Malawi Youth Agents of Change
The Malawi Youth Agents of Change program aims to assist youth from socially and
financially disadvantaged households to acquire critical thinking, entrepreneurial and
leadership skills to enable these youth to start community projects, businesses or any other entrepreneurial projects that will empower them and their community. The project holds weekly learning workshops with the students so that the students can acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to be successful. We try and arrange for young professionals and also business individuals to come and interact with our students and hopefully, inspire and motivate them.
The program identifies and selects an exclusive group of Malawian youth who are actively showing leadership potential in their daily lives. Every student within this program is encouraged to start-up their own business or social project to make them create an impact in their own community and the program also assists the selected students with planning and achieving their life goals with adequate funding from the project for the student's endeavors. Once the students have been identified, the students undergo an intensive workshop in which they receive training in entrepreneurial, leadership and social skills from the project team and other members of society.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
One of our most recent and successful cases of the team helping an individual start-up their own business happened a few months ago. William Bandwe was an individual who underwent the team's training in entrepreneurship and business dynamics. A few months later, he started his own business of opening up a local community grocery store with support and training from the project and this earns him over $50 per month. This helps him financially support his family and his own personal well-being due to the support and training that he underwent through our program.
The project is one of a few in Malawi that attempts to foster the entrepreneurship spirit within Malawians. Promoting entrepreneurship is very crucial in this competitive world. Skills on risk taking and identifying a gap in the market and doing something about it determines your success. This ideal needs to be manifested in youth. The team contains a group of strong individuals who bring different perspectives when it comes to developing the entrepreneurship program. Two of the team members are currently learning at the African Leadership Academy and one of them is a prestigious Bezos Scholar while the other was recently awarded the Queen's Young Leaders Award. This innovative team strengthens the project's impact and its success.
Recent studies have shown that, in order to achieve world development and to fully take
advantage of globalization, education and innovation is a crucial factor in successfully
proclaiming this endeavor. By the program teaching entrepreneurship and innovation at the core of its content, the project not only gives its students the opportunity to become financially independent through education but, the project spreads the message of entrepreneurship and innovation that can develop and change the face of Malawi. For example, William's life and the lives of people around him especially his family have been positively impacted due to the fact that he's running his own business that helps him support his family's needs. This is what the project seeks to do and create; the project seeks replicate the success story of William throughout Malawi and Southern Africa creating many Williams in various forms in various business sectors.
Our biggest challenge was building a strong team that would be able to deal with the pressure and work from the project for you cannot build a strong house built on a weak foundation and ideals. When the project was in its initial stages, two members within the team often failed to come to team meetings or were frequently late. However, despite showing signs of being strong workers and team players, these hard work ethic signs weren't consistent enough to justify their frequent poor performance. Ultimately, the two members were let go from the project as their actions were directly influencing the success of the project in a negative manner.
Building a strong team is a key factor in the success of a campaign, project or business. Without individuals who deliver excellence on a consistent basis, a project will never reach its ultimate goal of positively impacting the people they are trying to serve. The project now has a strong team that drives and work hard towards its ideals and goals of creating a Malawi that provides the same social and economic opportunity for all its citizens, regardless of age, gender, or income level. A strong team delivers strong results.