Tujenge Alumni from Cohorts 3, 4, 5, and 6 cofounded and collaborated in the administration of an NGO, Space-Ed Africa, which launched its first initiative, the EmpowerHER Summit, in December 2023. The EmpowerHER Summit aims to empower women to pursue careers in business or the nonprofit sector. A pilot of the Summit was held in Bujumbura in December 2023, with several students from Tujenge Cohort 7, the current cohort, in attendance.

Participants analyzed the economic situation in Burundi and the actual and potential contribution of women to the economy. The Summit facilitated sessions on IT and explored how it can help Burundi develop. The participants worked in groups to come to an understanding of how programming, artificial intelligence, and machine learning could contribute to their business startup or NGO project. Awards were distributed for the best project proposals; Space-Ed Africa is now helping to secure funds for those projects from local and international programs that support youth in Africa. 

Video produced by Cherif Bukuru, Tujenge Cohort 5, currently a Film Production and Directing major at the United States International University Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Among the ideas discussed at the Summit was an initiative that would use AI to detect diseases in plants and help farmers decide early what actions to take. In the future, Space-Ed Africa hopes to scale up with mentorship programs and network-building initiatives throughout Burundi. These connections would offer solutions to the challenges Burundian women face, such as financial dependence, and lay the groundwork for ongoing empowerment. 

Most of the cofounders of Space-Ed Africa are Mastercard Foundation Scholars at USIU-Africa. They represent precisely what members of the HALI Access Network and Friends of HALI  seek to support – bright young minds who are working to make their own community a better place for everyone. Their dedication and hard work are making a significant impact on their community and campus, embodying the core values of HALI students – a testament to the transformative power of education and the positive change it can bring.