BW YALI encourages future fellows

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) started by the former U.S. President Barrack Obama to nurture young African leaders through learning from the U.S.

The program is based in the U.S. where the selected Fellows take part in a 6 week tuition based setup on their preferred track. The Mandela Washington Fellowship has 3 tracks being Business & Entrepreneurship, Public Management and Civic Leadership to choose from depending on an applicant’s interest.

Botswana has taken part in the fellowship program for the past few years and we are already seeing fruits of that. The program is about information sharing and skills exchange that the Americans are sharing with the fellows. The Botswana Fellows from last year’s group have already started exercising what they learnt by also sharing and empowering fellow youth in Botswana.

Saturday had over 100 local youth gathered at Trinity UCCSA Church in Gaborone before 7 YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship Fellows who shared their stories on how they became Fellows and the challenges as well as joys of the journey. One of the Fellows, Ms. Karen Phiri shared how she wasn’t admitted into the program the first time she applied though she had qualified for the interview and actually did it. She applied again for the 2017 program and was finally admitted.

Rosemary Mothusi, also a 2017 Mandela Washington fellow expressed how dreams actually come true. She was admitted into the program under the Public Management track as she works in a government institution. She is a dietician by profession and was attached in Miami for her fellowship program. She charged us to take heart and be hopeful, and continue pursuing our dreams. Kebonye Motseosi also put out a word of encouragement to the attendants saying that “you shouldn’t underestimate your achievements as even the smallest count.” She was fresh out of school when she learned about the program and only decided to apply a year later with only one year experience. She says what worked for her were the school programs she took part in that boosted her application and landed her a spot in the 2017 group.

All thanks goes to Ms. Peo Chilindi, also a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow who organized the session as she wanted to open up the eyes of her fellow youth to the opportunities available. She says she has been changed by the program and would like everybody willing to take up the same opportunity. To learn more about YALI visit –