From March 8-20, the Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) will be training as mentors and working with mentees. The overarching goal of this years Connect Camps is reconnecting with YALI alumni in their home regions who will bring their mentees into the conversation to engage in deliberative discussions and work on a group-driven project. The MWF alumni, who are from Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda, will be sharing their expertise and experience with their mentees and the facilitators during the Connect Camps.
This experience comes in many forms. Here are some examples of the exceptional leadership of the some of the 20 MWF alumni who have been selected to participate in the first two Connect Camps:
- Brian Mogaka, Director of Social Work for Blue Cross Kenya, has been working in community development for more than five years. At Blue Cross Kenya, some of his duties include rehabilitating and reintegrating street children, transferring life skills to more than 100 children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs, and also starting AA groups for drug addicts. He is also the founder of Young Change Makers CBO where he uses football as a tool to empower children and youth living in informal settlements through health education, violence prevention, and life skills building.
- Ramadhani Ndiga, Founder and Director of Where Talent Lives, an organization advocating at both local and policy level for the implementation of existing policies on sexual reproductive health & rights (SRHR) of young people in Kenya, uses innovative approaches and skills including taekwondo to increase awareness and educate the most at risk populations on HIVprevalence, trends, and prevention measures.
- Vandana Boolell, a business development executive at Temple Group, which is a multidisciplinary firm focusing primarily on legal, financial and professional training services in Mauritius, focuses on creating and developing business opportunities for the firm and has assisted with the establishment of a number of strategic domestic as well as cross-border partnerships leading to positive impact for the business.
- Fatoumata Sylla, Director General in the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles, has also worked for the Department of Youth serving as the Senior Policy Analyst and later as the Director General of Youth Affairs. In this capacity, she made recommendations to the government on issues related to youth development, implemented youth programs in line with national policies, and fostered relationships with international youth bodies.
- Chikulupi Kasaka, a lawyer working with the Parliament of Tanzania, analyzes bills and laws, drafts private members motions, and prepares the schedule of amendments. As part of her work with the youth led NGO Tanzania Youth Vision Association (TYVA), she advocates for youth engagement in the ongoing new constitutional making process.
- Hon. Joshua Nassari has worked for various grassroots non-governmental organizations targeting peasants, youth, and orphans. He previously worked at the American-supported Foundation for Tomorrow, which offered scholarships to orphans and abandoned kids. Currently, Hon. Nassari is the youngest Tanzania Member of Parliament (MP) representing Arumeru East constituency in the National Assembly and also a deputy shadow minister for education and vocational training.
- Rose Peter Funja, the Dean of the College of Science at the University of Bagamoyo, lectures on courses in ICT. Prior to academia, Rose worked with Huawei Technologies International as a Senior Product Manager. She is experienced with wireless telecommunication technologies and pioneered projects in various countries and regions including China and east and South Africa. Rose has been actively involved in Rotaract and served as the Club President when she was a student at the University of Dare Salaam and until 2005.
- Mohamed Sauko has five years of experience working in the field of engineering. He currently works with Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) as a Senior Engineer (Electrical and Electro- Mechanical) where his responsibilities include supervising projects to ensure that applicable standards and regulations are implemented and projects are executed, overseeing the maintenance of airports facilities, preparing strategic plans for projects, and providing advice on major rehabilitation works whenever foreseen.
- Nancy Mwaisaka, a Program Assistant with the International Labour Organization office for Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, focuses on planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Decent Work Country Programs. Nancy is also a poet and co-founder of La Poetista, which is a group of young artists and arts lovers committed to grow the art of poetry and other art forms in the Tanzanian community. In addition, she is a coordinator for Daughters of Destiny, which focuses on women and girls empowerment and a founding member of Friends of Children with Cancer, a non-profit organization that supports children with cancer in Tanzania.
- Abella Bateyunga, the Governance Officer at BBC Media Action Tanzania, is responsible for designing and implementing a civic education training program for Tanzanian media to equip them with knowledge, skills, and resources that enable them to report objectively on the countrys political events while promoting a constructive conversation between citizens, leaders, politicians, and the electorate.
- Amnah Ibuni is a co-founder of Sure Steps Nursery School, which is a community-based nursery school. She has been a longstanding and active member of the Zanzibar Youth Forum, and is the Principal Secretary for the Youth Parliament in Zanzibar and possesses skills in event management, advocacy, peer mentoring, and awareness programming.
- Hashim Pondeza is a Zanzibari scholar with a regional focus on sub-Saharan African countries, with specific expertise in the politics of Zanzibar and Tanzania. He has previously worked with Save the Children International as a Child Labor Technical Advisor to the Child Labor Unit of the Zanzibars Ministry of Labor, Economic Empowerment and Cooperatives. He has also taught child protection courses at the Zanzibar University and previously worked as a Senior Research Officer for the Zanzibar Institute for Research and Public Policy. Currently Hashim is an Advisor for ILPI in Zanzibar, working across Tanzania with local governments, CSOs and other international development partners on efforts to strengthen democracy and good governance in Tanzania.
- Immaculate Katushabe has over three years of experience in greenhouse production and management. She is skilled in plant protection, gene bank management, breeding, selection and seed processing of chrysanthemum. Currently, she works with Xclusive Cuttings U Ltd and volunteers as the Crop Production Advisor with a women farmers group in the Bupai, Wakiso district.
- Lucy Athieno has more than three years of experience working with youth, with a special emphasis on girls and women. As part of this work, she has created Eco-pads, which are environmentally friendly, cost effective, and comfortable sanitary kits for women and girls to ensure increased retention of girls in school. She also serves as the Project Coordinator of Kadama Widows Association, an organization that supports families living and affected by HIV/AIDS to enjoy longer and productive lives.
- John Ilima has a passion for working with underprivileged children and youth and co-founded and currently serves as a volunteer Executive Director of Integrated Response, a nonprofit entity that works to advance the interests of disadvantaged children and youth in Katakwi district through increasing access to meaningful education and training.