An emerging generation of young change-makers in Africa is tackling urgent challenges—poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, lack of access to health care—with creativity, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit. Take Mene Blessing Oritseweyinmi, who developed a low-cost poultry feed that increases the productivity of smallholder farmers while making protein-rich food more affordable in rural Nigeria, and Regina Mtonga, who empowers women in Zambia with the skills and confidence to pursue IT careers and ‘pay forward’ what they have learned to their peers. The two are among 25 young social entrepreneurs who were recently selected as Fellows of Social Entrepreneurs Transforming Africa (SET Africa).

SET Africa is a regional collaboration between the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and The MasterCard Foundation and is managed by the Makerere University Business School (MUBS) in Uganda. The program, a member of IYF’s YouthActionNet® network, is one of 18 national and regional youth leadership development initiatives across the globe.

“Africa is a continent full of young people with the vivacity and creativity to tackle their communities’ most troubling challenges,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “Thanks to the work of our local partner MUBS, we are privileged to support these young founders and CEOs in achieving even more through their social ventures.”

Said USAID/Uganda Mission Director Leslie Reed, “SET Africa contributes to the vision of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and supports the US Government’s broader strategy to empower the next generation of African leaders. By investing in these Fellows, we are supporting their individual development as leaders and through them are also supporting the development of 25 youth-led organizations across the African region.”

SET Africa is part of IYF’s ongoing efforts to create one of the world’s largest networks of young social entrepreneurs. The 25 inaugural SET Fellows join a community of over 900 young leaders in 85 countries.

“The MasterCard Foundation believes that young people will flourish when they are provided with leadership training, mentoring, coaching, and access to financial services,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “This is why we partnered with IYF and USAID—to help develop young leaders in Africa who can change the continent’s narrative and contribute to a more equitable and prosperous Africa.”

The SET Fellows were selected from 15 Anglophone African countries and will receive advanced leadership training, networking support, coaching, and financing through their participation in the program.