Applications for YALI RLC East Africa Cohort 10 & 11 is on!

Deadline: May 17, 2016

Applications for YALI RLC East Africa Cohort 10 and 11 are now open. The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, results-oriented leaders comes out of the statistics: nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

Selected participants will engage in innovative leadership training across three tracks of study: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, and Public Management by immersing themselves in a 12-week format (three weeks of residential learning on-site at the Center in Nairobi, eight weeks of virtual distance learning via technology from your home country, and a final week on-site at the Center in Nairobi for wrap-up and presentations). During the program, participants in their chosen track will be required to contribute individually and in teams to an interactive and experiential education course through project-based development and achievement.

Who can Apply?

Open to young East African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Are 18 to 35 years of age at the time of application submission,
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Burundi, Central African Republic. Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda,
  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Are eligible to receive any necessary visa to Kenya, and
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, listening and speaking English.

Selection Criteria

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications:

  • A demonstrated leadership in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
  • Active engagement in public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
  • Strong social and communication skills.
  • An energetic, positive attitude.
  • A demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the sector/track selected, and
  • A commitment to apply leadership skills and training to benefit your country and/or community after the program.

Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

How to Apply!

You need to first Sign Up to submit application.

See the FAQ or go to YALI East Africa for more information.


“Daughters and Sons” – Article on Gender Disparity by Amokeye Adi

A well-meaning man recently said to me, “Make sure you don’t get a PhD before you marry o, or you’ll drive potential husbands away”. His friend, who was a part of the conversation, concurred and then he said “you know, when you tell women not to buy cars before they are married, they don’t listen until they can’t find husbands to marry”. He wasn’t joking. I also recently read about a lady who sold her car and house and gave up a mega job for a modest one so she could find a husband to marry. I laughed till my afro ached but then it’s not a laughing matter. The other day, I had an argument with a male colleague who had actually wronged me but wouldn’t agree. Rather than prove himself right or simply apologize, he said “can you imagine you, a woman, talking to me, a man”. Check. I was supposed to shut up before him on the mere grounds that he is male and I am female! Many times, a girl gets raped and instead of outrightly treating a rape case as one, we say, “what was she wearing?”, “where was she?”, “why was she out at that time of night?” “Doesn’t she know she’s a girl? “,”eh, it’s what she wanted”. But does the world have to be so unsafe for girls? I have often heard people say of the woman, in cases of marital issues, “maybe she is not submissive, she is probably rude”, “she won’t cook on time, what do you expect the man to do?” “Imagine, her husband will be feeding and bathing the baby. What is she doing? What kind of thing is that?” Now, this is not to excuse the woman from the responsibilities that come with these issues or to say that women are never guilty or to suggest that all fingers begin pointing at the man but to question why we almost always impulsively blame the woman as though all marital conflicts were a woman’s fault. And wait a minute, what’s wrong with a man feeding and bathing his baby? Do we also know that Section 55 of the Nigerian penal code actually permits a man to beat his wife “for the purpose of correcting his wife, such husband and wife being subject to any native law or custom in which such correction is recognized as lawful” as long as grievous bodily harm is not caused where grievous bodily harm is defined as injuries resulting to hospitalization for at least 21 days? This means that if bodily harm were caused resulting in hospitalization for a lesser number of days than 21, it would be lawful. But this is obviously not a question of whether or not grievous bodily harm is caused but a question of why a man should be permitted to beat his wife at all. To get new passports in my country, women need their husbands’ signatures to certify husband’s approval. The same doesn’t go for the man. Why? Because the woman is less important?

Now these are only a few of the burdens we unnecessarily place on ourselves on account of gender but I imagine how free we would be if we let unprofitable stereotypes go and focus on who we are rather than who we have been taught that we must be.

