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Grooming potential leaders

2022-06-08  Paheja Siririka

Grooming potential leaders

Having already demonstrated their leadership potential in Namibia, 16 young Namibians departed yesterday to the USA to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship programme.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship programme of the US government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), created in 2010. 

Established in 2014, the fellowship has brought nearly 5 100 young leaders from every country in sub-Saharan Africa to the US for academic and leadership training. 

The fellows, all between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished innovators and leaders in their communities and countries. 

They will now have an opportunity to sharpen their skills in leadership in business, civic engagement and public management during a six-week course at a US college or university.

“This is a huge opportunity for me as I look forward to networking with fellow African leaders and cross-pollinate ideas to see how things work in their countries, intending to come back home to create better opportunities for my countrymen and women,” said Ivawa Victoria Shimweefeleni.

The 27-year-old is the founder of Ivawa Foundation, a non-profit platform that primarily focuses on mentoring and empowering women and the youth. 

“I work with the Havana High School, where we speak on topical issues, ranging from mental health to career guidance, entrepreneurship and sexual education. We cover any topic that affects the youth. 

“I want to extend that, have more mentoring sessions and have mentor-mentee pairing, so that we can help our youth become responsible leaders in society,” she said.

Shimweefeleni will be studying Leadership in Business at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

“I am into brand management. So, I am looking forward to learning more about brands to help local brands not only to focus on profitability but sustainability too, and ensure they last long in the market. The goal is to be a brand strategist and aid them in competing at a global level,” she shared.

Shimweefeleni also has a women empowerment movement, dubbed #BossQueen – and with that, she aims to host more women empowerment events to inspire them.

University of Rutgers-bound student Shimbi Rhode told Youth Corner she is beyond ecstatic about this opportunity. 

“This is an amazing leadership programme for young African leaders, which will expose us to the world to the way that Americans do business,” she said.

Passionate about renewable energies, Rhode has more than 10 years experience in the quality assurance of Namibia’s dairy industry, business development and digital marketing within the information and communication technology space. 

She is working on a smart farming initiative within the green economy space.

Zach Kauraisa, who will be placed at the same institution as Rhode, is excited at the opportunity to engage with other fellows.

“These are the youths who all have a track record to create change and are driven to realise the vision for Africa and Namibia, and the platform to create that vision for our country; that’s exciting,” he said.


2022-06-08  Paheja Siririka

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