Cameroon’s 2019 Mandela Washington Fellows, recently returned from a rigorous, six-week leadership training experience in the United States as part of the Youth African Leaders Initiative (YALI), visited the Embassy September 26th. The 18 fellows, who participated with counterparts from across the continent, presented the highlights of their time in the U.S., emphasizing the practical ways they would use their newfound skills and training to impact their communities. Participants reaffirmed their commitment to serve as role models in their respective fields and agents of positive change in their communities.
Public Affairs Officer Leanne Cannon welcomed them home and urged the fellows to take advantage of the skills, opportunities, experience, and creative energy amassed in the United States to lead in their respective sectors and communities. The event featured remarks by Mrs. Rekia Ngeh, the Director of Community Life and Youth Participation at the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education. She highlighted the impact that YALI had already made in her own ministry. “Out of the three presidents of the Cameroonian National Youth Council, two are YALI fellows. We have seen the great impact of YALI in Cameroon.”
The returning fellows will now start a full year of follow-on activities and volunteerism, starting with their active involvement in the country-wide recruitment campaign for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship. The mandate is clear for each and every one of them: it is time to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security in Cameroon and across Africa.