Eighteen young leaders from Botswana flew out to the US on Tuesday to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is one of the U.S Department of State’s premiere exchange programs and empowers young people. The fellowship aims to empower young leaders from the continent through coursework, leadership training, networking, and follow-on support in areas of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership or public management.
During the program, all fellows will have the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S higher education institution for six weeks then participate in a three-day Summit experience in Washington D.C. with leaders from the public and private sectors. The fellowship is geared towards outstanding young African leaders that have several years of professional experience and a proven track record of accomplishment in leading and promoting positive change in their organisations, institutions and communities. The leaders are form all sectors, including healthcare, government administration and civic engagement and will attend insitutions such as Dartmouth College and Florida International University.
One of the beneficiaries of the program, Kutlwelo Mariri who runs a rehabilitation clinic in Gaborone said in an interview that it was important to learn on how things are done in other countries and see how that can help them here in their businesses. She said she was looking forward to learn more on networking which is an important aspect of business and entrepreneurship.
Mariri who will be based at the University of Texas said they would not reinvent what they learn from others in the US, but will break it into phases to suit the local business environment.