Be the Change Academy

Business Development and Support in West Africa

We help illiterate young people in Africa escape a vicious cycle of poverty. We empower them to feed themselves and their families, send their children to school and pay for vital medicine.  We do this by helping them to create and develop their own business and become financially independent for life.

Our pioneering training programme provides vulnerable, illiterate young people in Africa with life-changing skills to start, develop and adapt a sustainable business. Our unique and innovative training is specifically designed to engage illiterate young people who have little or no formal education. The training is delivered in local communities by highly trained local experts. It uses image-based materials that we have been developed through extensive collaboration with local partners and illiterate young people. In this way, the project is rooted in the communities, inclusive and tailored to meet the needs of the most vulnerable young people.

In line with our mission of helping the most disadvantaged young people, we currently run training for vulnerable, illiterate young women in areas most affected by the recent Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Discover more about the young people your donations have helped

Together we have already helped over 7,000 young people to escape poverty.

Help us to help more.

The Peace Child Programmes
Innovative, Engaging and Effective

Each programme provides step-by-step support to guide young people through the process of identifying a possible business opportunity, undertaking market research, developing a budget and business financing plan, and to launch their own business. The approach ensures that training is integrated through every step and ensures that participants gain the vital business skills they need.

  • Highly adapted to the needs of vulnerable young people

    The programme uses innovative image-based training tools and games, proven to increase understanding and build business skills for those with limited literacy skills.

  • Low risk capital through savings and loans groups

    Saving and loans group are a common way that people save and provide a lower risk way for young entrepreneurs to access capital.

  • Connections to local business support and services

    Young people are connected to different local service providers that can support them to grow their businesses, now and in the future.

  • Long-term peer-to-peer support through entrepreneur networks

    Young entrepreneurs provide continued advice, support and mentorship to each other through our entrepreneur networks, long after the programme has finished.

100% of young people who took part in the training are now confident that they can successfully start and run their own businesses

Together we are stronger

Working with our dedicated partners – Jatropa in Guinea, A W.I.S.H. Sierra Leone and Youth Crime Watch Liberia – is key to the success of our enterprise training programme, these strong local ties set our programmes apart.

A W.I.S.H.

Operating out of Kenema, Sierra Leone is our partner A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity. They are leading projects to help rebuild economically and socially after the Civil War. It is leading the way in supporting vulnerable young people to setup businesses and they are also running a school, where free places are guaranteed to Ebola orphans.

The agreement can be view here.


Hailed by the Netherlands-based Children and Youth Finance Initiative as ‘the world’s first youth MFI’, they have been supporting youth led businesses for the past seven years. Young entrepreneurs can access a range of services that integrate training and with loans. 

Youth Crime Watch Liberia

YCWL empower children and young adults to create safer societies. They work in education, crime prevention and peace building, economic development and job creation. Running two young women’s empower centres, YCWL are supporting young Liberians to thrive.

The agreement can be view here.

Donate now to help illiterate young people escape poverty