The Climb Podcast

Extraordinary Stories from African Youth

Hosted by Channels Television and the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa

Building on our Programme for African Leadership (PfAL), LSE is proud to embark on this pioneering co-production with Channels TV to tell the stories of some extraordinary young Africans to inspire a generation of future leaders.

Firoz Lalji, January 2023

The Climb is a joint podcast production from Channels Television and the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa. It tackles themes of youth leadership, innovation, and development through unique stories of individual achievement and panel discussions. 

Listen to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

The podcast

Channels TV, one of Africa’s leading news organisations, and the FLIA have jointly launched this ground-breaking podcast, the first of its kind on the continent, specifically curated for and about African youth.

In a compelling, narrative-focused style The Climb showcases young Africans, including LSE’s African Alumni, and explores how they are combatting the brain-drain by using their skills and knowledge to assist Africa’s development.

The Climb will run twice a month, telling unique stories of individual achievement, and presenting panel discussions on issues relevant to young Africans living on the continent and in the diaspora.

Episode 1 asset

The Climb Series 1

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Episode 1

Hosted by Jewel Atedou Bright and Khadidiatou Cisse, the first episode follows the remarkable story of John Oseni, a 17 year-old tech prodigy from Akure, Nigeria. 

Listen to the first episode

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Episode 2

In the second episode, our hosts hear Mariam Dahir's story. Mariam is a doctor, researcher and anti-FGM activist - her remarkable work has culminated in an historic FGM ban in Somaliland. 

Listen to the second episode


Episode 3

Episode 3 follows Steven Wani, who grew up during the Sudanese Civil War. The war claimed thousands of lives, including that of Steven’s father. Now a lawyer and politician, how is Steven continuing his father's fight?

Listen to the third episode


Episode 4

In episode 4, we hear Mavis's story. When she was just 18, Mavis set up EM Love Foundation, a non-profit that aims to give underprivileged Namibians access to basic needs. 

Listen to the fourth episode


Episode 5

When he was an undergraduate student, Gideon Olanrewaju set up the foundation, Aid to Rural Education Initiative. The organisation has become one of the most important educational charities in Nigeria, promoting equitable access to education, and digital literacy among children. Hear his story in epsiode 5. 

Listen to the fifth episode.

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Episode 6

Follow the story of Saidy Brown, a young South African woman as she walks us through her life as an HIV activist. After discovering that she was born with HIV at the age of 14, Saidy decided to share her experience with her community and, so far, she has been on a transformational journey. Now 28, she has become a champion for social justice and health equity in her country.

Listen to the sixth episode

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Episode 7

Cynthia Nyongesa, a 27 years old storyteller and education advocate has been using the power of storytelling to get support and life-changing opportunities to those in need. Her passion for helping others which was born out of the economic disparity she witnessed growing up in her native Kenya has seen her impact the lives of hundreds of people. Listen to the stories of those she has impacted and find out how her passion really started and evolved.

Listen to the seventh episode

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Episode 8

Derick Omari is a successful social entrepreneur in Ghana. At the age of 27, Derick has innovated some of the most significant learning aids for people living with disabilities, and for his work, he has won significant local and international awards.  Find out the deep-rooted reason Derick choose to dedicate himself at a young age to the service of others, and learn about his plans to build Africa's largest social enterprise.

Listen to the eighth episode. 

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Episode 9

James Okina encountered the problem of out-of-school street children in his home city of Calabar, southern Nigeria. James refused to accept the reality that children as old as 10 were living on the streets of Calabar and fending for themselves and begun to speak with people in hopes to galvanize help for these children, but his efforts yielded little results. But rather than giving up, James took a bold step; a step that would snowball into something he never imagined. 

Listen to the ninth episode. 

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Episode 10

Chido Cleopatra Mpemba, is a former banker who was driven by her passion for sustainable development and advocacy to quit her job to dedicate herself fully to the service of others. Today, she is the Youth Envoy at the African Union Commission. How did she do it? What is this office? And what can young people across Africa learn from her story? 

Listen to the tenth episode. 

Karabo's Story

Episode 11

Karabo Mokgonyana is a lawyer and passionate development activist. Growing up in a small village in the South African province of Limpopo to witness the high levels of underdevelopment ignited Karabo's passion for development. Today, apart from running her own not-for-profit organization, Karabo is an accomplished development consultant and sits on the advisory boards of some of the world's leading development organizations. 

Listen to the 11th episode here. 

Christian's Story

Episode 12

Growing up in a small town in the Central African Republic of Cameroon to witness immense depravity and youth violence had a great impact on Christian Achaleke. It made him want to contribute towards ensuring a better future for other young people like him, and at the age of 17, he did just that when he joined a local youth charity as a volunteer. Over a decade later, Christian has grown himself from a volunteer at that charity to become its Executive Director, Winning numerous international awards along the way, and transforming the lives of thousands. 

Listen to the 12th episode here. 


Episode 13

This episode follows Aboubacar Sidiki Komara’s story. This young Guinean architect founded Kaloum Bankhi, a non-profit organisation which aims to provide affordable and sustainable housing for underserved communities in the central neighbourhood of Kaloum in Conakry. As a recipient of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize and First prize winner of UC Berkeley’s Big Ideas competition, Aboubacar remains more determined than ever to provide context-based solutions to housing issues in Africa. In this episode, he explains how he draws inspiration from the rich history of African indigenous architecture in his work.

Listen to the 13th episode. 

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Episode 14

From a young age, Mustapha Abubakar Gajibo developed a deep passion for technology and entrepreneurship. As a secondary school student, his passion for technology led him to conduct research which enabled him build innovative products he deployed to earn money in his local community in Northern Nigeria.  By the time he got to the University, Mustapha was already blazing the technological trail and felt University education had very little to offer him so he dropped out of school and launched fully into the world of tech and entrepreneurship. Today, Mustapha's company, phoenix renewables, is one of the first and only companies building electric vehicles in Nigeria, and he is prime to break further grounds. 

Listen to the 14th episode

Khouloud' The Climb

Episode 15

Khouloud Ben Mansour is a young Tunisian development professional with a fascinating career story. While studying chemistry at the University, she stumbled upon an opportunity to attend the Model United Nation, an encounter that ignited her passion for development and diplomatic issues. Following that encounter, Khouloud found herself obsessed with starting a career in development, a career journey she undertook with great enthusiasm and which has taken her to the top tables of global diplomacy and international development. Today, she serves as the African Union's Youth Ambassador for Peace and she is keen to use her story as a testament to young people that anything is possible and dreams really do come through. 

Listen to the 15th episode

Deborah Benjamin

Episode 16

Deborah Benjamin is a young changemaker from the western Nigerian town of Ibadan. She is also the Executive Director of Save a Girl Africa, a charity dedicated to helping young people stand against Gender based Violence in their communities. After supporting her friend through an awful and truly appalling sexual assault, Deborah began her changemaking journey towards ensuring that no other girl suffers what her friend experienced.  Today, Deborah's work has impacted numerous young people across her native city of Ibadan, and she is poised to further expand her work.

Listen to the 16th episode