NEO Service For Africa Program (NEOSAP)

NEOSAP Mission:

To foster a shared sense of communal responsibility among African youth by engaging them in leadership training and community service programs.

Program Overview

We believe that by exposing African youth to the dire needs within their communities, and providing them with fulfilling opportunities to make a difference, we can develop future leaders who are committed to effective civic engagement and positive change in Africa. All beneficiaries of our education and career programs are required to participate in some community service during each year they are affiliated us. For the larger population of African youth, we are currently in the developmental stages of two exciting initiatives.

 

The NEOSAP Portal will create a network of NGOs that will offer various community service opportunities to beneficiaries of our education and career programs, and other high school and university students. Through a web-based collaborative environment, we will share ideas, disseminate information and solicit proposals from various NGOs on how best to implement our ideas. We hope to partner with trustworthy non-governmental actors, including the Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), and the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Program at the SOS-Herman Gmeiner International College.

 

The Rafiki House Project will establish a subsidized university housing system that will double as a community service and leadership training facility for aspiring change agents in African universities. Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and reflects our goal of empowering young friends of Africa to become influential difference-makers. As Rafiki House residents, the students will complement their chosen majors with a free leadership curriculum endorsed by their respective universities. The houses will be equipped with auditoriums, computers and other learning facilities that will allow residents to conveniently attend night classes and seminars by distinguished public officials and business leaders. To promote experiential learning, the curriculum will provide opportunities to take on real-world problems through competitive team-based projects. In addition, the program will require mandatory participation in strategically selected community service activities such as mentoring street children and educating the public on HIV/AIDS.

The Case for Mentoring

The centerpiece of NEO’s model for African youth empowerment is our commitment to one-on-one mentoring. We believe that the quality of support and guidance that young people receive from adults is one of the most critical factors in their long-term social, academic and professional development. Therefore, in the absence of a direct, familial relationship with its beneficiaries, any program that provides educational and/or career development opportunities to the youth risks wasting not just resources, but also personal futures and national possibilities. In the US, for example, national research has shown measurable positive impacts directly attributable to the Big Brothers Big Sisters one-on-one mentoring program.

 

Among other impacts, youth who benefit from Big Brother Big Sisters have been shown to be:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs;
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol;
  • 52% less likely to skip school;
  • 37% less likely to skip class;
  • More confident in their schoolwork performance;
  • Able to get along better with their families.

We believe that this mentoring component is a major missing link in most human capital development programs in Africa today.

The NEOSAP Value Proposition

Community service is a non-existent concept among most African youth. While most high school and college students are generally aware of the socio-economic problems in their communities, there are very few programs that allow them to feel like a part of the solution. When the first Rafiki House opens in Ghana, it will be the first of its kind in the country, and one of only a handful in all of Africa. Through the Rafiki House and other NEOSAP initiatives, high school and college students will finally have a way to make measurable positive impacts in their local communities, while developing their leadership qualities, organizational skills and sense of community. We hope that this experience becomes the foundation of a new generation of African leaders who will place the welfare of their people over their own self-interests. As we track their professional progress through an active alumni network, the long-term impact of our alumni on various African institutions (both public and private) will become our strongest endorsement.

How to Participate

Students and NGOs interested in participating in the NEOSAP initiative are encouraged to contact us for more details about the vetting process and partnership requirements.