The African Impact Initiative is an organization with a mission of developing the African community through its youth. Formed and supported at the University of Toronto since November 2016, their projects have helped to provide African youth in Canada with better career opportunities and core skills. They also provide a platform for them to learn from experienced professionals, through their workshops and conferences.
As the organization grew, they began to tackle challenges back home as well through community development projects. Their first project in Southern Nigeria was focused on improving healthcare outcomes for the Ikot Eko Ebon rural community. In partnership with Cottage Hospital and the Akwa Ibom government, they were able to increase the number of people in that village who received quality care by revamping their community hospital with equipment to address their pressing health issues. They also held a campaign, to educate the community members on what was now available in their local dialect.
While successful, this project revealed some of the challenges organizations face when trying to bring in solutions from outside. Sustainability was proving hard, due to travel costs and communication gaps. It was clear that they couldn’t replicate this model in different African communities as easily as they had thought. This was what motivated their team to come up with the African Impact Challenge, in partnership with the The Bridge at U of T. Together they will provide experiential learning for students and faculty of the university, who will virtually contribute to the solutions developed locally by African youth.
The goal of the African Impact Challenge is to enable sustainable development locally across the continent, by investing in youth and empowering them to solve identified problems through technology-driven impact entrepreneurship. They are essentially trying to empower African youth to tackle their own challenges locally with technology. Guided by principles from The Prosperity Paradox, it will be run in different African countries over the next 5 years with the best technology focused universities. The target is to successfully kick-start 10 innovations aligned with the selection criteria by 2025. This will be done by providing capital, resources and mentorship necessary to begin from scratch with a $100,000 CAD fund.
The first version is taking place in Ghana, and they have partnered with Ashesi University, Ghana Technology University College and University of Development Studies Ghana to roll out the applications. It is open to students in other universities as well. Basecamp Initiative and Ashesi Startup Launchpad will be providing the co-creation spaces. Selected teams will participate in a paid summer incubator, which will bring their ideas to life and make them market ready with funding. This year’s challenge application is open until April 10th at 11:59PM GMT, and Ghanaian youth are all welcome to apply here.
Organizations/investors interested in learning more, or partnering in any capacity as they scale the challenge across the continent, can email [email protected]