Young African Leaders: Changing Perceptions

Posted by Nathan Arnold
May 6, 2012
IVLP Young African Leaders

What always energizes those of us who work on exchange programs for professionals is seeing the passion of emerging foreign leaders. This week, 20 Young African Leaders, participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program, arrived in Washington. In conversations with U.S. government officials -- including Grant Harris, Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House, and Ronan Farrow, the State Department's Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues -- the participants shared their experiences, gained a better understanding of U.S. policy, and discussed ways to keep the dialogue going after their program is over. Just as importantly, they talked about how their efforts are contributing to the changing impressions the world has about Africa. Hindou Oumarou of Chad talked about her organization's use of GPS technology to better understand where and how to reach communities. Several participants mentioned how mobile technologies allow them to share immediate impacts of their work with thousands. Gilberto Macuacua of Mozambique, a spokesperson for women's rights, told me how Facebook and his television program provide a means to "build a new man in Mozambique." Joannie Bewa of Benin said she sees hope when girls in Benin organize and give their pocket money to help other girls become entrepreneurs. While they come from different countries, focus on different issues, and serve in a variety of roles, the participants repeatedly shared excitement about the new ideas that this visit to the United States, which includes places like Albuquerque and New Orleans, will provide them. They plan to take information from their meetings and professional exchanges and turn their ideas into responses when they return home. Bewa, who is a doctor and social activities coordinator for the Young Beninese Leaders Association, said it best: "We don't have to wait for every solution to come from Europe or the U.S. They have to be our solutions. After this meeting I think we have to become a strong Young African Leaders network that can impact other young leaders in our communities."



Miguel P.
May 6, 2012

Miguel P. in Portugal writes:

Great Site!!!

Keep up the good work...

May 7, 2012

F. in Poland writes:

Very good written post.

Keep up the good work – I will definitely read more posts.

Thank you for sharing.

District Of Columbia, USA
May 11, 2012

Joannie in Washington, D.C. writes:

As a part of this group of young african leader i m very proud. WE have to work hand in hand to build a new africa.

Ali M.
May 16, 2012

Ali M. in Egypt writes:

It was a great opportunity to all to work hand in hand

Ali M.
IVLP Alumni 2011

May 18, 2012

Bewa in Benin writes:


Landry K.
Côte d'Ivoire
May 30, 2012

Landry K. in Cote d'Ivoire writes:

i am very happy to know that it exist a kind of organization which allow us to show what we can realise in our society like citizens

May 31, 2012

Michel P. in Cameroon writes:

Very honored to write this mail to you.How are we going to build an Africa so we helped to destroy and scares us and our children? Our children have to grow up in an Africa that is scary? The Sudan is divided with all that has resulted. Today Ivory Coast and Lybia struggling to grow. Now is the turn of Mali. I think we only sum at the beginning if we continue to keep this silence which complice. Many recent crises such as those of the horn of Africa, Cholera in Cameroon and Famine in Ethiopia, it was very disappointing for us to see Westerners more sensitive than us concerning our own problems. I think: DEVELOPMENT IS FROM OURSELVES BEFORE RECEIVING SUPPORT FROM OTHERS.

Mathew N.
June 14, 2012

Matthew N. in Nigeria writes:

Many thanks to the U.S. government for its relentless effort to reshape not only the African economy but also to develop its human resources, especially through education and manpower development. On behalf of the Nigerian Government and the people of Ezza, Ebonyi State, I want to say thank you and well-done! Abakaliki people yearn for educational development and we pray that you will extend your developmental hands to us.Thanks and God bless! Mathew N.

Joao V.
September 25, 2012

Joao Bernardo V. in Guinea-Bissau writes:

It is indisputable that African countries are changing mainly through grassroots organizations.Guinea-Bissau, my country, is an unstable country mainly due to lack of leadership,sound policies and consensus building among political leaders. However, grassroots organization are doing a tremendous job in rural areas where one does not feel the presence of state.For instance, there are organizations that are tackling Female Genital Mutilation and changing perceptions in rural areas.This bottom-up approach is critical to change Africa.


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