COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA) is a volunteer-based organization established by youth in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda. The Organization empowers young people living in Uganda and across Africa to become entrepreneurial leaders that contribute to solving the root causes of their community problems through quality education, community building, and peace-building programs.
Why Their Work Matters
Uganda hosts the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, with over 1.2 million people fleeing ongoing conflicts in South Sudan, DRC and Burundi. 86% of refugee secondary school students and 25% of primary school children in Uganda remain out-of-school. Over 2000 conflict-affected children have been educated through CIYOTA’s primary school education program, 1000 high school students have accessed quality education through scholarships, and 62 university students have been matched to university scholarship programs.
CIYOTA has directly impacted over 80,000 people and 1 million lives indirectly
The 60 recipients of won seed funding through the Entrepreneurship Challenge seed funding have gone on to employ 3184 community members
Through the financial literacy program, 30 widows and single mothers have moved on to set up their own enterprises potentially creating 120 jobs"
2,000+ conflict-affected children have been educated through CIYOTA's primary school education program
1,000+ secondary students have access to quality secondary education through a CIYOTA scholarship
48,000+ community members have benefited from community engagement livelihood programs which focus on farming, financial, and entreprenurial training
Since 2012, the university scholarship program has supported over 76 students through their college education across continents. Many of these students return home to give through working with locally-led organizations or starting their own initiatives that provide employment to people.
CIYOTA pays particular attention to refugee children and youth who have suffered from violence and trauma, recognizing the power of functional education as a critical part of healing conflict and creating social cohesion in communities.
Ntakamaze was born in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country that has lost over 6 million people in two decades of war. Along with thousands of other Congolese people, he was forced to flee to Uganda and lived as a refugee for over 23 years.
In 2005, Ntakamaze and his friends began building the foundation of what is known today as COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA), a youth-led initiative, formed to provide high-quality and innovative education to empower conflict-affected children with the necessary skills to address complex community challenges.
Years later in 2013, Ntakamaze participated in the Humanitarian Innovation Project at the University of Oxford. During his year-long involvement, he conducted research on the impact of refugees’ economic activities in relation to the private sector in their host countries. In May 2017, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester in New York. Upon graduation, he worked at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee for one year and currently serves as the Executive Director for CIYOTA.