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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Leadership, Shopping And Recycled Wonders

Obama's Forum got me thinking about youth leaders and how it is important for not only Africa's young to start taking the helm, but for all the youth around the world to start thinking about what they can be doing to better their families, communities, countries, continents and ultimately the planet.  Even though our world has always been interconnected through shipping routes, the slave trade, and spices, never before have people been able to connect so easily and in a plethora of ways both physically and virtually.

This reminded me of Kimmie Week's initiative, Youth Action International, YAI.  He was not at the conference, I think they are trying to give other people who may not have the fame that Week's has a chance in the limelight.  Week's started his leadership journey very young.  At 17 he was already writing reports exposing the injustices of child soldiers!  And now his efforts not only help his home country Liberia, but also now extend to Sierra Leone and Uganda, other places on the continent where child soldiers have been deployed.

He moved to the US when the government set out to assassinate him, after his efforts to expose the wrongs in his country.  He took advantage of the opportunity to set up an international network and now has people volunteering from all over America through YAI Chapters based at universities.  He demands commitment from the people he allows to travel with him.  Every year 3 interns get to travel around Africa with him.  They have to have served an YAI chapter for at least year and they have to raise their own funds.  People who move with him are another level of "wanting to help out" - they are seriously dedicated.  Here is a video on their latest project:

You can find out how to get involved with YAI here.

Here is a video that, even though is not his full speech, really gives a good idea of the kind of person Kimmie is and why he is in demand as a public speaker, and also an inkling into who he is as a person and his passion for humanity:

This speech was for Humanity Uniting Brilliance, HUB, an organisation that provides a social enterprise platform to help those in need take ownership of their destiny through entrepreneurial endeavors, while learning from brilliant leaders around the world.  I took a look at The Global Marketplace, where the goods produced by the people they empower can be bought, and of course naturally gravitated to their African collection.  Unlike in my post about fair trade, ethical fashion, these products are available to a wider group of people looking to buy products that not only make them feel good, but also help the environment and people around the world trying to alleviate the poverty in their lives.  You can buy a bracelet for $8 all the way to a "Village in a Box" (hmmmmm as my sister would say) for $535.  The Box is intended to be used to get your family and friends to be as excited about HUB as you are by selling the items and using them to create events and things.

It is amazing what can be made from recycled paperpata patas, and plastic! Right now the countries in Africa benefitting from this intiative are Mali, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya.  The great thing about this is that it is a worldwide venture too.  You can get items from from all over such, as a wallet made from recycled tire tube from El Salvador if you want!! It just blows my mind what people can do with someone else's rubbish.  Reminds me of the Welcome to Lagos Series. If you haven't taken a gander, you can see the 3 episodes here, here and here.

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