When Nani Detti noticed young people around her prone to challenges, as they transition from college to the professional world, an idea of how to assist the youth, came to her,
To make her dream come true, she has worked for months to find donors to finance her project ideas.
Last year, with financial aids from the Center for African Leadership Development (CALD) Nani, launched a project dubbed, 'Misale Initiative', which she often described as "a vision born initiative out of the desire to support Ethiopian youth in their endeavor to transform their lives and their country"
As the youth unemployment rate is pretty high in Ethiopia, even the young people who go to university and graduate either have trouble finding jobs or other opportunities or they might find a job but still be lacking different skills, like communication or networking. Misale initiative is said to bring a solution.
"I decided to work on designing a website that basically matches youth with mentors," says Nani, who completed high school in Toronto, Canada, and earned her bachelor’s degree from the London School of economics.
The website gives access to the youth, who are looking for mentors, to create a profile entering all the details, and assisted them to find professional mentors who have registered on the website and are available to provide the mentorship, with related fields.
Assume, there is an engineering student who wants to secure a job or needs an internship or advice on job applications, Misale will assign him a mentor who is experienced working in the area.
"They support and encourage their mentees by offering suggestions and knowledge, both general and specific. The goal is to help mentees improve their skills and, hopefully, advance their careers"
Biniyam Teshome, is a civil engineer and runs his own business, in Addis Ababa, was happy when he heard about Misale.
He says he was always ready to support youth in their employment and didn't hesitate to register in Misale as a mentor and became one of the fifteen professionals assisting youth with every hurdle they face entering the workforce.
"As Ethiopia is growing rapidly, we professionals should raise questions like is the next generation capable of building on this growth? Will these youth be able to strengthen the country more? which projects like this will give an answer to." Biniyam said.
He also added that everyone should pass down their skills and knowledge to the next leaders of the country. "And Misale helps to build that bridge and I am glad that I am part of it," he says.
Mihret Yemirbilew, 21, and third-year pharmacy student at Gondar University is one of the students who has registered for the mentorship program undertaken at Misale initiative.
She told Addis Zeybe that organization skills are very important to succeed in any field and she wanted to join the program in order to have a very good understanding of clinical pharmacy, a profession she aims to enter when she finishes class.
Hosanna Gashaw, a 4th-year construction management student at Addis Ababa University, says "I found about this platform while I was scrolling through my Facebook and saw their page, then I said 'this is what I need' and signed to be a mentee"
Hosaenna told Addis Zeybe that she always gets confused when she thinks about what her career life would look like in the future. She also noted that these kinds of mentorships will help the youth to clear out their frustration.
"The word ‘Misale’ basically means an example or role model. We wanted a name to show people that you can be a role model to anyone, that you can be an example for others by giving back to your community " said Nani while replying to Addis Zeybe's question 'why she named the project 'Misale'.
According to Nani Mentorship is not about what someone gets out of it, though he/she might get something out of it, they might grow as a person and find the relationships they’ve made can teach them a lot. Thus the project basically wants people to be examples for others and take the first step by saying ‘Here are the ways that I can help.’
She also added that the culture of partnering is at a lower pace in Ethiopia. "When you initiate and approach others, people immediately think you need money, and so they’re very hesitant to partner or work with you," she says.
She said that her project redefines what it means to help others by saying ‘Actually, money isn’t as important as sharing ideas and supporting people in their professional or even personal growth.’
After a brief hiatus, Misale has now partnered with Jegna to provide mentorship for 25-30 Ethiopian university students and recent graduates.
Jegna is a non-profit, signature program of People to People that recognizes the potential of the Ethiopian diaspora in driving true change in Ethiopia.