Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement Africa Gets a New Leader and Fresh Strategy


“When I joined Junior Achievement as President of JA Africa, Crossland made the transition smooth. I was able to build capacity—understand the players, the culture, and the history of past discussions—so much faster. Crossland’s personal touch makes a huge difference. I believe they are personally invested in my success and the success of JA Africa.”

Chinwe Effiong


Junior Achievement Africa

The challenge

Identify new youth educational programs to increase the organization’s impact and appeal to stakeholders for increased funding, and support the onboarding of a new president to carry it through.

One of the biggest challenges we see facing nonprofits and NGOs is that of gaining and maintaining the funding necessary to keep their organizations alive and moving into the future. In this competitive landscape, it is almost impossible for organizations to raise funds without a clear mission and a strong leader. This often becomes a critical issue when organizations undergo a transformation in either leadership or strategic direction.

In 2010, Junior Achievement Africa found itself facing both of these enormous hurdles at the same time. The JA Africa regional leader had resigned and the JA Worldwide CEO was thrown into the role of acting JA Africa president. In addition to the leadership void, he was met with a wide variety of strategic challenges.

The JA organization in the region had irrelevant and ineffective programs, lacked regional participation, and had inadequate fundraising strategies to support its efforts. There was also the issue of disjointed regional affiliates that were all doing business differently.

The JA Worldwide CEO called upon the Crossland Group for help. The needs were complex and the effort was crucial to the survival of the program in Africa.

What we did

We started by identifying the key elements of the project, and then approached all of these elements as a system that would align across the organization. It was important that we create a structure for the organization that could support the new strategy and leadership in the long term.

Step 1: Identify a strategy for programs that would have a positive impact on the youth in Africa and would align with Junior Achievement’s mission and values.

We dove in with the JA Worldwide CEO and started asking the tough questions. We needed to define JA Africa’s value to the region by understanding the educational needs of Africa’s youth; the donor and competitive landscapes; and the current state of each JA Africa member nation. This meant interviewing over fifty country leaders representing eighteen countries to surface the challenges and opportunities that could be realized in JA Africa’s strategy.

This extensive research into the primary needs of both the stakeholders and end-users in the region was a two-and-a-half-year process that resulted in a new strategy aligned with JA Worldwide’s priorities and operational plan designed to meet the specific regional needs of Africa’s youth.

Step 2: Facilitate the search and onboarding of a new JA Africa president.

The search for the new JA Africa president continued while the foundation was being set for her to step in and hit the ground running. We played a primary role in finding the perfect person for this position, Chinwe Effiong, and supported her wholeheartedly so that she could gain traction quickly.

With the Crossland Group serving as her trusted advisor, she was able to build upon the robust strategy we had developed and was empowered to start implementing change right away.

Our goal was to lay a clear foundation in order to make the transition smooth. With all of the strategy groundwork done before her, we transitioned into a collaborative role with Chinwe, where we offered leadership coaching and guidance through the strategy we had formulated.

Step 3: Identify opportunities for donors and new funding for JA Africa.

Now that the strategy and leadership were in place, we needed to secure funding for the continuation of JA Africa programs. The donor landscape was changing and Chinwe needed to quickly identify and understand these shifts in order to position her organization for continued support. Having a clear direction for the organization, as well as a plan for the youth programs required to support it, were critical to the conversation with donors.

Chinwe had confidence in the strategy we had provided and was able to outline a clear path to success that resonated with donors. While it was successful in securing funding for new programs from donors and a recommitted board, the real success was in the impact it achieved for youth in Africa. Our efforts together were able to help this organization thrive from its lasting transformation.

The result

Our collaboration helped secure $2.6M in new funding to develop education programs.

Our collaboration also resulted in a recommitted board. As the JA Africa president, Chinwe went on to successfully build several public and private sector partnerships with well-recognized organizations, such as UNDP, Barclays, Bechtel, and Citi, and became a part of the African World Economic Forum.

JA Africa has prepared over 1 billion young Africans for success.

The solutions we co-created with JA Africa provided the vehicle for their organization to achieve alignment, engage stakeholders, and secure funding for programs that would inspire Africa’s youth to start their own businesses, give them the skills to succeed in the global job market, and provide them with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions as adults.

Specifically, JA Africa’s programs help young people develop a sense of ownership over their economic success by developing real-world entrepreneurship skills, work readiness, financial literacy, and microenterprises.

Many years later, we continue to be a trusted advisor to JA Africa, supporting their initiatives and opportunities. If your company or organization is in need of support with developing or executing an organizational strategy, navigating a cultural shift, or implementing a re-alignment effort, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us.


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