Mandela Washington Fellowship: Elvis Ndansi Elected To West African Board

He was selected on September 29, 2016, to the body that oversees projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.


For the second time in three years, a Cameroonian has been elected to the West Africa Regional Advisory Board of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Elvis Nukam Ndansi, the National Youth President of the National Union for Democracy and Progress, NUDP party, was notified on September 29, 2016, by IREX, the US-based body that manages the fellowship on behalf of the State Department. Ndansi was elected online by alumni from 23 West African nations.

“It is a big opportunity for Cameroon to have another member in the West Africa Advisory Board after Gerald Kokobo Afadani in 2014. He later became pioneer board chair. Though Cameroon’s participation was increased from 12 in 2015 to 24 in 2016, we believe we still need more openings. The alumni are open to share their new knowledge and skills with Cameroonians,” Elvis Ndansi told Cameroon Tribune over the weekend. During the fellowship, Ndansi was at New York Wagner College University where he studied Public Health. He intends to use the new skills and knowledge to open more micro-clinics in remote communities. 

Elvis Nukam Ndansi was among the 24 Cameroonians who participated in this year’s six-week fellowship in the US. The Mandela Washington Fellowship was initiated in 2014 by US President, Barack Obama, to train and mentor a new generation of African leaders on the concept of servant-leadership. It is divided into three – civic, business and entrepreneurship and public management – all covering academic, mentorship, field and hands-on-desk leadership training. The programme ended with a summit in Washington DC with President Obama on August 4, 2016. In all, 1,000 participants from 43 African countries took part in this year’s fellowship.

Following the training, alumni from Sub-Saharan Africa were divided into three – West Africa (to which Cameroon belongs), Southern Africa and East Africa, all managed for a year by Regional Advisory Boards. The board of 10 is elected online by all other members to oversee alumni projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID. So far, 48 Cameroonians have taken part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship since 2014 – 12 each in 2014 and 2015, and 24 in 2016. Some 4,000 Cameroonians aged between 24 and 37 years applied for 2016 and only 24 were retained. Meanwhile, the 2017 fellowship programme has been launched.


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