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Etienne commented on Social Innovation Academy (SINA)

Hey Gayanjith Premalal 

Thank you for your feedback and thought provoking questions!
Each academy itself has the goal to foster local solutions to emerge in form of social enterprises with social and environmental impact, and our scholars to leave with their own jobs.

Some teams wish to create a new SINA as their social enterprise. To be able to take the model forward, different team members specialize in the core elements of the model: self-organization, life-coaching, empowerment training and mentoring. After having first participated, members start to co-facilitate and after, fully lead their area. Additionally, weekly mentoring training sessions give support, for example, for the upcoming mentors, whereby scholars are even certified in the end through a partner organization from the US (Work for Life).

We are also prototyping and experimenting with an online mentoring platform for potential external mentors such as yourself, to come on board in a structured and powerful way. As a business analyst and design enthusiast, would you be willing to join?

In terms of talent identification, we rather look for an inherent drive in an individual, rather than previous experiences or knowledge. A selection day full of fun challenges and activities allows the community to find the individuals who are fighting to get out of the difficulties they are currently in. Then the SINA model can best support to unleash potentials and channel this energy into contributing to the community and ultimately creating a social enterprise.

There are still many assumptions. We currently see the three biggest ones as:
- Each SINA community will be able to financially self-sustain after initial support
- The SINA model works in different cultural and geographical contexts
- Each community is able to adapt to local needs while being able to keep a shared SINA culture alive

Smiles from Uganda ;-)


Etienne commented on Social Innovation Academy (SINA)


I see that you work with youth in Kibera. It might potentially be through your community members for example. A few interested ones could join us in Uganda, go through the model and if passionate about empowering others in the same way, take it to Nairobi! It is our scholars who replicate SINA to new places and make it their own, adjusting to the local needs.

Greetings from Uganda,


Etienne commented on Social Innovation Academy (SINA)

Dear Isaac Jumba,

amazing that you had visited us last year! It sounds like you really enjoyed your experience and we hope to host you again soon!

In a first experiment, we invited already existing youth empowerment and training organizations to find out if we could partner or if potentially they would be interested in creating a SINA community. We learned that the self-organized approach needs to start from the bottom, from the beneficiaries themselves. We feared that with an existing organization it would be a top down approach, with the community members as passive recipients instead of the active drive.

We have been creating a close relationship with the Mpigi District Local Government and signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a partnership. One of the experiments was to test if the SINA model could be replicated through existing youth councils in Mpigi district and we invited all of them from the different areas of the district for an interaction. We learned about some of their challenges with bureaucracy and the sometimes political obstacles for youth to create something for themselves.

We also invited referred youth from different zones of the Nakivale and also Bidi Bidi refugee camps for interaction. Comparing the drive between the three groups, we saw the biggest and untapped potential in the refugee community. We could observe and feel how many of the individuals are determined to put their lives back on track and will never give up. Giving these individuals a space and tools to create their own solutions and a model on how to structure themselves, can create huge impact for the entire refugee camp. We decided to fully focus on refugees for the 12 new communities.

In the Bidi Bidi Refugee camp, we are currently partnering with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), responsible for the refugee camps in Uganda. We have also engaged with the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development and submitted a first draft for cooperation.

In the near future, we wish to prototype how best to support the new communities in creating their SINA hub, while owning it fully. Our current ideas we wish to test are:
- an online platform to capture sessions and training materials
- an online network for sharing and learning together between the different communities
- coaching and mentoring training by experienced SINA members to have high quality mentors and coaches in each community and how a “certification” or badge system could work
- testing different elements of a “playbook” around the SINA model and in which form it needs to be delivered to reach its highest potential