training had 10%, and, those who were taught with hands in application had 55%. Not only this, 79% of the youth work in areas of their interest. (To view or download a copy of the report, click here)

As I write this, I think about my own high school graduation. I think of how unsure I was of my future. How I would have benefited tremendously from an LEI program. How I could have been more prepared for university. How I lacked the confidence to to enter the workforce. But now with two university degrees under my belt and midway through my career, I DO have the chance to participate in LEI, in my way. I CAN change the future for a high school graduate and I can do it by supporting Asante Africa Foundation.

Please join me today and make a donation to Asante Africa Foundation’s LEI Campaign to raise $25,000. And what’s better every dollar is matched 1:1, until August’31. $25,000 may not seem like a large fundraising target, but knowing what I know about Asante Africa this $25,000 will go a long long way in changing the future for East African youth.

Asante Sana!

#youthofthefuture #theyarethenext #africayouth #changemakers

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