Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the International Development Journal, an online journal offering a platform to engage in debate and discussions on global policies and current affairs.
The Brightest Young Minds (BYM) Board has recently selected and appointed members to its six newly created sub-committees. The selected members will serve on the sub-committees for Alumni Engagement, Communications, Finance & Legal, Projects: Thought Leadership & Innovation, Partnerships & Networks and Summit.
Appointed on initial one year terms, they are expected to contribute to BYM in a tangible manner and its shared future as an organisation. In doing so they will take BYM to the next level by actively helping it to increase the scope of the impact that it is having in cultivating a positive impact across the African continent. Says Suzaan Rossouw, Director of the BYM Board and Driver of the Projects: Thought Leadership sub-committee, “Ultimately I want this sub-committee to inspire our alumni to think critically and creatively. Our alumni are known to be those who are already engaging in the conversation and challenging the status quo, but this sub-committee, will aim to be the facilitator on subject matters that appeal to our alumni, such as gender equality, diversity, sustainability, the SDGs and the NDP.”
In total 26 people, representing five different African nationalities, have been appointed to drive the newly created sub-committees. All, are former Summit delegates and have significant education, expertise and skills across various fields and all are passionate about driving BYM forward and positively impacting Africa’s sustainable development.
Identify, connect, mobilise
BYM CEO, Dhiren Govender, believes this diversity and range of skills should be celebrated and is highly beneficial to BYM’s growth because “The members of these sub-committees were chosen with one goal in mind: assisting the executive capacity of BYM in cultivating a positive social impact across the continent – in a tangible way. Each of the 26 members have been chosen for a specific purpose, determined by a needs analysis process that the Board of Directors went through in late November 2016. Given the upward trajectory of BYM in recent years, this group of individuals will now form BYM’s most diverse team in the organisation’s history, while being the largest and most impact-driven team in recent memory.”
BYM is a 16-year-old, non-profit organisation that is based in South Africa. It’s core objective is to identify, connect and mobilise Africa’s most innovative and young people. Each year BYM identifies 100 new young people to join its growing network and invites them to attend its annual 5-day summit. Applicants who are between 20 and 35 years old and are African or based in an African country are encouraged to apply and are selected based on their demonstration of their commitment to action and social impact.
Attending a BYM Summit is a “hugely special experience” says Rossouw, who adds that BYM “has been completely life-changing and has set me on a path appreciating the importance of the mandate we all have to ensure positive social change in our everyday life.” At a BYM Summit delegates are given the opportunity to network widely with other delegates as well as the inspiring guest speakers who are invited to address the Summit. Notable past speakers to address BYM Summits include the well-known anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada, Advocate and former South African Public Prosecutor Thuli Madonsela, businessmen Michael Jordaan and Ketso Ghordan and others. Delegates also take part in workshops related to leadership development, lean start-up methodology and up-skilling so that these newly learnt skills can be applied by the delegates once they leave the Summit. Each Summit concludes with a team challenge delegates are required to use their new skills, to embrace teamwork and work together to design practical solutions to social challenges in the form of sustainable initiatives or businesses with a social impact.
Playing an important role
Although organising and hosting a successful Summit has been the focal point of BYM’s operations during its existence it now wishes to expand its impact beyond just the Summit. It is expected that the new Board sub-committees will play an important role in enabling this. Again, commenting on the sub-committees, Govender, believes “The Board of Directors have taken the approach of shifting BYM towards a continuous engagement with BYM’s alumni community – housed under the catchphrase #5to365. With this, we hope to continue the passionate work that is always showcased at the Summit, while allowing BYM alumni to use the BYM platform as a way to launch their ideas and projects. The sub-committees are the only way that this goal will be achieved, and I am excited to begin the hard but rewarding work that lies ahead with the new team of 26.”
To learn more about BYM, its Board and sub-committees visit the BYM website.