It has been quite an honor to be a participant of the African Changemakers program. I was quite surprised when I was selected. For a long time, I had been frustrated at having all these great ideas, desires and passions and being unable to do anything with them.
The opportunities landscape has been transforming in a way most people may not be aware of. Despite being a woman from a developing country, there are so many other boxes I could not tick. One of those is having a prototype, or well thought out plan, of what I wanted to do. Apparently, its not enough to think you want to do it. You need to demonstrate that you have done it, or that you know exactly how you will do it. Not so with African Changemakers. They did require that you try and enunciate your idea, but not to the point of having made revenue from it or having been in operation for at least a year etc. like other interventions will demand.
The best thing for me about the program is its age scope. At a time when most opportunities seek to target the youngest spectrum in society, African Changemakers takes what is fast becoming the oldies: 25 to 40-year-olds. I mean, where else have you heard 40 mentioned of late? While I appreciate the need to harness young minds and energy, I fear society may be ignoring the benefits of maturity, experience and exposure in grooming older community leaders. I must admit on a global scale the average age of African political leaders has made the idea of an older leader universally repulsive. But if we are honest, what we dislike is not so much their age as their thought processes, and that has nothing to do with age.
I was young once. I had no idea there was more to life than getting an education, a job and a family. Now I know better and would like to embark on projects and businesses that not only create a livelihood for me, but also for my community. I want to create a legacy while tackling social challenges in my community, country and continent. I want to share my thoughts and ideas and develop something, while it may not exactly dazzle, will have a lasting impact in people’s lives. And I’m already 35 and the clock is ticking.
African Changemakers was a wonderful confidence boost for me. I may have gotten to the game much later than others, but it’s not over for me yet. Watch out for me world!
Article by Sharon Makunura – ACFellows Cohort 1