The Ford Foundation has awarded a grant to the African Leadership Institute to help young African leaders across the continent reach critical mass in influencing the direction the continent is headed. The $800,000 grant will be used to assist AFLI in networking young leaders across the continent as well as set up a community of practice so that solutions developed by young leaders can be shared and replicated. The grant was awarded and accepted by AFLI in the last quarter of 2017 for disbursement over a three-year period.
The grant was written and submitted by AFLI CEO Jackie Chimhanzi, and in it, she says Africa's development challenges can be attributed to one major factor - a lack of effective leadership.
Apart from AFLI's excellent Tutu Leadership programme, there are a number of other organisations offering leadership training in Africa. However, despite this programmatic response to the challenge of ineffective leadership, the impact has not been as great as hoped. The reasons, it is suggested, is twofold. The first is that individually, these programmes produce leaders that are often isolated. The second is that there is a need to harness ideas from across the population divide – men, women and youth – to take Africa forward, and in particular, making a concerted effort to support young leaders.
The project has three key objectives in relation to young African leaders:
- To map the landscape of African leadership initiatives across the continent of which findings will be captured in a report to be launched in August in Nairobi.
- To develop a platform where young people – from across different leadership networks - can identify synergies, engage and collaborate, resulting in the conceptualisation and execution of collective agendas and activities that drive the African developmental agenda forward. These efforts will be directed by an Advisory Board consisting of young African leaders and co-chaired by two young African leaders.
- To build a Community of Practice consisting of the curators of various African youth initiatives where collaboration can be explored, and experiences and best practices are documented and shared so that learning across and between programmes is enhanced.
By addressing these three objectives, it is hoped that collectively young leaders can begin changing the direction of the continent.
The grant will fund capacity at AFLI to manage this project, including the software that will be needed to facilitate networking, and connecting the curated communities of young leaders. More information on the project will be posted on the AFLI website as the project develops.