Almost 200 million people in Africa today are between the ages of 15 and 24, giving the country the youngest population in the world. This massive demographic segment of the population is largely overlooked as a potential source for positive change in African society and is often left without the education and training they need to improve their lives and those in their communities. TEACH (Time to Empower Africa’s Children), a nonprofit, charitable organisation, is endeavoring to alleviate poverty in Africa through the power of education and the engagement of new skills. One of the ways the organisation does this is by partnering with the youth of the UK, through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) programme, offering volunteer opportunities for them to help empower African youth, while meeting the criteria for the DofE Award.
TEACH was founded by two sisters from the UK, Krupa and Shivani Patel, in 2008. Inspired by the experiences they shared while volunteering in Ghana, the sisters returned to the UK and began establishing an organisation that would incorporate their core values and increase the scope of their work in Africa. Today, TEACH is committed to educating, engaging and empowering youth in Africa and the UK. By partnering with schools and colleges across the UK, TEACH is able to spread awareness of the needs in Africa as well as create a sense of global citizenship that can develop into positive social change in future generations. They achieve their mission through three primary platforms – Community Participation; Business Enterprise Initiative and Global Citizenship.
One of the major contributors of youth volunteers is the participants in the DofE Award programme. The programme, which has many supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo, established in 1956 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, is concerned with youth development in certain key areas. TEACH offers many opportunities for UK youth to fulfill their objectives in these areas, which include volunteering, physical improvement, skills development and expedition completion, whether it is working in Moshi as part of their “Be the Change” programme in youth leadership or organising fundraisers for an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro with part of the funds going to TEACH initiatives. Through their active participation in fundraising events or hands-on building and educational projects, DofE Award participants help raise the awareness of the poverty that reigns in areas such as Tanzania, while building a firm foundation of future global responsibility and sustainability.
Businessman Tunde Folawiyo is one of the dedicated World Fellows of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, who supports the endeavours of the programme in its continuing efforts to mobilise the youth of Africa and the UK.