Young Africa was founded in the Netherlands in 1998. We are a confederation of independently and locally registered affiliated organisations. Each affiliate runs skills centres, youth (self-) employment programmes and community activities in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. The founding organisation of Young Africa is Young Africa International, based in the Netherlands.
Our mission is to empower young people through skills training for employability and entrepreneurship. Young Africa offers an innovative high impact solution to youth unemployment. It's uniqueness lays in the two innovative concepts: the Franchise Method and the Integral Approach to youth development.
Watch this short video in which our Founders and Executive Directors Dorien Beurskens and Raj A. Joseph explain why we do what we do and how we do it.
Franchise model for organisational and financial sustainability
Within five till eight years after the vocational training departments have been set up, our training centres become financial self-sustainable. Every training centre is set up as a social enterprise, where local entrepreneurs hire a vocational training department, run their business and provide skills training at the same time. 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. Every centre runs an average of 15 vocational training departments. The rents from all these departments cover the operational costs of a training centre. The franchise model therefore offers a cost-effective and efficient solution to youth unemployment.
Jonathan (former student, now franchisee): “I somehow always had a very distinct interest for solar technology, and when I heard of this opportunity over the radio, I jumped for it. It was one of the best decisions of my life because not only have I acquired skills in business development and entrepreneurship, but I have also learned about very important technology which will become more and more prominent in Namibia. Now, I can be a pioneer in solar technology, and also help my fellow youths to be pioneers too.''
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
(v) cost efficient alternative to traditional cost intensive technical and vocational training.
Organisational sustainability is reached in every country we work in, by establishing a local NGO as owner of the Young Africa training centre. We built the capacity of the local team and hand the training centre over to them.
Integral Approach to Youth Development
Young Africa is convinced that, in order for young people to reach their full potential, they have to develop the skills of the hands to make them self-reliant, skills of the heart and mind to live with dignity and skills of the soul to live with purpose. This is why Life Skills, entrepreneurship training and talent development are integrated in all our vocational trainings. The training in entrepreneurship prepares our students to start their own business. Even in countries with a difficult working environment, our students are able to earn a living for themselves and their families. Life skills education covers topics such as gender equality, ‘responsible sexual behaviour’, HIV/AIDS awareness, personal growth & empowerment, goal setting, social responsibility, peace & justice and leadership. Young people who learn what the consequences of their behaviour may be, learn how to avoid life threatening choices.
Tafadzwa: “After studying at Young Africa I have gained an interest in business studies. Apart from the studying and skills of the hand, we also gained life skills.
This has been very good for me. I have realised the value of working hard to be successful.”
Read more about who we are, what we do and where we work.