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Country of the Week: Sudan
July 20, 2017

Just below the Sahara, in Sudan, civilization has existed for thousands of years.

Along the Nile River, through a region of geographic extremes varying from sandy desert to tropical forest, Sudanese culture combines the lifestyles, traditions, and ideals of nearly 580 ethnic groups, speaking 145 distinct languages. Built upon the remnants of time-honored civilizations, Sudan is home to the ancient city of Kerma, the ruins of Old Dongola, and the Nubian Pyramids in Meroe, all of which contributed to today’s multicultural Sudan.

While facing some challenges, you and other incredible members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network are dedicated to improving Sudan’s future and implementing meaningful change. In recognition of all your work, Sudan is the YALI Network #CountryoftheWeek!

Keep reading for three inspiring stories in which Network members are spreading awareness about climate change, empowering Sudanese youth, and encouraging civic engagement.

Adults sitting in school desks holding YALINetwork certificates
Adults sitting in school desks holding YALINetwork certificates

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After completing YALI Network Online Courses, Mutasim Essa Abdallah Adam made a personal promise to share his knowledge with the local community. “I am a young Sudanese man driven by energy that keeps me going and fill[s] me with happiness, excitement, and anticipation to help people in my community through education and sharing [knowledge] for the benefits of both people and our environment,” he explains.

Mutasim organized a #YALILearns event to increase awareness of the Network and its available resources. “The opportunity was a lifetime experience for me,” he says. At the event, attendees discussed how Sudanese people can develop leadership skills, and he explained the importance of understanding climate change.

The event required extensive logistical preparation, such as acquiring a space in which to host guests, as well as encouraging 21 individuals from various academic and professional backgrounds to attend. “I am a flexible leader as I was able to listen to my participants’ ideas and suggestions during the session. [I]n addition, [I] inspired participants to engage in the discussion, … [and] I was able to gain respect and credibility during the event.”

Mutasim plans to hold many events in the future saying, “This event [was] … part of my personal [commitment to] an ongoing effort, [and I] will continue … to … [focus] on a new category of YALI Network Online Courses [that] address some of the pressing issues facing Africa today… [and offer] insight and positive solutions for young Sudanese leaders.”[

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Man speaking into microphone in front of stage holding musical instruments
Man speaking into microphone in front of stage holding musical instruments

Since becoming a YALI Network member, Fathelrhman Mohammed has maintained strong connections with other participants throughout Sudan and the region at large. “My focus has been empowering other young leaders and work[ing] with them to bring lasting, positive change [to] the community [and our nation],” he says.

Fathelrhman continuously grows his public speaking and leadership skills by speaking to young people and encouraging them to engage with the YALI Network. “Being a YALI member I gained a lot of experience that advanced my professional development,” he notes.

He recently gave a speech that focused on national needs and how a unified people can better implement lasting change. “The [attendees] … appreciated my speech, and … some [people told me] how they … [were] inspired … [and] encouraged [by my words].” At an event for ‘Youth & Leadership,’ Fathelrhman emphasized the importance of reading, and shared success stories about “community service, self-development initiatives, ideas, and visions of young, bright Sudanese.”

In addition, he realized that many YALI Network members from West Darfur have difficulties writing proposals for funding and applying for educational programs. Fathelrhman initiated a plan to make templates and forms more accessible to those individuals, and he believes improved access to resources will enable and empower people to do more for their communities. If you’re interested in getting involved in your community, like the YALI Network Facebook page, and access free online trainings, virtual events, and more by visiting the YALI Network website.

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“The YALI Network is a great opportunity to improve ourselves and our communities,” says Ali Abdalla Mohammed Mahmoud.

After studying and completing many YALI Network Online Courses, Ali began exchanging and sharing his learnings throughout his community as an English teacher and a professional development coach. Hosting an event at the American Corner in Port Sudan, he shared strategies for personal growth and development with 100 attendees. “It was successful, and the next course will be in the coming month. It was a real addition to my community to understand the … meaning of personal code of ethics, art of public speaking, and networking,” he says.

His other projects include encouraging and empowering young people. He believes that youth empowerment is vital to building their self-esteem, and he hopes his work will shape future leaders who are determined to become inventive and creative members of society.

Man presenting to group of people
Man presenting to group of people

Join Ali and members like him by joining the YALI Network. You’ll receive email updates, opportunities to collaborate with other young leaders, and access to resources such as YALI Network Online Courses and #YALILearns events!