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YALI Connect Camps in Rwanda Produce Innovative Projects, Foster Collaboration

A total of 30 young African leaders from six countries in Central and Eastern Africa traveled to Kigali, Rwanda at the beginning of December to participate in the fifth and sixth YALI Connect Camps, which are funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute for International Journalism. The YALI Connect Camps have previously been held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Windoek, Namibia.

From December 7-18, the fifth and sixth cohorts of mentors and mentees invited to Rwanda worked together to develop new social ventures using a comprehensive, iterative, one-page modeling tool based on the original Lean Launch business model canvas, and recrafted by camp facilitators as the Venture Model Canvas. Camp participants used the poster-sized modeling tool to identify and hone their proposed new ventures value proposition for identified beneficiaries, to decide how the value was to be delivered and what was required for delivery. Participants also enumerated the fiscal, social and environmental costs, and benefits associated with the proposed ventures.

Examples from Camp 6 are listed below:

– A Central African Republic-based NGO bringing successful young agricultural entrepreneur mentors together with potential young farmers on the rural outskirts of Bangui

– A community-based biodiversity protection program centered on Rwandas latest national park and based on lessons-learned in an existing park

– A Rwandese teacher training/assistance program dedicated to providing resources to the stressed teaching populace at the primary, secondary and university levels

– A hub for coordination of volunteerism between community members and external parties, based in three urban areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea

The fifth and sixth Connect Camps were comprised of Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Alumni and their mentees from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Rwanda. The purpose of the Connect Camps is to invest in the next generation of African leaders through intensive executive leadership training, networking and skills building designed to prepare them to create social change in their respective communities by achieving the following goals:

1. Give up to 160 young African leaders the opportunity to collaborate, learn, and network with U.S. and African resource experts and with each other during the eight YALI Connect Camps; to develop innovation strategies that build on their professional skills, engage in hands-on experience with low-bandwidth technologies, conduct community outreach, and build their capacity through mentoring, networking, and using strategic civic leadership for social change.

2. Use a stimulating canvas model of leadership to develop skills in entrepreneurship and creating social change by engaging in five-days of facilitated interactive sub-group workshops, and fostering mentorship relationships between the Mandela Washington Fellow alumni and their chosen mentees for the Camp.

3. Demonstrate some community-oriented enterprises using applied technology that supports innovation and collaboration in community development and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.

4. Develop leadership skills among delegates through mentoring relationships, between themselves, as well as with American and African facilitators.

5. Provide participants with opportunities for face-to-face networking and to facilitate a collaborative, innovative project or projects that further YALI goals.

Unlike the YALI-MWF training programs, which take place at about 20 universities across the United States, the Connect Camps are being conducted as follow-on training workshops in four sub regions of sub-Saharan Africa. The seventh and eighth camps will be in Cte dIvoire in early 2016.

posted in: iij, iijnews, Ohio University, Scripps, YALI, YALInews
February 11, 2016

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