Business Boot camp: Empowering Young People to Unlock Their Potential

On the 12th of January 2021, Foundation for Youth Initiative and Whittaker’s Peace and Development Initiative jointly organized our second boot camp exercise in Juba selected youth groups who were drawn from the WPDI’s pool of trained youth in Central Equatoria State in South Sudan. This 4 day Boot camp took place in DefyHate Now’s aesthetically pleasing office space and conference hall in Juba. The boot camp was structured to provide youth with hands-on business skills designed to help them build strong business models that play roles in developing business ventures and at the same provide them with the platform to pitch business proposals that can be screened and selected for funding upon approval by USADF.

The Business Canvas Boot camp was successfully conducted from January 12th -15th January 2021 in Juba, South Sudan. Initially, a list containing 25 delegates was proposed from the pool of WPDI’s trained youth but this was trimmed down to 12 delegates given the situation of COVID-19 protocols and their associated measures. The participants were transported to Juba from their respective counties and payams, accommodated in hotels in Juba for a period of four days of the exercise. The FYI team trained the participants in business tools that gave them skills to generate ideas, refined proposals, and competed for their venture before the 3-man panelists.

Out of the 12 participants that pitched their Business plans; and make a selection of 10. The Seed capital support the participants will receive in 2021 is an initial $10,000 each to 10 selected winners of the Business Plan Boot camp Competition. FYI’s team came up with a scorecard with a list of criteria for scoring the business plan pitches for the participants. This scorecard system ensured a very fluid and authentic and most importantly fair scoring of the presentations to ensure full transparency that is going solely based on the business idea fitting the right selection criteria which are; the viability and profitability of the business idea, whether the aim and goal of the business was achievable; the market analysis competency; value proposition, marketing, and sales strategy; socioeconomic impact on surrounding communities and the risk and loss assessment amongst other components. Ten out of the 12 applications, as indicated above, were selected based on the predetermined criteria, and they were recommended for further development and funding upon approval by the USADF.

Photo Gallery of Boot camp:

Global Trading Agency: Solar Mini-Grid Capacity Building Project

The Global Trading Agency (GTA) Group is the grantees signed for the new Off-Grid program launched by the USADF in association with FYI. This project aims at providing electricity to multiple households and businesses within the Gudele-West area in Juba. Only 1% of the population has access to electricity and power despite having the advantage of sunshine all year round. The GTA group decided to take advantage of this by coming up with the idea of using solar energy to supply their targeted consumers.

The GTA Grant Signing Award Ceremony and their entire team

Up to 750 people (and more in the future) will benefit directly from this project. In South Sudan, there is a high reliance on diesel generators which are quite expensive in the long run-thus many households remain without power and most people lack the capital to start businesses due to the high costs of owning a generator. Solar power in comparison to diesel generations is very efficient and cheaper to maintain in the long run. The only issue is that the installation of a solar panel can go up to 10 times the cost of buying a generator and the local population lack the possibility of maintenance and the high repair costs make it quite expensive to sustain. Due to the high demand for electrical power, the GTA group has decided to devise a project where they would provide solar systems to homes, businesses, NGO’s and government institutions is a prime investment in the South Sudanese context especially in the Capital Juba where GTA is based. Key buyers that GTA has made contact with and provided power to in the past include homes, micro-business Enterprises, pharmacies, NGOs, local churches, hospitals, schools, and government ministries. The eminent success of this project will greatly contribute to the South Sudanese economy as more people within Juba will be able to open more businesses without having to worry about powering their business as they now will have an affordable and reliable electricity supply.

Kenneth Baya- GTA’s Business Manager signing the grant award from the USADF

GTA aims to provide affordable electricity to households and businesses in Juba which will over time increase the quality of life for the residences, as well as the running of the businesses being supplied while reducing contributing to improving the environment by providing a cleaner energy alternative to generators which causes noise pollution and the adverse effects that burning fuel has by emitting pollutants such as Nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. This project is one of many in the road of making South Sudan more environmentally friendly and developing the economy.

KEDA: Taking Advantage of a Global Pandemic to Upscale their Peanut Paste Production

The KEDA (Koyle East Development Association) Peanut Paste capacity-building project has proved an immense success for the group. During this current COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been impacted adversely but due to planning ahead, the KEDA group managed to increase their production as they settled the issue of machinery through the USADF Grant and began stocking the raw materials of their groundnuts (peanuts) from November by paying attention to the global news after hearing the report of the first COVID-19 cases and decided to prepare themselves in case of a global and national crisis. They accomplished this by going to the production site once a week, the cleaning of the groundnuts; The four stages for their groundnut production being; shelling/roasting of the nuts where the groundnuts, the next stage is peeling the outer layers of the groundnuts. Then cleaning is done after they have been removed from the peeling machine then they kept in the grinding machine where the G-nuts are ground into small peanuts and then they are kept into the containers ready to be taken the producers who use their machinery to turn the raw nut into peanut butter, which was tested and was proven to be good quality ready for consumption. They process their peanut butter by putting it in the filling machine depending on the grams after they produced the peanut butter. They locally commercialized the peanut, as the locals supply them with the groundnuts. They get the supply to see if it is clean, take it to the roaster, peel it, clean it again and grind it and put them in commercial packaging containers called “SHUSU-SHUSU Peanut Butter “approved by the South Sudan Standard Bureau which they supply their peanut butter to the vendors and so far, they have six vendors (supermarkets where they supply the 500gs and 250gs) to multiple commercial vendors in Juba; Juba Mall, Jamal Shop, Nasama Supermarket, Elenna Supermarket, Sabriem Supermarket, Super Market Tonj, and Mine-Supermarket where their products are competing with imported goods to the market and NGO’s.

