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THE LEADING EDGE JULY 2016

An Update for Partners and Stakeholders


The Great Weight on Our Shoulders By Honore Nzambu Democratic Republic of Congo, Cohort 1 When I first walked into the doors of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, I was enthusiastic and eager to improve my leadership skills at a personal level. During the introduction phase of the program, the team at the Center reminded us that we had ‘a great weight on our shoulders’ to ensure that we replicate the lessons learned and impact other youth in our respective communities. This statement struck me as profound. Immediately I realized that the program was not just about me, it was about making a difference in my community after the program. My experience at the Center helped me realize the role I am expected to play to help my country, which I believe is leadership by helping others improve their skills. When I got back home to Democratic Republic of Congo after graduation, I came up with an idea to produce a talk show that focuses on leadership in all sectors. I am proud to report that the talk show entitled Afrique Prolead (which means Productivity in Africa through Leadership) is now being broadcast on a national television channel. The 45-minute show runs four times a month and so far we have produced nine shows, seven of which have already been aired. As a host of Afrique Prolead, I engage with both established and upcoming leaders to discuss the issues in our society, and identify ways leadership can help alleviate some of the challenges. I also use this opportunity to share some of the leadership principles I learned through the program. The show has been well received, and the feedback has been amazing. People from across the country call in to contribute to the discussion. In my view, the show has awakened a passion and commitment among the Congolese people to make a difference, no matter how small. Already, plans are underway for alumni from Republic of Congo to take part in the talk show. My time at the Center has offered me many opportunities as an alumnus as well. Following the program, I was selected to attend a Tech Camp organized by the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, Benin. The experience was exciting and enriching because I was not only able to understand the electoral process in Benin and Niger, but I also gained knowledge I want to utilize in improving the electoral process in my country. I attribute this experience, and the many others I anticipate having in the future, to my participation in the Center. I thought I was taking part in something that would last twelve weeks and then I would move on to something else. What I found is that the Center’s effect on my life, and through me the lives of others, will last a lifetime. The great weight is on my shoulders and I am using it as motivation to share my leadership passion with others.


In Fashion

Designing the Future in Djibouti Yanie Ayoun

Yanie Ayoun had always had a dream to be a fashion designer, but didn’t have the resources or confidence to pursue her passion. Everything changed when she was accepted to the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Cohort 7. The first week, her passion was ignited and through courses such as Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Design Thinking, she began to gain the confidence necessary to pursue her dream. Her confidence continued to grow throughout the three-week residential session, and upon returning to Djibouti, she had new resolve. “I had the confidence and the support network I had never had before,” she said. “I was determined to make my fashion line happen. I wasn’t going to stop until it happened.” What happened exceeded even her expectations. She started her clothing line, Hidoweelo, by creating some modern fashions and accessories that have a local flair, but that are fashionable for any occasion anywhere in the world. Her work was soon noticed, and in June 2016, just before returning to the Center for graduation, she was honored with a national award in Djibouti as fashion designer of the year! This award has provided her with a national profile in Djibouti and opportunities to expand her line throughout the Horn of Africa and beyond. “My participation in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa raised me up. It gave me the confidence and drive to do what I have always wanted to do. It literally changed my life.” Other opportunities are coming Yanie’s way as well, as she was asked to represent Djibouti at the African Union Conference, which will held in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, she will represent her country at the African Young Government Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in August. “I am going to use every resource I have to be a changemaker in my country,” Yanie says. “I want to be an example for other youth who are pursuing their dreams, and in doing so, I will help all I can gain the language skills and leadership passion to become a participant in the Center. That’s where change happens.” Yanie is using her talent to design a new future for Djiboutian youth.


Because Ernest’s first experience with a mentor proved to be disappointing and unproductive, he sought additional opportunities to find a suitable mentor. Upon learning that the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa offered a mentorship program to participants and alumni, Ernest applied to the Center and was accepted into the inaugural cohort in July 2015.

