Future Forward Team's blog

How Yoga has Become a Force for Social Inclusion in Kenya

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By Meera Patel, Operations Associate at Ashoka UK. You can follow Meera on Twitter. Keep an eye out for more within this series by following Ashoka UK and Virgin Unite on Twitter, using the #AfricaYouthFwd hashtag. 
On December 30th 2007, President Mwai Kibaki was once again sworn in as President of Kenya, despite the claims to victory of his rival: Raila Odinga.

Storify: How Innovators are Creating Solutions to Youth Employment in Africa

Young people are striving to create solutions to the soaring rates of youth unemployment in Africa and to move #Africayouthfwd. Find out what the people creating solutions have to say from their gathering in Cape town, South Africa.

Africa's Digital Revolution with Youth at the Helm: The Source of Opportunity

Editor's Note: This article was writen by Meera Patel, Operations Associate at Ashoka UK and first appeared on Virgin.com
Just over 20 years ago, Robert Kaplan wrote a stark warning about the mounting strategic danger posed by an anarchic, uncontrollable, “increasing lawlessness” in West Africa.

How Innovative Young Africans Are Fixing A Broken Education System

Illiteracy rates in West Africa were the highest in the world in 2009, but as recently as 2013 the World Bank reported that things were turning around. Across the region, many more children, especially girls, were enrolling in primary school.

For Youth, By Youth: Creating Jobs, Sustainability And A Future Vision For Kenya

Simeon Ogonda’s vision for Kenyan youth is ambitious. He wants to transform young people from job seekers into job creators who build and support sustainable and transparent enterprises.

How 5 Creative Young People Are Addressing Youth Employment In Africa

Announcing! Five winning ideas for addressing employment in Africa—social entrepreneurship fixes for youth, by youth—from the MasterCard Foundation and Ashoka's Future Forward partnership.

Lessons from Young Innovators Addressing Employment in Africa: Two-part Media Event

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“There is a great human potential, human capital and great natural resources in Africa, but for me, Africa’s greatest assets are the young people,” said United Nations Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi in 2013. Alhendawi is right. Today, there are nearly 300 million people between ages 10 and 24 in sub-Saharan Africa—and there will be nearly twice as many young people in the region by mid-century.

How To Launch A Company With $10

“As an entrepreneur, there is the tendency to think that money is what gets things done,” said Olumide Adeleye, the founder of the Twim Academy in Ibadan, Nigeria, a school of media and creative arts. He has a different take on what’s required when starting a business—he launched his as a first-year college student, with $10.

From Classroom To The Real World: How Young People In Africa Can Unlock Limitless Opportunities

“Knowledge is not only in the books — youth have many skills and talents that we should grow and expand in the real world,” he said. “People are already trying to make ends meet, so a practical education can help them survive, as well as prepare for their future.”

RLabs, Reminding Young People: Remember, Create Value First, You Can Earn Some Money Through That

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One of RLabs most successful innovations are two Youth Cafes that look like “a hybrid of an Apple store and a Starbucks, with a little bit of ‘Googlifying’ of our space,” said RLabs founder Marlon Parker. "We have writing on the walls, artificial turf in the middle of our space, some shapes—some crazy, outrageous stuff." This appearance is no accident, he notes.

Webinar: Shattering Myths and Talking Trends in Youth Employment Innovations

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Tune in to our G+ Hangout on November 4th at 8:00pm to discuss trends and myths in innovation for youth employment. Across Africa, as in the rest of the world, a faster pace in the workplace signals a drive towards a more creative talent pool that is not afraid to dabble in intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. Many youth employment solutions incorporate skills training to unlock opportunities for the youth population.

On Voice of America: Discussing Solutions to Youth Unemployment with Two Social Entrepreneurs

Voice of America's Jackson Mvunganyi sat down with Esther Eshiet and Marlon Parker, two Ashoka Fellows who are working to solve youth employment in Africa as part of the Ashoka’s Future Forward program, a partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. The conversation explored innovative solutions to youth employment in Calabar, Nigeria and in South Africa.

Webinar: How can Young Africans be Changemakers in the Workplace of the 21st century?

