An Ode to our Resilient Change Makers in Africa

Jun 5, 2023

Imagine being taught at school in a language that you are not familiar with. Imagine having to struggle to first understand the medium of instruction before grasping the concepts being taught. Arduous, right? Unfortunately, more than four decades ago, this was the case for a majority of black school children in South Africa. Under apartheid South Africa, Afrikaans, an uncommon language among the black community, was introduced as the medium of instruction in black schools. Displeased with this decree, approximately 20,000 students hit the streets of Soweto to protest, where more than 500 were killed. (SABC News) 

To remember the lives lost and better appreciate the accomplishments of children in Africa, we now celebrate Day of the African Child annually on June 16. It appreciates the resilience of African children in the face of the road blocks they face. It is a day set aside to ensure that every child is presented with an opportunity to reach their full potential. 

On this day, Asante Africa celebrates the exceptional impact of youth in East Africa. From actively participating in decision-making processes to ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities and access to resources; from fostering entrepreneurship to hatching plans to curb environmental challenges, East African youth have morphed from young people with limited opportunities to leaders in various crucial areas both in their individual countries and across borders. 

Drivers of Climate Action

Many youth in East Africa are taking advantage of the climate education content in our training programs to do marvelous things. These young people are transferring the knowledge into inventions and solutions that could help solve some climate-related issues in Africa. 

One of the challenges plaguing Northern Kenya is drought and access to potable water. To help curb this, Margaret and Roina, Asante Africa club leaders from Wamba Girls’ Secondary School, Kenya, invented a water purification and desalination system. This innovation won them first place at the Kenya Science Congress National Competition which was held at the State House. Watch the girls demonstrate the functionality of their invention by clicking here.   

In Uganda, Isaiah, an Asante Africa alumnus, together with his friends, came up with an alternative to create slow and fast-burning charcoal using farm waste byproducts.

This was not only an initiative to reduce deforestation, but to also support their mothers and as a business venture. 

Youth Governance

A number of Asante Africa alumni, through quality education and empowerment, have found themselves in decision-making positions across the globe. As leaders, they are also doing their best at positively transforming their respective communities.

Rose, a single mother in Kenya, rose from being a janitor to a curriculum developer. In 2021, Rose joined the first cohort of Asante Africa’s digital apprenticeship initiative. Rose had a flair for IT, hence was enrolled by Asante Africa as a full-time digital apprentice.

She graduated with certificates in IT Support by Google, after which she secured a job with an education technology company as the head of curriculum development. 

Asha, from Tanzania, has a tenacious spirit with a hunger for roles in governance.  She is currently serving as an executive member of the Tanzanian Youth Parliament, where she is actively participating in decision-making processes. Asha is an alumna of Asante Africa’s Youth Livelihood Program.

Entrepreneurial Minds

Not only are alumni and students of Asante Africa confident and skillful, but they are also business-oriented. A number of them are actively involved in creating local businesses to meet local needs, while making money doing so.  

For instance, a team of young women, a majority of whom dropped out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic, secured a microloan to grow a piggery business which is still thriving. These young women from Uganda, were trained in an Asante Africa Community Learning Group.

Moreover, Paul, a determined youth from Uganda, after research, seedling experiments, and consultations, launched an indigenous approach to increasing farm yield. The proceeds from this business support Paul’s education. 

Jacob, a 17-year-old Kenyan, did not allow his background to affect his quest for education. Jacob learned about entrepreneurship at Asante Africa’s Youth Livelihood Program to hone his business management skills. With this skill set, Jacob started a cost-effective detergent business in 2022, aimed at supporting his education, as well as his guardian and siblings. Jacob’s business continues to grow through the Enterprise Challenge, where he learnt marketing skills. 

Bridging the Gap

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation…” – Nelson Mandela

Indeed, it is through education that the hopeless can become hopeful. There are numerous barriers to education in East Africa that have shortened dreams of many youth. Fortunately, through the Bridge the Gap course at Asante Africa, many East African youth have realized their ambitions. 

Moureen, an 18-year-old Tanzanian, came from a family of more than 30 children. Living in extreme poverty, the family has little to spend on educating their children. Moureen’s dream is to become a doctor and through a scholarship granted by Asante Africa, she is on her way to realizing that dream. Through this scholarship program, Moureen is already paying it forward by sharing educational learning materials with her friends so they can all achieve a common goal. 

Entrepreneurship Program

Just like Moreen, Miriam, a young Ugandan, nearly gave up on schooling  when the second wave of COVID-19 forced the country into a lockdown. However, when she learnt that Asante Africa had formed a Community Learning Group for the youth in her community, Miriam picked her books again!

Having benefited from the Program, Miriam persuaded her head teacher, when school resumed, to incorporate Asante Africa’s Youth Livelihood Program into their curriculum. Today, the Mityana Secondary School’s Youth Livelihood Program has 60 members, where knowledge sharing and efforts to find solutions to local problems thrive; thanks to Miriam’s selfless spirit.   

Inclusive Voice and Choice

Being empowered boosts confidence and goes a long way in facilitating one’s dreams. Through empowerment, people get the right support they need to grow. Asante Africa has done a lot in granting youth in East Africa a voice and a choice through the Wezesha Vijana Program.  One person who has benefited from this program is Naseiku.

Through tribulation, she found strength! Naseiku’s story is about a young girl from Kenya who was betrothed to an older man by her father. To achieve her dream, Naseiku fled from home and slept in a bush for three days despite the dangers of wild animals.

“On Monday morning, I walked back to school and I have never looked back since then. At the moment, I live with my mother in Maralal town. Aside from my school work, I also do menial work on weekends to help my mother support my siblings since I am the first born in our family.” – Naseiku

A number of Africans have joined hands in the quest to achieve gender equality, as well as break the cycle of poverty in Africa and Samuel is one of them. Samuel is a primary school student in Kenya and a digital champion in his school’s Wezesha Vijana Program.

Intrigued by the endless possibilities that technology offers, Samuel has taken it upon himself to train his female classmates on using digital gadgets to access information and learning materials among other things. His efforts have gone a long way in helping bridge the digital divide for all of his classmates.  


These inspiring young individuals and many more are working towards building an inclusive society, ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities and access to resources. On this special day, we recognize and applaud the remarkable contributions of East African youth in shaping a better future for all.

WRITTEN BY: Halisatu Aziz 

To learn more about these incredible youth, read our impact report! 

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