Young Africa is convinced that young people naturally embrace change and development, have a longing to belong to a force or cause, have a deep need for information and knowledge, look for happiness and fulfilment. This is why we believe that harnessing the abundant energy and playfulness of youth, to be constructive, is the most sensible investment for a better world. Invest in youth and they become Ambassadors for Change in their society.
Integral Youth Development
Young Africa understands that for a young person to reach their full potential, all aspects of their personality and talents need to be nurtured. That is why Young Africa aims to empower young people with skills of the hands to make them self-reliant, skills of the heart and mind to live with dignity, skills of the soul to live with purpose.
Read more about our Integral Approach to Youth Development.
“If it is to be, it is up to me” These ten two letter words highlight our belief in each one of us taking responsibility for the change we’d like to see. This is at the core of our model and is reinforced through daily assembly pep talks and participation in student and staff fora, so that this value reaches students and staff at all levels. It results in our training centres being financially, organizationally and institutionally independent after 5 years.
Our Innovative Franchise Model
The uniqueness of YA’s employability programming is in its highly innovative and sustainable franchise business model. Our franchise model enables us to harness local resources for youth empowerment. Every YA centre is set up as a social enterprise which provides skills training through local entrepreneurs, who assume the responsibility to train young people to be entrepreneurs or to be skilled enough to be employed by entrepreneurs. In addition to taking responsibility to pass on their artisanal skills to the young people of their communities, local entrepreneurs pay rent for using fully equipped workshops (or land) from YA. Rentals paid by franchisees contribute to the financial and operational self-sustainability of centres. The franchise model therefore offers a cost-effective and efficient solution to youth employability programming in resource constrained Africa where traditional and cost-intensive approaches are generally failing. The YA franchise model ensures (i) financial sustainability of YA centres, (ii) opportunities for on-the-job exposure to trainees, (iii) availability of local entrepreneurial role models, (iv) participation of YA centres in the local economy.
Unotida Huye joined Young Africa as a franchisee in 2011. Her business had a very rocky start. She was not able to attract internal or external customers. This was because she was used to relying on church peers for business when she operated from her home. Young Africa assisted Unotida’s business by purchasing more equipment for the catering department and guaranteeing her catering business from anyone who used Young Africa for workshops and conferences. Young Africa also enrolled Unotida for Improve Your Business Training. After this training, Unotida’s business turned around and she started to be contracted for catering jobs outside Young Africa. With revenue from her clients she was able to contribute to the marketing of the course and student enrollment increased. Today, the catering department trains around 120 students per year.
Unotida enjoys training young people and says “I take pride in training young people because that is the stage they need help in shaping their future”. In the future she intends to participate fully in curriculum review to ensure that the students are adequately trained for the catering world.
From inception, each YA branch is registered in the country it works as a local organisation and legal owner of the centres. Young Africa prepares every centre for handover to local management through capacity building of local managers. As Young Africa scales up to reach new people and places in Southern Africa, the end goal is local training centres run by local management, owned by local bodies. All YA branches form a confederation and are affiliated to founding organisation Young Africa International.
Embedded in Society
All Young Africa centres and programmes are embedded in the society they aim to serve. Through that space, the needs, opportunities and markets that contribute to development are identified and met. Reaching out to the local community through services, activities and events ensures that every Young Africa centre is a familiar hub of resources available to everyone.
Read more about our Community Outreach Program.