Youth Development

The empowerment of  youth is at the core of our business. We subscribe to the USAID’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy as well as the Democracy Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Strategy that provides a framework to support the establishment and consolidation of inclusive and accountable democracies to advance freedom, dignity, and development.


“Youth are a valued possession of the nation. Without them there is no future. Their needs are immense and urgent” Nelson Mandela

Purpose of Programme
The aim of the project is to create youth leaders within the universities and communities that would bring about change, through a process of active citizenship ultimately influencing whole systems including practices, policies and programmes for the benefit of society at large.

Creating opportunities for the youth leaders within the university and community to grow and develop their leadership skills, while realizing socio-economic opportunities within their communities. They will develop personal, team/institutional and collaborative skills building their personal, social and psychological capital.

The young leaders will develop appropriate leadership skills to make an effective contribution towards a winning nation. They will also be better equipped to negate barriers of culture, class, age, gender, ethnicity, power, status, and hierarchy by working as peer leaders on challenges of mutual concern.

Youth Community Development and LED Programme for Limpopo (European Union and Limpopo Department of Local Government and Housing)

Strengthening youth entrepreneurial development in various communities’ leadership within communities related to the African Ivory Route in the Limpopo province.

Youth Skills Development
Entrepreneurship programs for the Department of Communication.

Youth Community Development
Over 3000 community leaders trained in leading socio-economic development in five countries in Africa.


The GIST Startup Boot Camp team was in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 12 – April 15, to teach 32 young African teams how to effectively get out of the building and interview potential customers in order to get the information they need to form a successful startup.

The young science and tech entrepreneurs came from all over Africa. The countries of South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Liberia and Mozambique were represented.

The Boot Camp was led by GIST’s Startup Boot Camp implementer VentureWell. Local partners The Innovation Hub and LeadAfrika provided in-country support.

The instructors were Bob Storey, Frank Rimalovski, Heath Naquin and Todd Morrill, all experienced trainers and entrepreneurs from the United States. George Mulamula, a CEO and government adviser on issues of entrepreneurship in Tanzania also attended to act as the keynote speaker and expert mentor. Local mentors identified by the local partner The Innovation Hub also met with teams to give one-on-one advice.

Over the course of four days, the teams traveled all over Johannesburg and the surrounding areas to complete interviews with potential customers. After completing interviews, many teams pivoted and adapted their startups based on what they learned. By listening to their customers, they will be able to more closely align their startup with the needs of the market.

On the final day, selected teams presented their companies to the public, the media and to US Embassy officials. US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick H. Gaspard spoke at Demo Day, encouraging the participants to continue in their entrepreneurial journey. He also announced all the winners.

The Boot Camp ended with rewards being presented to the top teams. After much deliberation, a panel of expert judges chose the following winners:

First place ($2000): EcoAct Tanzania
Christian Mwijage and Elineca Ndowo (Tanzania)
EcoAct Tanzania utilizes used plastic to manufacture durable, cost efficient and environmentally friendly plastic lumber.

Second place ($1000): Pad Heaven
Florence Kamaitha and Pauline Muthoni (Kenya)
Pad Heaven converts banana stem waste into affordable, hygienic and 100% bio-degradable sanitary pads.

All the Boot Camp participants were asked to vote on which team best represented the spirit of the GIST program. They chose the following team:

Spirit of GIST Award: Green Malasha
Esther Mwale and Chifungu Samazaka (Zambia)
Green Malasha is a Zambian develops renewable, clean, low-cost biofuel in the form of charcoal briquettes, firewood briquettes and fire starters from natural waste.


The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. LeadAfrika was the Southern Africa implementation partners of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Mandela Washington Fellowship program for 2015.Purpose of Programme

The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2015, Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 76 percent of Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.Main areas of the program were Community development, NGO Leadership, Active responsibility citizenship, Business and Economic leadership, Effective governance and democracy.


TechCamp is a diplomatic tool used to engage/empower specific groups like (civil society organizations, journalists, entrepreneurs and government representatives), by training them on the use of low-cost, easy-to-implement technological tools/concepts, making these groups more effective in the work they do.

Purpose of Programme

The Pretoria TechCamp will focused on Grassroots organizing with special emphasis on Elections/Good Governance, Human Rights, and Climate Change. The Afrika Leadership development Institute was the logistical partner for this Tech Camp. These countries were selected to send participants: Botswana, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Mali.

SRC leadership development for various universities

Youth entrepreneurship programmes

Leadership training for Umsobomvu

UN-Habitat, NEPAD – Urban Youth Leadership training

Young women leadership programmes

Leadership programme for youth organizations

Youth leadership for community development

Youth Leadership in action