Mentorship as a Game Changer

Words like inspiration and game changer tend to get used a lot, but Ernest Tuape, a Cohort 1 alumnus from Uganda, says his experience at YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa Center was just that. “In the second half of 2013, I was struggling with personal and career decisions, and I needed to speak to someone. I reached out to someone who I believed would guide me and be a mentor. Instead, this person asked me to pay him for his time, and I did, during our first and what would be our last chat. Paying him was painful for me, so I did not go back and could not continue with him as a mentor. I do not remember what he told me, but what I remember is I was hopeful that one day I would find someone willing to mentor me throughout my career and life,” Ernest recounts.

Ernest explains why finding a mentor was so important to him: “Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life, a mentor is going to kick start you on the path to achieve it. We all have dreams and goals, but until we make a move to act on them, they will always remain out of our reach,” Ernest says. “I needed that extra push and guidance, and when I participated in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, I found the perfect mentor for me, Nikhil Hira, a partner at Deloitte.” “Nikhil used his life experiences and personal story to help me see the bigger picture in my career and personal life. He listened to me, identified strengths in me and took time to find out how I was doing at a personal level.” Ernest proudly shares that “Nikhil helped shape my life in the short time I have known him. While I am yet to figure out everything about the future, I have made remarkable progress.” In addition to offering him a continued relationship with a meaningful mentor and an enhanced set of leadership skills through experiential learning, Ernest credits the Center with helping him to refine what he wants to do with his life and to focus on what matters the most.

Impact that Matters Since the Center opened its doors to the first cohort in July 2015, staff are often asked questions such as, “Is the program having a positive impact on the young leaders?” or “How do you know the program is working?” Our graduates are a manifestation of the impact the Center is having on young leaders through the contributions they are making in their communities and countries. The Center’s focus on lifetime engagement has prompted many graduates to take significant steps in achieving their leadership goals.


Over the past quarter, the following graduates of the Center have received specific honors in terms of winning the Tony Elemelu Entrepreneurship Award: 1

Name

Gender

Cohort

Citizenship

Track

TEEP Award Category

Maurine Birir

F

1

Kenya

Civic Leadership

Waste Management

Eric Muthomi

M

1

Kenya

Yannick Malessandji Bruce Nabaasa

M

1

CAR

M

1

Uganda

Business and Entrepreneurship Business and Entrepreneurship Civic Leadership

Agriculture (Agri-business, Farming, etc.) Agriculture (Agri-business, Farming, etc.) Construction

Ronald Hakiza

M

1

Uganda

Transportation

Asmeret Tesfahunegn Alex Muwonge

F

1

Ethiopia

M

3

Uganda

Yvette Ishimwe

F

3

Rwanda

Bernadette Muyomi

F

5

Kenya

Business and Entrepreneurship Business and Entrepreneurship Business and Entrepreneurship Business and Entrepreneurship Public Management

ICT ICT Water/Conservation Agriculture (Agri-business, Farming, etc.)

The Center’s graduates were also successful in being selected for the prestigious YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship for 2016: 2

Name

Gender

Cohort

Citizenship

Asmeret Tesfahunegn

F

1

Ethiopia

Mizan Massa

M

6

Ethiopia

Faith Simotwo

F

6

Kenya

Emmanuel Odama

M

1

Uganda

Vestine Gahimbare

F

1

Burundi

Patrick Lembo

M

5

DRC

Shallon Atuhaire

F

2

Uganda

Gakii Biriri

F

1

Kenya

Sheila Van De Graph

F

4

Kenya

Sylvia Kawalya

F

1

Uganda

Fatouma Elmi

F

1

Djibouti

1

The Tony Elemelu Entrepreneurship Program’s goal is to identify 10,000 African entrepreneurs with the potential to succeed and to assist them in becoming job creators on the African Continent. TEEP is a 12-week program that seeks to help winners grow their businesses through business skills training, mentoring, and access to seed capital funding. 2

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.


