Hot Pepper Challenge

Hot Pepper Challenge

Support African Youth Farming When You Take the Hot Pepper Challenge!

Volunteer to take the pepper challenge, post your video on Facebook and nominate your friends to take the challenge as well. After the challenge, please go to our fundraiser page below and make a donation:

Donate Now

The hot pepper challenge is a viral internet challenge that involves filming yourself eating a hot pepper that is high on the Scoville rating. You then upload the video to youtube and share it; exercise caution and know your own limits!

Hot peppers on the Scoville rating: 

Scoville heat unitsPeppers
0.6 to 3.2 millionCarolina ReaperPepper XDragon’s BreathNaga Morich
350.000 to 600.000Red Savina pepper
100,000 to 350.000HabaneroScotch Bonnet
10,000 to 100,000Malagueta pepperCayenne pepper
1,000 to 10,000Guajillo pepperJalapeño
100 to 1,000Banana pepperCubanelle
0 – 100Bell pepper

In the early years, volunteerism brought the youths together.

In the early years, volunteerism brought the youths together.

What AYM wants to accomplish:

The ultimate goal of AYM is to create a consistent source of employment for rural youth ages 15 – 35 with the hope of increasing their quality of life through increased income. AYM is dedicated to creating gainful employment and entrepreneurial initiatives for rural youths across Africa by creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship. It is one way to collectively reverse the social and economic marginalization of Africa.

What the future holds:

In the first three years – 2015 to 2018, Key enterprises will be created in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone, through four initial programs – Arts, Agriculture, Ecotourism, and Entrepreneurship.

How we plan to accomplish our goals:

Mattru Jong in the Bonthe District will serve as the global idea Hub for the AYM model encased in the Social Enterprise Center (SEC). The Social Enterprise Center will be the key administrative headquarter and incubator.  Thereafter, AYM will replicate this model in other districts.

The electrical brake was released, and the blades started to turn immediately in the light breeze.

The electrical brake was released, and the blades started to turn immediately in the light breeze.

Renewable energy in Sierra Leone:

AYM has established a reliable and undisrupted source of electricity using solar, wind turbine and a backup diesel generator to provide some reasonable Internet and technology access as well as building an efficiently centralized administrative system and business incubator. Key initial enterprises are presently functioning at the Social Enterprise Center. The goal is to roll out multiple predictable sources of funding.

Solar and wind turbines in Sierra Leone:

The Social Enterprise Center currently provides the only 24/7 electricity in the whole of Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone, using solar and wind turbine. The purchase of a 5K diesel machine in November 2013 is a key move to stabilize our operations and allow AYM to realize projected monthly revenues from cell phone charging, sales of cell phone top-up units, sales of vegetables from our gardens and internet service.

AYM is rolling out new initiatives in 2015. These initiatives will expand existing enterprises and increase projected revenues in 2015. Our goal by the end of 2015 is to consistently maintain daily net revenue of one million Leones ($250.00). This revenue will be reinvested in the community to expand our entrepreneur base, build more sources of revenue, create employment and develop the community.

AYM Sierra Leone Social Enterprise Center and Business Incubator.

AYM Sierra Leone Social Enterprise Center and Business Incubator.

Long term leased property and ecotourism:

AYM is also a local NGO in Sierra Leone. It has a leased property in Mattru Jong that expires in 2031! The property is being used as an Administrative Headquarter, Social Enterprise Center, and Business Incubator. AYM also has an informal arrangement with a landowning family to develop their property and promote Ecotourism and other related economic activities with the hope of purchasing the property when funds become available. The land is located along a beautifully clean river, beach and waterfalls. AYM envisages a local resort village on the land that would be opened to both local and international tourism.

AYM also has access to several acres of land for vegetable gardening and varied agricultural projects. From time-to-time, our volunteers from the United States meet up with our volunteers in Sierra Leone to work on projects and improve capacities to deliver services. We have just finalized a partnership to install a cassava processing machine that would primarily produce Foofoo for commercial purposes.

Measuring AYM progress on goals:

AYM means youth employment – employment to increase the income of rural youth and an opportunity to increase their quality of life. We recognize that creating employment that would provide a living wage takes time with several factors coming into play. Identifying emerging opportunities in our rural areas of operation and responding with the right business idea is crucial. Recruiting, training and providing employment for rural youth is our goal.  Right now, we have some key enterprises with the potential to expand in 2016. Our focus for 2015 is generating investment capital through crowdfunding. This will help us start providing at least our first five full-time paid jobs in January 2016.

The biggest pumpkins in the village from the AYM vegetable gardens.

The biggest pumpkins in the village from the AYM vegetable gardens.

