Mandela Washington Fellow shares her experience

Mandela Washington Fellow shares her experience

Mandela Washington fellowship is fellowship organized by US department of state through YALI network. It is aimed at empowering and educating young Africans through leadership trainings and networking. The trainees are expected to put the skills they had learned at the different US institutes back home in different endeavors. The trainees are offered the support of the embassy and they also participate in different programs to encourage further development of their skills so they can work for betterment of their countries.

Having participated in Mandela Washington Fellowship; Edda Zekarias shares the benefits she has attained through the training program.

Engaging with over 200 bright youth of Dire-Dawa and Harar, two vibrant cities located in the north-eastern fringe of Ethiopia has got be one of the most uplifting experiences as my journey begins in 2015.

March 21 and 23, I joined Helawie Sewnet and Saba Kahsay in a community outreach activity co-organized by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and a local non-profit called Save Your Generation (SYGE) as part of on-going follow-up to the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship. Our audience was young; mostly students from local high schools who were filled with lots of energy and showed great eagerness to hear what we had travelled to their cities to say. They were all curious to hear of our experiences from having been in the US summer of 2014. We used pictures, videos and even diagrams to pass on the story of our individual but also collective experiences. During the question and answer session, some of our audience asked for advice on

  • How to build confidence or discover one’s own potential(s);
  • How to deal with or handle negative influences coming from individuals around school and at home;
  • How to link current education to future interests or start building a future (dream) while in high school;
  • How to overcome mistakes and failures; and
  • How to enhance personal contributions to helping local communities build environment stewardship, support families through organizing local giving campaigns, volunteerism and so forth.

Some students were more interested in learning about overarching benefits of the Mandela Washington Fellowship; in other words, what had really changed for us as result of having participated in the fellowship both at personal growth/development and professional levels. For some, learning of how the Yali network functions coupled with knowing whether they would be eligible sparked interest.

Read the full story from Edda Zekarias Linkedin page

To find out more about the Mandela Washington Fellowship program go to YALI website

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