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Thinking of Leading a YALILearns Session? Keep These Five Tips in Mind.
May 15, 2020

Photo from Josaphat's YALILearns session
Photo from Josaphat’s YALILearns session


Long before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Namibia was experiencing pronounced unemployment.

According to the World Bank, the state has long grappled with the “triple challenge of high poverty, inequality, and unemployment, [which] has remained stubbornly high at 34.0 percent of the working population in 2016 [and] is even higher among women (38.3%) and the youth (43.4%).”

To counter this, Josaphat Tjiho, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and a freelance theater consultant, organized a YALILearns session in February on the YALI Network Online Course Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business.

In this blog post, Josaphat shares what he learned from his session and what you can apply to yours.

1. Do Your Research

For Josaphat, it’s imperative that YALILearns facilitators take the time to study their selected course in detail before sharing those resources with others.

In “Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business,” experts explore the pillars of business creation from writing a business plan to pitching a new venture.

2. Understand Your Audience

In Josaphat’s case, his attendees included a group of unemployed participants, some with an existing business but without plans for expansion.

“The unemployed participants had their own small business that they run in their community, like selling sweets and fast food,” Josaphat says. “This training helped them to get the basic knowledge to grow and to put their businesses in order so that they can pitch their ideas to donors and investors.”

3. Choose the Right Platform

As Josaphat explains, it’s important to meet participants where they are and ensure that they are invested both in the subject and in interacting with others.

“I found that the topic sparked critical thinking and engagement among my participants,” Josaphat says. And though his was an in-person session, a virtual YALILearns webinar would work just as well, especially with stay-at-home orders in place.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Equally important in planning a successful session, Josaphat says, is rehearsing your remarks and going over your notes well in advance of your live session.

“Life is what you make of it,” Josaphat says. “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to work at it.”

5. Have Fun

“My favorite part of the session was listening to the different businesses that these participants have and how they maintain them,” Josaphat says. “I learned that any business can sustain you as long as you are passionate about what you do.”

For him, the highlight of the session wasn’t sharing his knowledge with others, but hearing from his participants about their own struggles, their own dreams, and their own hopes for the future.

“A perfect world is one where we do not judge people based on assumptions,” Josaphat says. “It’s a world where we seek to understand others and their humanity.”

Interested in leading your own session? Learn more about the virtual options available to you on our YALILearns page.