YYAS Social Impact Project Finalist Announcement

May 18, 2020

In 2019, the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) Program introduced a new initiative to participants: The Social Impact Project. This project challenges alumni to identify and address needs in their communities through strategically designed projects. Alumni are encouraged to start making a difference now by engaging their communities in meaningful activities to effect lasting change. Alumni can address any topic with their project and should strive to set relevant and reachable goals and activities; reporting outcomes to the YYAS Program by March 31st of each year. In line with YYAS’s mission and vision, the goal of the project is for alumni to use their gained skills and knowledge to become engaged citizens, change-makers, and leaders in Africa and beyond.

The 2019 Cohort is the first cohort to participate in the Social Impact Project. Twenty-six different projects were submitted, by both individuals and groups, on a variety of topics including mental health awareness, education access, and environmental stewardship. While all of the submissions showed tremendous effort and leadership, YYAS has identified three outstanding projects and alumni deserving of the highest recognition. Nathnael Nigussie with Open Pages, Kenneth Kiplagat with the Kenronald Foundation, and Kudzaishe Bhuza with My Digital Backpack are named the 2019 Social Impact Project Finalists. Congratulations! Watch them speak about their projects in the videos below. The finalists are listed in no particular order. 

Social Impact Project Finalists 

Open Pages - A Youth development and education initiative by Nathnael Nigussie of Ethiopia


Kenronald Foundation - A female empowerment initiative by Kenneth Kiplagat of Kenya


My Digital Backpack - An education access initiative by Kudzaishe Bhuza of Zimbabwe


Congratulations to the three finalists on their amazing initiatives. Kudzaishe, Kenneth, and Nathnael will each be paired with mentors from YYAS partner, the Africa Matters Initiative, to help with further project implementation and execution. YYAS’s hope is that the three finalists, and all alumni who submitted projects, will continue working on their causes in the days, weeks, and years to come. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted a project and is working to make a change in their community. To view all other Social Impact Project Submissions from the 2019 Cohort, please click here or head to the YYAS YouTube Channel.