The West African Regional Advisory Board of Mandela Washington Fellowship Program has elected three officers to steer the affairs of its 10-member board. 

The officers include Ms. Victorine Sarr from Senegal as Chairperson, Koulodiomo Ouattara from Cote d’Ivoire as Secretary and Felix Dela Klutse from Ghana as Communications Officer. 

All the Officers were 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows, who were in US for seven weeks to interact with President Barack Obama and other prominent US leaders in the fields of business, government, and the non-profit sector.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, also known as Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), is an initiative of the US President, Barack Obama to identify and empower the next generation of African leaders.

After the seven weeks program in the United States, 10 fellows from each of the three regions in Africa namely Eastern, Western and Southern, were voted to form Regional Advisory Board to represent their peers.

The 10 Regional Advisory Board members were saddled with the responsibility of advising the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), an international nonprofit organization, to provide thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally, advising on youth issues, helping to shape the implementation of Mandela Washington Fellowship in their regions and consulting with the country-level YALI Alumni Association in each region.

The 10 member Regional Advisory Board of YALI West Africa

During its first Regional Advisory Board meeting held recently, the aforementioned three out of the 10 board members were elected as the main officers.  The Chairperson, Ms. Sarr, is expected to preside over meetings, monitor activities of the West African Regional Advisory Board and serve as the main point of contact with other board members and IREX.  The Board Secretary, Ouattara, is expected to among other things co-ordinate meetings and reports on activities.  The Communications Officer of the Board, Mr. Klutse, is expected to communicate with all fellows, manage the communications tools of the board and also solicit feedback from the fellows to be included in decision-making.

In a related development, Ms. Djibrine Amalkher from Chad was elected the Chairperson of Event Planning Committee of the board. She is to ensure that the board organizes a successful Regional Conference slated in May 2016. The committee has the following members:Jamila Mohammed from Nigeria, Nadia Correia Marcai from Cabo Verde, Ms. MarliseMontcho from Benin and Dr Habib Kourouma from Guinea. 

With regards to the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the board, Dr. Eric Besong from Cameroon was elected Chairman.  The members of the committee include Felix Dela Klutse from Ghana and Victorine Sarr from Senegal, Koulodiomo Ouattara from Cote D’Ivoire and Fombah Lasana from Liberia.  The committee is expected to work closely with IREX to review the forthcoming 2016 Regional Conference, among other things.

One of the priorities for the board this year is to foster more collaborations between 2014&2015 Mandela Washington Fellows.

The 10 member regional Advisory Board in West Africa are to work with fellows across 21 countries.  Each of the 10 board members represent at least two countries as shown below:

Victorine Sarr: Senegal and Mauritania

Koulodiomo Ouattara:  Cote-D'Ivoire and Mali

Felix Dela Klutse: Ghana and The Gambia

Fombah Lasana: Liberia and Sierra Leone

Dr Habib Kourouma: Guinea and Burkina Faso

DrEricBessong: Cameroon and Gabon

MarliseMontcho: Benin and Togo

Djibrine Amalkher: Chad and Sao Tome.

Jamila Mohammed:  Nigeria and Niger

Nadia Correia Marcai: Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea