Award-winning free enterprise enthusiast Tinotenda Pasi is using her skills to raise funds to promote women’s and youth empowerment initiatives that target survivors of gender-based violence and provide them with sound business opportunities to sustain their livelihoods.
“I have a special interest in women’s issues with a particular focus on gender based violence as well the empowerment of young people through access to educational services,” says Tino. In 2014, Tino will spend six weeks in the U.S. as part of the Washington Fellowship, part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.
She will take courses in civic leadership at Arizona State University in Phoenix where she hopes to “tap into the various models that I can replicate back home towards the eradication of gender-based violence and the provision of educational services for high density youth.”
Growing up in the high density suburb of Chitungwiza, Tino was exposed to gender-based violence and struggled to find the funds needed to pursue her studies. Her excellent academic record opened doors for her. “It was through the J.F Kapnek Trust scholarship scheme that I was awarded an opportunity to pursue my studies and to be where I am today,” she says.
She developed her growing passion by participating in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization as a fellow, where she received various honors at SIFE World Cup competitions for her passion for community development through business. These include the Medal of Honor in France (2006), USA (2007) and Singapore (2008).
She believes that programs such as the Washington Fellowship provide a platform to share best practices on resolving pressing issues across continents.
“I believe development is a collective effort and that the individual efforts of young Zimbabwean leaders in their respective fields all contribute to that collective effort,” she says.
Upon her return from the U.S., Tinotenda has set her sights on establishing the Hope Foundation, an organization which will target women and youth. She imagines two key programs. “The youth component seeks to award educational opportunities to young people from high density suburbs through the provision of scholarships, career guidance and mentoring,” she says.
The other program will focus on gender-based violence, working with survivors of gender-based violence to develop their entrepreneurial skills so they become self-sufficient and lead decent lives.
Tinotenda is currently employed by a youth economic empowerment organization, PaNhari, where as a Resource Development Officer her responsibilities include fundraising. Her notable achievements include raising nearly $400,000 from the MasterCard Foundation.
She has previously worked as an economist with the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre & Network (ZWRCN), where she specialized in gender responsive budgeting and policy analysis. Prior to that, she worked as a Business Development Associate in the Investment Banking Sector with Fin360 Research & Advisory.
Her primary role was in market research, financial product development and marketing.
BACKGROUND ON THE YALI WASHINGTON FELLOWSHIP
• Watch the video message from President Obama encouraging young African leaders to join the YALI Network.
• For more information on YALI go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/yali/
• For more information on the Washington Fellowship, including video of President Obama’s announcement of the program go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/washington-fellows/