The Africa Matters Initiative (AMI) is a youth-led organization dedicated to creating spaces for African expression and robust dialogue by embracing our complex identities and history through online platforms, workshops, and summits rooted in ‘Afrocentricity’.
Lead by black women, AMI empowers young Africans to reject the notion that Africa is only corrupt and poor. They are changing the narrative by re-shaping the way we look at Africa, cultivating active citizenship and leadership in all spaces.
AMI has a three-part mandate: Change the African Narrative, create platforms for critical engagement, and accountable media reporting
What inspired the start of Africa matters Initiative?
On the 7th January 2015, the world was in chaos as writers at Charlie Hebdo in Paris fell victim to a grisly terror attack.
Social media campaigns flared up with people from around the world proudly proclaiming #jesuischarlie. While this solidarity made many feel that perhaps there was some hope, after all, the global outpouring of love for Paris made the deafening silence surrounding the Baga attacks in Nigeria that was much more damning.
Days after the attacks in Paris, Boko Haram carried out a massacre in Baga, but the news cycle left it relatively unreported.
In addition to the media’s silence, too many fellow Africans also remained silent. This is because many African youths have bought into the negative notions of Africa as poor, corrupt and hopeless.
Africa has the youngest population in the world with over 200 million youth between 15-24. So what happens when the youth become despondent?
Who are its initiators and for how long has the initiative been in existence?
AMI was founded by Farai Mubaiwa and Reanne Olivier in April 2015.
Both Mubaiwa and Olivier are passionate black women who are actively changing the African narrative in their own spaces and aim to empower African youth to also make tangible change.
How are Africa matters beneficial and useful to young people?
Many young Africans have bought into the notion of African inferiority and Africa Matters aims to change this by facilitating the process of unlearning and learning.
Africa has the youngest population in the world (especially the female population), and for youth to be empowered and to empower the continent, we must unlearn negative notions and re-shape how we see our continent and its contributions.
What makes Africa Matters beneficial and useful, is our aim at changing the African Narrative for Africa to Matter. We as an initiative are taking an active approach to not only creating awareness about embracing one’s identity but teaching them why and how to do so in their own uniqueness.
We are an organization that is unapologetic in grappling with difficult conversations and using these tough spaces and histories as a springboard of encouragement for African youth.
In what countries are Africa Matters Initiative present, and how can interested people become a part of the initiative?
AMI has a strong global reach on our social media platforms especially in over ten countries in the continent.
Many of our community members span from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, United States and the United Kingdom.
We intend on expanding our physical reach throughout the continent. For those of you are interested in forming part of our global community please feel free to apply here.
What platforms does Africa Matters Initiative use to fulfill its mandate?
Africa Matters uses four platforms to fulfill its mandate:
- Online engagement through opinion pieces by Africa Matters writers or the sharing of news articles
- Hosting summits to engage on specific topics with various crucial stakeholders
- Presenting workshops on African leadership, feminisms, and youth empowerment
- Giving school talks on youth empowerment and the role young people need to play in shaping Africa
Our end goal is for African youth and the diaspora to be empowered to change the narrative by actively bettering society while embracing Afrocentricity. Get involved in leading the change now.
Is the organization adopting any unique approaches to changing the narratives about Africa?
We try as much as possible to partner with various organizations who share similar values and visions as we do.
This is unique because it is key to our growth as African organizations as a whole, for us to recognize that there is value in collaboration. This is something often referred to as creating ‘shared-value’.
By working together, we share resources, knowledge, and networks. Africa Matters has found various strategic partnerships that have given us access spaces that we would not have gained access to without the partnership.
Have there been any difficulties so far with achieving the initiative’s purpose?
A difficulty that we face is not being physically accessible to our audience due to lack of funding. Over the years we have been self-sustained and to fully achieve our mandate of hosting summits, works and school talks it is important for us to conduct these platforms in person or have a full-time representative in countries to do so.
Please share some of the milestones you have achieved
Some of our milestones include two International Awards. In June 2017, our founder was awarded the Queen’s Young Leader Award.
This award recognized the incredible work that Africa Matters is doing in changing the narrative. From over 3000 applications, only 60 were chosen, and the work and influence of Africa Matters were highlighted globally.
In September, we were invited to the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Columbia. We have successfully coordinated and hosted three summits, 4 workshops; attended 5 African and Global Conferences and obtained over 10,000 followers on our various social media platforms respectively.
Where can people learn more about Africa Matters Initiative?
To gain a better understanding of AMI, please watch this YouTube video. People can also learn more about Africa Matters from our various social media platforms:
Facebook: Africa Matters
LinkdIn: Africa Matters Initiative
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