Africa Youth meaninful contributions
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Article initialement publié sur World Policy Institute

In her region in Ghana, Regina Honu witnessed homes being destroyed during periods of heavy rainfall. But it wasn’t the destruction alone that worried her. “When I was young,” she explains, “I used to always see how people would wait on somebody. They would come and see me and say ‘We’re waiting for the government.’” She would wonder, “Why is it that somebody else must come and solve the problem?”

So Regina launched Tech Needs Girls to connect girls throughout West Africa to ICT careers in Ghana and to ensure they are equipped with the right skills to creatively meet local needs. “Simply put,” she said, “I want Africans to be responsible for their own problems and Africans to solve their own problems.”

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Ashoka Opinion

Regina’s reflection echoes a concern of many social entrepreneurs designing interventions for youth employment: the potentially harmful effects of asking young people to work or volunteer in critical roles without offering compensation, recognition, or a decision-making voice. To remedy this problem, social entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to ensure young people—even those in the most under-resourced of communities—receive compensation or opportunities in exchange for investing their own time or money. Importantly, this should not take away from the cultivation of intrinsic motivation for learning and work, as discussed in our prior installment.

There are three main ways the social entrepreneurs we interviewed are leveraging compensation in order to create a culture of self-sufficiency:

  1. Create new currencies
  2. Offer paid work experiences
  3. Request payment for services offered

Auteurs

Lynsey Farrell is a Change Leader and currently the Knowledge Lead for Ashoka's Global Venture team that supports the selection of leading social entrepreneurs around the world. While at Ashoka, Lynsey has led numerous knowledge and learning efforts. As program manager of Ashoka’s Future Forward: Innovations in Youth Employment in Africa initiative, she curated and facilitated the Future of Work in Africa course, co-authored an innovation guide called Youth Unstuck: Innovations in Youth Livelihoods and Leadership in Africa, and helped co-lead experiential learning journeys around the continent. Prior to Ashoka, Lynsey directed American University's program on international development in Nairobi, Kenya and completed a PhD in Cultural Anthropology focused on the intersection of international development and youth-self-help movements in Nairobi's largest informal settlement, Kibera.

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