Stories from YALI Connect Camp Alumni Outreach - Ethiopia
The partnership between the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the United States Department of State and the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) at Ohio University has lead to fifteen successfully administered YALI Connect Camps and follow-up activities, which uses a human-centered design approach to mentorship and leadership development. YALI Connect Camp is a program facilitated by ECA and implemented by Ohio University for alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) and select community members they mentor. Out of the four already implemented Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF-2014,MWF-2015,MWF-2016 & MWF-2017) programs, Ohio University has been able to successfully conduct fifteen YALI Connect Camps across Eastern, Southern, Central and West Africa.
It’s from these fifteen YALI Connect Camps that Ohio University decided to initiate a YALI Connect Camp Alumni Outreach Workshop that required all the Connect Camp alumni both mentors and mentees, to submit a proposal highlighting what they have accomplished since they completed the Connect Camp. In the proposal they were to provide a brief bio of their personal achievements (promotions, recognitions, grants received as well as contributions to their communities in Africa. Ohio University then selected a committee that included two reviewers from Africa, two OHIO reviewers, and some representatives from ECA’s Collaboratory to vote on all entries and select up to three winning reports. The three winners would become the “Medallion Connect Camp Presenters” to share their success stories.
On Sunday March 4th, 2018 all participants and the medallion presenters had arrived at Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa through the support of Dr. Yusuf Kalyango Jr. - Professor & Director Institute for International Journalism E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio university and who is also the Director & Administrator of YALI Connect Camps’ Alumni Outreach Engagement Workshop assisted by Mr. Elias Hailemariam from Ethiopia as the workshop coordinator. Ms. Li ping Lo from Department of Cultural Affairs , U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa officially welcomed everyone to Ethiopia and to the Workshop. The group then had a blast doing team building activities and having a delicious dinner for the remainder of the day.
On Monday, the workshop officially kicked off with Opening remarks from Mr. David Kennedy of Public Affairs Office from U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa who was really excited to see the Workshop become a reality. He also got the opportunity to listen to what each and every participant was doing to change lives in their respective communities during the introductions and he was very happy and excited.
Later, Dr. Yusuf Kalyango then took the group through Reflections and Expectations of the YALI Connect Camp Outreach Workshop where he explicitly indicated how important the workshop was to both State Department and Ohio University to help shape and build on the goals of our MWF engagement activities to begin on September 2018. He also took us through an intensive Strategic communication, Development of Goals and Leadership session where he vastly shared his personal and very motivating story as a young boy born and raised by peasant farmers in Uganda, growing up working hard abroad and at the United States, then becoming a very successful scholar climbing academic ladders to a full Professor and a Director of an Institution at Ohio University with many consultation programs in various universities and organizations/government bodies across the world. He shared his writings (books) and publications to participants deeply narrating how self-love for community and family, hard work, teamwork, and determination leads to success..
The next day, a Joint session of Caucus Moderators gave a summary of what transpired on Monday at different caucus then the floor was taken by Ange Imanishimwe of Rwanda to facilitate on personal & Organizational Development who gave an explicit presentation and a wonderful approach on environmental conservation towards tourism attraction.
Mr. Troy Fitrell, Deputy Chief of Mission from U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa expressed his happiness and joy after hearing what all the participants are doing in their respective communities. He was also briefed by each moderator who gave a summary of what transpired on Monday and what would take place as the day unfolds at their respective caucuses. Mr. Troy gave a very motivating closing remarks before issuing certificates of completion to all the participants and posing for a group photo with the entire team. Some other topics discussed were the Bond connecting Social Entrepreneurship and Community development and personal experiences and best practices.
YALI Connect Camp Alumni Outreach was a success and was an amazing way to catch up with past participants and see first hand the great things they are doing in their communities.