Giving away ideas to spread social impact for solutions to youth employment in Africa

Job seekers at the Focus on Africa career fair. What are the creative solutions to address youth unemployment in Africa? Photo by: Lucy Lamb / CC BY-NC-ND 

Last week, we explored some of the design principles and scaling models that social entrepreneurs can share with Africa’s economic and political leaders about scaling youth employment solutions.

This week, we continue by sharing more of these lessons from social entrepreneurs. The design principle, which guides the youth employment solution, is listed below in the first subheading, followed by the scaling model used by the social entrepreneur.

Create new industries.
Scale impact through partnerships and third-party licenses.

Africa Yoga Project equips unemployed young people in Africa with the tools to be professionals and leaders who create new economic opportunities by tapping into the multibillion-dollar global wellness industry. This includes yoga, psycho and social counseling, nutrition, massage, life coaching, ontology, meditation and more.

While AYP has initiated operations in Kenya and is working on expanding operations throughout the country, the growing wellness industry presents opportunities to expand the model rapidly throughout Africa. Beyond direct expansion to Uganda, AYP is looking to build a network of operators throughout the continent both through partnerships and by creating ways for others to apply the model through third-party licensees.

Eventually, AYP aims to engage enough players to generate a full-blown movement for peace, health and service, and with it, a huge source of new employment opportunities throughout the continent.

Build long-lasting change.

The social entrepreneurs behind the innovative solutions to youth employment are eager to have their ideas adopted by others and for their vision to become a new norm to ensure opportunities for all. To do so they have begun to use indirect delivery mechanisms that reach for impact well beyond organic growth toward long-lasting change. Open sourcing materials, empowering other organizations to replicate the model, piggybacking approaches, influencing policies and creating virtual platforms for exchange are just some examples of how successful organizations can spread their models without having to grow their operational size.

All of these scaling options have two things in common: they require the organizations to give up at least some control over the model they are implementing, and they require other organizations to adopt ideas that were pioneered by somebody else. These are exactly the approaches that leaders in the halls of influence in Africa should be tuning into to implement lasting impact on youth employment.

Include indirect delivery mechanisms to reach critical scale.

Above — and in last week’s article — we listed the solutions alongside the key innovation design applied by social entrepreneurs have applied. Social entrepreneurs who initially experimented with these approaches can further scale their impact by sharing their models and design principles to other organizations and policymakers.

Other organizations with innovative approaches can also learn from social entrepreneurs — share proven ideas, replicate the models of successful organizations, and help each other reach the right spheres of influence so that insights can inform leaders and policymakers. By working together to change the conversation from problems to creative solutions, practitioners can help implement solutions toward long-lasting systemic change. That kind of change can successfully transform the systems of learning and work so that unemployment ceases to limit the potential of youth in Africa.

To learn more about game-changing innovations for youth employment, sign up for the Future Forward newsletter or join the #AfricaYouthFwd conversation on Twitter.

The views in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect Devex's editorial views.

About the author

  • Ashoka

    Ashoka is leading the way to an "Everyone a Changemaker" World. As the world's largest network of change-makers and social innovators with more than 3,000 social entrepreneurs in 70 countries, Ashoka aims to bring about large-scale social change. Ashoka supports innovators get started, grow their ideas, collaborate, reshape whole systems and influence societal transformation. Founded in 1980 with the belief that the most powerful force in the world is a big idea in the hands of an entrepreneur, Ashoka applies insights from the world's leading social entrepreneurs to set in motion profound societal transformation. Current insights indicate that our rapidly changing world calls for an "Everyone a Changemaker" world, one where every person practices the critical skills of empathy, teamwork, leadership and change-making to command change across silos and be a contributor.