Future Forward

Future Forward

YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IN AFRICA: WHOSE JOB IS IT?

Explore perspectives from private, public, citizen sectors and youth.

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9 FUTURE JOBS THAT COULD POWER AFRICA

60% of the best jobs in the next 10 years haven’t been invented yet. Could the jobs of the future include the ”Invisible Executive" “Wellness Coach” and "Nutrient Banker"?

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INNOVATIONS TO REFRAME HOW YOUNG PEOPLE IN AFRICA GROW UP & CREATE LIVELIHOODS

Read the MIT Press Innovations Journal article featuring social entrepreneurs in Africa who are driving a new vision for youth.

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THE CONVERSATION SO FAR

Read up on the latest trends, challenges and ideas in the youth employment conversation. Follow the #AfricaYouthFwd hashtag for more.

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If you are from sub-Saharan Africa and between the ages of 18 and 30, Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation invite you to share how you are increasing employment opportunities for young people in Africa.

By entering this challenge, you will join a community of fellow innovators that are transforming the landscape of youth employment in Africa. Top entrants will be eligible for $1,500 USD in unrestricted funding as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ashoka Globalizer Summit in South Africa where they will receive training, support, and visibility critical to their growth and to realizing the full impact of their social innovations.

The Challenge is now closed for entry. Check out the amazing entries below!
Read Entries
There are 195 entries
9/16/2014
10/15/2014
11/5/2014
1/5/2015
1/14/2015

9/16/2014

Competition Launch

10/15/2014

Early deadline for Ideas

11/5/2014

Deadline for Ideas

1/5/2015

Finalists Announced

1/14/2015

Winners Announced

About the Challenge

As part of the Future Forward partnership, Ashoka and The Mastercard Foundation have launched the Future Forward: Youth Innovations for Employment in Africa challenge to find bold new ideas—for young people and by young people—that will address the big picture issues around youth employment in Africa.

Youth have the potential to build a better future for Africa and solve the staggering rates of unemployment across the continent. By creating new solutions, young people can equip themselves with the right 21st century tools and skills that will lead to more meaningful, stable, and long-term careers. Through these solutions, African youth can be the leaders and changemakers that are powering a future that meets the demands of a rapidly evolving workplace. Let’s transform the environments where young people work and cultivate opportunities. Let’s change the way people look at employment in Africa.

Big picture solutions could include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Triggering new industries, including innovations in the informal sector
  • Improving access to more inclusive and dynamic work environments for marginalized young people
  • Helping young people acquire changemaking and entrepreneurship skills to recognize and create new opportunities around market-driven solutions
  • Creating opportunities for youth employment in rural areas to decrease rural-to-urban migration
  • Creating relationships of trust and collaboration between businesses and young people that advance market-driven training and skills development programs   
  • Prioritizing effective role modeling and mentorship to help young people identify careers based on interest and passions
  • Improving the models of collaboration between governments, businesses, and citizen-sector organizations for greater impact

If you are from sub-Saharan Africa and between the ages of 18 and 30, Ashoka Changemakers and the MasterCard Foundation invite you to share your ideas for creating bright futures for young people in Africa, and giving them better pathways to meaningful and sustainable careers. Submitting your entry will give you the opportunity to receive helpful feedback from Ashoka and your like-minded peers. The Future Forward challenge is a place where you can refine your idea, gain inspiration, and help build a network for change.

The five top solutions will each receive $1,500 USD in unrestricted funding to be used towards the implementation of the work described in their challenge entry and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ashoka Globalizer Summit in South Africa next February, where they will receive training, support, and visibility that is critical to their growth and realizing the full impact of their social innovations.

To find out more about the challenge procedures, including information about eligibility, prizes, and criteria for success, read the Guidelines and Criteria below.

The Future of youth employment in Africa is in your hands and we need your idea to take it Forward.

 

About the Future Forward partnership:

The Future Forward partnership aims to identify and support the most innovative social entrepreneurs who address youth employment challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. Through this collaboration, Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation aim to identify and convene innovators, thought leaders, and youth to inform the conversation about solutions that can move #AfricaYouthFwd.

Guidelines and Criteria

Eligibility

  • The challenge is open to all individuals, and their organizations (not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises, businesses, schools, etc.) that are implementing, or plan to implement, the work described in their entry in sub-Saharan Africa. (This includes all African countries EXCEPT Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Western Sahara, and Sudan.)
  • Entrants must be from an eligible country in sub-Saharan Africa and between the ages of 18 and 30.
  • Entrants based outside of sub-Saharan Africa must be explicit in their entry about their plan to implement their solution in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The top five entrants that will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Ashoka Globalizer Summit in South Africa must be able to travel to South Africa for an event in early February, 2015 (this includes having a valid passport).
  • Solutions should reflect the theme of the challenge Future Forward: Youth Innovations for Employment in Africa. We want to hear how your solution is addressing youth employment in sub-Saharan Africa. Solutions that increase employment opportunities for young people, and/or increase the employability of young people are eligible. The types of solutions that are eligible could include, but are not limited to:
    • Triggering new industries, including innovations in the informal sector
    • Improving access to more inclusive and dynamic work environments for marginalized young people
    • Helping young people acquire changemaking and entrepreneurship skills to recognize and create new opportunities around market-driven solutions
    • Creating opportunities for youth employment in rural areas to decrease rural-to-urban migration
    • Creating relationships of trust and collaboration between businesses and young people that advance market-driven training and skills development programs   
    • Prioritizing effective role modeling and mentorship to help young people identify careers based on interest and passions
    • Improving the models of collaboration between governments, businesses, and citizen-sector organizations for greater impact
  • Entries must be written in English, French, or Portuguese.

