Changemakers Village

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Changemakers Village: Liberia's Social Change Hub

Monrovia, LiberiaLiberia
Year Founded:
2016
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Liberia has several challenges but very few problem solvers. From poor education and healthcare, to high corruption, we have problems that require urgent action. This is why we are launching the Changemakers Village to provide a platform for talented young people to solve these problems.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over 60% of Liberians live on less than a dollar a day. Only 10% have access to clean water and electricity. Patient/doctor ratio is 15,000:1 with a deficit of about +16,000 qualified teachers. Youth unemployment is on the rise. We live in a country with massive problems. Unfortunately young people are unprepared to take on these responsibilities to solve problems and create jobs due to the failure of our schools and social institutions.

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

In a country where problems are so common, where the basic essentials of life are prized, Liberia needs problem­ solvers ­ people who can create and build innovative solutions to our problems. The Changemakers Village is a physical space to train and develop young Liberians to be change­makers who will solve the country’s most pressing challenges. We will identify aspiring young leaders and empower them to create widespread change via three tracks: Technology, Education Advancement and Job Readiness. Scholars can choose a track that matches their long term aspirations, but everyone will complete a core selection of courses in Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Understanding Liberia and Global citizenship. Our long­term goal is to develop a gener
Impact: How does it Work

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

The story of a young woman, Satta Wahab, whom we met in 2012. Satta was in high school, but very passionate about empowering young women to dream and pursue those dreams. Today, after five years of exposing her to entrepreneurship and creating a support network, and seed funding opportunity, Satta has launched a natural hair product company to empower young women to feel and be beautiful. Not only is she creating economic value, she is challenging stereotypes and creating a path for other young women to follow. The value of developing young people to become problem solvers is that their impact can exceed their immediate families and create widespread social benefits.

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

In 5 years, our goal is to build a community of over 1,250 young leaders, launch 20 businesses, place at least 600 young people into decent jobs, train 300 coders and designers and have 100 students pursuing advanced degrees online or overseas. These young people will have the ability to lift their communities out of poverty and inspire other young people to design programs and ventures to do the same. By placing our young people in decent jobs, we reduce the risk of idleness and desperation that could lead to violence and instability. Every year, we will incubate, fund, and launch up to three new ventures that address social problems. This means we will have our young leaders constantly thinking and working on, for example, connecting rural farmers to urban markets and affordable healthcare.

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

We will grow by building technology products that serve our target market and through partnerships with schools and universities.
Sustainability

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

Revenues from fees and other income generation schemes will cover over 70% of our annual operating budget in the first two to three years. We will be offering co-working space rental, hosting events, and building partnerships with companies for our job placement services. Our team will work towards taking our core programs and platforms online to reach a wider audience. For example, our Understanding Liberia and Entrepreneurship courses could be

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

We are the first program with an intentional focus of bringing together the country’s brightest young people in one place and activating their passions, inspiring them to aspire and create, while providing the support/platform for them to learn, experiment, fail, advance and grow. Currently, we do not have any direct competitors. There are programs such as iLAB, iCampus and BSC Monrovia which focus on entrepreneurship, technology and accountability respectively. None of these combine the three elements of our program and all lack the sense of an ecosystem/community.
Team

Founding Story

Changemakers Village is a culmination of four years of working on SMART Liberia and realizing how many young people we were reaching and inspiring, but had no platform to harness that inspiration and drive to create long-term impact. SMART Liberia empowered over 100 student leaders to create projects that solved problems in their schools. Studying these students and their initiatives led us to create an intentional space to develops more of such leaders for widespread change across Liberia.

Team

We are all Liberian natives, under 25 who have lived and experienced the challenges of a broken education system and a society ridden with problems. We have all taken initiatives to affect change and the confluence of our individual quests to make Liberia better has united us to create what we believe will truly change Liberia. Marvin Tarawally - Executive Director; James Kiawoin - Chief Strategist; Ahmed Konneh - National Director