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Tune in to our G+ Hangout on October 9th at 12:30pm to discuss developing young leaders and changemakers in Africa. In the 21st century, employment, the workplace and the skill-sets that are needed to thrive are constantly changing.

Africa Yoga Project: Inspiring Youth to Achieve Greatness

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Editors's Note: This article was written by Paige Elenson. Elenson is the Executive Director of Africa Yoga Project (AYP), a movement that empowers the youth through the transformative power of yoga. A native New Yorker and former Wall Street consultant, she has been teaching yoga for over a decade. Elenson’s incisive skills as a businesswoman, spiritual activist and yogini inspired her work with AYP. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on August 29, 2014.

Jack in the Box: The Failure of Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Editors's Note: This article was written by Maria Khwaja. Khwaja is the Founder of Elun, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teacher education in the developing world. Khwaja is also a teacher and completed her Master's in Education at Oxford University. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on September 25, 2014.

Be Part of the Solution: How You Can Help Young People in Africa Find Jobs -- And Purpose

Young people everywhere crave having a purpose in our rapidly changing world. This has serious social, economic, and political implications for the sub-Saharan Africa region because it is on track to have the largest youth population in the world by 2050.

WATCH: Webinar on Collaborating to Solve Youth Employment

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Sub-Saharan Africa faces a paradox that has global relevance and implications: it will be home to the largest youth population in the world by 2050 and although literacy rates (by 6%) and education enrollment rates (by 9%) have been on the rise, youth unemployment continues to hover above 60% across the region. How will African youth create or secure sustainable and meaningful livelihoods? And more specifically, who is responsible for youth employment in Africa? 

The African Youth Movement for Social and Economic Prosperity

Editor's Note: This Article was written by George W.Bakka. Bakka is Ugandan entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Angel's Hub and a Segal Family Foundation partner. He is also an Acumen, Anzisha and Educate! Fellow. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post Blog on August 8, 2014.

Rehabilitating Young Offenders: Youth Employment in Kenya

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Fair Observer on July 30, 2014. This interview was conducted by AshokaVickie Wambura Wamonje is the founder of Nafisika Trust, a prison rehabilitation program that seeks to reduce recidivism rates among prison inmates in Kenya.

Youth Employment in Africa: Whose Job Is It?

Editor's Note: This article was written by Atul Singh, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on June 27, 2014. The article discusses which players are responsible for addressing youth employment in Africa.


Youth in Africa: Pursuing Talents Informed by Market Dynamics

 Editor's Note: This article was written by Oluseun Onigbinde. Oluseun is the Co-Founder of BudgIT, a public data visualization startup that makes the Nigerian budget simpler and an Ashoka and Knight Innovation Fellow. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on August 6, 2014.

International Youth Day Chat | How Can Youth Drive Innovation & Employment in Africa?

During the last decade, several African nations have seen record rates of growth placing them among the top growing economies in the world. Yet, this boom has not translated into an increase in jobs for the estimated 11 million youth who join the workforce each year. Fortunately, today’s generation of African youth is more educated, and more connected than ever before. Whilst solving the employment crisis requires collaboration involving many sectors, youth empowerment is also a key component.

From Dropouts to Innovators: How RLabs Invests in Young "Problem Experts" to Beat Crime & Unemployment

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Editor's Note: This article was written by Tsega Belachew, Global Content and Engagement Manager for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. This article was first featured on AllAfrica.com on 29 July 2014. RLabs, founded by Marlon Parker, is an innovation movement that transforms youth in troubled communities, gangsters, dropouts and ex-convicts, into changemakers.

Africa's Youth Challenge and the Private Sector: An Agent of Change

Editor's Note: This article was written by Eme Essien Lore, Senior Associate Director of The Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.

360° Launch: Whose job is Youth Employment in Africa?

We share perspectives, insights and analysis from the private, public, citizen sectors and from youth addressing the question “Whose job is youth employment in Africa?" in a series of articles produced in partnership with the Fair Observer

African Youth and the Job Market: Asset or Liability?

Editor's Note: This article was written by Solomon Appiah,  a Public Policy Researcher and Contributing Editor at Fair Observer. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on July 7, 2014. Appiah highlights the importance of improving youth employability in Africa if African youth are to become a tranformational force for good.

