Nigeria: USA selects 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship

For the 2021/2022 MWF application cycle, over 19,000 Nigerians initiated the application and over 8,000 submitted the application before the deadline.

the United States Mission to Nigeria selected 56 young “changemakers” for the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) for 2022. Additionally, US Mission Nigeria has selected 16 alumni from the MWF cohort of 2021 to participate in this year’s Alumni Enrichment Institute.

Deputy Head of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon revealed this during the pre-departure orientation program in Abuja held for grantees in preparation for their scholarship in the United States this summer.

“For the 2021/2022 MWF application cycle, over 19,000 Nigerians initiated the application and over 8,000 submitted before the deadline.

“As a result of this, a total of 56 Mandela Washington Fellowships have been made available to Nigerians this year,” she said.

Fellows thrilled

Mayokun Iyaomolere, an environmentalist who will study the Civic Leadership Track at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, said the selection was an exciting opportunity for him.

“I think this will be a game-changer for me and everyone else, as we learn better ways to improve the quality and expand the reach of impact of our work,” he said.

Chisom Nwankwo, a social entrepreneur and cleantech expert who leads the Skilled Women Initiative, said: “Having secured a virtual scholarship in 2021 as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, I’m really excited to be going to the ‘Drexel Pennslyvania University as MWF Alumni Enrichment.’

“I look forward to building new relationships that will be essential to growing my non-profit organization TSWINI and improving my knowledge of sustainable clean technology solutions,” she said.

Babajide Oluwase, the founder of Ecotutu, a cleantech company providing a suite of cold chain solutions to African businesses, said it was truly an exciting feeling for him to be selected for the fellowship. “After completing my studies in the United States, I look forward to incorporating the learnings into my work to advance Ecotutu’s mission to democratize access to affordable cooling solutions for African businesses.”

Be good ambassadors

While berating the fellows, MWF program coordinator Diran Adegoke told the fellows that the opportunity to travel to the United States was an opportunity to be treasured.

While giving a presentation on the “elevator speech” to the fellows, he encouraged them to present themselves in the best possible version and always remember that they are in the United States representing Nigeria.

Prestigious scholarship

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship exchange program of the U.S. government-sponsored Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), created to strengthen the United States’ commitment to investing in the future of Africa. Each year, U.S. missions across sub-Saharan Africa select accomplished leaders who have set records for fostering innovation and positive impact in their countries.

This summer, Scholars will travel to the United States to participate in six-week Leadership Institutes studying business, civic engagement, or public management at American colleges and universities. Upon completion of the Leadership Institutes, Scholars will attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where Scholars, U.S. government officials, and representatives from businesses and organizations with an interest in Africa will participate in sessions and high level workshops.