This week we outlined a vision for the importance of authentic assessments. Today’s post features David Sengeh, founder of Global Minimum Innovate, which creates platforms for African youth to design, experiment and implement solutions to problems in their communities. It doesn’t get more authentic than this. His words follow:



The goal of Global Minimum Innovate in simple terms is to ignite creative thinking, to nurture invention, to encourage entrepreneurship, and to build integrity among young people. Why? So that they learn to identify the challenges in their communities, gather the resources available to solve those problems, and implement their own solutions.

My vision is that every young person in Africa will have an opportunity to solve problems within their community and learn through that experience. This year, we are continuing our high school innovation challenge in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa. It is our responsibility to enable and facilitate creative problem-solving processes. Young people demonstrate that we are well underway.

As someone from Sierra Leone, I am passionate about changing the narrative of my country. Many people have worked hard to showcase the ingenuity of those who labor to change their situations. For me, this new story puts young people at the forefront of national development through their actions. It is not merely a narrative of “aid to” Africa but it is one of “made in” Africa. We no longer focus only on blood diamonds, but engage in frank conversations about the bright dreams being realized by young Sierra Leoneans. The perceptions of young people in Sierra Leone are changing.

We are on the right track to change the status quo from expecting help to acting with a sense of self-efficacy. No one is denying the reality of the war or the lack of infrastructure and poor health care access in the country — but it is time to focus on young people as the drivers of a new culture of innovation.

With broader networks of young people across the African continent who are actively engaged in challenges that incentivize innovation and demonstrate practical community impact, I am more convinced than ever that our generation of African youth can literally and figuratively “make” a different story for our unique communities.

What can we learn from David and apply to formal education?

  • Change the way we view young people and their roles to that of drivers of national development and innovation. Now, not in the future.
  • Don’t wait until we have all the right resources to start making learning hands-on – help students to see possibilities in the available resources.
  • Change the narrative. We are what we focus on. Let’s get the general public excited about what’s going on in schools instead of hand-wringing over its problems. 

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