Cabo Verde, formerly known as Cape Verde, is an island nation comprised of 10 islands and five islets located on a volcanic archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. Today, Cabo Verde is known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture, traditional music and numerous beaches. Cabo Verde’s economy is developing thanks to a growing tourism sector and foreign investment. Having achieved its independence from Portugal in 1975, today the nation has a reputation as a stable representative democracy.
You and the other remarkable members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network | YALI continue to create a bright future for Cabo Verde. Because of your hard work and dedication Cabo Verde is the YALI Network #CountryoftheWeek!
Keep reading for three inspiring stories about addressing unemployment, increasing public health awareness, and inspiring others through the power of dance in Cabo Verde.
YALI Network member Ana Reis is a dedicated teacher, journalist and social activist committed to empowering youth in her hometown, Praia, on Cabo Verde’s Santiago island. As the Director General of the Professional School of Technologies and Arts—an organization designed to help young people in her community become entrepreneurs and to start their own business—she’s working to combat Cabo Verde’s unemployment problem—a phenomenon that disproportionately affects her town’s younger demographic, she says.
“In remote Praia in São Martinho Pequeno, young people have little information and education,” Ana says. “Unemployment and dropping out of school is common.”
According to Ana, the YALI Network Online Courses have helped her to address these issues in her community: “After participating in a training on leadership and entrepreneurship at the Pedro Pires Institute for Leadership and UNIDO, I wanted to learn more about leadership, business development and entrepreneurship, so I completed courses in Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls, Management Strategies for People and Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business.”
Ana also hosts community-wide events to counter violence among youth in her community. In 2015, she organized and promoted a women’s and men’s soccer tournament to foster a sense of “social inclusion and a culture of peace.” She is hopeful that her work will contribute to a brighter future for Cabo Verde and the next generation.
Increasing public health awareness
“In my community, malaria—a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes—is a huge problem,” says Vania Andrade from Praia. To help her community understand the public health risks associated with the disease, as well as how to prevent it, Vania organizes a volunteer group called “We are Tomorrow’s Future,” which goes door-to-door to educate community members and help them better recognize conditions that lead to mosquitoes and disease outbreaks. “They must take care when it rains,” Vania cautions. The volunteer group also organizes collective community cleanups.
While Vania understands that malaria poses a daunting challenge in her community, she believes that with the YALI Network, she’s equipped to help her community take the necessary steps to prevent and manage malaria outbreaks.
Inspiring others through dance
Our final featured #CountryoftheWeek YALI Network member, Miriam Medina, runs a dance troupe in Praia that specifically focuses on “promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities.”
Through her troupe, Miriam has witnessed first-hand the empowering, transformative effects of dance. “Our dance groupe has helped recover the self esteem of many people with—and without—disabilities,” she says. Miriam uses one of her dancers as an inspiring example: “At age 10, she was run over and lost both legs. She was prejudiced against her own disability,” explains Miriam. “But after joining the group in 2011, she was able to overcome her struggles, and now works and lives alone. She is a motivating inspiration for overcoming disability.”
The YALI Network has provided Miriam the training to empower others through the artistry of dance. Says Miriam proudly, “Our dance troupe has changed lives.”