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Impact of Africa Leadership Initiative

The entire orientation of ALI, as with the Henry Crown Fellowship Program that inspired its creation, is “thought leading to action.”

Through the readings that form the basis of the ALI seminars, the Fellows are exposed to a range of “thought leaders” and role models from around the globe and across the ages who have clearly articulated their visions for “a good society” and demonstrated their capacity for effective, enlightened leadership.  As they read, the Fellows are challenged to think about their own visions – and about how they measure up as leaders.

Through the dialogue and debate that is inspired by these readings and prompted by the moderators, the Fellows are exposed to the values and beliefs of others from their own societies with whom they must learn to work if they are to build stronger economies and civil societies.  Government and civil society leaders learn how their counterparts in the business community think about concepts such as “efficiency” and “liberty”, how they respond to crises and critical challenges, and what their frustrations are as they try to create growth and jobs.  Likewise, business leaders learn how their counterparts in other sectors think about “community” and “equality”, and how they balance the demands of the marketplace with the needs of the less-endowed and the less-empowered.

But through their leadership projects, all of the Fellows are compelled to put their own visions and leadership styles into action.

At its inception, the types of actions ALI’s creators had envisioned were:

  • Greater engagement of African business leaders in active policy dialogue with their governments, especially dialogue around creating the right conditions for growth and successful participation in the global economy.
  • Greater engagement of African business leaders – and the businesses they lead --in tackling social challenges – from HIV/AIDS to literacy, nutrition, housing, skills development.
  • Greater engagement by government and civil society leaders with the business community in tackling these same social challenges.

A recent sampling of Leadership Projects underway as part of the Africa Leadership Initiative include the following:

Ghana

  • A family planning education project targeting teenage girls in Accra
  • A rural community libraries with books and computers
  • A scholarship fund for a rural primary school
  • A business ethics curriculum for the university the Fellow has launched (with $750,000 of Fellows’ own money)
  • A research seat at a local think tank focused on agricultural policy issues
  • A series of radio and TV talk shows with other Fellows from the business world to discuss leading issues in the country and proposed solutions.
  • Development of a business advisory center for small entrepreneurs with the goal of ultimately contributing to increasing employment
  • A “lets read” program and campaign to increase literacy
  • A project to offer professional alternatives sex workers in Ghana to reduce the high incidence of prostitution
  • Addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS prevention through a network of beauty salons
  • Starting a national debate about Ghana’s national identity from various sectors of society to help bring national interests to the forefront of policy

 East Africa

  • A women’s entrepreneurs network in Uganda
  • A youth leadership development center in Tanzania
  • A youth entrepreneurship development curriculum for a local network of private girls schools in Uganda
  • A cancer education and diagnostic advice center in Zanzibar
  • A market research poll on business, government, religious and youth leaders views on "the good society" in Kenya
  • A series of video segments for CNN's Africa Today to boost the reputations of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania for world audiences -- and to highlight the good works of the Fellows by Ugandan Fellow and CNN reporter Bart Kakooza
  • A tree nursery and school eco-education program in Kenya

 Mozambique

  • An annual competition to promote scientific and technological innovation
  • A program using organized soccer to teach motivation, reading, math and computer skills
  • A program using sports teams as a vehicle for training in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention
  • A program to educate women on their rights under the country’s newly adopted family law

 Nigeria

  • A rape crisis center to assist victims and help bring their cases to court
  • A mass financial literacy program
  • A program to increase the effectiveness of public servants and to help create more enlightened and effective policy
  • A child lifeline drop-in center for street children to receive medical care, literary, food and shelter
  • An “I to We” program to develop more active citizens able to influence social action through a youth leadership and life skills development program focused on adolescents between the ages of 13 to 16
  • Creation of an Institute of National Transformation to help professionals in business develop lasting values while achieving business success
  • A gender empowering and mentoring initiative for professional career women
  • A project to help Nigeria youth compete globally and defeat the digital divide through increased employment in the international communications and technology sector.

 South Africa

  • An HIV/AIDs prevention project
  • A conference to address the governance challenges currently facing Africa
  • A project aimed at addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected by parents with HIV/AIDS
  • Implementing a “Teach for America” model in South Africa to improve the quality of teaching
  • A project to develop leadership in the South African nonprofit sector
  • A mentorship program for high school students
  • Combines business objectives with socially responsible projects and adds social beneficiaries to business ventures, rendering both more sustainable
  • Building an African Center to become a locus for African Dialogue, learning and reflection of all the countries of the continent
  • A news columnist service to help influence world opinion about Africa by having Africans contribute to news outside of Africa
  • Building high value IT skills in graduates to help them find gainful employment

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