In a region where social entrepreneurship is still a relatively new concept, finding the right people to invest in can be a challenge. Our partners seek social entrepreneurs who will effect measurable and scalable social impact for children, youth or women, have organizations with strong potential for financial sustainability and who will ultimately create tangible societal change. Our innovation competitions are designed to ensure that our investments in social entrepreneurs are converted into lasting social change for African children, youth and women.
“During the Concept Development Workshop, you get a chance to meet with social innovators and work collaboratively to help each other in understanding one’s business model through impact modeling, a pathway of change, and business model canvas. My work was greatly inspired by the Concept Development Workshop: although I didn't win the competition, I didn't stop developing Kepler Tech Lab to help high school students get hands-on experience in engineering that will empower them to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges."
- Alphonse Habyarimana, 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers finalist and Manager & Developer of Kepler Tech Lab in Kigali, Rwanda.
Every social entrepreneur needs a strong foundation to grow their initiative into tangible, scalable impact. When we run innovation competitions, we often meet people with great ideas, but who aren’t quite ready for our Incubator program and need specialized support to help them get their ideas up-and-running. We never like to turn a strong idea away, which is why we run accelerators to help prospective social entrepreneurs transform their ideas into investment-ready initiatives. Our accelerators include a series of workshops, one-to-one support and "validation" time, when the entrepreneurs go back to the field to test their hypotheses and refine their solutions.
“The financial viability of a project is an aspect that is sometimes neglected by social entrepreneurs. The business model trainings that we received in the Accelerator allowed us to understand the importance of developing long-term, financially sustainable solutions and gave us the skills we needed to find solutions that can adapt to socio-economic realities of the environment in which we are working.”
- Khalid Fadoul, a 2016 Accelerator participant in Chad, who founded TECHNIDEV, a social enterprise that develops quality educational content that students can access using their mobile phones or computers. After completing the Accelerator, Khalid advanced into our Incubator program and is now one of six Change Leaders that we support in the country with our partner Tigo Chad.
In 2017, our Change Leaders made a big difference in the lives of children and youth across Africa, addressing issues like education, health, gender equality and peace. In total, they impacted 237,490 lives—a very impressive figure—but what does that really mean on an individual level?
Below are two stories of two beneficiaries, one child and one youth, whose lives have been completely transformed thanks to the work of our Change Leaders.
Children of Kadja Kossi gather for a photo after a performance.
Madji is a young Chadian student whose sole conflict-resolution skill was fighting. Classmates who made fun of him would face violent reactions from Madji, who mirrored violent behaviours he observed in Chadian society—a country grappling with terrorism and sectarian tensions.
Fortunately, Kadja Kossi, a performance arts social enterprise led by Change Leader Mariam Mayoumbila, started running programs at Madji’s school. When Madji heard the news, he enrolled in theatre because he thought he might gain his classmates respect by making them laugh. But as he gained performance experience, he was also taught new values for how to live his life.
Although Kadja Kossi teaches performing arts to children, it’s underlying goal is to curb cycles of violence among children and promote peace and non-violence — principles that Madji has taken to heart.
“At each rehearsal, we greet each other before we begin and we call ourselves a torch of peace. I joined the peace ambassadors at my school and they received me with open arms.”
Thanks to Kadja Kossi, Madji has discovered positive ways to interact with other children and healthy ways to express his needs and frustrations. Now Madji has become a peace ambassador at his school, sharing poems of peace with his fellow students and leaving violence in the past.
Josephine is a high school student in Kigali, Rwanda. She struggled in school because the teaching methods did not always meet hear learning needs. Josephine is an ambitious student and tried to study as much as she could from home, but some of the learning materials were only available during class time and were not accessible to her once the class ended. As a result, Josephine had a limited understanding of some complex concepts and struggled in school.
"I was not happy with my performance and grades in school. I tried to study theory notes and revise everyday as best I could, but they just didn't make sense to me,” Josephine says.
Fortunately, her school started a partnership with Cartoon Home Network, an educational social enterprise led by Change Leader Sam Zizinga. Cartoon Home Network offers video simulations of concepts taught in the Rwandan curriculum which students can access at anytime to help them learn and retain concepts. These detailed simulations offer an innovative solution that enhance the educational information students receive in the classroom and help students gain a better understanding of what they read in their textbooks.
For Josephine, Cartoon Home Network had a major impact on her learning and her success in school.
“Once I started using the digital videos from Cartoon Home Network, it was like a light turned on in my brain and I could understand so much more of the work I was doing in school,” Josephine recalls. “I'm so proud, because now my grades have jumped up from a C to a B+!"
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