A Chat with Omar Bawa, Co-Founder and COO at Student Community App: Goodwall

Goodwall is a next-generation virtual community, empowering young people every step of the way through the ever-changing world of education and work.

Our mission is to level the playing field and enable a fair chance for youth globally to reach their full potential and impact society positively. We know that the digitally connected generation is disconnected from opportunity and is facing a crisis. We want to help them on their journey to navigate the future of learning and earning.

Spanning 150+ countries we now have a community of 1.7 million members (and counting!) using our app to build a digital profile and network of like-minded others who they can share ideas with, showcase achievements and gain support.
 
 
Goodwall - Connecting Young Talent to Opportunities
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
My brother Taha & I were born into a humanitarian family, so our parents played a big role in inspiring the Goodwall journey.

Our father served in the UNHCR to help refugees and our mother worked as the first female employee for the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDs, TB and Malaria. This meant that we had travelled quite a bit at a young age and grew up very aware of the challenges our world faces. This in turn led to us having a strong desire to create a meaningful impact on our lives.

We recognised that to achieve this at the scale we needed to leverage technology and social networking. Goodwall is our vehicle to create that impact.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
Due to the pandemic, we fully embraced a completely remote setup, with over 60 team members now based all around the world. Up until that point, some of our team were remote, but our HQ was still physical.

A particular challenge we also faced with our business model was the global hiring freeze. Recruitment slowed down monumentally, which encouraged us to evolve and consider other ways to support youth, other than providing access to jobs. Out of that was born the idea of virtual programs which continually support them throughout their career journeys.

One such initiative is BetterTogether – our flagship global learning program for youth to build relevant skills and access opportunities. Consisting of a series of real-world, themed challenges, as well as inspiring content such as speaker sessions, plus educational and professional resources. We first launched this globally last summer with a network of over 40 esteemed partners, as well as an Africa-specific program at the end of the year which reached over 125k young people across the continent.
 

What can we hope to see from Goodwall in the future?

 
There’s a lot of exciting projects underway here at Goodwall. We’re working on a number of new, engaging programs with big companies, brands, and organisations around topics such as sustainability, entrepreneurship and careers, on both a global and regional level.

We’re also continuing to work with an ecosystem of purpose-driven partners such as UNICEF, Generation Unlimited and GIZ behind the rollout of Yoma (Youth Agency Marketplace). This has the potential to transform the lives of millions of youth by allowing them to learn and earn by completing tasks provided by trusted institutions, record their achievements in a digital CV and earn credits for real-life purchases. Watch this space!