Learning Lions is a non-profit program that selects, educates and trains young adults living outside urban areas with few job opportunities in high-value skills like software development, graphic design and media production. It is focused on hands-on skills taught by volunteers from around the world that can immediately be used to generate income online. Our follow up program Startup Lions (www.startuplions.org) then helps our trained “Lions” to use the skills they acquired in the training to create their own business in our lakeside IT-Hub, while we source clients for them from around the world.
Rural areas across Africa (such as Turkana, North Kenya) often have poor infrastructure, limited access to markets, very few formal job opportunities, and consequently suffer from high levels of unemployment and little opportunity for moving out of poverty. Turkana in particular has infertile soil that does not support sustainable agriculture, with the majority of food supplies having to be transported from cities several hours away. Local businesses including basket weaving, mechanical repairs and small kiosks exist, however none of these scale to provide widespread employment opportunities or meaningful wages. And yet, with around 900.000 inhabitants, Turkana holds an untapped potential of human talent with the chance of having internet access even in some of the most remote areas.
By May 2016, thanks to the support of our sponsors, friends, first learners, volunteers, government officials and partners, we had developed the curricula, the facilities were set up, and the teams were ready to welcome the first students. The Learning Lions program was officially launched. Since then, 100+ young adults have gone through the Basic Training in tech, design, and business, and 40+ of them will soon graduate from the Advanced Training, skilled and equipped to start their career in IT. We are proud of our achievements in the short time since the creation of our organisation: from the establishment of the organisation to the first development of the learning curricula, professional training with volunteers and graduation of the first Lions. However it is the individual experiences of our learners that most effectively illustrate the significance of our work. Together we have come far, but there is much work yet to be done. The coming year will be another big one for Learning Lions, and we will need our community more than ever.