Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA)


YALDA Gala Dinner

YALDA is an international network of youth formed in 2004 by a group of Harvard students, born and raised in Africa. Currently YALDA has a special consultative status to the United Nation Economic and Social Council. YALDA is recognized by the African Union and the African development bank for its outstanding work with youth. YALDA’s objective is to make a positive impact on the social and economic development in Africa through the development of young African leaders. Members of YALDA are action-oriented and transverse cultural and national boundaries to raise awareness, collaborate with likeminded peers, and provide mentoring for young Africans with leadership potential helping them realizing their goals. YALDA is active in over 10 African countries including Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and in the Diaspora (UK and USA).

YALDA was registered in Botswana in 2006 and is active in the following areas:

  • Capacity Building: Skills Development and Training, Peer Mentoring, Professional Mentorship, i-Boot Camps
  • Advocacy: Human Rights, Rule of Law & Constitutionalism
  • Policy Design & Implementation: Sustainable Development, Globalisation
  • Resource Mobilisation: Youth Enterprises & Projects

YALDA envisions an international network of inspired, empowered and proactive young African leaders who hold influential decision-making positions, are running their own organizations or companies, culminating in a prosperous and developed African continent. To make this vision a reality, YALDA provides a forum that enables youth in Africa and abroad to network, mentor each other and increase their capacity to take on positive leadership roles at the university and national levels.


Contribution towards youth policy toolbox by UNECA

YALDA has been sanctioned by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to contribute towards a youth policy toolbox which allows UNECA to assess youth initiatives and practices by governments and the private sector in Africa in order to help policy makers to develop comprehensive and inclusive youth policies. YALDA will be documenting youth policies and best practices through its branches in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is working to strengthen youth policies and programs through the development of tools and approaches to tackle emerging social challenges in the context of the school-to-work transition. This is within the framework of the joint Development Account Project on “Strengthening the capacity of Governments in the ECA, ESCAP1, and ESCWA2 regions to respond to the needs of youth in formulating inclusive and sustainable development policies.” The main objective is to strengthen the capacity of governments and other actors, including youth-led organizations, to design regional knowledge management systems on youth development.

Voice Africa’s Future Campaign

SDGs in Setswana

The “Voice Africa’s Future-VAF” Campaign started in 2013 during the inception process of the post 2015 Framework (now the Sustainable Development Goals). YALDA partnered internationally and locally with African Monitor in South Africa & Orange Botswana for a survey to gather people’s perspectives on what they wanted to see happening in Botswana socially, politically and economically beyond 2015. This input ultimately informed the Global Goals that were adopted by the UN member-states. YALDA Botswana has since been at the forefront in creating public awareness and encouraging ownership of the Global Goals. The organization has translated the Goals into Setswana and has even sought space to be involved at the Policy Formulating platforms focusing on Sustainable Development such as the Technical Taskforce on SDGs and the National Steering Committee.

 Action 2015 Campaign

The “Action 2015” Campaign was an extension of the VAF campaign with focus on reaching out to stakeholders in Sustainable Development and encouraging them to support Pro-Youth Policies and also enhance their Financing For Development (FFD) policies. YALDA used online campaigns, stakeholder consultations and platforms such as the International Youth Day to reach out to legislators.

Do Something is the largest organization for young people and social change, with its 2.5 million members tackling campaigns that impact every cause from poverty to violence to the environment. The partnership with YALDA Botswana was to bring the concept here to encourage young people to be empathetic and active in their society. YALDA ran various campaigns, including No More Teen Moms to raise awareness of the increase in teenage pregnancies in the country and also a campaign to encourage young Batswana to vote and/or to run for office.


  • YALDA Botswana actively participated in the preparation by Botswana for the Volunteer National Reviews on the progress in mainstreaming Global Goals by UN Member States and participated at the High Level Political Forum. The organization sits in the National Steering Committee on SDGs and contributes to the Technical Task Force.
  • YALDA Botswana is working on establishing the first African Youth Development Hub and has already gathered support from the corporate including an architecture company that has done the initial designs pro-bono and having recently hosted a successful fundraiser dinner that was even supported by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports & Culture Development

 Challenges encountered

YALDA Botswana sometimes refuses to acknowledge challenges. We believe that Africa is rich with young people who turn challenges into opportunities, who are proactive, who take initiative, who create a space to be listened to and to become solution givers where it would have otherwise been deemed impossible. We are the generation that is changing the narrative. Challenges, what challenges? 🙂

 Contacts & Social Media:

(all pics courtesy of YALDA Botswana)