Past Fellows

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Welcoming Promising Young Leaders to the United States

Since 2014, two thousand young African leaders from every country in Sub Saharan Africa have participated as Fellows in the Mandela Washington Fellowship.  Selected from 120,000 applications over the course of three years, the Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials.  Mandela Washington Fellows have proven track records of leadership and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to strengthening and serving their communities.  Each year’s cohorts represented all 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and included equal numbers of men and women.

The 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows represent a diverse group of young leaders from across the continent.  Sixty six of the Fellows identified as having a disability.  Almost 30% of the Fellows are from rural areas or towns of fewer than 100,000 people. Non-profit organizations headed by Fellows reached over 10 million beneficiaries last year alone.  Over 85% of Fellows conducted community service in the 12 months prior to the fellowship.  Almost half of Fellows had never participated in a leadership program prior to the Fellowship.

Meet the Fellows

YALI alumni access the alumni resources portal here.

Bahati Satir Omar, Rwanda, Civic Leadership: Bahati is a visually impaired young social entrepreneur from Rwanda who possesses a wide range of experience in advocacy for the rights and the empowerment of disabled people in Rwanda and surrounding regions. Currently, Bahati serves as the capacity building and disability mainstreaming officer at the umbrella of disability organizations in the fight against HIV/Aids in Rwanda. In his recent work, Bahati managed projects on the integration of disabled people in various national programs as well as engaging with initiatives on disability rights promotions. In 2013 Bahati founded the first ever cross-disability organization for disabled children and youth in Rwanda, UWEZO Youth Empowerment. UWEZO supports children and youth with mobility, sensory and cognitive impairments from different backgrounds including those disabled during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis. Bahati is an experienced disability mainstreaming trainer, and consults with various institutions in making their programs disability inclusive.

Edson Pereira, Guinea Bissau, Public Management: Edson, originally from Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, like Amílcar Cabral, the father of these two small African countries, shares the dream of changing Africa. He realized his dream to be a computer specialist when he graduated in Technology and Information Systems from the Portucalense University in Oporto. In Lisbon, he worked for seven years in two multinational companies, where he gained experience as a consultant and manager. He returned to Guinea-Bissau with an entrepreneurial spirit and founded his own IT consulting firm. Edson is currently leading a state institution in the field of information and communications technology and e-governance, and aims to change public administration and improve people’s lives through technology and innovation. He also belongs to the staff of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs Guinea, which aims to contribute to the youth and social entrepreneurship.

Lebohang Selloane (Lebo), South Africa, Business and Entrepreneurship: Lebohang eight years’ experience in the radiology field as a diagnostic radiographer, and in the sales and marketing of radiology equipment. She is currently the owner and managing director of a company, Visionary X-rays, established to offer onsite mobile x-ray services to business communities with employees prone to occupational lung diseases and to offer advanced radiology services to rural areas via a mobile x-ray trailer. Lebo holds a Diagnostic Radiography degree from the Central University of Technology and is a final year MBA student at MANCOSA Graduate School of Business. Through her community engagement she co-founded a non-profit organization, Dream Girls Foundation, and as chairperson she focuses on empowering young women through educational and entrepreneurial programs.

To meet more Mandela Washington Fellows, please visit: https://www.irex.org/our-fellows