2014 Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

THREE DAYS LEFT. Any serious candidates applying, email sasha (at) pawa254.org if you want any further advice and info on strengthening your application.

The Obama Administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.  Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.  President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

For all the info, read below or visit http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 12:00 MIDNIGHT EASTERN STANDARD TIME MONDAY JANUARY 27, 2014

Committing Resources to Developing Young Talent

Through YALI, the United States has invested significant resources to enhance leadership skills, spur entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another and with Americans. Since 2010, the State Department has held fifteen exchanges specifically for young African leaders and sponsored 1,283 sub-Saharan scholars through its educational and cultural affairs programs. U.S. Embassies have awarded small grants totaling $750,000 to YALI alumni groups supporting youth development in Africa. Other State Department-led efforts, such as LIONS @FRICA and Apps4Africa, have focused on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage broad-based economic growth and opportunity for young entrepreneurs – partnering with the private sector to run startup competitions, grow incubators, and develop innovative new products to address local and business and development needs.

USAID has worked with local governments and institutions to strengthen access to education, workforce training, and skills development to help young Africans have the skills needed to enter the labor force. Since YALI’s inception, USAID has invested more than $100 million in over 76 partnerships with African universities to help train a new generation of African leaders in health, agriculture, education, environmental science, technology, and other sectors. Currently USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network—a $25 million per year program—partners with African and U.S. higher education institutions, using science, technology and engineering to educate future leaders and research solutions for the greatest challenges in development.  To further expand YALI, USAID will establish regional hubs to enhance leadership and training opportunities in Africa and better leverage over $200 million in ongoing youth programs and initiatives, such as university partnerships and vocational training, on the continent.

Other Departments and Agencies have reoriented their programs and strategies to contribute to the goal of empowering and providing opportunities for youth in Africa. The Department of Labor, for example, is investing in efforts to promote safe youth employment and business opportunities as alternatives to child labor, including a new $3 million program in Uganda to educate and train youth for quality jobs. The U.S. African Development Foundation is investing $5 million in training and placing thousands of Somali youth in paid internships and jobs, in addition to supporting small business start-ups.

YALI participants have leveraged this support and gone on to start youth-driven organizations and networks, advise their governments, and establish new and vibrant businesses – all showcasing the extraordinary talent and promise of the young leaders who are transforming the African continent and their communities.

Who is eligible to apply?

All qualified applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Competition for the Washington Fellowship is merit-based and open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered;
  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S;
  • Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English; and
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries:  Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Individuals residing in the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Sudan, and Zimbabwe may not apply to the public management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit http://exchanges.state.gov/non-us for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

What are the criteria for selection?

The Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semi-finalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home country. If advanced to the semi-finalist round, applicants must provide a copy of their international passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification at the time of the interview.

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement;
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others;
  • Strong social and communication skills;
  • An energetic, positive attitude;
  • A demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the sector/track selected; and
  • A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.

 Application Information:

There is no cost associated with applying for the Washington Fellowship.

The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding applicants’ professional and academic experience including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency. We will also request a résumé (with dated educational and professional background), personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship). Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.  Apply now by visiting the application site.

Visit the Receive Updates page to sign up for emails from the Young African Leaders Network.

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