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that they feel marginalized, tokenized and exploited, rather than given real roles and responsibilities. Given the rapid rate of change in the job market, preparing young people in Africa to be workers for jobs as usual leaves them out of the jobs of tomorrow. More than that, the focus on training workers, and not well-rounded citizens, fails to create African societies that are better protected from socio-political turbulence. The concept of waithood33—not still children, but not quite adults­—resonates with young people across the continent and conventional approaches to youth employment are neither tackling the root cause nor disrupting the current norms.

The approaches championed by the Ashoka Future Forward network are dedicated to flipping systemic problems into long-term solutions and changing the ecosystem for youth development in Africa. In particular, as a result of the insights of the social entrepreneurs interviewed, this innovation guide challenges the assumptions about what causes unemployment and distills six of the most promising paradigm shifts that social entrepreneurs are advocating within society, in the form of specific innovation opportunities.

FIGURE A.

Map: Future Forward Innovation Network in Africa Social entrepreneurs, program managers, and school leaders in over 43 countries have received awards or attended collaboration events dedicated to discovery and supporting transformative efforts for solving youth employment challenges. Models with notable scale and impact are cited more frequently from South Africa throughout the guide given Ashoka’s first presence in Africa was in South Africa.

West Africa

43% East Africa

28% FIGURE B

Future Forward Innovation Network by Sub-Region

Southern Africa

22% Central Africa

4% North Africa

3%

10 // YOUTH UNSTUCK: SO CIAL IN N OVATIO N G UID E

Youth Unstuck: Innovations for Youth Livelihoods and Leadership (Innovation Guide)  
Youth Unstuck: Innovations for Youth Livelihoods and Leadership (Innovation Guide)  

This report focuses on the approaches of leading social innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to create systemic change in th...

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