As part of its focus in bringing people together and building communities, Facebook on Tuesday announced 12 African community leaders who have been selected to join Facebook’s Community Accelerator, a six-month programme that aims to equip communities with the training, mentorship, and funding they need to grow.
Part of the global Facebook Community Leadership initiative launched in 2018, the Community Accelerator programme invests in leaders who are building communities around the world; including bringing people together, offering encouragement, and driving change.
Following the call for applications in March 2020, 77 community leaders from around the world were chosen, with 12 selected from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Awarding up to $3 million, selected community leaders will receive up to $30,000 in funding. In the first three months of the programme, these leaders will learn from experts and coaches, whilst developing customized curriculums focused on growing their own communities.
The following three months will then be focused on iterating and executing their plans, with funding and continued support from their network, as well as from a dedicated programme team.
The Community Accelerator will then culminate in an event with community leaders to showcase their communities and progress to external funders and partners.
Commenting, Kezia Anim-Addo, Head of Communications for Sub-Saharan Africa said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming 12 African community leaders to Facebook’s first Community Accelerator. We’ve seen time and again the power of communities in bringing people closer together and feeling more connected. We know community leaders can do extraordinary things when they have adequate support from others, tools to get the job done, funding to grow and belief in themselves. The Facebook Community Accelerator will enable these great communities to make an even greater positive impact in the world, and we hope that through the support of the programme these communities will have extraordinary impact, even in extraordinary times.”
Community leaders selected from across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as part of the Facebook Community Accelerator include:
- Hauwa Ojeifo, She Writes Woman (Nigeria) – In 2016, Hauwa created “Safe Place Nigeria” to provide a stigma and judgment-free space for young people to talk about mental health related issues. It has become a community for young people to learn, feel connected, get support and feel a sense of belonging
- Bright Shiitemii, Mental360 (Kenya) – Mental 360 was started in 2016 to give youth a safe platform to learn about mental health and illness and to access affordable holistic solutions. It is a non-partisan non-discriminatory space where youth can grow their emotional wellness, grow their network and get peer support
- Lauren Dallas, Future Females (South Africa) – founded in 2017 with a mission to increase the number of female entrepreneurs and support their success. They have become the go-to destination for aspiring and early stage female entrepreneurs to receive the inspiration, education and support needed to build profitable businesses online
- Tony Onuk, The Root Hub (Nigeria) – Roothub was started in 2014 to provide a safe space for youths to build their ideas, grow their businesses, and access support
- Esther Mwikalii, Metta NBO (Kenya) – founded in 2015 as an entrepreneurs’ network with the goal of bringing together founders, policy makers and investors to collaborate
- Refilwe Nkomo, Visual Arts Network South Africa (South Africa) – established in 2007 as a support point and development agency for contemporary art practice in South Africa. It aspires to be a dynamic and resilient network-based organisation contributing to growth, innovation and opportunities in the arts
- Eyitayo Ogunmola, Utiva (Nigeria) – Utiva is a decentralized ecosystem that helps Nigerians access technology skills and trainings regardless of their location and internet barrier
- Naadiya Moosajee, WomEng (South Africa) – a social enterprise aimed at attracting, developing and nurturing the next generation of women engineering leaders
- Abiodun Adereni, Helpmum (Nigeria) – started in 2017, HelpMum tackles maternal and infant mortality in remote rural areas in Nigeria, and provides Clean Birth Kits for hygienic delivery to pregnant women, immunization reminders and health information to nursing mothers
- dillion phiri, Creative Nestlings (South Africa) – Launched in February 2011, dillion s. phiri founded Creative Nestlings to connect young African creatives to each other, to opportunities and to resources, democratizing how young African creatives connect, get paid, learn and grow
- Rufaro Mudimu, Enke (South Africa) – “enke”, meaning ‘ink’ in SeTswana, started in 2009 to bridge socioeconomic inequality by bringing young people together and equipping them with the skills and experiences to improve their lives. “enke” connects, equips and inspires young people to make their mark, authoring a positive future for themselves and their communities
- Tariro Bure, MINDS (South Africa) – MINDS was founded in 2010 as a platform rooted in cultural heritage and knowledge systems for youth to reclaim their African identities and transform the continent. It has become a movement of youth and crucial stakeholders which aspires to shape policy, foster economic development, and enhance evolution of African institutions
Commenting on his Community Group, Abiodun Aldereni, Founder of HelpMum said: “I feel excited to be selected among the Facebook community accelerator cohort and I look forward to growing our community of pregnant women, nursing women and traditional birth attendants with the help of Facebook’s expert team.”