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YALI Voices Podcast: We Are YALI Malawi with Enelless Pemba
April 17, 2017

Please enjoy this special edition of the YALI Voices Podcast featuring Mr. Marshall Dyton as host. Marshall is the CEO of Freelance Web Solutions Malawi. He is also the founder and Editor-in-chief of Malawi Muslims Official Website. His areas of interest are to provide affordable web development, web design and related web services products targeting charitable organizations and Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) in Malawi. He is using skills gained in US during Mandela Washington Fellowship program to drive positive change in people’s lives through technology. He approaches technology as a solution to most problems people face in their day to day lives.

Mr. Dyton interviews Enelless Pemba Phiri. Enelless is an arts and crafts entrepreneur. She uses arts and crafts to assist rural women and youth to gain economic security by making and selling environmental-friendly jewelry. She strongly believes that economic opportunity for women ensures real change in the world – when women have an income they reinvest in themselves and in their children’s health, education and nutrition, hence building stronger families and communities. She is currently working with a group of 85 women in a semi urban area of Liwonde and is training them in arts and crafts. Enelless also utilizes the arts meeting times to discuss with the women other cross cutting issues like human rights issues and sustainable development goals.

Don’t have access to SoundCloud, iTunes or Google Play? Read a transcript of the podcast below:

We Are YALI Malawi: Marshall Dyton Interviews Enelless Pemba Phiri

YALI VOICES HOST: Greetings, young African leaders.

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Please enjoy this special edition of the YALI Voices podcast featuring Marshall Dyton, CEO of Freelance Web Solutions Malawi. Marshall is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow and in this edition of the “We Are Malawi” podcast he is interviewing fellow Malawian Enelless Pemba. Enelless is an arts and crafts entrepreneur. She uses arts and crafts to help rural women and youth gain economic security by making and selling environmental-friendly jewelry.

MARSHALL DYTON: Hello, I’m Marshall Dyton and welcome to the first episode of We Are YALI Malawi podcast. In this podcast we will be featuring different young Malawians who are making a huge difference in the Malawian society. These are the Mandela Washington Fellows, YALI Network members, and Regional Leadership Center participants. The podcast is produced by Premier Multimedia Consultants in Blantyre. But before I introduce my guest for today’s show, I would like to talk a bit about the YALI program, especially if this is your first time to hear about it. The Young African Leaders Initiative was launched by the Unites States government as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, resourceful leaders comes out of the statistics that nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24 and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. Who will empower and lead these young Africans? Who shapes the future of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management? In order to answer these questions, YALI promotes the models designed to identify and empower young leaders and these models are the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI Network, and now the establishment of the Regional Leadership Centers across Africa.

So in this episode I have one of the brilliant young girls who have just been selected to attend the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship. Who is this young lady?


ENELLESS PEMBA PHIRI: My name is Enelless Pemba Phiri. What I’m doing is, I’m doing Anthu a Luso initiative. It’s an initiative which I founded in 2014. I’m training women to do some crafting and art through recycled things and also through different ways of making art as a way of them to sell and make money for themselves.

DYTON: So I hear that you’re one of the young Malawians who have been selected to attend the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States.

PEMBA PHIRI: Yes, it’s true. I’ve been picked in the business and entrepreneurship track and I’m placed at New Mexico College in (New) Mexico and I’m super excited to be there because U.S. has been a place which has inspired me a lot. I’ve always dreamed of going to U.S. but I never thought even for a minute that I would have a chance to go there. So to me it’s a dream coming true ‘cause it’s something that I’ve always wanted to be there. I know my life is not going to be same and I’m so excited. I feel like I should just fast-forward the time and we are in June already so I can go there. In fact, each and every day I’m thinking about U.S., I’m googling about the place where I’m going, so another part of me is already there. I’m so excited, I’m so excited – I really can’t wait to get there.

DYTON: Why do you think you were selected because I understand there are so many people that applied this year?

PEMBA PHIRI: I can say it’s because they just give me an opportunity, they just believed in me. They trusted in what I do and believed in my passion. Because at first I was just doing my art and my crafting as my passion, I was just following my passion. But I never had any idea that people are going to like that.


PEMBA PHIRI: So it’s a lifetime opportunity and it’s really an added advantage for me. I can’t take it for granted. It’s something, I’m going to use it with my all and my power and my energy to make sure that what I’m going to learn there, I’m going to impacting the people’s lives, the people that I’ll be working with.

DYTON: How did you receive the news that you have been picked?

PEMBA PHIRI: I was so, so, so happy. I didn’t expect it but part of me was also expecting that so I was just in-between but I was so excited. I jumped up and down. I called everyone else, sharing the good news. I was so happy to hear that I was selected.

DYTON: Now that you have been selected to go U.S. under this program, what should Malawians expect from you?

PEMBA PHIRI: When I’m back, first and foremost, I want to launch my Anthu a Luso initiative and start my first cohort whereby I will pick women all over Malawi and then bring them on one side and then train them in entrepreneurship by doing the crafting that I do.

DYTON: And what would be your promise that your dreams won’t be just for two months or three months after you come back?

PEMBA PHIRI: Anthu a Luso initiative has always been my passion, has always been my dream, has always been my everything. I’ve planned it for a long time. I don’t think it’s something which, I can just, when I come back, it can just die like that. Because if it can die, it means it can die with me. But I want something which can at least stay there for the rest of my life so I will do that and follow my dream and fulfill it making sure that not only me but many women and youth are really getting a lot out of that, ‘cause that’s my plan and I don’t want that to fade away just within a short time. I’ll make sure that I work hard and I’ve imparted my skills which I’ve learned, making sure that everything else is just the way I want them to be.

DYTON: Mentioned that you tried and faced, but you were not picked, but then you had to try again and it’s when now you have been picked, but there are others as well who have been trying maybe three times but they haven’t been picked and now they say I think I will no longer try again. What would be your word of advice?

PEMBA PHIRI: For those people who applied and they were not picked up, what I can advise you is to not give up. Stay on your zone, do whatever you’re doing as long as you are working hard towards your goal you can achieve it. Because you are not picked up does not mean that you are less priority than others. YALI is just an advantage. It’s just an opportunity. So if you’re not picked it’s high time for you to work hard towards your goal and continue doing what you’re doing by changing lives, making sure that things are changing in your community. And then when luck finds you, you can find out that you’re picked next time by YALI. But don’t give up. Always push on and work towards your goal.

DYTON: Indeed, not picked for YALI doesn’t mean you’re less important than others. It shouldn’t be something that should hold you back from achieving your dreams. Also remember that there’s still some rich opportunities on YALI online Network. There’s several online courses from entrepreneurship to energy. All this are waiting for you. Thank you very much Enelless Pemba for that great interview. Let’s meet again in another episode. Until that time, I have been your host Marshall Dyton. Bye bye for now.

YALI VOICES HOST: Thank you everyone for tuning into another YALI Voices Podcast and thanks Marshall and Enelless for a great podcast.

Be sure to come back for more inspiring stories from young African leaders on the YALI Voices podcast.

Join the YALI Network at yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com and be a part of something bigger!

Our theme music is “E – Go Happen,” by Grace Jerry and produced by her friends The Presidential Precinct.

The YALI Voices Podcast is brought to you by the U.S. Department of State, and is part of the Young African Leaders Initiative, which is funded by the US Government.

Thanks, everyone.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blogs contributed by members of the YALI Network.