Young Africa

Young Africa: An affordable way to provide vocational education and training to youth

Apeldoorn, NetherlandsSouth Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Poor training opportunities are the cause of high rates of unemployment for youth in Southern Africa. Young Africa’s model provides youth vocational education by renting out the centers’ space and equipment to local entrepreneurs who train students in a wide variety of fields.

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

What if we could connect a young person to local business to end youth unemployment?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Africa’s high rates of youth unemployment is due to a lack of job opportunities and quality professional training opportunities. Private sector options are financially restrictive and publicly funded vocational training is not prioritized. The result is poor quality programs for most. These factors lead to a general negative perception of vocational education and training centers despite the role these institutions play in economic development.

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

Each Young Africa center creates a mutually beneficial relationship between students, entrepreneurs, and the organization. The centers’ spaces, capital, equipment and the Young Africa brand are rented out to local entrepreneurs who use them to sell products and provide services to the community. Since the training programs are predominantly practical in nature, students “learn on the job” through apprenticeships. The entrepreneurs have access to skilled labor and a pool of potential employees for the future. In effect, Young Africa licenses out various skills training departments to local entrepreneurs, which allows it to cover its costs and boost the efforts of local entrepreneurs.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Young Africa’s licensing model provides students with practical “on the job” training. The entrepreneurs (the licensees) set up their businesses within the Young Africa center and have access to the campus’ infrastructure, business facilities and networks. In return, they pay monthly rentals to Young Africa that are used to cover operational expenses for the vocational education and training programs. The entrepreneurs provide young students with on-the-job training. The students pay a minimal contribution for their training and the entrepreneurs also make money through their normal business entities. The licensees are required to have qualified training officers who oversee the training of the student in a ratio of 30% theory and 70% practical experience for each course.

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

3 skills training centres built, equipped and handed over to local management, 2 in Zimbabwe, 1 in Mozambique. 2 new centres (start-up phase) in Mozambique and Namibia More than 21,000 youth trained, of whom 8500 in vocational training An average of 1000 beneficiaries per year per Skills Training Centre Evaluations have shown that 80% of the educated youngsters feels economically and socially enriched after their training 83% of the graduated students in Mozambique find a job, apprenticeship or start a business 80% of the youngsters makes responsible choices in regard to HIV/AIDS The innovative franchise concept has been replicated by GO’s and NGO’s YA centre in Beira starts 2013 with 100% self reliance (running costs covered by income centre) In the future, Dorien hopes to establish Young Africa Centers across the region and influence local policy and public vocational centers with the ideas set for by Young Africa.

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

Young Africa plans to magnify and broaden its impact by influencing local and national policy on vocational training and entrepreneurship, expanding its scope by including agricultural training, and establishing more Young Africa centers across the region. By expanding its functional scope, geographical reach, and organizational ideals, Young Africa hopes to improve the state of vocational education and training in Southern Africa and reduce youth unemployment.

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

Young Africa’s licensing model has been the key force behind its sustainability and regional spread. The operations of Young Africa are funded through renting and through a solid network of international donors channeled through Young Africa USA and Young Africa Netherlands.

Founding Story

In 1995, Dorien went to Africa for the first time. She worked as a volunteer at a Don Bosco project for street children in Nairobi, Kenya where she met Raj. It did not take them long to discover they had a shared passion for development work and together they decided to set up their own development organization, choosing Zimbabwe as the site for their first project. Both she and Raj believed in the possibility and creativity of young people and set about to develop scalable solutions for disempowered youth. Since then, they have set up four centers in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


Young Africa is headed by a team of founders, Raj Joseph, Dorien Beurskens, Yvette and Dirk Bellens as well as the directors, Mario Barbito, Enet Mukurazita, and Aksana Varela, all of whom are dedicated to the cause and fuel their various backgrounds to develop the young Africa initiative.
About You
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