Today, the Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni hosted a press conference on the forthcoming Young Leaders Assembly in Abuja. Held at the Creative hub, Ventures park, the president of the Alumni Association, Lamide Johnson had this to say in his address,
"The Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) is set to host the 2019 Young Leaders Assembly (YLA). The Young Leaders Assembly, which holds annually unites over 1000 active Nigerian youth leaders who are global citizens and progressive thought leaders around a common aim - localizing ideas and collaborative actions to promote Sustainable National Development.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) is a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, an initiative of the US Government through the US Department of States.
The MWFAAN membership is drawn from all sectors of the economy (and classified under Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management and Energy tracks) as beneficiaries of the US State Department Initiative – Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). These notable and distinguished young leaders are currently championing various projects and initiatives that are capable of redefining socio-economic landscape of Nigeria and African continent with supports from country governments and corporate organizations across Africa since inception to date. The Nigerian arm of the alumni network is believed to be the largest and strongest youth network in Africa, priding itself with about 405 young leaders providing leadership for over 120,000 YALI network members.
The Young Leaders Assembly, is supported by the United States Embassy, Abuja with the aim of assembling young civic leaders, entrepreneurs, public managers, activists and student leaders working to promote national development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria and Africa at large. It is envisioned strategically to position Nigerian youths on the pivotal roles in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals in all critical sectors of the economy by 2030 via a coordinated infusion of entrepreneurial and leadership skills through Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) network.
Speaking on the forthcoming summit, he shared insight into the line up thus:
"This year’s summit, scheduled to hold on the 14th of September, 2019 with the theme:“The Future of Work”; will feature powerful keynote speeches, panel sessions, lightning talks and an action plan development session. Peculiar with the assembly, is the Beyond School Community Challenge (BSCC) and Young Leaders Award (YLA).
The BSCC is a national community development and entrepreneurship program for secondary school students, it aims to engage young people in Nigeria for the purpose of creating impact within their community and developing critical entrepreneurial skills.
The BSCC provides a platform for outstanding secondary school students to provide solutions to problems around their environment by creating community development projects, guided by mentors and their schools, the students identify the challenge, proffer viable entrepreneurial concept to address the challenge.
He went further to explain the deliverables expected thus:
"This year, the young innovators will be designing and building solutions that solve urgent problems and guarantees social impact in their immediate communities. It is expected that a diverse number of problems as it concerns the peculiarity of the different regions in Nigeria will be identified and solutions proffered. The Challenge identifies top finalists annually from the pool of applications received across Nigeria by working closely with the Federal and States Ministries of Education, and the top 10 finalists selected will be invited to pitch and exhibit their entrepreneurial ideas at the Young Leaders Assembly."
Speaking more on the rewards and benefits, he mentioned that:
"This year, we have planned to award cash grant to the best 3 projects teams, and access to three months mentoring from industry experts and Mandela Washington Fellows, additional educational grants for each winning team member, award plaques, certificates for the Schools involved and Cash Prizes for the best Mentor/Teacher.
In recognition of those who stand out, he mentioned that:
"The Assembly will also feature the Young Leaders Awards which aims to recognize, celebrate and encourage youths and individuals who are contributing immensely towards the pursuit of sustainable development goals as well as youth and economic development in Nigeria".
He encourages qualified young people to get into the project as: "The call for applications for the 2019 Beyond School Community Challenge, and the call for nominations for the Young Leaders Award is ongoing and will close on 10, August, 2019.
Finally, we the Mandela Washington Fellowship Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) believe that youths are drivers of change and hope for our nation", he finished.
Another Mandela Washington Fellow from 2016 batch who spoke to JCB was Bukky Shonibare and other Alumni members as well as a representative of the US Embassy.
|Kofoworola Oyeleye||, Mandela Washington Fellow, 2018|
Kofo mentioned that the project makes it possible for YALI members to mentor younger leaders and sustain it through the program batches yearly.
|Sterling D. Tilley, Jr.|
Acting Country Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Embassy Abuja
Sterling Tilley mentioned that the US Embassy provides funding and material support to YALI and MWFAAN to support the Nigerian grown ideas and initiatives so as to accomplish it. The program and the essence is for Mandela Washington fellows who get trained in the US to step down the knowledge they acquire to young leaders in other to solve immediate challenges in the society.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) is a body of young African leaders with its membership drawn from all sectors of the economy (and classified under Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management and Energy tracks) as beneficiaries of the US State Department Initiative – Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). These notable and distinguished young leaders are currently championing various projects and initiatives that are capable of redefining socio-economic landscape of Nigeria and African continent with supports from country governments and corporate organizations across Africa since inception to date. The Nigerian arm of the alumni network is believed to be the largest and strongest youth network in Africa, priding itself with about 405 young leaders providing leadership for over 120,000 YALI network members.
We have organized several projects of this standard effectively; a recent example is the US Embassy funded Impact Project that extended the impacts of the Mandela Washington Fellowship through a series of networking and mentorship programs to about 5,000 youths across 24 cities in Nigeria and the June 2019 Public Service Conference for Innovative Public Leadership in Nigeria that brought One hundred and twenty (120) delegates from twenty seven (27) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government including Directors, Heads of departments, representatives of Permanent Secretaries and other high ranking Government Officials, delegates from Public Service Institute, delegates from Centre for Management Development, and representatives of Statutory Institutions, academics and researchers to a 2-day leadership simulation on innovation and servant leadership principles for transformational leadership in Nigeria and featured international guest speakers from the City of Madison, Bridgewater State University Massachusetts and Mandela Washington Fellows from Zambia and Sierra Leone as well as representatives of development partners namely, the Kukah Centre.