Social and corporate leaders led by renowned philanthropist and industrialist Dr. Manu Chandaria have called on young people in Africa to exploit the vast opportunities available in green social innovations as a way of solving youth unemployment and environmental degradation.
Speaking at a virtual summit held under the theme “Youth Social Enterprise in Environmental, Peace, Community and Volunteerism,” Dr. Chandaria, who is also the patron of the Global Peace Foundation in Kenya, said it was time to move from experimentation to mass scaling up of social and development initiatives by governments and development agencies.
“I have seen so many experiments in my life time and what we need now is mass scaling up to reach more people,” said Dr. Chandaria, whose roof manufacturing company has spread to 16 countries in Africa employing more than 40,000 people.
The summit, which was officially opened by the Global Peace Foundation Vice President for Strategic Partnership Mr. David Caprara, was organized by the Global Peace and Development Service Alliance (GPDSA), in partnership with Global Peace Foundation, Blincventures, Chandaria Foundation, International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE), and the Standard Media Group.
The one-day summit moderated by lawyer Sylvia Adhiambo Oketch and and Mr. Calvin Jodisi from the Global Peace Foundation Kenya brought together over 1,000 multi-sector participants including peace practitioners and experts, educators, religious leaders, civil society leaders, governmental stakeholders, NGOs, school administrators, and media representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, USA, UK, and other countries to share best practices and lessons learned.
Mr. Caprarra used the opportunity to salute new Tanzanian President Samia Suluu Hassan and urged Africans to move forward with the spirit of Ubuntu. United Nations Volunteers country coordinator for Tanzania Mr. Christian Mwamanga encouraged more young people to engage in voluntary work, noting that volunteerism contributes significantly to the workforce of nations and enables youth to gain new knowledge and skills.
On his part, Mpesa Foundation Chairman Mr. Les Bailey called on corporations to work together to solve social problems and hailed the Kariobangi Cooker project coordinated by the Global Peace Foundation Kenya as one initiative that brought together several Kenyan corporations to undertake corporate philanthropy.
Speaking from Kampala, United Nations Consultant on Industrial Development Dr. Maggie Kigozi spoke about the various environmental projects youth in Uganda are involved in, such as Youth Against Plastics, Boat Race made of bottles, Safe Boda, and others. She credited the Ugandan government for providing commercial and indigenous seedlings through the National Forestry Authority.
Ms. Petrider Paul from the Africa Union’s Youth Advisory Council spoke about the Silencing the Guns, awarded for incorporating environmental sustainability in youth volunteerism projects.
Other speakers included Professor David Mungai from the Wangari Maathai Institute, Ms. Yvette Tackie from IAVE, Ms. Tryza Dow from Bliventures Nepal, Ms. Damaris Mungai from the United Nations Environment Programme, and Mr. Nicholas Lee from GPDSA.