“You touched me. You showed me that being a Muslim girl you can do anything. You’re doing it, you’re there,” Almuntazir Secondary Muslim School’s Assistant Head Girl complimented her fellow Muslim through tears. An icon in her community, Ifran Hassan has shown this girl and many others that solar lights and entrepreneurship can provide hope for youth employment.
Youth account for more than 60% of unemployed in Africa, according to the World Bank. Nokero International, Voice Giving, Awen Productions, and Bold Leaders are helping to alleviate unemployment by engaging youth in entrepreneurial activities. Through the sale of solar light bulbs, Tanzanian youth are finding new opportunities. More can be read about their journey to success in this press release.
After being educated through Bold Leadership training, a group of Tanzanian youth started Voice Giving in February 2013 to increase awareness of environmental issues within Dar es Salaam. Founder Oyite Tungaraja says Voice Giving was created “to give voice to our communities on the issues that they seem not to have solutions.” With the belief that voice creates action, they spoke to Dar es Salaam through community-driven projects funded by the sale of products that support their environmental mission: Nokero N200 solar light bulbs.
The first initiative, the Bus Stop Cleaning Project, allowed youth to take ownership over their community and feel proud of their surroundings. Voice Giving’s second project, Enter Empowerment, teaches women to sell solar lights and spread renewable energy solutions while also earning money for their families.
Nokero’s belief is that youth have the ability to educate their communities about solar light benefits, while learning to fund their lives through profit from selling safe, efficient lights.
With the help of Nokero, Voice Giving has created a movement for youth entrepreneurs to fund similar projects in Africa.
Voice Giving discovered the power of media to be invaluable in spreading their message and driving the sales of Nokero N200 lights. Throughout the journey of Voice Giving, Awen Productions’ Film Director Charlie Smith followed the youth’s endeavors, to create a documentary entitled One Step Beyond. He explains that Voice Giving is a unique organization because it is entirely youth-led and uses social media to tell the world about projects that are “simple to implement and profound in impact.”
Smith says, “I began following two youth without any clue that they would be founding members of Voice Giving, so this film is also a powerful tale of young people taking charge of their lives and their environment.”
After touring Dar es Salaam to pre-screen the documentary, the Voice Giving and One Step Beyond crew are continuing to fundraise for a nationwide tour in May 2014. Smith notes that the documentary has a larger message, “[it] really challenges the notions we have of leadership in today’s world and really asks all people, ‘What are you waiting for?’
Voice Giving celebrates their one-year anniversary this month, and continues to prosper today with the help of an American social enterprise that makes solar light bulbs, a film director with an interest in redefining leadership, and a group of youth with huge hearts who hope to change the way we view entrepreneurship.
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