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Youth of the Month: Elijah Addo

Your life won't be the same after reading Elijah Addo's story. Africa Matters' new Youth of the Month feature seeks to highlight young trailblazers making tangible change in Africa and the diaspora. Elijah Addo is our second and last feature for September 2017. Read his journey to be inspired.

1. Tell us about the work that you do, and the organisation you work with/for.

Born with a childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor, grown to become a chef and social entrepreneur. I am the CEO of Food for All Africa, a food recovery organization that operates West Africa's first community food support service by leveraging on technology to create efficient and sustainable means of nutrition for low income families and vulnerable communities through food recovery, redistribution, farming and forum for stakeholder's within Ghana's food supply chain.

2. How does your work create tangible change in Africa? And which groups are affected by your work? (i.e womxn, children, businesses, etc)

We are one of the few social enterprises in Africa that works with stakeholders to bridge the food and poverty gap between plenty and scarce. We do so through products and services targeted at creating sustainable means of nutrition for our beneficiaries. We currently recover between $5,000-10,000 USD worth of food on monthly basis to support over 5845 beneficiaries within Ghana.

3. As a young person achieving so much in Africa and the world, what are the biggest challenges that you face and how have/do you overcome these challenges?

One of the major challenges I face is the deficit in relevant laws and policies that encourage entrepreneurship and creating community shared values within small scales towards the problems we face as a country.This makes it very difficult for young Ghanaians and Africans to smoothly start and operate new businesses. I overcome these challenges by creating a forum for stakeholders within my field which serves as a network to leverage on creating shared value through our solution. I also use community advocacy as a tool to mobilize community participation and support for projects thereby making it very easy for media to carry your campaign message through the community.

4. What is your advice to young Africans who are despondent about the future of Africa?

As youth we can blame our leaders today for the failures of our society but if we don’t leverage on the technological explosion within our time to solve Africa’s problems, our children will curse us.

The developmental gap between Africa and other parts of the world today should not scare us to run searching for greener pastures on other continents. The many challenges ranging from corruption, infrastructural, poverty and others that we face as a continent should be seen as business opportunities for young Africans. Once you are able to create a solution for corruption, trust me everybody will pay for it because you have created shared value. Let's start thinking, and leveraging on technology available at our disposal to make that change.

5. Do you see yourself as a change-maker and why?

A change maker is one who takes up the little or no resources at their disposal to build sustainable solution for their community. Growing up as an orphan and the only boy among four siblings,have leverage on resources and talent to build a solution for community that transcends beyond the benefit of my family. That is a change-maker

6. What is your vision for Africa?

My vision is to re-invent Africa's food systems to bridge the poverty and food gap between plenty and scarce across the continent.

Elijah Addo

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