By Olivier Nihimbazwe

During lockdown, I was admitted to the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), as part of the 42nd Cohort for the East Africa Programme. As part of the initiative, I will be taking a four-week training either virtually or physically in (Nairobi) from mid-November to December 2020.

YALI is an initiative that was started by former US president Barack Obama, as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of innovative leaders, to shape the future of entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management in Africa. The programme is sponsored by the MasterCard Foundation, Deloitte and USAID.

Figure 1: The two pieces of land I purchased

Earlier in May, I had also applied for the D-Prize grant programme, which awards up to $20,000 to social entrepreneurs to implement three-month pilot projects of proven interventions in developing countries, with the possibility of scaling for up to five years. For this project, I was particularly interested in the Chlorine Dispenser challenge which could potentially provide clean water to rural areas through chlorination treatment. My concept note was selected and the implementers of the project have asked me to draft a full proposal. Hopefully I can go ahead with the project if I get funding. In the meantime, I have started a non-profit organisation called Water4Dev, with the aim of implementing clean water programmes in rural areas of Burundi where children continue to die because they lack access to clean water. This particular project is a give-back to my community initiative, which is also in line with my undergraduate programme (Environmental Health), and what I am currently pursuing at graduate level—Nutrition. Aside from these initiatives, I have also been providing support to my family in Burundi. Earlier in the year, I connected my mothers’ house in the village to electricity (Figure 2). 

Figure2: The electricity I connected in my mothers’ house

I also purchased two pieces of land (Figure 1) near my home district of Cibitoke. When I get the opportunity to return home, I plan to sell one of these properties to increase my capital and use the other to set up my business. My plan to set up a poultry farm for egg production.

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