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Asante Africa Alumni Stand Out On World Youth Skills Day 2021

Asante Africa students and alumni have been working hard to advance their vocational skills and embrace their entrepreneurial spirit amidst the continued COVID-19 pandemic.  The United Nations’ World Youth Skills Day on July 15th will honor all of the driven young people around the globe for their persistence and dedication to furthering their education and pursuing employment despite a shortage of job opportunities.  

The UN reports that during the pandemic, “nearly 70% of the world’s learners [have been] affected by school closures.”  While this presented additional hardship and challenges to East African youth, they still seized opportunities to learn.  Events including Asante Africa’s 2020 LEI Annual Summit provided lessons on ‘Digital Literacy’ in order to expand opportunities for youth who were sheltering during the pandemic. These Asante Africa program participants demonstrated ingenuity and tenacity by starting local, small-scale businesses to support their families and help ease difficulties experienced by their communities during the pandemic. 

Ambitious Youth Helping Their Communities

In Kenya, Halima (left) and Sara (right) produced sanitation supplies to combat COVID-19 in their villages. As LEI Program alumni, these youth used their budgeting skills to purchase materials to start their own small-scale businesses. Halima made hand soap for her community at a subsidized cost, while Sarah mobilized her family members and friends to raise funds to purchase sanitation supplies for community members who were in need.

halima kenya skilled entreprenuer
Sara, an entreprenuer

LEI Program alumni and sisters, Noeline and Sylvia, started a small-scale business when schools in Uganda closed during the pandemic. Noeline and Sylvia convinced their father to invest their unused school fees into a business raising and selling chickens and pigs. They shared their entrepreneurial knowledge with their parents by teaching them about budgeting, online marketing, and how to increase profits. Their family now runs a successful business that supports their financial needs and benefits the community.

youth in Africa
Noeline and Sylvia with their family.

Zaina, a secondary school student in Tanzania, attended the 2020 LEI Summit where she designed a business plan for farming pawpaw trees. Upon returning home from the Summit, she started her business selling pawpaws, a type of tropical fruit. Zaina serves her community by selling about five pawpaws a week and plans to grow her business by offering the fruit in salad containers for purchase.

Zarina as a young entreprenuer selling watermelon

Unemployment Is A Growing Issue for Youth

The UN estimates that “Prior to the current crisis, young people aged 15-24 were three times more likely than adults to be unemployed,” and this crisis grows as rural communities suffer due to the pandemic. Programs that build vocational skills and encourage entrepreneurial pursuits are desperately needed to assist youth in obtaining employment and creating self-sustaining communities. Asante Africa program participants demonstrate how lessons in leadership and business transform rural communities and we are proud to recognize their efforts on this year’s World Youth Skills Day.  

Written by: Shauna White