Youth Action Africa begins with a simple premise: who can we most effectively self-empower? In a time of rapid economic development and information, entrepreneurship and innovation are keys to any country's success. Africa is rich in natural and human capital resources, yet its true potential remains unrealized: why are Africa's most hopeful still behind their global counterparts? Without investment in Africa's human capital - its people - the continent will continue to fall behind, leaving its people with fewer options for advancement.
Youth Action Africa, with its CEDCs, introduces a new way forward in line with the Millennium Development goals. Based on a successful pilot initiative launched in South Africa in December of 2008, we aim to nurture and foster entrepreneurship in Africa.
The Computer and Business Development Center is a business incubator type platform that will provide access to a variety of programs geared towards technology, entrepreneurship and implementation of sustainable development projects. We believe that the key to alleviating Africa's myriad crisis is empowering its citizens with information for development and providing them with a platform to transform ideas into projects to be implemented in target sites. Therefore, our center will focus on three main areas that include: literacy, empowerment, and access.
Literacy: Our literacy programs begin with a selection and assessment process to determine the needs of the target population. Our computer curriculum is broken down in three levels: elementary, intermediate and advance. This way, participants are placed in the right classes based on their needs and qualifications. The elementary section is for participants who have never been exposed to computers. The goal upon completion is for participants to become savvy with the computer, uses, terminology and basic applications. Upon completion, participants can get into the intermediate course. This section involves learning the fundamental operations and concepts of the computer which includes learning the MS office suite and other related applications. The advanced section offers computer literacy in a professional setting. Participants will learn about applications used in the office setting as well as the ethical and social responsibilities of using a computer. Participants will also learn basic office secretariat and use of the computer for business. We hope to provide courses in computer maintenance, networking, programming, application and web development in the near future once we can have more resources available to sustain these services.
Empowerment: Empowerment occurs through entrepreneurship. We believe that entrepreneurship provides the opportunity for individuals to recognize opportunities and resources within their immediate surrounding. Our entrepreneurship curriculum is in two levels: basic and advanced models covering topics in Traditional Entrepreneurship, Modern Entrepreneurship and International Entrepreneurship. The goal for this curriculum is to enable Africans to become self sustainable â€“ believing in what they have and making a living with what is around them. We hope to break the ideology of the West being better. You don't need to travel to the West to make it in life but rather you can make it similarly in Africa once you put your mind to it ; everything you need surrounds you.
Access: Access is defined as the means to achieving potential goals. At CEDC we are interested in nurturing micro-entrepreneurs who will grow into big businesses. Starting small minimizes any potential business risk that may arise. We also provide these entrepreneurs with business coaching and mentorship upon launching their ventures. This way, they get the support needed to succeed in their respective businesses.
At our CEDC we will also seek to host a variety of initiatives which include job fairs, job training workshops and networking events for investors and entrepreneurs. We also plan to host business plan competitions where we provide small grants of no more than $100 USD for qualifying businesses. Qualifiers would be opportune to join our advance level entrepreneurship course where they can get additional funding for their businesses through our microfinance program.
At maturity of our program, we will create a technology center for computer repairs and maintenance as an after school program for high school students. They will learn to repair and maintain computers. Once we can guarantee more computer donations, we hope to offer incentives such as giving computers to families whose kids are volunteering at our technology center. Our center will also be open to registered members of the public who wish to use the computer and/or the internet.
We aim to make access to information a necessity and not a luxury. For Africa to achieve development, its citizens must be part of the process. And to empower these citizens to be engaged in the development of Africa, we must give them full access to vital information.
The success of the program will improve community education and expand economic opportunity with a goal to ensure that it serves as a pathway out of poverty for community members and help people connect to the labor market. Our program will also create education opportunities for youths and the community to ensure that youths are more prepared for college and careers. We will reduce the barriers to employment by organizing conferences and workshops that train participants on professional development and networking as well as career fares that seek to connect talent/skills to industries. YAA shall focus in areas that promote innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to reduce persistent poverty in multiple target communities through this platform.