Kim Kerr, Director of Regional Programs at mastercard foundation, has paid an official visit to YALI Regional Leadership Center (RLC), West Africa, Accra. The Programs Director was accompanied by Associate Director, Steve Cumming.
The Mastercard Foundation team was met, on arrival at the RLC, by Dr. Mrs. Shola Safo-Duodu, YALI RLC Project Director and Mr. Linus Bomaba, Project Finance Manager. The YALI team then introduced staff of the RLC to the Mastercard Foundation team, before an official tour of the RLC building.
Joshua Amponsah, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, YALI RLC West Africa,
in a handshake with Steve Cumming. Looking on is Kim Kerr
The visit was climaxed with an interaction among staff and Alumni of the RLC and the mastercard foundation team.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Mrs. Shola Safo-Duodu indicated her excitement at the visit of the Mastercard Foundation team, hoping that this will be the beginning of more such interactions where alumni of the Center will share their successes with donors.
Dr. Mrs. Shola Safo-Duodu, Project Director, YALI RLC, delivers her opening remarks
A YALI alumna, V. N. O. Josiah-Aryeh, introduced YALI Alumni to the visiting team and indicated her gratitude to the Foundation for “supporting such an impactful initiative.”
Some YALI Alumni present at the interaction shared their success stories after receiving leadership training at the Center.
Memunatu Alhassan shared the story of how she raised funds, through social media, to support a girl who had mistakenly ingested caustic soda, an action which severely “burnt” the young girl’s oesophagus in the process. The medical condition of the little girl led to malnourishment as eating had become a painful experience. Through the power of social media, Memunatu was able to mobilize friends who helped her raise GHC 30, 000, twice the estimated target of GHC 15,000, to pay for surgery as well as the return of the young girl to school.
Memunatu Alhassan describes how she raised funds through social media to pay for surgery for her young beneficiary
Makafui Awuku, on his part, explained the processes through which he set up a rubber and plastic recycling business. Makafui then displayed some recycled materials he had produced and donated to the RLC after his training at the Center.
Makafui Awuku displays a waste bin (left) and a wall frame in the colors of the Ghana flag (right),
both materials produced with recycled materials
The RLC team then screened audiovisuals of some excelling Alumni who are impacting lives within the sub region. These videos include “Empowering Low Income Women with Mamamoni”, which tells the story of Nkem Okocha who has set up Mamamoni, an initiative empowering hundreds of low income women in Nigeria. Nkem has so far trained and equipped her beneficiaries with livelihood and entrepreneurial skills to produce and sell liquid soap. Through this intervention, beneficiaries of Mamamoni are able to cater for their families and live decent lives.
The second video, “Helping Outgrower Farming Women through Bankyekrom”, tells the story of Sarpei Kwadey, a YALI trainee who left his computer science background to venture into agribusiness. Sarpei now engages female cassava outgrower farmers, providing the missing link between production and supplying the demands of the ever-ready market. Through this initiative, outgrower farmers, mostly women, are now able to sustain their families and meaningfully contribute to the upkeep of their homes.
Kim Kerr, in her remarks, was full of admiration for the “inspiring” stories emanating from beneficiaries of the YALI Emerging Young Leaders initiative. The Director of Regional Programs stressed that Mastercard Foundation focuses on initiatives that take into consideration the values of “inclusion”, “ethics”, “collaboration”, and “social values”. These values, clearly evident in all presentations made at the interaction, were the source of joy for the Director of Regional Programs, adding that it was “good to put leadership to practice through reflection”.
The Director of Regional Programs also expressed her admiration for the “amazing level of collaboration among trainees”. In terms of Mastercard Foundation’s strategic direction, the Director of Regional Programs pointed out that the Foundation, in March 2018, launched its new strategy, which runs through the year 2030. The focus of the new strategy is to tackle youth unemployment, a major challenge on the African continent. Statistics available, according to the Director of Regional Programs, indicated that every year, some 12 million young people enter the sub Saharan job market. This implies the “need to put in effort to solve this challenge”.
The Foundation’s approach at helping find a lasting solution to this challenge includes engagements with governments, and young people in the sub Saharan region. The target, in doing so, is to get some 30 million young people into “dignified job opportunities”, the Director of Regional Programs added.
On the role of Mastercard Foundation in helping young people engage one another to share their successes, Kim Kerr stressed that the Foundation’s target, going forward, is to bring young people from the Foundation’s different funded programs together. This, she believes, will foster stronger networking and brainstorming of ideas capable of birthing new opportunities for young people.
The interaction was concluded with a networking session where staff and Alumni of the RLC interacted and networked with the visiting team, this time on a one-on-one basis.