In September, IDP Foundation’s President and CEO Irene Pritzker, and Chief Operating Officer Alison Ehlke made their way to Rome, Italy for the fourth biennial Harambe Rome Forum.

The new partnership with the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance (HEA/Alliance) has been exciting so far, but this trip provided heartfelt insight into this amazing organization, powered by some of the most educated and passionate entrepreneurs in Africa.

The event’s discussions focused on youth entrepreneurship, the needs of marginalized communities across the continent, and how to support the efforts of the Alliance. Founder of HEA Okendo Lewis-Gayle led the event with inspiration and drove to have fruitful conversations among Harambeans and supporters of the Alliance, which is made up of an exceptional combination of corporations, foundations, investors, and academics. The conversations were lively and presented opportunities for the Alliance to move forward with sustainable and impactful momentum.

Executive Director of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Yasmin Kumi
Executive Director of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Yasmin Kumi

A highlight from the forum was the announcement of the inaugural IDP Foundation Changemaker Fellowship. This fellowship was created to support ideas that have the potential to create systemic change on a national level within the education sector. The fellowship includes awarding one entrepreneur with $20,000 seed funding and a 1-year incubation opportunity to support Harambeans transforming education in an African country. Additionally, the Alliance and IDP Foundation will assist the fellow in building a skilled board to help progress the venture, and cultivate an ecosystem around the fellow to find collaborators for their project.

Obinna Ukwuani signs IDP Changemaker Fellowship Award agreement
Obinna Ukwuani signs IDP Changemaker Fellowship Award agreement
Irene Pritzker signs IDP Changemaker Fellowship Award agreement
Irene Pritzker signs IDP Changemaker Fellowship Award agreement

The fellowship was awarded to Mr. Obinna Ukwuani, Founder & CEO of NESA by Makers for his work in advancing the cause of education in Nigeria. NESA is a new economy skills accelerator that offers a multidisciplinary curriculum that spans across highly sought-after practical skills in the tech industry, as well as the key personal development skills required for a successful career in today’s business world. Mr. Obinna’s innovative work aligns with IDP Foundation’s commitment to finding new and innovative approaches to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Obinna Ukwuani and Irene Pritzker
Obinna Ukwuani and Irene Pritzker

Yet in the end, the Africa our generation desires can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is ours. Harambe

Even though this was the IDP Foundation’s first trip to Rome with Harambe, it felt welcoming and full of promise. The Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance is a gathering of some of the most passionate change makers with astounding commitment, and we are delighted to be a founding member.

Each day, the forum would end with the Harambeans reciting in unison,“Yet in the end, the Africa our generation desires can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is ours.”

If anyone can do it, these Harambeans can!


See below for more photos from the Rome-coming!

Obinna Ukwuani and Ms. Anyadiegwu
Obinna Ukwuani and Ms. Anyadiegwu
Flaminia Giovanelli Under Secretary Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Flaminia Giovanelli Under Secretary Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
IDP Foundation's President and CEO Irene Pritzker
IDP Foundation’s President and CEO Irene Pritzker
Elizabeth Nyeko Co-Founder and CFO of Mandulis Energy
Elizabeth Nyeko Co-Founder and CFO of Mandulis Energy
Harambeans Akua Nyame-Mensah and Opheley Salihu
Harambeans Akua Nyame-Mensah and Opheley Salihu

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