KEDA Member sifting through the raw peanut

Though the group is doing well, the issue with the pandemic is the prices of their peanut butter keep’s fluctuating as the economy is unstable, however, due to their planning ahead they are generating more sales because most peanut paste producers in Juba have been affected by the pandemic and therefore their production is low compared to KEDA, giving the group an advantage in the market.

The Final Peanut Butter product ready for commercial Supply

Their future plans for expansion is to educate the local people to produce more and provide more farmers with seeds to expand their raw material supplier base whilst benefiting multiple farmers who will give back in the form of the volume of grams. They are looking forward to producing groundnuts oil and sesame. The group of suppliers agreed to supply them with the groundnuts in three months as they are ready for supply.

The USADF C.A.R.E.S Emergency Fund given to the group during the current COVID-19 -19, 75% is going to be used to upscale their groundnuts production and improve some operation inputs. The group also plans on giving the local public COVID-19 awareness by running a campaign on safe practices and providing safety gear such as masks to the farmers and soaps. Their advice to farmers (G-nuts farmers) is locally producing the groundnuts for the country’s consumption to reduce the country’s dependency on importing products that can be locally produced.

“We would like to thank our granters USADF and FYI for supporting us during the Covid-19 and that it will come to an end for farmers to continue producing their products in South Sudan. We would on our side do our best in the production of the G-nuts into peanut butter and let us keep on doing what we can to help the country’s agricultural and private sector improve” – John Faustino, Business Manager

USADF C.A.R.E.S Success Story: Akari Development Association

On the 20th of April 2020, the United States African Development Foundation launched the USADF C.A.R.E.S COVID -19 Program to build resilience among African enterprises and entrepreneurs while combating COVID-19 -19 IN Africa. The program has assisted their South Sudanese grantees with an emergency fund to assist them during these hard times.

100 Water Jerricans procured by ADA for distribution

ADA’s Protective Gear’s; masks, gloves, hand sanitizers for COVID-19

The Akari Development Association (ADA) have used their emergency fund to supply protective gears such as masks and hand sanitizers to many farm members and the surrounding community. They have also taken the initiative to set up multiple handwashing stations by procuring 100 jerricans and hand soaps to distribute among their members and the small businesses operating in the communities in the Kpuri and Kappo areas in Jubek County. Two Speeches by the ADA Board members were given during the coverage of this event by the SSBC (South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation)

There is currently no lockdown in South Sudan due to the economic situation as the vast population depending on daily incomes from small economic activities such as selling in markets, streets hawking, transportation and selling affordable food in small shops all across the city of Juba. ADA has taken it upon them to supply protection to the local community to carry out their daily activities safely as possible and minimizing the chance of contracting COVID-19 -19 to the best of their abilities.


“We would like to thank the USADF and FYI for supporting us and we shall continue to hope that COVID -19 shall come to an end in South Sudan so that our farmers will be free to cultivate and produce more for the sustainability of our people, until then we have to do what we can help” – Anna Nana Bona, Deputy Chairperson in the Board of Directors of Akari Development Association.

FYI’s Origins

FYI CEO; Mr albino Gaw with Tom Coogan- Former Regional Director of the UASDF in Washington DC 2018

Mr Albino Gaw Dar, co-founded Foundation for Youth Initiative in 2011 with the purpose to create a platform that can enable young people to fully participate in the development processes of a new nation, South Sudan. Albino grew up In a village, schooled in refugee camps, studied sociology and worked for the public institutions. This exposure gives him a deep sense of curiosity and eagerness to understand the people and the world around him. This happened at first through local customs, values, and roles, later through traveling to different regions as a refugee. As of today, he is currently working as a social development specialist- advocating for building future business leader and successful bureaucrats in the country.

His inspiration to start his own NGO was born out of frustration over years, trailing back to 2005, when South Sudan became an autonomous region following the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan People Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/A) and  National Congress Party of the Sudan Government which resulted in the formation of the government of South Sudan.

Citizens from the region of South Sudan were recruited into the public sectors, particularly departments of ministries, commissions, and pastoralist bodies. In the processes of recruitment, only elders were appointed to become heads and senior civil servants of units either because of their ages, military background, or past work experience with public institutions in previous Sudan. The youth, particularly the educated youth were not recruited into a senior hierarchy or given meaningful assignments in various departments of public institutions. Despite their prowess, they were just relegated to junior positions such as clerks, junior insecure. These positions lack the meaningful scope of work that commensurate their educational qualifications. As a result, many educated young people were estranged and frustrated because their skills are being underutilized.

Albino personally worked for two public institutions of South Sudan; an assistant inspector for the Ministry of Cooperative and Rural Development in 2006; and then he joined the Public Grievances Chamber as its executive secretary- leaving both positions as his skills were not being utilized to the best of his expectations.

His concept of social development revolves around two models: private Sector Development and empowerment of youth-led and women-led enterprises: the overall purpose of his model is to create and promote self-sustaining grassroots-led small and medium enterprise that focuses on value creation, innovation, technology adaptation and learning processes designed to enable young people to contribute resolution of social problems affecting communities.


“My message to South Sudanese youth is that South Sudan is a home of diverse social groups who are intertwines by the River Nile and its tributaries and bounty natural resources including arable land, game reserves, mineral, solar energy and other strategic commodities. My understanding of availability of significantly contri8bute to the global enrichment.”- Albino Gaw Dar/ Chief Executive Officer of Foundation for Youth Initiative