AFRICA/SUDAN - Education and business training: Comboni missionaries promote opportunities for young people

Saturday, 26 March 2022 work   civil society   youth   entrepreneurship   missionary institutes  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - "The 'Comboni Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center' (Ciec) aims to increase and encourage new skills: it is in fact a business incubator, designed to strengthen social cohesion, offer opportunities to young people, to their ideas and to reduce unemployment". This is what Father Jorge Naranjo Alcaide, Comboni priest and Director General of the Comboni College of Science & Technology in Khartoum says in an interview with Agenzia Fides, speaking of the latest initiative promoted by the spiritual heirs of Daniele Comboni to give a chance to the most disadvantaged, especially young people from the less well-off classes, who have more difficulty emerging. This university center - says Father Jorge - dedicated in particular to technology, was founded in 2001 on the basis of another experience, that of Comboni College Khartoum, the school founded in the Sudanese capital in 1929: "The education and formation - he continues - given in the spirit of the Gospel that promotes the dignity of every man, were for our founder, Daniele Comboni, the key that would help Africans to regenerate Africa, and that is still today the motto followed by the Comboni missionaries". This particular mandate was reaffirmed with the creation, in 2019, of the "Comboni innovation and entrepreneurship center" (Ciec) business incubator: "A project, explains the religious, which is the result of previous experiences carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Research on Innovation and Development Services, an organization of the National Research Council (CNR), with the University of Bari 'Aldo Moro' and with the Polytechnic University of Valencia". Our idea, Fr. Jorge told Fides, is a three-step process, which we have defined as "pre-incubation", "incubation" and "acceleration". The first stage, he said, involves 40 people motivated to create their own start-up, and deals with fundamental concepts for starting a business, such as a business model, accounting principles and the use of social media to develop a business. In the second phase of incubation, he continues, the selected candidates must present a project for their business idea. Each is then assigned a tutor and workshops are identified to complete the training. In the end, the third phase begins where one can seek funding". Ciec is not the only business incubator in Khartoum: there are also centers operating in the Sudanese capital that are part of international networks. The first big difference, explains the Comboni Missionary, concerns the type of members: the users of these centers are generally young Sudanese from the middle and upper classes; those from Ciec are mainly refugees from other countries and many of the Sudanese are displaced from Darfur or the Nuba Mountains. "This initiative - concludes Father Jorge - is an important opportunity to help young people to discover hidden gifts of which they were perhaps unaware, to discover their own talents to put at the service of the construction of the Kingdom of God". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 26/3/2022)