,

Developing Africa Through Social Enterprise

Developing Africa Through Social EnterpriseIn 2007, 22 young Africans, emerging leaders in the community, business, and government sectors, were selected to participate in the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme in Johannesburg. Implemented by the African Leadership Institute, the objective of the yearlong program was to develop the next generation of leaders in Africa.

Gbenga Sesan of Lagos, one of the 22 Tutu Fellows, was inspired to launch an employment and training program aimed at helping his fellow Nigerians secure full-time jobs. His project works to provide IT, entrepreneurial and communication skills to unemployed but highly-skilled Nigerians. Since Sesan completed the fellowship program in 2007, he has been able to help 13,000 Nigerians find work in a country where 90% of graduates are unable to find full-time employment.

Another Tutu Fellow, Tracey Webster, had left her banking career in London to found a charity that would care for forgotten children. By the time she left the charity to run the Branson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa, 22,000 children were being fed, clothed and educated. Webster now works with the government and through micro-entrepreneurship to create jobs and make it easier for young South Africans to start their own ventures.

In the fellowship program, Webster was taught that leadership was “understanding what needs to change for our dreams to come true, and then influencing the right people and working in partnership to get the job done.”

Established in 2003, the African Leadership Institute was founded on the importance of good leadership and governance and focused on nurturing leadership talents in high potential Africans. The course places much focus on social entrepreneurship, ethical business, and the importance of business as a force for social change. One of the core teachings of the program is the philosophy of “ubuntu,” which Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains means “interconnectedness.” Tutu says that at the center of “ubuntu” is the idea that “you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.”

At the core of the fellowship program are a social enterprise and the objective of finding internal solutions and a more sustainable Africa that can develop itself free from foreign aid and philanthropy.

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: The Guardian