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Creating Brighter, Boundless Futures!

August is shaping out to be a very exciting month for us at JA Africa! We were delighted to find out on August 2nd that JA Worldwide made Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators List, joining our partners such as Google, Citi, SAP and Microsoft and earning the top spot for nonprofits! I took some time off at the end of July to recharge from the activities of the first half of the year and plan for the next five months, so to come back to such great news was fantastic! And there is more great news!
As we marked International Youth Day yesterday, we are extremely excited to announce a game changer partnership that will benefit youth on the continent and beyond. Z Zurich Foundation, the charitable foundation through which the Zurich Insurance Group delivers on its global community investment strategy, has made a strategic decision to venture and fund Africa, and has chosen us, Africa’s largest and most-impactful youth-serving NGO, as their implementing partner! This 3-year grant will impact the lives of more than 500,000 youth in nine countries to access JA programs and services to set them on the path to success, not just as individuals but as community leaders who will influence positive change within their communities. The partnership also enables JA Africa to expand existing operations in Uganda, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania, and launch operations in five new countries namely Burkina Faso,  Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo, Sierra Leone and Liberia. We recently completed a 3-year strategic plan that gets us to 20 countries and reaching one million youth annually by 2025, so this partnership with the Z Zurich Foundation serves as an important catalyst towards achieving our ambitious goal.

For Africa to be successful as a continent, all our youth need adequate access to immersive education that leads to economic success. Through this partnership, we will be able to create entrepreneurship ecosystems that work together to fuel young Africans to become changemakers creating businesses that solve the continent’s and the world’s challenges. Z Zurich Foundation employees will also mentor young people through each stage of JA’s entrepreneurship and work readiness learning experiences. Together, we will build the skillset and mindset of the young entrepreneurs who will change Africa for the better.

This year, JA Africa has made major strides towards achieving SDG 17 – partnerships for the goals. Sustainable impact can only happen by bringing multiple partners to the table, so we are moving away from designing one-year one-on-one partnerships to multi-year multi-stakeholder partnerships including corporations, governments, business schools and alumni in various fields. The Z Zurich Foundation grant is one example of that strategy and we are designing another partnership involving the Coca-Cola Foundation, Boeing, the Tomorrow Foundation and the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) to increase the efficacy of JA programs, particularly in Francophone countries, so as to build an enabling environment for unicorns (businesses valued at over $1bn) to emerge. We are delighted to have the support of alumni such as Iyin Aboyeji, who has founded not one but two unicorns, serving on our Digital Innovation Committee to lead this strategy. We also intend to partner with other non-profits to increase our capacity across Africa, such as in Tanzania, where we have partnered with The Foundation for Tomorrow to deliver the JA Company Program to vulnerable youth in Arusha with support from PMIEF. Through this program, 120 secondary school aged youth will get the hands-on experience of starting their own businesses to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their communities.
I am so proud to work for such an incredible organization with a rich 100+-year history of developing young people to make change happen across the world, and equally excited to be part of an innovative organization constantly reinventing itself to stay relevant and impactful. When we announced the Nobel Peace Prize nomination a few months ago, I received questions about how JA’s work was connected to peacebuilding and that has led to some thought leadership research into the intersectionality of peace and prosperity, which we plan to unveil during a webinar on September 15. Please follow us on social media to receive details about this upcoming webinar, during which we also plan to recognize the partners that have come on this journey with us for the past 10 plus years!

If you would like to partner with us on this journey to build young innovative entrepreneurs across Africa, write to us at or make a donation today!

Kind regards,

Simi Nwogugu,
CEO, JA Africa