(Pour l’article en français, c’est par ici)
My name is Justine and I come from Comoros Island. Born and raised in France, I discovered my country of origin for the first time during holidays a few years ago. Since then, my passion for social entrepreneurship and development has driven me to help building Africa’s future. How? By connecting and empowering young Africans so they can become entrepreneurs!
Just like me, there are 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 in Africa. Our continent is the youngest in terms of population. This young population will continue to grow and will double in the following years! This growth can be seen as a burden since more and more people will be looking for water, food and jobs, in a continent where none of these abound. To me, this demographic growth is the biggest opportunity we have to drive the economic development of the continent. These young people are dynamic, creative, resourceful and eager to learn. Seeing this talent go to waste with a 50% unemployment rate is not an option.
I am convinced we can find ways to turn this reality around!
What could we do to encourage the youth in Africa to take on their lives instead of trying to escape from it? What could we do to engage them to contribute to solve the issues they are facing, days after days? What could we do to EMPOWER these young people to lead the development of their own continent?
People should wake up in the morning and say “I’m not a job seeker,
I am a job creator.”
With this goal in mind, I discovered the MakeSense community and nothing made more sense than joining the movement :)
MakeSense is a global community of volunteers gathered to solve the biggest challenges of our times, by helping social entrepreneurs through online and offline innovative tools.
In 4 years, MakeSense members have developed an expertise and concrete tools to mobilize citizens and partners on social and environmental issues in a clever and impactful way.
When I joined the community, Chloe, one of the Community Developers, shared with me a set of tools I could use with my skills to help any social entrepreneur, by organizing creativity workshops for them. After organizing my first “Hold-Up”, I had the chance to gather with a huge community of motivated people (the “Gangsters”) and learnt how to build new things collectively. Taking action to make things move forward, when you are part of the gang, is simply the only option.
Within the last 2 years with MakeSense, I have helped a dozen of innovative entrepreneurs in France.
Baobab Entrepreneurship’s team is one example of inspiring young roles models I met through MakeSense.
Their startup helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop their project with a platform providing mentors, experts, funds and specific trainings. At the very beginning of their adventure, they were facing a challenge regarding the Senegalese community: during a workshop, we helped them design an appropriate approach that they then implemented!
Thus, I quickly understood the impact I could have… and that everybody could! I learnt so many things that I want to share with all the youth in Africa by saying:
yes, youth can!
Stop following established codes!
In a context of crisis, looking for a job in a big corporation or a public institution is often tempting: it looks safe, comfortable and, supposedly, long-lasting. But, as shown by unemployment numbers, they are not able to provide all of us with jobs. And even if we did find a stable job in big corporations, are these jobs enabling us to generate the changes we want to see for our countries?
They didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it!
Most of us want to contribute to build a better future for our continent. Sadly, we are often immobilized by the fear of starting a project. But this fear is only a fear of the unknown. My advice to get rid of it? Get to know entrepreneurs, help them, get to know the issues they face … you will realise how much alike they are to us! Nothing works better to get inspiration and realize how possible it actually is!
…You have more ideas than you think ! I swear :)
Can you think of any social or environmental problem in your country? I bet you can. In Africa, there are plenty of opportunities to become an entrepreneur. Once you’ve identified an existing problem faced by your community, then finding a solution to solve it will be the easiest part!
Let’s build our own role models!
We face a lot of issues in the continent. We might not know them, but there are various inspiring people finding sustainable solutions to these problems. Role model are not always where we think they are. For me, they are the people who precisely got engaged to solve the causes I truly cared about.
That’s why I now want to go FORWARD and mobilize young people all over East Africa, by giving them the opportunity, with a concrete space and tools, to contribute to solve the issues they care about.
This is how I was inspired to launch the YES Tour around the Indian Ocean. MakeSense community will be a key driver to empower young people in the area for social entrepreneurship.
The Youth Empowerment SenseTour will be a two-month journey to highlight young African change makers who act for youth empowerment. To help them scale their impact, we will use MakeSense’s tools and mobilize around them the citizens who have ideas to solve their challenges. Our ambition? Inspire, spark entrepreneurial vocations and prove that YES, youth in Africa can!
My community has been selected to be part of 10 finalists as the most innovative social projects in France for the Google Impact Challenge. With your vote and your help to spread the word, you can help MakeSense reach even more people and social entrepreneurs to solve the most pressing issues of our time. Let us all go FORWARD!