Prizes

Challenge Winners

The top five entries in the challenge, determined by a panel of expert judges, will receive the following prizes:

  • Ashoka Globalizer Summit: An invitation and all-expense paid trip to South Africa for the Ashoka Globalizer Summit in early February, 2015. There they will be joining an ecosystem of, and networking with, other top innovators, thought leaders, Ashoka Fellows, and potential investors that can help them scale and increase the impact of their work.
  • Funding: $1,500 USD in unrestricted funding to be used towards the implementation of the work described in their challenge entry.

Early Entry Winners

The top three entries that enter the challenge by October 15, 2014 will receive the following prize:

  • Early Entry Prize: Three Early Entry Winners will each receive an Ashoka produced article profiling their work and $500 USD of promotional ads on Facebook.

Challenge Finalists and Semi-Finalists

The top entries in the Future Forward Challenge will be publicly recognized as semi-finalists and finalists on the Future Forward website.


Why You Should Enter

In addition to the challenge prizes, entrants in this challenge will:

  • Join a community and network of like-minded peers that are working to increase employment opportunities for young people in Africa. Participating in the challenge gives you the opportunity to forge relationships with, and gain visibility, among like-minded innovators, impact partners, sector experts, and potential investors.
  • Receive constructive feedback about your work and how you present it in your entry.
  • Explore other innovations in the field, so you learn more about what others are doing, and how your work fits into the sector. 

How to Enter

  • Complete the entry form and submit it by the entry deadline: November 5, 2014 at 17:00h GMT. If you submit your entry early, you may continue to edit and modify it until this deadline.
  • For advice about how to create a better entry and boost your chances of winning, read these tips.
  • If you have any questions about the entry process, or experience any problems when entering the challenge, please contact lmarino@ashoka.org.

Criteria

Top entries in the Future Forward challenge will be those that best meet the following criteria:

Innovation

The best entries will be those that present a uniquely effective approach to increasing employment opportunities for young people in sub-Saharan Africa. This can mean creating or increasing access to jobs, and/or increasing the employability of young people in Africa. Entries should describe how their solutions are driven by original, ground-breaking ideas. Innovation does not necessarily involve inventing something entirely new; however, entries that present a unique approach to addressing the challenges and barriers facing youth employment will be stronger. The strongest entries will clearly summarize their solution’s key activities aimed at meeting their goals.

Social Impact

Entries must describe how they are increasing employment opportunities for youth in sub-Saharan Africa. The best solutions will feature demonstrated impact, as well as the potential to grow the impact on a regional or national scale. Entries should explain how the solution measures impact through both quantitative and qualitative data. Entries in the idea stage with no demonstrated impact to date should explain what kind of impact their solution will create and how they plan on measuring that impact.

Sustainability

Entries should have a clear plan for reaching long-term goals and securing financial backing. They should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance it in the future. They should also have a realistic time frame for implementation. The most successful entrants demonstrate that they have strong partnerships to address ongoing needs, support scalability, and maintain a clear financial strategy.


Challenge Deadlines

  • Entry Stage: September 17, 2014 - November 5, 2014, 17:00h GMT
  • Early Entry Deadline: October 15, 2014, 17:00h GMT
    • Entries received by 5 p.m. GMT on October 15, 2014 are eligible for an early entry prize. Receiving an early entry prize does not preclude you from being selected for other Challenge prizes.
  • Final Entry Deadline: November 5, 2014, 17:00h GMT
  • Judging and Evaluation: November 5, 2014 – January 14, 2015
  • Finalists Announced: January 5, 2015 (specific date to be confirmed)
  • Winners Announced: January 14, 2015 (specific date to be confirmed)
  • Ashoka Globalizer Summit: Early February, 2015 (specific date to be confirmed)

Partners

Entries

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Community Blog

See video
10/21/2014

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.

See video
10/21/2014
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.
10/17/2014

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.

Future Forward Fellows

  • Kenya
    Africa Yoga Project has created a professional development model that incorporates self-discovery to unlock participants’ innate capacity to transform...
  • Nigeria
    The After School Peer Mentoring Project provides growth opportunities for young people to develop their career aspirations. This program assists young Nigerian...
    1
  • South Africa
    RLabs is reintroducing hope into communities by teaching young people to transform their lives through the use of technology. By creating information...
  • Nigeria
    Young people in Nigeria need to be guided into careers that they enjoy so that they can find success and contribute the greatest value. First Preferred...

News

SHARE YOUR STORY

“Some of the best people to find a solution to a problem are those who have experienced it themselves."

We invite you, African youth and community leaders, to share your stories. Enrich the conversation about the evolving workplace in Africa by sharing your insights, lessons and cutting-edge solutions that will lead to a brighter future where all youth can build sustainable livelihoods, pursue meaningful careers and change their communities for the better.

If you have a story that speaks to the challenges and/or solutions to youth employment in Africa, we’d love to hear from you!

Please submit your stories in 350-500 words to mystory@changemakers.com.


WHY SHARE YOUR STORY?

SHARE INSIGHTS.

  • Selected submissions featuring your insights, knowledge and findings may be featured on the Future Forward page and shared to a wide social media audience in the #AfricaYouthFwd conversation

CREATE CONNECTIONS.

  • Take part in a process that will help connect the dots between the challenges, solutions and the ways forward for a pressing social problem in Africa.
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