The Regional Leadership Centre (RLC) of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), has announced a $10,000 investment fund to help alumni members finance their projects.
The funds courtesy of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the sponsors of YALI initiative, would be limited to alumni who have met set criteria and committed to paying back with interest to allow others benefit.
This was announced by Director YALI Regional Leadership Centre Dr Shola-Safo Duodu at the closing of YALI Cohort 4 three week training.
Launched in 2014 with four regional leadership centres in South Africa, Kenya, Senegal and Ghana, YALI is the initiative of former president Barrack Obama which trains youths aged 20-25 and links them with leaders in their communities. Participants also have access to YALI free online courses in topics ranging from climate change entrepreneurship, human rights, business management, public policy, civic leadership, as well as well as entrepreneurship.
Duodu said: “We are thrilled to inform you that USAID has taken its generosity a step further by recently making funds available to introduce the YALI Innovation Fund. With this, alumni who have successfully completed the programme, will have the opportunity to apply for this seed fund for their initiatives. If they are able to meet all set criteria and are selected, funds will be made available to accomplish their projects. You should, however, take note that this is an investment in your business, from RLC and would have to be paid back with interest in order to sustain it.”
In addition, she said RLC would soon launch Almabase, a platform where alumni who have completed their post training activities can register. The platform, she stressed, would help members to reach out to their colleagues by name, cohort, track, as well as area of specialisation. Members would also have access to events, links to all YALI networks, while alumni chapters would have their pages and members’ profiles, quarterly alumni newsletters, programmes as well as members’ success stories uploaded on the platform.
Describing participants as the ‘most impressive cohort’ in Nigeria so far, Safo-Duodu, urged them to embrace new approach and stayed glued to YALI philosophy.
Director-General of ASCON Mrs Cecilia Gayya, who was represented by the Head of Department Management Studies Mr Jacob Folorunsho, urged the participants drawn from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria to give their best.
“Please go off to dream of that which is not in Africa. Ask why not, and work to create the why nots of your dreams. When the groundswell of the youths who have attended this program sets its mind to create that which is not but needed, then Africa will truly be on the march to greater heights,” she said.
A female participant from Sierra Leone Augusta Kamara, told The Nation that the exercise afforded her to learn more about teamwork and networking.
Kamara is also happy that the investment fund would assist members with lofty plans but no capital to kickstart them.