Africa has more than 60% of its population made up of young people below 35 years and it’s quickly becoming the home to the world’s largest population of young people. These young people have to be trained to run Africa from their leaders of today and to do this, leadership training is needed. LinkmeUg talked to Ms. Esther Namboka about Young African Leaders Initiative YALI – a program initiated by US President Barack Obama to train Africa’s next leaders.
LinkmeUg: Tell us about YALI
Esther: YALI is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leader by President Barack Obama. A leader is an individual who sees a challenge or problem in his/her community and take it upon them self to find a solution to the problem and YALI is training such leaders.
LinkmeUg: What is YALI’S focus?
Esther: YALI focuses on young people; they need to be empowered to shape the future of their own continent, to be the change makers of tomorrow and to create the Africa they desire, the Africa they hope, the Africa they want and the Africa they dream. This YALI also connects young people from different backgrounds, with different expertise, ideas and beliefs across the continent.
LinkmeUg: What exactly does the program entail?
Esther: YALI takes you through a total transformation of the mind, body and spirit. We go through a mindset change to see different ways we can improve our communities.
The opportunities that come with YALI include:
- Being connected to a diverse group of young people from different African countries with different skills and expertise hence growing your networks.
- Being connected to mentors in your area of work.
- Information on opportunities like funding, scholarships, conferences, among others.
LinkmeUg: Where does the training take place?
Esther: YALI offers 3 avenues for young people to participate and get involved in the training and these are:
- Mandela Washington Fellowships (This training takes place in Washington and takes 6 weeks)
- YALI network (A virtual platform offering trainings and certificates in different issues that affect society. Its open to all the young people who have interest in building their leadership skills
- Regional Leadership Centers in Africa (This training takes 12weeks and there are 4 centers found in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa).
LinkmeUg: How many Ugandans have attended and how do we join?
Esther: 80 Ugandan Youth have attended this program and many more are yet to be trained. For one to participate, apply online through the YALI website, www.yalieastafrica.org
Criteria for participation;
- Ages between 18 and 35
- Citizen of East African countries
- Fluent in English
- Able to commit full-time to 12weeks program and
- Must have demonstrated involvement in the community.
LinkmeUg: How have you benefitted from YALI?
Esther: Since my graduation from YALI in March 2016, I have been appointed in different roles. I am Uganda’s Representative to the World Youth Government and Global Youth Entrepreneurship, member of the Cherie Blair women mentoring women in business, elected the Chairperson of the YALI RLC East Africa Alumni Chapter of Uganda besides being the founder of Gal Forum International, an NGO that focuses on building successful relations and marriages for stable homes and stable societies.
I have led a number of projects, carried out leadership coaching and training for professionals and students. Currently, I mentor some youth in my community.
About the YALI chapter in Uganda
On 1st May, 2016, the YALI RLC E.A Alumni Chapter of Uganda was officially opened and its purpose will be to serve as an extension of the Nairobi Center in terms of offering engagements for positive transformation for youth in Uganda.
The Uganda Chapter will achieve transformation by assisting the Center with
- Promoting its programs;
- Encouraging fellowship and collaboration among area alumni;
- Hosting and facilitating events and activities which develop and enhance leadership skills of broader community members;
- Recruiting prospective applicants for future partners of the YALI RLC East Africa program.
More information can be found on www.yalieastafrica.org
Esther Namboka is the Chairperson, YALI RLC East Africa, Alumni Chapter of Uganda.