Education & employment: Calling for a new kind of growing up experience for youth in South Africa

The correlation between educational attainment and employment prospects is clear. Those with tertiary qualifications are far more likely to access the labor market, with only 12.6% unemployment among holders of diplomas and higher certificates, and only 5.2% among those who have degrees.

Reports to Results: Dealing With Youth Unemployment in Africa

Editor's Note: In partnership with Fair Observer, an on-line journal that examines the deeper issues behind the news, we will explore the theme: Who is responsible for addressing youth employment in Africa? From June-September 2014, we will be developing online events and a series of articles that will gather multiple perspectives and provide a 360° analysis on the topic.

Webinar & Twitter Chat 6/25 | Youth Employment in Africa: Whose job is it?

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Around the world, the communities with the brightest futures create innovative opportunities for youth to build sustainable livelihoods, pursue meaningful careers and shape better realities for themselves and for those around them.

9 Future Jobs That Will Power Africa

Editor's Note: This article was written by Simon Stumpf, the Regional Director for Ashoka in East Africa. This article originally appeared on Fastcoexist.com. The article highlights 9 emerging job industries that will power Africa in the new future. 

Ever heard of an "Invisible Executive" or a "Nutrient Banker"? Those are just a few of the positions that are being created in Africa today that will drive economic development in the coming decades.

Storify: What are the innovations & jobs that will take #AfricaYouthFwd?

In 2040, 50% of the world's youth population will be African. Nearly half of the youth population in Africa is currently unemployed or inactive. The time is now for conversations about community-rooted innovations & solutions #AfricaYouthFwd.

What are the jobs of the future? Redefining Jobs for Africa's Youth

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Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation have partnered to bring the third webinar in the Future Forward series featuring youth and innovators, Ashoka Fellows selected in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to discuss creating solutions by redefining jobs for youth in Africa.


Fred Ouko, Founder and Executive Director of Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY), Kenya

Funeka's Story

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Funeka, an ex-learner turned volunteer at ikamvayouth.org shares her story, Ikamva Youth's innovative model and its impact to date.

From savannah to slums, Kenyan yoga strikes a pose

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"I have been teaching Baptiste Power Yoga for about 15 years and I was on a family vacation here in Kenya in 2006. I saw a group of youth doing handstands. I got out of the car and did handstands with them. That day changed my life," explains Elenson, who saw yoga as a way to create jobs for young people in Kenya. 

How Can Africa Innovate to Support Youth Livelihoods?

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Featuring Kabelo Ramatlhape student of Ashoka Fellow Taddy Blecher's social innovation Maharishi Institute, and a serial entrepreneur in his own right. 

Innovations Journal: Youth and Economic Opportunities

"Why do all of us as social entrepreneurs do this work? Because I believe from the bottom of my heart that poverty is simply unnecessary, and that we could end it in our generation—and that’s what we work towards every single day." —Taddy Blecher, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of Maharishi Institute... read more

Improving Job Creation for Young People

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Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation have partnered to bring the second webinar in the Future Forward series featuring youth and innovators, Ashoka Fellows selected in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to answer: How can job creation be improved for young people?


Judy Stuart, Founder of Future Farmers, http://bit.ly/1g9I1Rw

Nokukhanya Nxumalo, a youth and now aspiring farmer participating in Future Farmers

Four Lessons From A Social Entrepreneur

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on Forbes.com. Dorien Beurskens, founder of Young Africa (YA) and an Ashoka Fellow who was elected as part of the “Future Forward” partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, shares key insights and approaches as part of the #AfricaYouthFwd innovative solutions conversation.

News headlines are replete with stories of a growing youth bulge and impending youth unemployment crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the bad news. However, many social entrepreneurs are at work even now creating solutions to these types of challenges—a sort of counterbalance that shapes fortune out of misfortune. And within Africa, innovators are stepping up to the challenge of affecting behavior and pattern change with a deep understanding of the context of their communities’ problems. Young Africa (YA) founder Dorien Beurskens and her partner Raj A. Joseph are part of a wave of social entrepreneurs who are identifying root causes for the youth employment challenges in Africa and developing innovative solutions, which place the needs, assets, and priorities of the youth and the wider community at the forefront.

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