Our delivery partner Young Africa Botswana offers a huge variety of opportunities for young entrepreneurs, from courses, COVID-19 information campaigns, and their Business One Stop Shop initiative. They are supported funding from Standard Chartered Foundation’s global Futuremakers iniatative.
The members of YAB’s team have many inspiring stories to share from how the organisation has been able to help young entrepreneurs.
“I love it when a young person comes to the centre with a raw idea, and we help them to discover their potential. It’s always encouraging to see them on social media later doing well.”
Meet Charity, who has been the Centre and Finance Manager at Young Africa Botswana for 4 years. Having been unemployed for a while previously, her journey encapsulates how YAB with the support of YBI and the Standard Chartered Foundation’s Futuremakers programme is helping young people in Botswana realise their full potential.
Charity credits her position at YAB for allowing her to develop her communications, financial, and organisational skills, as well as boosting her confidence. In her own words, YAB is “for the youth, by the youth”, allowing the organisation to stay flexible in helping their peers in the business world, and ensuring a consistently dynamic and fresh approach.
“We have helped 1688 youths with our interventions and the numbers are still growing, with inspiring stories developing as a result.”
Olefile’s work as the Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant Officer centres around ensuring the organisation’s transparency and accountability. He emphasises that YAB is unique due to being “a family, and a flexible place for one’s growth” for young people.
Over 50% of Youth in Botswana are unemployed in part due to skills mismatch and lack of job creation, and YAB’s work providing employability skills and entrepreneurship training supported YBI and funded from the SCF Futuremakers programme is crucial in bridging this divide. Olefile’s favourite success story from the organisation is a YAB alumni who founded a Digital Marketing business and went on to establish global contacts with YAB’s help.
“We have touched a lot of youth’s lives out there, especially those who didn’t go to college and lost all hope. YAB gives them a chance to dream again.”
Precious works as the Communications Officer at YAB, having joined the organisation as a result of their partnership with Ministry of Youth and BNSP to provide internships to young people.
She says YAB is “90% youth, so it has a bright, fun, and relaxed atmosphere... everyone has a voice; we are not restricted.”
She jokes that “WhatsApp and Facebook are my babies now”, but she has also gained skills in many other areas, including sewing and making flyers. YAB’s multidisciplinary approach and teamwork across departments allows their employees to both further their own skills, and more effectively assist the young entrepreneurs they support.
"I feel like lives truly are changing for the better. I can’t wait to witness more success stories as time goes by.”
Othata is a Project Manager Assistant and Facilitator at YAB, and is enthusiastic about sharing her insights on business with the young entrepreneurs the organisation supports through Standard Chartered Foundation’s Futuremakers initiative.
She loves YAB’s approach to interacting with beneficiaries on social media, which made her know she would belong before she even started to work with YAB. Othata associates YAB with being a perfect combination of artistic and professional in their approach, and jokes that “YAB is proof that artists can sit in meetings and make official commitments.”
Othata's participation in YAB trainings gave her new perspectives on facilitating an entrepreneurial mindset, particularly enlightening her about the importance of soft skills. She has also learned to deliver courses online, which has been invaluable during the pandemic. Her favourite experiences at YAB come from facilitating the “war room”; in her own words, “an all-nighter like at church, but you have a group of youth entrepreneurs ready to work from 6pm to 6am. The determination is breathtaking. Clearly you can see that people do want to succeed.”
Othata says that “As long as I am able to contribute to battling the unemployment outcry our country has, I wake up every day ready to work and I believe that the youth can make it happen!”
“I have seen so many success stories of YAB participants either finding employment or creating their own upon completing their work at YAB.”
Young Africa Botswana’s resident artist, Priscilla, was very excited to join the organisation when she heard it would give her the opportunity to teach art to children as part of YAB’s arts centre, and was consequently enrolled as a volunteer through the Ministry of Youth’s BNSP program.
She says there is no other place as colourful as YAB in the whole area, due to the comfortable atmosphere and “being treated like family, providing a sense of freedom and comfort.” YAB has allowed Priscilla to pursue her passion of making art for a living despite not finishing her degree – something her mother was initially worried she wouldn’t be able to do.
Priscilla currently oversees YAB’s version of the AOTM (America on the Move) art project as Facilitator, and also acts as Project Coordinator for the Tuck Shop project, both of which aim to educate communities about social regulations that prevent the spread of COVID-19. She is thrilled with the way the organisation’s work has allowed her to further nurture her creative skills, as well as pushing her in areas she previously felt less comfortable in like public speaking.
“Young Africa has bridged a gap between the actual trade world and being in the learning room. What you learn from class is what you are practically going to do out there.”
Opelo’s role at YAB includes teaching and training entrepreneurs, with special focus on textile businesses and sewing. She also manages YAB’s relationship with alumni, including those who have completed trainings funded through the Standard Chartered Foundation’s Futuremakers programme.
Opelo calls YAB a “place of action” because of the way the organisation conducts and follows through on the ideas that are produced in meetings. She cherishes her role in helping diversify the economy and give young people in Botswana a chance to “be the change that we want to see in the country.” As part of her work, she has gained experience in gathering raw data and analysing and reporting the results, which has taught her how past and current outcomes may inform or help project the future.
Opelo is especially proud of the YAB alumni who have gone on to pursue textile ventures as their passion and means of income, as it makes her happy to see that her and the YAB team’s work is bearing fruit.
To find out more about YAB’s work please visit their website here, or read our detailed spotlight interview with them here.