Opportunities and Challenges:

Opportunities abound for AYM in Sierra Leone, especially in the operational district of Bonthe. AYM has an administrative and business office in Mattru Jong with 24/7 electricity (partly from renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar). It also has a good relationship with the local leadership and access to land for ongoing agricultural programs.

The agriculture sector can absorb a greater number of unskilled youth. In 2007, AYM launched the Youth Vegetable Gardens in five communities in the District. Two hundred youth participated in the project. The vegetables were sold to Sierra Rutile, a neighboring mining company, through its hospitality management company, All Terrain Services Group (ATS).
The population of Mattru Jong is increasing by leaps and bounds. Many opportunities exist for business in food, education, recreation and entertainment sectors. AYM has positioned itself to start exploiting these opportunities to create jobs for the youth in the community.

How Ebola and Cell phones Theft will Impact AYM Sierra Leone 2014 Goals

How Ebola and Cell phones Theft will Impact AYM Sierra Leone 2014 Goals

Ebola in Sierra Leone

Months ago, we anticipated that by the end of year 2014, the number of youth gainfully employed by AYM in Sierra Leone will be around 25.  Those anticipations are already in doubt due to two factors:  the Sierra Leone Ebola epidemic and theft at the center.

Sierra Leone is back in the news again – for the wrong reasons.  EBOLA!  The recent Ebola epidemic that started in Guinea and Liberia finally engulfed Sierra Leone, except for Koinadugu District. Ebola is a contagious disease spread through contact.  Two of the largest Districts in the country – Kailahun and Kenema – have been placed under emergency quarantine. Gatherings of all sorts are strongly opposed and sometimes out rightly discouraged.

AYM Sierra Leone Social Enterprise Center and Business Incubator.

AYM Sierra Leone Social Enterprise Center and Business Incubator.

The friendly culture of hand-shaking and hugging is finally coming to an end in Sierra Leone and major economic challenges are on the rise.

According to recent World Health projections, this Ebola crisis is not going away.  

There have been 848 cases of Ebola and 518 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia since the beginning of the outbreak. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated more than 70 patients with symptoms resembling those of Ebola in the Kailahun treatment center in eastern Sierra Leone over the past two weeks (WHO)

Major airlines have cancelled their Sierra Leone routes with 219 out of 590 flights no longer running.  Sierra Leone is in a bind. Thirteen years ago, we ended an eleven year gruesome civil war.  Now we are fighting to end an Ebola epidemic which realities are reflecting wartime exigencies, the cultural and economic impacts notwithstanding.

Sierra Leone has 2.2 doctors for every 100,000 people (2012 figures) far behind the UK (279). (WHO)

Resources in Sierra Leone are drained by malaria treatment. There were some 1.5 million confirmed and probable cases in 2012, from an overall population of about 6 million . (WHO)

Nighttime At AYM Center in Mattru Jong since Ebola restrictions

Nighttime At AYM Center in Mattru Jong

Recently, the Mattru Jong police dispersed a crowd at the AYM Social Enterprise and Business Incubator Center. The Center is the flagship program of the AYM in Sierra Leone. Its purpose is to harness the local talents of Jong Chiefdom, Bonthe District and develop businesses and services.  These developments will enhance the social progress of the community by creating jobs to provide community youths with employment.  The vision of the center is aligned with the meteoric expansion of Mattru Jong to ensure that the foundations  of amenities for an emergent future city are undertaken by locals and available in progressive increments with ideas support from around the world.  One of our sources of revenue – the Cinema hall – has been closed.   This is a nation-wide emergency law for all cinema halls to close and all businesses providing critical services must have hand-washing stations.  It is the right thing to do under these circumstances.

The AYM Social Enterprise and Business Incubator Center is also the only place in the entire Bonthe District with 24/7 uninterrupted electricity.  The center provides cell phone, vehicle and motorcycle battery charging services to the community along with the sales of continuous cold drinks. By allowing the youth to run the center and train in simple business management, we hope to roll out individuals capable of creating businesses in an ever expanding community.

Ebola education - hand disinfecting

Ensuring all hands are clean before any contact at the business.

How Ebola has reduced our income

The Ebola crisis is a challenge to our not-for-profit business model.  Before the crisis, the center was always alive until about 3 A.M. Now we close business at 11 P.M. each day.  The revenue from the Cinema hall has stopped.  The number of people – about 150 – 200 – that gather every night at the center has dwindled. We have seen a remarkable dwindling of revenue as well.

Ebola education in Sierra Leone

AYM Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Glover was in Sierra Leone to address some administrative issues until the Ebola emergency peaked.  He immediately began a sensitization campaign based on a press release from the American Embassy among the workers, volunteers and customers to the center.  He ensured everyone coming to the center had to wash their hands with chlorine and all handshaking and hugging were immediately outlawed.  The continual escalation of the crisis and the withdrawal of the Peace Corp Volunteers convinced Dennis he had to leave too.  On August 12, Dennis left Mattru Jong in the afternoon to arrive in Bo before 7 PM.  His flight to Brussels was schedule for August 13th.

