The Global Innovation Valley (GIV) story started in 2019. Blaise Amani (our founder) after graduating from the Business Administration department of Customs and Excise had to go to Kenya, due to the ongoing violence and political instability that happened in his home country DRC. As a result, he became a refugee.
Arriving at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, one year later he started to volunteer in different organizations. He volunteered at Innocent Ntumba Tchilombo’s company called Kakuma Ventures as a marketing manager. From there he got an opportunity to join Social Innovation Academy (SINA) which was founded by a German guy called Etienne Salborn in Uganda through Innocent.
In January 2019, he joined SINA as a scholar. Six months later he started volunteering work at SINA and other SINA communities within Uganda. Blaise, while at SINA, started to think about the life of his fellow refugee in the camp. Over the year, he regularly returned to Kenya to take care of his refugee status in the camp. He started organizing different youth training on self-discovery in Kalobeyei Settlement and Kakuma refugee camps. He later realized that many young refugees like him face a lot of challenges in their camps – such as language barrier, lack of job opportunities, and many more, and as a result, many young refugees become victims of drug abuse, early pregnancies, and crime. Even worse, some who are highly traumatized and frustrated end up committing suicide.
He started to think about what could be done to improve life in the camp and as well support his fellow refugees to become independent and sustainable. He founded Global Innovation Valley (GIV) (with a team of 5 friends) with the aim of empowering marginalized youth and young refugees to become social entrepreneurs and job creators.
GIV has so far empowered 60 young refugees, created 15 jobs, and launched two successful social enterprises.