2. What is YALDA?
“YALDA is a means to an end, but NOT the end itself”—the Sun brings light and warmth to the plant, but it is up to the plant to make effective use of the sun’s light and other materials in order to grow, mature and develop its fruits; the Sun CANNOT develop fruits for the plant!
YALDA envisions an international network of inspired, empowered and proactive young African leaders who hold influential decision-making positions, are running their own organizations or companies, culminating in a prosperous and developed African continent.
YALDA provides a forum for youth on the African continent and those abroad with a commitment to the welfare of Africa. By networking with professionals, mentors and each other, members will increase their capacity to take on positive leadership roles in their universities, countries and on the continent. Through YALDA, members will implement their short and long-term visions for Africa.
Purpose of YALDA
The purpose of the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, as stated in the Constitution, is:
- To foster communication and productive collaboration between African students, youth and leading professionals, with an interest in Africa, from all over the continent and abroad
- To raise awareness among young people of the critical role they have in the development of the African continent, thereby generating inspiration, perspective and person-power for the innovative projects and diverse career goals of the youth
- To facilitate African development through defining and practicing various leadership skills that will help young people address pertinent issues and challenges facing them, as identified in the African Youth Charter
- To encourage young people to use this organization as a platform to identify various ideals and methodologies to use in articulating their vision to become leaders in various sectors affecting Africa.
All members shall embody the following YALDA core values by being: Compassionate, Ambitious, and Proactive while displaying Integrity, Commitment, Professionalism and Solidarity, and striving for Excellence in all they do.
The YALDA Core Values are defined as follows:
- Compassionate: members will have a deep heartfelt concern for the development of the continent and its people.
- Ambitious: members will have a strong desire to achieve development in Africa and be willing to work diligently to realize the YALDA vision.
- Proactive: members will anticipate and address issues and challenges that they may encounter while striving to achieve the goals and objectives of YALDA.
- Integrity: members will promote sound moral and ethical principles that will uphold the YALDA vision.
- Commitment: members will engage and commit to activities that will attract youth in the continent to embrace the YALDA vision.
- Professionalism: members will employ exceptional working standards also maintaining desirable African norms and cultures while implementing the stated goals and objectives of YALDA.
- Solidarity: members will continue to nurture their alliances and networks to accomplish the YALDA vision.
- Excellence: members will ensure that they attain distinction and maintain exceptional quality performance in all their activities and initiatives.
YALDA is a networking organization that is truly Africa branded: “By Africans, For Africa”
YALDA is an international non-profit organization that was established in order to create a resourceful networking database for those with a strong interest in Africa. The network is centered around YALDA branches, primarily at African universities, and serves to increase the capacity of youth in Africa for developing positive leadership skills and to espouse an honest work ethic.
The network encourages youth participation in community work by directing them to information and resources, provided by individuals and other organizations. This is intended to help young people develop in their chosen careers and also assist them in developing projects and/ or organizations aimed at making significant and positive social impact across the continent.
YALDA’s mission is anchored in the strong desire to achieve development on the African continent through cordial collaboration between youth and professionals. We believe that through the extensive networking and establishment of partnerships between youth and professionals, leaders of today, and most importantly of the future, will be well groomed for leading development in Africa.
As a forum for ground-level, youth-based solutions for Africa, YALDA is a powerful platform that allows young people to communicate their needs and innovative ideas to each other and directly to professionals and leaders worldwide. At a time when the future of the continent depends on increased collaboration, and especially with the least empowered among them—the youth—YALDA serves to amplify, consolidate, support, train, and present solutions created by young Africans.
“YALDA is about choice and empowerment”
Compared to other regions of the world, Africa has the largest segment of young people in its population; it is estimated that young people make up more than 50 percent of the population in most African countries, compared to 27.3 percent in the rest of the world. African youth suffer the highest rates of unemployment across all socio-economic groups and are stereotyped as lacking motivation and innovation.
Young African leaders are faced with several challenges in their endeavors to help advance their areas of interest while helping develop their communities:
- Lack of information and guidance are major contributors to these problems. For example, youth on the continent lack the references and support from predecessors that students in western countries are privy to, thus disenabling them from conducting comprehensive research in their field of interest
- African youth have inadequate skills, experience, exposure and confidence to communicate their wants and needs effectively with professionals and leaders in their communities and around the world. Also, young Africans are not provided with an enabling platform to express their acquired skills
- African youth leaders are pioneers in their areas of interest, and are therefore disadvantaged when trying to solicit both guidance and support to implement their proposed ideas
- Furthermore, these young people face tremendous financial constraints as a result of the inadequate funding available for youth-initiated and/or led projects and organizations.
Currently, most decisions concerning the welfare of the African youth and the development of the continent are made by national governments in consultation with international experts and organizations. This results in low levels of community and youth participation in the planning of development initiatives, consequently, with disappointing returns.
Young people in Africa, who best know what their specific problems are, set the agenda. Energized by the confidence that people are listening, YALDA members propose creative and optimal solutions to the everyday obstacles they face. They determine what projects they want to pursue, how to implement them, and how to gain access to the tools and support that they will need to make their vision a reality.
Individuals and professionals can help make a difference. First, they choose the location and sector of their interest and expertise, following which they can either wait to be contacted by YALDA youth members, or they can choose which youth members they want to mentor. Our professional affiliates can also pick which youth-run organizations or projects they find most compelling, specify what they want to gain from the relationship with the project team, and decide how they want to get involved. They can contact the project leader, learn about the situation, offer information, advice, and assistance as needed.
HOW YALDA WORKS
YALDA is about building bridges needed to support one whole vision, rather than two half visions for Africa. Innovative ways to connect youth and professionals who have complimentary needs and interests are born and take shape through the YALDA online network.
YALDA’s 3 Spheres of Collaboration
YALDA provides our youth members with three ways of forming networks:
- Linking youth and university students on the continent and internationally with each other
- Linking young people with leading professionals. The benefits for youth include but not limited to:
- getting practical ideas and advice on the projects and careers they want to pursue
- referrals (more networking)
- friendly relationships and role models
- funding, job opportunities, internships etc.
- Links to both professional and youth-run organizations and also a wide array of youth-run projects with similar benefits as stated above.
YALDA Fields that we work with are:
- Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations
- Consumer Goods and Services
- Education and Academia
- Environment Impact
- Fashion and Retail
- Financial Services
- Government, Politics and Civil Service
- Human Development
- Law Enforcement and Security
- Legal Services and Human Rights
- Media, Entertainment, Arts and Culture
- Mining and Resources
- Public Health and Medicine
- Sports and/ Outdoor Activities
- Technology and Infrastructure
- Tourism and Hospitality
YALDA works by:
- Connecting young people in Africa to an international network of professionals who have a strong interest in the development of the continent
- Providing a forum in which African students can connect with peers around the world who have similar interests and needs
- Encouraging tolerance of differences and productive collaboration across racial, cultural, and national boundaries—the lack of which continues to stifle development—by facilitating cultural and intellectual exchange between young people from a variety of backgrounds
- Offering career development assistance through the YALDA professional mentors and advisors, as well as information on internships and job opportunities
- Learning about the short and long-term visions of youth in Africa and the initiatives they are undertaking in order to actualize those goals
- Generating the person-power necessary to implement these initiatives on the continent
- Giving youth the opportunity to learn about and work on initiatives in African countries other than their own
- Inviting members to attend YALDA international i-boot camp and conferences where they can meet other youth who share similar interests as well as meet professionals who can advise and support their initiatives.