"The Weekend Read": The Scope of the African Social Entrepreneur

By: Deonta Wortham

A lot can be said regarding the development effort across the African continent. In last week’s “Weekend Read” we discussed that conclusive development goes beyond the introduction of basic infrastructure to impoverished communities. This week, we pivot to one aspect of development across the African continent which is exceedingly contributing to the wider development effort; that is the work of the African social entrepreneur.

These individuals are initiating tasks that are directly impacting the lives of countless Africans across the continent. They are creating an arena for collaborative communal growth while empowering marginalized communities –such as the poor, rural citizens, and women- that have long been overlooked by national governments. African social entrepreneurs are giving a voice to the voiceless and equipping individuals with the skills needed to positively contribute to their respected societies.

In Uganda, Best Aiyorworth established the Girls Power Lending Organization, an association that focuses on providing women with needed financial assistance to establish businesses. The organization’s hope is that these new financially empowered female entrepreneurs will then invest in the education of young girls in Uganda's Nebbi Region. So far there efforts have been a success; countless women have established local enterprises and many young girls have likewise received an education on the part of female benefactors. Mind you Best is only 21, and has one The Anzisha Prize work the work her organization is undertaking!

In Botswana, Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING) is a youth-led organization that has instituted intensive training programs that equip young Batswana with skills needed in the nation’s growing tech industry. These young Batswana are receiving tech-focused skills that are aimed at assisting in the nation's development process, and ultimately contributing to the development of the continent's ICT sphere.

In 2005, South African Neftaly Malatji, who is 22, formed the Diepslott Youth Project which aims to equip young adults in the township of Diepslott, just north of Johannesburg, with marketable skills that are desired across the labor market. So far, Neftaly and his team have help hundreds of young adults attain computer skills and countless others have taken advantage of the other training programs that the organization offers.

Across the continent individuals and organizations are charging forward with a “banner of progress” that will mark the transformation of the African continent. Young Africans, across the continent, are initiating formative steps that will go on to assure that the development of the African continent occurs in a manner that reaches every African, and takes into account every African voice.

The stories that I have mentioned do not tell the entirety of the work that is being done by social entrepreneurs across the continent. These individuals number in the thousands, and are equally making a concerted effort to ensure that the development of the African continent and her people comes on the part of African citizens that are willing, and capable, of transforming the African narrative.