The continent is at a pivotal moment in terms of economic growth. Boosting it will depend on whether the next generation is empowered to reach their full potential and equipped with the skills needed to succeed. Presently, 87% of African business leaders say they are concerned about the availability of key skills, emphasizing the importance of preparing African youth for the future of work.

Tackling this issue head-on is Goodwall, a social enterprise changing the game for African youth and leading them to a brighter future. The “app to level up in life” helps young talent build skills and connect to learning and earning opportunities. With a gamified approach that resonates with Gen Z, Goodwall motivates youth to take their skills to the next level. Its platform currently supports more than 2 million young people, of whom 60% are female – especially relevant considering the high female unemployment rates across the continent (ILO).

Michelle Maria, a 24-year-old raised in Kenya, is one of the talented young women using Goodwall to improve her prospects. Her education was disrupted during the election violence that engulfed Kenya in 2007 and 2008. Recalling traumatic scenes from her childhood in which her neighbor’s house burnt down and her mother was kidnapped, she says these experiences are what led her to study for a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict.

Complementing her studies with experiential learning from the app, Goodwall has given her a taste of the peace she’d been longing for – an online platform she describes as free from discrimination and hate. “I love this app because I am able to learn from so many people around the globe. All I have received is pure support from creators and knowledge.” The supportive community that Goodwall is building is just one factor contributing to her rewarding experience. When discussing her dream to work for UNESCO, she adds: “Goodwall is helping me build the skills I need.”

Goodwall’s gamified challenges focus on strengthening core transferable skills, valuable for future career success, from problem-solving to creativity and communication. Thanks to its motivated members, the positive impact of Goodwall is becoming visible in communities throughout Africa. One example is Rayyanatu from Nigeria who, after participating in a challenge to tackle a local environmental issue, started a business recycling plastic bags into shoes.

Derrick, a 25-year-old from Uganda, is another dedicated Goodwaller making a powerful social impact. Growing up homeless, he channeled his childhood hardship into a passion for helping children from similar backgrounds. “My experience on Goodwall has been magical. It’s an online community that shortly turned into a family and has supported me to become a better version of myself,” he says.

Africa is Goodwall’s fastest-growing region. Its skill development challenges and campaigns have reached hundreds of thousands of young people, mobilizing them to address topics such as the climate crisis, COVID-19 vaccinations, plastic pollution, and mental health. Anas Hamza, a student from Jalingo, joined Goodwall during the pandemic when U-report Nigeria introduced him to one of the challenges. “It helped me develop my communication skills,” says Anas Hamza, who has since won two challenges on Goodwall – adding, “I immediately felt like my opinion mattered.”

Goodwall’s widespread engagement has only been possible thanks to strategic partnerships across the continent, from the United Nations (UNICEF) to leading media groups, such as NMG in East Africa and Independent Media in South Africa. With plans to leverage blockchain to power a skill-based economy and bank the unbanked, Goodwall recently announced its partnership with EMURGO – a founding member of the Cardano blockchain.

“Goodwall has brought its deep understanding of this demographic and ability to engage youth at scale to help address the various challenges youth face across the continent, from entrepreneurship, action, voices to skilling,” says Nadi Albino, Deputy Director of Partnerships at UNICEF and GenU.

Monicah Ndung’u, NMG’s Chief Operating Officer, views the partnership as “a great opportunity to work with an organization that is passionate about young people. Goodwall’s ability to reach youth allows us to bring meaningful opportunities to an audience segment that is consistently challenging how we all view the world.”

One of Goodwall’s most notable achievements is Yoma – Africa’s youth agency marketplace – which it co-created alongside UNICEF, the German development agency – GIZ, the Botnar Foundation, and Generation Unlimited (GenU). “Goodwall gives young people a voice to share opinions, ideas, and business pitches with each other and potential employers, which provides youth with the platform to follow and fulfill their dreams,” says Yoma’s General Manager, Camilla Haux.

“Goodwall shines through its youth-centered nature and design. Building on one of Yoma’s key objectives to connect young people, enabling them to build skills and agency in global and local digital youth communities, Goodwall is an indispensable core partner of the Yoma Ecosystem,” adds Franziska Seiffarth, GIZ.

Goodwall has also given young Africans agency and a seat at the table, for instance, at COP27. Alongside partners like SAP and the African Climate Mobility Initiative, Goodwall amplified youth voices and inspired action. This year, in anticipation of COP28, Goodwall is launching the Youth Climate Initiative with UNICEF, which will serve as one of the largest climate education and upskilling programs in preparation for the green economy. With its growing ecosystem of partners, Goodwall plans to continue investing in and developing groundbreaking initiatives as it expands across Africa.

On its mission to bridge the skills gap, Goodwall is positively impacting the lives of young people and society at large. By upskilling and connecting youth to opportunities, regardless of their socio-economic status, gender, or country of origin, Goodwall and its partners are truly leveling the playing field for the youth of Africa. As one Goodwaller outside Cape Town said: “Before Goodwall, I had two choices in life. Pick up a book or pick up a gun. Now, with Goodwall, I have another – pick up my phone.”