Advancing innovation in youth employment in Africa | November 2015 DSO Update

Advancing innovation in youth employment in Africa | November 2015 DSO Update

In this report, we will feature our project with Ashoka’s Future Forward: Innovations for Youth Employment in Africa initiative in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.

The past few months have been exciting for us as our teams in Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, and San Francisco have grown and started new projects and initiatives.

Peacehack DC was among one of the new challenges we were able to take on with your support. Our DC team partnered with Creative Associates International and International Alert to co-organize Peacehack DC, a global hackathon with events in Washington D.C., Barcelona, Beirut, and London that brings together technologists and peace practitioners to develop innovative digital solutions to counter violent extremism. Four teams participated, including the grand prize winners Vallation, an early warning system that tracks hate speech toward particular groups and triggers a response system and Disrupt, a game that generates positive, pro-peace social media messages to counter violent extremist messaging. We are excited to be working with team *Disrupt* members Derek Caelin and Giselle Lopez of the US Institute of Peace’s PeaceTechLab on a market research project to help bring this game to the world.

Featured Project

Nearly 50% of the youth population in Africa is either unemployed or inactive [1]. Young people feel disengaged from society and are not aware of the value that empathy, teamwork, leadership and changemaking skills can make in today’s rapidly changing work environment.

Future Forward: Innovations for Youth Employment in Africa is supporting a cohort of 25 Fellows (leading social entrepreneurs) and building a global community of Changemakers who are shifting the conversation from recognizing problems to creating solutions that engage Africa’s youth in strengthening sense of purpose and create new fields of meaningful employment to improve livelihoods. For example, 24 year old Madelle’s Jumpstart Academy Africa, is cultivating an entrepreneurship curriculum and mentorship program in schools in Cameroon.

The picture above is from Soronko Solutions, an organization that brings women and girls in Ghana into the Information Communications Technology (ICT) space by providing them with the role models and tools to change them from consumers to creators of technology. “What if we could equip young girls with the technology to break the cycle of poverty?” Founded by Regina Agyare, Ashoka Future Forward Fellow. 

Lucas, Timothy, Srujana, Jessica, and Amy from our DSO Future Forward project team aimed to amplify the Future Forward’s initiative’s core message: put young people in charge to shape positive change in their communities and beyond. Our project focused on content generation, social media strategy and implementation that engages target audiences with the work of leading social entrepreneurs transforming youth employment in Africa.

We created seven Fellows’ profiles using the Changemakers platform to clearly convey the Fellow story, work and impact; intentionally linked Fellows’ work in Future Forward’s Twitter channel #AfricaYouthFwd; developed engagement strategies targeting organizations, journalists and bloggers; and created an infographic to convey one Fellow’s solution in the bigger picture of “What’s the next big opportunity for the world’s youngest continent?”


[1]Belachew, Tsega “7 Trends Shaping Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge: What Do Social Entrepreneurs Bring To The Conversation?” Forbes; 9th September 2013;[](

A Testimonial from Ashoka

Working with DSO was a great experience because it allowed us to get fresh perspectives on the work we are doing and reminded us what we could and should focus on most. – Lynsey, Program Manager

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