Main sources of income have been damaged by ebola outbreak

Cell phone, vehicle and Motorcycle battery charging are main sources of revenue

On August 13th, Dennis called around 3 A.M. EST from Sierra Leone to inform me that he has received a call from Mattru Jong and the news was not good.  According to the report, thieves broke a window pane and had carted away more than 20 customer cell phones.  The number of stolen cell phones is now 21.  To date, we still do not know who the thieves are.  Even though the case is with the police, and suspicions continue  swirling around some key team members that have been replaced in administrative restructuring, there are no concrete leads.

How can you help?

AYM is in a bind.  Revenue is down due to Ebola and liability for 21 stolen phones now hangs over the organization’s  head.  Until proven, we still have salaries to pay.  We need a good Samaritan.

Please help us prepare for the challenges ahead.  Donate to AYM.  

Meet the Artist that Designed the AYM Logo

Meet the Artist that Designed the AYM Logo


Graphic Artist Ildiko Toth

Online volunteer, Graphic Artist Ildiko Toth,  redesigned the AYM Logo.   All hands are on deck; Join the Movement NOW!

Nine United Nations Online Volunteers (UNOV) competed to completely design a new AYM Logo to replace the existing logo in use since 1992.  The new AYM Logo must portray a dynamic youth movement with beautiful, meaningful and simple visual effect. A total of 26 high quality logos were entered in the competition by nine UN Online Volunteers. To reach a final decision, suggestions as well as comments were solicited from the public. The involvement and participation of the public helped in making the final decision easier.

AYM settled on one of the designs entered by Ildiko Toth, a Graphic Artist from Portland, Oregon and, a UN Online Volunteer. The choice of Ildiko’s design was an outcome of a comprehensive review of all the entries, along with comments and suggestions, including a review meeting by the AYM staff and Social Media Strategy Team, which also comprised of UNOV members.

The winning AYM logo design, with an inscription of the new AYM tag-line, “Hands at work; Minds in Motion” reflects the re-branding of the organization and the clarity of its vision and values.

AYM Logo by Ildiko Toth

AYM Logo by Ildiko Toth

The choice of color is also significant. With varied shades and tones of Brown and symbolic gold, Toth created four hands representing the four cardinal points against a White background. Brown represents people. Gold represents Resources and White represents the peaceful communities that AYM envisages by mobilizing resources and reducing poverty through a global partnership for development. The central theme of the logo – the four hands and the map of Africa – represents the universality of AYM engagement across cultures to achieve our goals and objectives. The two-ring circles surrounding the central theme represents a oneness of purpose within the universe. The depiction of the four hands at each cardinal point of the map of Africa is an emphasis on work and relationships to make our vision a reality. The inscription on the new AYM logo, “Twenty-First Century African Youth Movement” is inscribed between the outer and inner parts of the rings, binding it all together in a solemnly universal appeal.

AYM is an organizational initiative that primarily engages youths as change makers in the rebuilding and development of Africa through innovative and progressive local community-driven programs and youth-focused enterprises. The organization’s focus is on youthful creativity, creating employment opportunities, developing and cultivating civic awareness, promoting indigenous Arts, Culture and history, engaging in agricultural enterprise, local tourism, education, community health and social entrepreneurship.

About the Artist


Ildiko Toth left her native Hungary to reside in the United States in 2000. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Advertising Management from Portland State University, Ildiko shares her expertise in the field through volunteer work. She began volunteering for various organizations in 2007 as a Graphic Designer.

Ildiko’s passion for volunteerism emerged from experiences in her personal life. Since meeting her husband, who is originally from the Palestinian Territories, she became increasingly aware of the cultural forces that affect our day-to-day lives. With this awareness, she became dedicated to promoting social awareness, international development and peace through creativity.

Toth believes that volunteering poses a challenge that motivates her to make a difference. Projects that require creative thinking and cultural understanding ignite her interest in gaining different experiences and perspectives on things. As an Online Volunteer for the United Nations, she feels that she is able to bring the world closer to her despite just being at home and in front of the computer.

Ildiko Toth’s past online volunteering projects include:

  • Layout design for Use of Medicinal Herb Survey Report in the Himalayas for Grace Association Pakistan.

  • Electronic announcement, poster for a photo contest, and a brochure with the best photos for Good Governance Unit of UNDP in Uzbekistan.

  • Outreach materials, including press release, Q&A templates and a brochure design of the Good Governance Unit of UNDP Uzbekistan.