US se­lects five Ba­sotho for Man­dela fel­low­ship

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

THE United States Em­bassy in Le­sotho has se­lected five­ba­sotho to par­tic­i­pate in the 2015 Man­dela Washington Fel­low­ship Pro­gramme for Young African Lead­ers.

The fel­low­ship is a flag­ship pro­gramme of US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Young African Lead­ers Ini­tia­tive (YALI). Mr Obama launched YALI in 2010 to sup­port young African lead­ers to spur growth and pros­per­ity­across Africa, as well as strength­en­ing demo­cratic gov­er­nance, peace and se­cu­rity. Ini­tially called Washington Fel­low­ship for Young African Lead­ers,it was re­named last year in hon­our of the late South African states­man and for­mer pres­i­dent, Nel­son Man­dela.

The five, Mo­lapokatse Fanana, Lisema Masheane, Thato Mo­chone, Set­loke Lekhela and Li­neo Tsikoane, were picked ahead of about 400 ap­pli­cants, ac­cord­ing to the US Em­bassy in Le­sotho. They will next week join 500 other Africans for six weeks of in­ten­sive ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship train­ing, net­work­ing, and skills build­ing, fol­lowed by a Pres­i­den­tial Sum­mit in Washington, DC. The train­ing will be in one of three ar­eas: busi­ness and entrepreneurship; civic lead­er­ship; or public man­age­ment.the aca­demic study will also be aug­mented by work­shops, men­tor­ship, and net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties with rec­og­nized lead­ers in each field.

Mr Fanana is an intrepid Mosotho en­tre­pre­neur with am­ple ex­pe­ri­ence in brand strat­egy, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion.mr Masheane has four years ex­pe­ri­ence in ve­hi­cle pro­tec­tion in­dus­try and three years oc­cu­py­ing a lead­er­ship role in an or­gan­i­sa­tion that seeks to em­power youth.ms Mo­chone is an award-win­ning ra­dio host at Le­sotho’s state owned ra­dio sta­tion, and an ac­tivist jour­nal­ist in­ter­ested is so­cial jus­tice. Mr Lekhe­la­has close to 10years ex­pe­ri­ence in var­i­ous fields of the com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment sec­tor, volunteering with youth ini­tia­tives and for a so­lar cooker pro­ject that as­sists guardians who look af­ter or­phans as a re­sult of the high rate of HIV and AIDS in Le­sotho. Mst­sikoane is an ex­pe­ri­enced hu­man rights lawyer and ac­tivist. She has been a prom­i­nent pro­po­nent of hu­man rights of women and chil­dren’s rights in Le­sotho.

In­tro­duc­ing the quin­te­tat the em­bassy in Maseru on Mon­day, US Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho, Matthew Har­ring­ton, said apart from un­der­go­ing in­ten­sive lead­er­ship train­ing at dif­fer­ent univer­si­ties in the coun­try, they would also have the op­por­tu­nity to meet Mr Obama in early Au­gust 2015.He noted that the 2015 fel­lows were se­lected from over 30 000 ap­pli­ca­tions from across sub-sa­ha­ran Africa.

“These young Ba­sotho lead­ers rep­re­sent the ex­tra­or­di­nary prom­ise of an emerg­ing gen­er­a­tion of en­trepreneurs, ac­tivists and public of­fi­cials, and we very much look for­ward to what their fu­ture holds,” said Am­bas­sador Har­ring­ton.

“Man­dela Washington Fel­lows are be­tween 25 and 35 years of age and have proven track records in public ad­min­is­tra­tion, busi­ness, entrepreneurship and civic lead­er­ship.

“They would al­so­have demon­strated a strong com­mit­ment to con­tribut­ing their skills and tal­ents to build­ing and serv­ing their coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties.”

Am­bas­sador Har­ring­ton said he hoped the par­tic­i­pants would come back to Le­sotho hav­ing ac­quired skills use­ful to de­vel­op­ing the coun­try.to en­sure par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pro­gramme re­sults in mean­ing­ful progress, he said they would pro­vide on­go­ing sup­port for the fel­lows upon their re­turn from the US.

“Fund­ing has been made avail­able so they can ap­ply for grants, and par­tic­i­pate in in­no­va­tion hubs and re­gional hubs,” Am­bas­sador Har­ring­ton said.

“And we want this to be an on­go­ing ef­fort.”

Ac­cord­ing to the YALI web­site, the Fel­low­ship is “de­signed to en­cour­age and foster the in­ge­nu­ity, con­fi­dence, pas­sion, and com­mit­ment of the next gen­er­a­tion of African lead­ers”.

“It of­fers young lead­ers an un­par­al­leled op­por­tu­nity to meet and share ideas with some of Amer­ica’s ded­i­cated lead­ers from com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ers to the Pres­i­dent of the United States,” the web­site read.

US Am­bas­sador Matthew Har­ring­ton (cen­tre) with some of the Man­dela Washington Fel­low­ship par­tic­i­pants (from left) Li­neo Tsikoane, Set­loke Lekhela, Lisema Masheane and Thato Mo­chone.

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