Dear Friends and Supporters of SEO Africa,
Over the last two months, we conducted presentations at 8 of the top universities in Ghana, completed an application and interview process, and selected the students that will become the first ever class of SEO Africa interns. The selection process has turned out to be more emotional than we expected, as some of these students have overcome immense challenges and demonstrated incredible drive and resilience to get to where they are.
We would like to share parts of an application essay submitted by Wisdom Akakpo, a student that will be among our first class of interns. This section of his essay addressed how being selected as an SEO Africa intern fits into his personal and professional goals.
“I have benefited tremendously from the volunteer efforts of people I have never met. Others have sacrificed their resources in order for me to be where I am today. In 2005, NEO Africa Foundation sponsored me when I desperately needed scholarship. This and many others have inculcated in me a strong sense of self-sacrifice and volunteerism. I made a personal resolution to also pay back to society what I have received – to contribute my quota to society in any way I can…Apart from being a world class finance professional, I also would like to coach and mentor our younger ones and to contribute to their personal growth and professional development. I strongly believe that the coaching and mentorship experience with SEO alums will enable me to be a better mentor…By becoming an SEO alum, I would be able to more meaningfully contribute my quota to society’s development.”
To provide some context, Wisdom is one of the top (3.86/4.00 GPA) Economic students at the University of Ghana, and the NEO Africa Foundation is a small nonprofit started and funded by a group of Ghanaian finance professionals (of which some are SEO alumni) that pays for the tuition and other expenses of students that cannot afford to attend high school. SEO Africa is now in a position to provide motivated students like Wisdom the next phase of support so that they can be further empowered to serve the continent of Africa and contribute to its growth.
While our immediate focus is to continue expanding the Career Program, the intern selection process has taught us so much about the roles that SEO Africa can potentially play in 1) impacting the lives of talented but underprivileged high school students, and 2) introducing gender diversity to Corporate Africa (there were a significantly lower number of female applicants to our program, and they tended to be less prepared for our interviews).
We have so much more to share with you about what we have learned throughout this process of starting SEO Africa and what the next steps are for our organization, please look out for more updates soon.
SEO Africa Team