20 Young Namibians given a platform of a life time

Martin Endjala

The US Embassy yesterday handed over 20 passports to 20 aspirant young Namibian leaders, who were awarded the Mandela Washington Fellowship that will put them in reach of an opportunity of a life time.

The US Charge D ’Affairs to Namibia Jessica Long said that the aspirant young Namibian leaders share a common dream, a dream to contribute to the Namibia’s continued development, which is to alleviate poverty, and creating new opportunities for the country.

“These are dreams that the American people share and dreams that the United States Government is proud to support”, said Long.

The group will be partaking in a six-week academic and leadership initiative at a U.S. college or university, where they will hone their existing skills, gain new knowledge and to also expand on their professional networks both in the United States and around the world.

“As a Mandela Washington Fellow, you will join a small and distinguished club of alumni spread throughout every country in sub-Saharan Africa, including 110 right here in Namibia,” said Long.
The network, she continued, will open new doors to create untold opportunities and help them to
change the world.
The young African leaders’ initiative is a long term investment into young people in Africa and the future that they build together. “We believe in you, and I cannot wait to see the remarkable things that you will achieve”, the Ambassador expressed.

However, she emphasized, that the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders is not just the name of a program, but rather a continuation of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of leadership, peace and service.

Similarly, by applying Mandela’s teachings of servant leadership, they will not only ignite lasting change in their own communities but will also accomplish something much greater, which will strengthen the entire African continent.

“As you set off on this journey, I encourage you to embrace this opportunity with all your heart and
remember that this program is just the beginning of our engagement with all of you and not the end”, stated Long.

One of the selected young leaders, he could not hold his excitement, as he was still puzzled as to what just happened said: “Am still excited and it has not yet sink in but am truly grateful that I gave it my all and I cannot wait to see America and to network but above all to learn and to add on my already acquired skills and knowledge”, said a proud Fellowship member.

He is looking forward to completing his six-week program that will equip him to start a project when he returns to the country.
“It is very likely that some of us might leave our jobs and venture into project management, but this is just my feeling, further more opportunities like this do not come by that easily and we are fortunate to be part of it and be capacitated to develop our country,’’ added the Fellowship member.

The group of young people were selected out of 250 highly qualified candidates from across Namibia, and have all proven accomplishments in promoting innovation and positive change in their

organizations, institutions and communities.

They also collectively work to prevent money laundering, poaching and human trafficking, to drive

innovations in Namibia’s agriculture and energy sectors, to promote arts and culture. The program also tackled empowering young women and girls to achieve their full potential. The 20 participants will be leaving Namibia this week for America.

The group comprises of a gospel singer, a radio presenter, a park warden, lawyers, public health

professionals and entrepreneurs.

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