Thursday 21-Nov-2019, 4:21PM / 1758




ISERH Exc. Director - Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem, with his mentored group

One third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are currently neither in education nor employment. Yet, only 30% of youth employment programs are successful – according to the World Bank (here and here).  In the face of a global youth employment crisis, there is a dearth of effective solutions.

The Global Center for Youth Employment, in partnership with the Ford Foundation and 1776 hosted a 2-day Ideathon to source, co-design, and invest in innovative collective impact solutions to youth employment.  While breakthrough ideas were expected, they also valued the ability to build on existing opportunities and proven strategies. $250,000 in funding and the collective power of the Center’s members was up for grabs.

I got to know about this program through a mail sent to all Atlascorps Fellows by one of us that was serving with Restless Development â€“ Douglas Jefumare ImaraluI instantly sent my own application to the ideathon Committee. Unfortunately, my idea couldn’t make the list of the 16 globally selected ideas. I wasn’t disturbed by this development.

Few weeks later, I received a mail from Atlas Corps Program & Volunteer Manager – Samantha Moore, seeking my serving as one of the 5 mentors needed for the Ideathon Program. I accepted the request to serve as a mentor, alongside other 3 selected Atlascorps Fellows – Imran Nadaph, Njeri Muturi, and Beltina Gjeloshi.

The 16 pitched ideas on Thursday 15th June, 2017: Change BoothsCity ExpeditionsEducation for Employment (efe)TEN Youth Mentoring ToolGenerationGRIDHarambee Youth Employment Accelerator; The Youth Systems Collaborative; Lynk; MAFITAMaking Cents InternationalMicroMentor; RebelBase; Save the ChildrenEVOKE; and World Merit, were great ideas that could contribute, significantly, to the reduction of global unemployment.

5 ideas were selected and the remaining 11 ideas’ initiators were asked to join one of the 5 selected ideas to form a group. Each idea group was assigned a mentor and a coach, to help fully develop the ideas with the major objective of making them winning the final pitching.

Eric Johnson â€“ Senior Research Economist for RTI International served as a coach, while I served as a mentor for the GRID idea. GRID JobSensei is a mobile game that educates, engages and empowers youth to master the hunt for jobs. It would be developed in two phases and launched in a pilot city over two years. The game takes youth on a journey of the four S’s of Skill, Search, Signal and Screen. Skill will help youth gain essential skills for job hunting; Search will crowdsource local job-mapping and encourage youth to self-assess; Signal and Screen will allow players to play mini-games testing basic job specific competencies and earn badges that can be used to signal readiness to employers. With JobSensei, Mariam Adil, the Founder of GRID and Dr. Nicole Goldin (NRG Advisory), an expert in youth employment and development, believe job hunting can be fun and accessible. I ask you all to look out for this idea when it manifests, and play the game…

Lynk won the 2017 Ideathon, while the remaining 4 ideas would also be supported to translate into reality in ending the global youth unemployment. The 5 ideas were awarded plaque and everyone was happy to be part of the event.

The event that ended on Friday 16th June, 2017 and which was held at 1776, Brooklyn, New York City, had a lot of great personalities in attendance, who acted in different capacities – SPEAKERSDarren Walker â€“ Ford Foundation, President; Rachel Haot â€“ 1776, Managing Director; Tanya Khokhar â€“ Ford Foundation, Program Associate; Jean Manney â€“ Restless Development, U. S. Director; and Paul Weisenfeld â€“ RTI International Executive Vice President. JUDGESDavid Barth â€“ Ford Foundation, Director Youth Opportunity and Learning; Bob Cramer â€“ Synthio, Executive Vice President; Jack Kim â€“ Ember Labs, Owner, and Founder of Duo Al; Lindsay Siegel â€“ Zahn Innovation Center, Executive Director; Eric Stephenson â€“ Cordes Foundation, Portfolio Director; Deirdre White â€“ PYXERA Global, CEO; and Lorraine Perricone-Dazzo â€“ Restless Development, Partnerships and Communications Manager. COACHESNicole Goldin â€“ NRG Advisory, Principal; Fiona Macaulay â€“ Equal Means LLC, Founder; Jamie McAuliffe â€“ Aspen Institute, Fellow; Eric Johnson â€“ RTI International, Senior Research Economist; Peter Joyce â€“ RTI International, Senior Researcher; and Faith Suwilanji Kaoma â€“ Copper Rose, Co-Founder. Mentors: Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem (Atlascorps Fellow) – Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health, Executive Director; Beltima Gjeloshi â€“ Atlascorps Fellow; Njeri Muturi (Atlascorps Fellow) – Youth Initiative Program, Co-Founder; and Imran Nadaph â€“ Atlascorps Fellow.

It was indeed a great moment for me to have met these great personalities, especially the President of Ford Foundation – Darren Walker; Director Youth Opportunity and Learning, Ford Foundation – David Barth; and Founder & CEO of Re-Nuble – Tinia Pina. I respect your dedication and humility.


Thanks to the Global Center for Youth Employment, Ford Foundation, RTI International, 1776, Restless Development, Atlas Corps, Points of Light, and that respected Atlascorps Fellow: Douglas Jefumare Imaralu, for this opportunity.

Together, we shall banish global youth unemployment.


Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem (Atlascorps Fellow)

Exc. Director, Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health

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