10 changemakers transforming education & employability in West Africa
Karima Grant, Founder, ImagiNation Afrika,
Born to a Senegalese mother in the US, Karima Grant returned to Senegal 11 years ago to work as a teacher.
Once she settled in the country, she was shocked by the gap she saw between what children were learning at school and what they needed to know in the 21st century. This prompted her to start Senegal’s first cultural and educational hub for children in 2015, called Ker ImagiNation Afrika. The programme is part of ImagiNation Afrika, the non-profit organization she founded in 2005.
Her vision is focused on children’s creative confidence and leadership skills, with the ultimate goal of developing tomorrow’s young change makers. The Ker ImagiNation Afrika hub is a physical site in Dakar that offers play spaces and activities for children between six months and 12 years. Facilitators help children and inspire them to find practical solutions together in innovative ways.
She is an Ashoka Re-Imagine Learning Fellow.
Temitope Ola, Founder, EDACY
Temitope is an entrepreneur with strong leadership and innovation background. He founded EDACY, an alternative to college education for tech and engineering skills training in Africa. EDACY is building an apprenticeship training model for matching job skills, by combining online academic courses with immersion at leading enterprises across Africa. Employers find Edacy trainees much more employable because their training uniquely combines the acquisition of both hard and soft skills.
Before EDACY, Temitope built and led Koemei, the world’s first conversation speech recognition and search API (acquired by Crealogix — CLXN / SWX), and is an alumni of Babson College, Boston and IMD Business School, Lausanne. He is also a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer (2014).
Ivory Coast 🇨🇮
Sefora Kodjo, Founder, Sephis
Sefora Kodjo Kouassi is a gender activist. She leads a young organization called SEPHIS, dedicated to highlighting young women’s views and perspectives on women’s issues, leadership and empowerment across the country. Through conferences, workshops, fellowships, education programs and forums, her work is about bringing knowledge and practical solutions to young women through a rally that engages them to have an impact.
SEPHIS is now represented in 5 African countries. Sefora is a YALI Alumni, she a member of FEMWISE-Africa and part of the Obama Leaders.
Lamine Barro, CEO, Etudesk
Lamine holds a degree in biostatistics from the university Péléforo Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo, and is one of the youngest leaders of his community. He gets involved in NGOs and helps young Ivorians to develop their potential through education and sciences. Born in a modest family, he learns to become autonomous and self-educated. After working for Microsoft as MSP and developing IT solutions for several local companies for 6 years, he decided to join Etudesk in 2015, a platform providing online trainings to help students and jobseekers be employable in emerging markets.
He is an alumni of Founder Institute, a San-Francisco-based accelerator.
Daniel Amoako Antwi, Co-founder, Africa Internship Academy
Facing the skills gap issue, which is one of the top reasons for youth unemployment in Africa (about 10 million students who graduate from universities in Africa each year do not get jobs), Daniel and his team, as a Pan-African Social enterprise, have made it their prerogative to accelerate the level of youth employment across Africa by filling in the skills gap.
The Africa Internship Academy (AIA) is a youth employment accelerator Daniel co-founded in Ghana, that provides work readiness and entrepreneurship programs for secondary and higher education students as well as graduates to gain entrepreneurial and employable skills.
Daniel has been a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper and UNDP Africa Youth Connekt Fellow.
Adrien Bouillot, Co-founder & CEO, Chalkboard Education
Adrien Bouillot is a social scientist, expert in change management and analytics. He is passionate about helping organisations using better technologies to serve the greater good, with a soft spot for training and knowledge transmission. He founded Chalkboard Education, a mobile learning application which makes training accessible to everyone.
150 million young people will need to be trained on the continent by 2030. That’s never seen before, and with today’s infrastructure and resources, most of these young people will be left behind. It is essential to develop new tools to help institutions and organisations scale their training programs, but also to improve outcomes for their trainees. Mobile learning helps meet this need: it allows reaching scattered or busy audiences with innovative pedagogies and curricula, that empower men and women to grow their opportunities and improve their lives and those of their communities.” explains Adrien Bouillot
Misan Rewane, Founder and CEO, WAVE
Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan Rewane is no stranger to the challenges of education and social mobility in West Africa. When her parents, unable to ignore the education system’s breakdown, were compelled to send her to the US for college, Misan resolved to play a role in transforming the region’s education and skills development systems. After earning her Economics degree from Stanford University and a MBA at the Harvard Business School in 2012, she sought out and connected with fellow socially-minded Africans to discuss ways to tackle youth unemployment in the region, and the seeds that were planted grew to become WAVE. WAVE tackles youth unemployment in West Africa by teaching young people skills to get and keep a good job, start a successful career and build a brighter future.
WAVE trained 2800 students since its inception in 2013 and connected 1400 of them to entry-level jobs and works with 340 businesses to recruit for them.
Gossy Ukanwoke, Founder and CEO, Beni University
Gossy is a Higher Education Investor, Founder at Beni American University and is widely recognized globally for his support and contributions to the growth of education technology. He has worked with African governments on the development of policies to assist in creating better access, quality and relevance of learning in higher education institutions.
Gossy is the President of EduTech, a Technology Company focused on helping African traditional universities take their on-campus degree programs online. EduTech has taken programs from Obafemi Awolowo University and Ahmadu Bello University online, recently launching the first e-Learning / Online MBA in West Africa.
In June 2016 he was named one of the Makers and Shakers of EdTech by WISE and Qatar Foundation. In June 2015, he was named as one of the only six global Accelerating Entrepreneurs by the advisory firm Ernst and Young, for his work in education and human capital development.
Folawe Omikunle, CEO, Teach for Nigeria
Folawe Omikunle is the Chief Executive Officer of Teach For Nigeria, a non-profit organization that recruits university graduates and working professionals to serve as full-time teachers in Nigeria’s most under-served schools. She has experience in the nonprofit sector with an emphasis on promoting equal educational opportunities for all children.
In 2016, Folawe was listed on the PowerList as one of the ten most influential Nigerians under 40 by YNaija. In 2018, She was listed as one of the 100 most inspiring Nigerian women by Leading Ladies Africa, and also won the HER Network Education Woman of the Year award and the Archlight Foundation Woman of the year in education award.
“To solve the problem of educational inequity in Nigeria, there needs to be a critical mass of leaders working at every level of the education system leading and effecting true systemic change. We need inspired and motivated leaders from different academic disciplines to canvass and act for excellence in the education standards of Nigeria. We are convinced that by preparing and equipping these groups of future leaders to take responsibility for producing impact in high-need schools and beyond, accelerated change is inevitable” Folawe Omikunle
Kehinde Ayanleye, Co-founder, Stutern
A dynamic entrepreneur and future leader, he has pioneered, planned and implemented sustainable education and placement models that have placed over 2,000 youths into highly competitive formal internships and jobs with the goal of increasing youth employment to reduce poverty. His mission with his company Stutern: to bridge the increasing skills mismatch for Africa’s young and increasing population. Stutern, connects young Nigerians to internships and entry-level jobs.
Kehinde was named a Obama Foundation Leader: Africa in 2018, a Stripe Global Entrepreneurship Fellow in 2018 & GTBank 100 Most Innovative Persons in Technology Nigeria in 2016.