The following snapshots provide a brief overview of how some of our program’s alumni are making a difference. Arlene Muco, Cohort 5 alumna - Burundi Arlene uses her platform as a talk show host to tell the stories of women who have been through violence and abuse.The majority of the women who participate on Arlene’s show have been through untold suffering and have not had an opportunity to speak out. Arlene uses her show to empower women by providing them with a platform to share their stories. According to Arlene, speaking up is a victory for the women because they talk about issues that are otherwise considered taboo.

Jean Marc Mercy, Cohort 2 alumnus - Democratic Republic of Congo Jean Marc was motivated by his time at the Center to write a book about his life and leadership philosophy. He completed the book, The Power of Will - Thoughts on Finding Meaning in a Life of Purpose and Service, now in the process of being published. He credits his participation in the Center as a catalyst for his leadership journey, which now includes working with youth in his country to increase their understanding of and passion for leadership.

Fatouma Elmi, Cohort 1 alumna - Djibouti Fatouma supports women and girls who are affected by violence by equipping them with basic first aid skills so they can help each other before they get to a hospital. Since graduating from the program, Fatouma, along with some YALI Mandela Washington Fellows in her country, has been raising awareness to encourage young women to apply to the various YALI programs.

Hicham Abdourahman, Cohort 5 alumnus - Djibouti Hicham and Ahmed are approaching organizations throughout Djibouti to share their leadership stories and provide counseling and mentorship to youth who wish to apply to the Center. They are working with the director of the American Corner in Djibouti to provide increased opportunities for youth to access important services and technology they need to gain additional skills.

Ahmed Arab Osman, Cohort 5 alumnus - Djibouti Henok Wendirad, Cohort 5 alumnus - Ethiopia Henok was one of three finalists of the TOTAL Startupper of the Year Award in Ethiopia for his business, Mak-Addis Tutors, a platform that enhances educational alternatives by matching students and tutors. Henok credits this success to the pitching and storytelling aspects he learned through the Design Drive Entrepreneurship course he experienced at the Center. In addition, with support from graduates of all the Regional Leadership Centers, Henok won the “People’s Choice Award” at Comcast Universal’s “Hack the Central District” Innovation Conference 2016.


Sue Wanjiru, Cohort 6 alumna - Kenya Sue was already an accomplished actress, model, and producer when she applied to be part of the Center’s program. Her experience helped her focus her energies and talent, which began with a blog called African Renaissance in which she highlighted the leadership stories of each one of her cohort-mates. After graduation, Sue developed a concept for an animated children’s television show and magazine that focuses on a superhero who imparts leadership and confidence to primary school children. She discussed the concept with the Center, which helped her make connections with Africa 24 Media. The company is now working with her to produce a pilot for the show as well as a first edition of the magazine.

Francis Mugume, Cohort 2 alumnus - Rwanda Francis was one of fifteen winners of the World Bank Blogging Competition from East Africa. Francis created his blog after graduating from the Center as a way to promote leadership and motivation for youth. His blog can be found here.

Yvette Ishimwe, Cohort 3 alumna - Rwanda Yvette is one of the youngest graduates of the program. At 19 years old, the second year university student used the knowledge and network she gained at the Center to launch a program to supply clean water to over 100 households in Kayonza, Rwanda. Her project, called IRIBA, was selected for a $10,000 award by “These Numbers Have Faces” NGO in Rwanda. She hopes to expand the program’s reach to provide 300,000 households with access to clean water. More information is available here.

Abdifatah Aden Tallan, Cohort 2 alumnus - Somalia Abdifatah has conducted outreach in universities in the Awdal region of Somalia, specifically focusing on entrepreneurship as an alternative to wage employment among youth. He has also used this forum to create awareness about the Center and to encourage other youth to apply.

Seleman Yusuph Kitenge, Cohort 1 alumnus - Tanzania Seleman was selected to take part in the Crans Montana Forum of New Leaders for Tomorrow, a three-year leadership program in Switzerland. The Forum is a unique community of young leaders from Africa, the Arab World, Far Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South America and Far East selected because of their exceptional professional achievement and leadership experience in businesses and governments. The program hopes to strengthen the participants’ regional and international network to promote multilateral cooperation.


The Leading Edge- July 2016  
The Leading Edge- July 2016  
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