YELPees Transforming East Africa Through the Global Shapers

Shapers look for opportunities to have impact on a global scale by joining forces with other hubs. They represent a network of peers connected through technology, events and joint projects.

In 2011, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, founded the Global Shapers Community to empower young people to play an active role in shaping local, regional and global agendas. The Community is a non-profit organization registered in Geneva, Switzerland and housed at the World Economic Forum.

Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. With more than 7,000 members, the Global Shapers Community spans 376 city-based hubs in 156 countries.

Credit: Global Shapers Community

With the largest youth population in history, there is an unprecedented opportunity for young people to take an active role in shaping the future. This generation has inherited enormous global challenges, but has the ability to confront the status quo and offer youth-led solutions for change.

In each city, teams of Shapers self-organize to create projects that address the needs of their community. Projects are wide-ranging – from responding to disasters and combating poverty, to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities. Shapers are diverse in expertise, education, income and race, but are united by their desire to cause change.

The Kampala hub is comprised of a mixed selection of individuals from various industry sectors and backgrounds. All members have a passion for community development and civic engagement. Our hub was officially launched in 2014 but has existed since 2013. Our members represent stakeholders from industries such as IT, Social Enterprise, Business Management, Blogging and Social Media Expertise, Doctors, Recruitment and HR to Agriculture to mention a few. In the past, we have worked with organisations such as Sawa World on an Initiative called Sharing is Caring along with various other community outreach projects.

YELP fellows and 2018 Global Shapers Dr. Martin Balaba, Liz Muange and Donald Byamugisha

Shapers look for opportunities to have impact on a global scale by joining forces with other hubs. They represent a network of peers connected through technology, events and joint projects. Each year, hundreds of hub leaders known as curators come together to showcase the work of their hub and strengthen relationships across communities. On the regional level, events are designed and led by Shapers to encourage collaboration, share expertise and explore community solutions.

YELP fellows Wanjuhi Njoroge and Liz Muange with the Nairobi Shapers

Every year, continental events are organised by different hubs on the continent to discuss issues concerning the continent and most importantly, solutions. This year SHAPE AFRICA 2018, was organised by the Johannesburg Hub under the theme, TRANSFORMING AFRICA THROUGH INNOVATION.

At the core of this theme, is the agenda of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), which is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, block chain, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing, self driving vehicles etc.

As Kampala Global Shapers, we believe that even though we are mandated to address issues at a Global level, it is pertinent that we address those directly affecting the communities in which we live first. The hub has therefore set out to organise the inaugural SHAPING EAST AFRICA 2018, under the theme, The Role of The Youth in creating sustainable regional collaborations and integration in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

SHAPING EAST AFRICA will be a regional summit of Global Shapers from in and around the 8 African countries that constitute Eastern Africa i.e. Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The inaugural Shaping East Africa summit will be held in Kampala, Uganda from the 15th – 17th of November 2018.

The 3 day event promises to bring together the brightest young minds in the region to discuss solutions to issues that directly affect these youth and their communities. Coupled with a stellar ensemble of panelists and speakers, Shaping East Africa promises to be a remarkable inaugural event, first of its kind on the continent.




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Dr. Martin Balaba
Author: Dr. Martin Balaba
Martin is a LeO Africa Institute YELP 2017 fellow. His vision is “to become the leading producer of high quality coffee both locally and internationally” through Rain Forest - a Company he founded located on a farm in Buikwe. Currently, Martin works at the Uganda Academy for Health Innovation and impact at the infectious diseases institute, as a project coordinator on a health project that develops mobile solutions to decentralize access to HIV care.