Youth Development through a Business Plan

Jun. 22 | 2021

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Youth development is important in rural communities and after attending a business training with volunteer Neelam Canto-Lugo, a group of youth decided to put their skills to use by writing a business plan. Not just any business plan, but one to build a solar electric system to benefit their community. 


The group of youth is located in Bougouni where they often experience erratic electrical power. Without a reliable connection their community is not receiving the benefits of internet communication, especially during a global pandemic. 


Their goal is to provide a new opportunity for internet communication through a community center, it all starts with a reliable stream of electricity to power the system. Motivated to move their project forward, they joined a remote training based on entrepreneurship with volunteer Neelam Canto-Lugo. The training covered everything from working on soft skills to building an effective business. 


After working together to build a simple business plan, the group earned funding for the solar equipment. The moment Country Director Bara Kassambara arrived and they went to work. Swiftly the equipment was put together and tested, the group was on their way. 


bara and the group around their solar panel gear to improve youth development


Excitement fueled conversation between Bara and youth to continue their education in business and other trainings. The great thing about the way the program works is that we only build our trainings based on the requests of the people we work with. Therefore these conversations are what fuel us as well! 


As the community center begins to build better access to internet communication, it allows many people accessibility they haven’t had before. The success of our remote trainings has offered more flexibility to our participants as well as our volunteers around the world. That same narrative exists within Bougouni where even after the pandemic there are different options for communication to flourish. The governor could save money, teachers would be able to teach to more and youth will continue their education from volunteers in the United States.  


Moving into the future, we are working with the youth to put together trainings that will be based off their interests. We are excited to see the impact that the reliable internet communication has on the community. Youth development can be the key to improving a community as a whole!


COVID-19 Updates


a group adults sit in a room wearing masks and clapping during a presentation. this is outside of youth development


On another note, some of our groups have begun to safely meet together in small groups in Burkina Faso. Using COVID-19 precautions, training has taken place in person with the translator or country volunteer. Volunteers from the United States are still unable to travel to West Africa so they are meeting with some of the groups remotely, while others still choose to join from their homes. It’s good to see some groups together again! 


Currently there are travel bans for Mali in multiple countries as well as Malian citizens. In August, Malian armed forces initiated a coup during a transitional period in the government until the next presidential election. Participants living in Mali continue to join when possible with remote access to the trainings.