The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by President Barack Obama as an effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. But the question remains; who will empower and lead these young Africans? Who will shape the future of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management? In order to answer these, YALI promotes three models designed to identify and empower leaders, one of which is the development of the YALI East Africa Regional Leadership Center, which was created in July 2014. 

Recently, Simon Kinyanjui, an Asante Africa alumnus and now staff, was selected based on his proven leadership skills, his commitment to personal development, as well as a desire to be a change-maker in Kenya. As a participant, he will engage in leadership training across three tracks of study in a 4-week residential format with a focus on individual and team leadership skills, innovation, creative learning, and communication. His main motivation for applying to the program is to leverage on the platform, and take all his learnings back for the development of his local community and peers. “This program understands the plight of the youths in Africa and acts to empower them and provide avenues through training and providing space for sharing the remedies and way-out to the challenges of our continent.”

From what he learns from the program, he intends to “pay-it-forward.” He is keen on boy-child inclusion and believes that development should not be partial but rather wholesome. His dream is to register a non-profit organization that advocates for the girl/boy child issues on reproductive health and hygiene, gender-based violence, children’s rights, HIV/AIDS and financial literacy.

The YALI East Africa Regional Leadership Center promotes a forward-leaning culture of diversity that invites dreaming and thinking differently to define and realize one’s potential. Its programs are inclusive, embracing future leaders regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, or disability. Selected participants, age 18-35, will be immersing themselves in a 12-week format (3-week residential (on-site at the Center in Nairobi), 8-week virtual (distance learning via technology from the country of a participant’s residence), and a 1-week residential (on-site at the Center in Nairobi) wrap up and presentation session, and will engage in innovative leadership training across three tracks of study: 

  1. Business and Entrepreneurship
  2. Civic Leadership
  3. Public Management

During the program, participants in each track will contribute to an interactive and experiential education through project-based development and achievement, both, individually and in teams. Visit the YALI website for more information.

 Since it opened its doors to the first cohort in July 2015, the center has graduated 1,095 young African leaders who are sparking change and growth in their communities. As a hub across the African continent it is designed to encourage transformational learning and enhanced leadership skills. It represents a philosophy, a forward learning culture of diversity that invites dreaming and thinking differently to define and realize one’s potential. 

Congratulations Simon. Well Deserved!!!

 Simon Kinyanjui is our Girls’ Advancement Program Assistant; Kenya. He is passionate about the policy making process both in public and social sector, youth and women empowerment and economic development. With a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development he envisions to advocate for social justice, inclusion, and empowerment of people’s lives through community mobilization, active participation, and involvement in the socio-economic and political processes.