Rise Up Girls project gives students the skills to be business leaders

In the JA Rise Up Girls project, students will learn businesses and leadership skills (Picture: JA Africa)

When Grace Phiri was at school in Zambia, an innovative project opened her eyes to a world of opportunities.

The programme run by JA (Junior Achievement) Africa was designed to give girls the skills needed to start their own business.

“It changed my life for good – I immediately started having ideas,” said Grace, who went on to launch a youth-led organisation.

Giving girls the practical skills and mindset to succeed as entrepreneurs and leaders can transform their lives and their communities. That’s why Theirworld is delighted to be working with JA Africa to empower 500 schoolgirls aged 13 to 19 in Zimbabwe and Zambia through entrepreneurship education.

In the JA Rise Up Girls project, students will learn how businesses work and about critical thinking, problem-solving, financial literacy and effective communication.

10-12 million

Young people enter the African job market each year, chasing only three million jobs

Coached by professionals who volunteer their time, the girls will work in teams to come up with their own business ideas that fill a gap in the market or address a community need. They will then design, produce, test and market their own products and services.

“I am incredibly excited about this partnership with Theirworld,” said Simi Nwogugu, CEO of JA Africa. “Together, we will empower African girls, unlocking their potential as future entrepreneurs and leaders.

“By equipping them with the necessary skills and mindset, we are building a solid foundation for their success and contribution to society.”

Simi has just been awarded the prestigious Africa Education Medal 2023 for her visionary leadership and tireless efforts in transforming education across the continent.

The JA Company Program introduced economic education to high school students (Picture: JA Africa)

The new partnership reflects Theirworld and JA Africa’s shared vision of creating opportunities for young people in Africa and addressing the gender divide by investing in girls’ futures.

JA Rise Up Girls will leverage the existing JA Company Program, which introduced economic education to high school students like Grace Phiri by allowing them to organise and operate their own business. 

After the 16-week programme, the student teams will be invited to compete at JA Africa’s National Company of the Year competition, where they can pitch their business ideas to real entrepreneurs to raise funds.   

Grace went on to establish Angeli Network, which specifically inspires and empowers out-of-school girls and young women in Lusaka and Zambia’s Southern Provinces through mentorship and entrepreneurship. 

You need both a creative mindset and business know-how ... JA gives you all of this.

Mabel Simpson, who attended a JA Africa programme at school and now runs a fashion brand in Ghana.

JA Africa is one of the continent’s largest and most impactful youth-serving NGOs, with a mission to prepare young people for the future of work. It has a presence in 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa – reaching more than 300,000 youth in over 3,000 schools each year.

Theirworld President Justin van Fleet said: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with JA Africa to empower girls in Africa to become the business leaders of the future.

“By equipping girls with vital business skills, as well as cultivating the professional skills needed in the workplace, we are giving girls the opportunity to thrive and become change-makers in their communities.”

Learn more about Theirworld’s projects