But then, I sit here knowing that there’s a root to every issue. The problem of gender inequality is one that has been raised by a conscious socialization. They say males are inherently proud and females, inherently passive. I disagree! Because I’ve seen otherwise. We teach girls to be passive and weak and domesticated and slavishly submissive. We teach them to have moderate aspirations so they don’t threaten the man and hence financial dependence, and to remember that the greatest achievements of their lives would be to get married and have kids (and yet male kids. Yes! In many places, till today). We teach them to guard virginity with fear and trembling in order to win the applause of men (not for moral or spiritual uprightness) and because it’s the most precious gift a girl can give to her husband on her wedding night (husbands don’t have a need to offer this gift). My mother would say “If you let them, when they have finished with you, they would tell their fellow men that you are mere chaff and no other normal man would want you”. But then I wonder why only one party has to bear the consequences of a crime committed by two parties and why one party can proudly announce their crime when the other has to cover their face in shame. And wives! How dare you tell a full blooded African man to dish his own soup and eba and probably get some for you. And then we teach boys to know, that they can’t be weak and cry like a girl (herein lies the degradation of the female) because they are men and men don’t cry, to always remember that they are the stronger sex (where physical strength has been largely abused). We teach them that high aspirations are their birth rights (this is not a bad thing but why do we try to deprive girls of the same?) and that in every way, they are superior to the girl. We teach them to be insecure when we teach them ego and then we say it’s inherent. But may we know, that in the subjugation of women, we contribute greatly to depriving our Africa of a free flow of development, that the suppression of women and our refusal to rise against it have earned us increased rates of sexual and domestic violence, STIs and poor agricultural output which stems from unequal accessibility of resources and opportunities between men and women. Lucretia Mott has rightly said that “the world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source”. But I look forward to the emergence of great nations where the determinant of fair chances and human freedom does not depend on the arrangement of chromosomes, where boys and girls can aspire to the same things without the fear constructed by society, where women can be strong and still feel, where boys are allowed to cry, to be weak sometimes and be strong men still and where people have the courage not just to raise daughters like sons but to raise sons also like daughters.

Oh and I hear voices saying “this issue has been over flogged” but need I remind anyone that the equality of the sexes which is long overdue has not yet been achieved.

AYC’s Great African for May 2016 – Wilberforce Kakaire from Uganda

May 2016

We are pleased to introduce our Great African for the month of May 2016, Wilberforce Kakaire from Uganda.

Wilber having studied for a Bachelors of Information Technology at Makerere University, one would have expected him to practice his profession. He however chose to take on a Volunteer Peer EdNew York 684ucator role in a rural community in Uganda just after he graduated in 2011. It was this foundation that has curved his passion and the work he does even today. Wilber is now very passionate about development that he is not only pursuing a Masters Degree in International Development but was present as a youth Delegate in the 70th United Nations General Assembly that launched the New Sustainable Development Goals last year in New York. Back Home, Wilber is working with a network of youth led organizations to hold Ugandan government accountable to all commitments on youth priorities under the SDGs.

Having picked interest in youth issues as a Volunteer in 2008, Wilber has been instrumental in the Post 2015 youth involvement, including channeling the youth voice on Means of Implementation and Global Partnership. He has good competency in this area, especially in regards to the Central and South

New York 358
Wilber at the UN General Assembly in 2015

ern Africa context, being an active member of the United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth (UNMGCY) and the UNDP local for a in Uganda. Wilber has engaged constructively with a variety of government, CSO and community stakeholders in increasing meaningful youth participation in their programs. He trains up youth to have a strong voice in government negotiations and is himself an outstanding speaker on behalf of young people’s views.

Wilberforce signed up to be an Accountability Advocate, meaning he will be taking a lead in holding leaders accountable to their commitments and citizens demands. He is also referred to as the SDG Youth Ambassador. This is so because of the cause he is championing of ensuring that Young people are not left behind, because he believes the Global Goals are about us. “It’s us who will be there in 2030 running governments, we will be parents and leaders of all kinds” he says . This therefore means that we have to create an accountability Network comprised of like minded Civil society organization with the objective of monitoring the implementation of the sustainable development Goals and advocating for under-served critical areas that need urgent attention to ensure sustainable development.” he says.

Wilber is a great team player, great leadership and interpersonal skills and is passionate about youth participation and generating leaders. Wilber has workArusha traininged with NGOs since 2008, building his skills, knowledge and expertise around youth issues. Wilber has steadily moved through different positions and is currently in a management position with Restless Development as a Skills Development Manager for young people supporting the USAID Youth Leadership in Agriculture projects in Uganda.

Wilberforce says: “It’s time for youth to explore their potential, fight for their space hold our leaders accountable, seek knowledge build our skills and networks. If we don’t stop forward as rights bearers we will be denied the space we need to curve our future.”

Connect with Wilber on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


Do you know any African who could be featured as AYC’s Great African? Send their profile to or to our Facebook Page.