Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Iwili Project

Project #
Burkina Faso
University of California Berkeley
  • Rassidatou Konate
  • Alexis Guissou
  • Stanislas Koudougou
  • Flora Ouedraogo

Iwili Project

“The over one million young people in my country applying for jobs every year are not at peace because the vast majority only knows public service as an option,” writes Rassidatou Konate. “The government can accommodate only about 1.5% of them. What about the other 98.5%?”

To inspire and guide young people in building new opportunities, the project team organized a two-week training program in entrepreneurship and leadership for 30 university students. In seven teams, participants chose a practical problem they wanted to affect, then met with entrepreneurs for feedback and guidance.

Focusing on high-poverty urban issues, team members “stayed with the problem and the people living it four times in the first week,” writes Rassidatou. “The second week, we focused on making those solutions more innovative and impactful.”

To follow up the July training, participants committed to pursuing their projects, which focused on agribusiness, breeding, culture, events and construction. The Iwili team hopes to continue this work, developing entrepreneurship clubs in high schools, using membership fees and recruiting past participants to train and guide new projects.

“As the number of Iwili clubs grows, we will have more income in the form of membership fees, which will allow us to further develop our program and let our vision unfold,” Rassidatou writes. “We believe not everyone can become an entrepreneur, but we want to make sure that everyone who can and wants to, actually becomes one.”