Model Mission of Assistance in Africa

Model Mission of Assistance in Africa : MOMI AFRICA is putting control of education and employment back in youth hands

Owerri, NigeriaNigeria
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Momi Africa is positioning young people to take responsibility for their skills and economic development, and for key roles in empowering other youth to do the same. Nigeria's education system is failing its students and teachers, and Theresa and Momi Africa are turning it around.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Nigerian students and teachers could learn to maximize their skills while impacting their communities?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Nigeria's growth and development crippled due to the 38% unemployment rate of the youth. Graduates are unequipped with the qualifications needed to work, and only 10% of each graduating class is absorbed into the labor-market. The existing education and vocational system in Nigeria is failing, and up to 39% of the young males are only semi-literate, with worse figures for women, combined with the small job market, Nigeria's future is at risk.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

After conducting an assessment study of pre-existing vocational training programs in NIgeria, Theresa Michael created an alternative model that situates young people as the decision makers, not passive participants. She developed a cohort system in which all young people in a given cohort are drawn together by common interest in a vocation and a dream to succeed. In contrast to individual training, this model integrates collaboration, mutual learning and support, social credibility, and finance. Cohort members choose their interest, find experts to train them, and develops a socially responsible business plan. They receive seed funding to be paid back in two years, and execute their project, then recruit the next cohort of participants.


Ashoka-Mastercard Fellowship Award 2013
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Financial Literacy, Leadership Education and Training in chosen vocations as selected by the young beneficiaries including vegetable farming, information and communications technology (specialties in computer, photography and videography skills), auto repairs, crop and animal farming, agro-allied value chain enterprise, and fashion design (including specialties in sewing, modeling, manequin production, patterns, and fashion editing).

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Momi Africa is working in multiple cities in the Niger Delta region. One of its programs has reached 4 cohorts of 180 youths in 4 Local Government Areas of Imo State. In this model, success is more than just getting young people into jobs. Theresa's indicators include the number of initiatives and ventures created by the participants, the number of young people mentored by the cohorts, the number that take up further adult education, the impact they have on the community, and ultimately whether the young people are able to make decisions for themselves and for society. She is proud that many of the participants have, on their own initiative, led efforts to clean up their communities, counsel young people, provide financial literacy class to rickshaw drivers, and intervene in community disputes. Momi Africa is currently extending the benefits to other parts of Nigeria and Africa

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Theresa plans to develop Momi Africa further using the original cohorts to rapidly reach another 30 cohorts of 750 youths in Imo State, followed by another iteration, this time with 250 cohorts and 7,500 youths in Imo, Rivers, Cross River, Abia, Delta, and Bayelsa states by 2015. She is working to expand participant age from 18-25 to 15-30. The Financial Literacy and Occupational resource Cohorts (FLORC) model is self-replicating and designed for for scaling. Momi Africa also plans to extend the benefits of the Teachers For All (TEFA) Network to 10 countries of Africa by 2017

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The model Theresa developed is self-replicating, with each cohort paying back its seed money, expanding the program's network of experts, and recruiting additional cohorts. The Teachers and Educators For All Network (TEFA) is a membership platform that relies on annual dues and contributions. Members serve valuable resource persons and volunteers in youth development activities and community services

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Although there are government and private sector microfinance institutions in Nigeria, there is currently none known to us that utilises Social Enterprise for Social Responsibility, Inclusivity and Replicability approaches, which are the hallmarks of Momi Africa; approaches that enable youth to self-manage and self-sustain their access to finance. The government and private sector finance institutions often require collateral and external guarantor conditionalities which youth are not able or privileged to meet. Before now, teachers had no independent platform for update and volunteerism

Founding Story

While working as a journalist and for her women's peace organization in Nigeria, Theresa realized that it was critical to the prosperity of women and their children that the children and youth become independent. As a result, she set up a vocational training center for youth in the Niger Delta Region. During that time, she understood that traditional vocational models still required a third party to hire the trainees, thereby undermining the effectiveness of her work when highly skilled youth remained jobless after training. Once she understood that, she changed her approach to one focused on self-empowerment. This was the beginning of her journey to creating this model.


The full time team consists of the following members: The Founder and Coordinator, 10 Education Officers / Teachers, a Youth and Community Mobiliser, a Youth Agro-Enterprise Trainer, a Youth Skills and Finance Officer, the Secretary, and the Accounts Officer. The part time team consists of the following members: 3 Part Time Zonal Field Facilitators, 7 Youth Volunteers, an Accounts Consultant/Auditor, 5 Management Board Members, and 5 Community Advisory Councilors.
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