What problem are you trying to solve?
1. High (youth) unemployment rate. More than a billion people live in Africa. Half of them are younger than 25 years. At least 30% of African youth living south of the Sahara are unemployed. (Un-)employment is not only measured by having a job or not, it is also very important to look at a decent level of income and quality of employment. A staggering 70% of the youth in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 was working and living in extreme or moderate poverty, earning less than $3.10 per day. In the current refugee crisis, we see reflected that building a better future in one’s own country is a condition for prosperity and well-being, on individual and (inter)national levels.
2. A lack of efficient and affordable vocational training. Only 6% of total secondary enrolment comes from technical and vocational programmes. African governments spend only about 2 to 6% of their educational budgets on technical and vocational skills development.
What is your solution to this problem?
With our franchise business model of delivering an integral programme for youth unemployment, YA tackles the major challenges faced by most developing countries:
1. High youth unemployment rate: Young people need hard and soft skills to become Ambassadors for Change in their own societies. YA provides them with vocational training to give them the skills of the hands, Life Skills to give them the skills of the heart and minds and Entrepreneurship Training to give them the possibility to start their own business.
2. Inefficient, expensive vocational training. Our franchise business model ensures: a) financial sustainability of our training locations, b) opportunities for on-the-job exposure to students, c) availability of local entrepreneurial role models and d) participation of YA training locations in the local economy.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
The urgency in Africa is high. It’s the continent with the youngest population in the world, with a huge labour potential. If we do not invest in this potential, young people lose their future perspective and countries are severely hampered in their economic growth. The Young Africa method contributes to a future-proof Africa. That is why Young Africa wants to expand to other countries in Southern Africa with more training locations, with one goal: empowering 500.000 disadvantaged young people in Southern Africa. Until 2015, we had six training locations in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia. Now we have nine: one more in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, and two new affiliates (YA Zambia and YA Botswana). In Malawi, we work together with several partners to get the training locations financially self-reliant.