President’s Fellowship Program Provides Mentoring and Leadership Opportunities for Young African Leaders in Kenya

Robin McDonough
July 4, 2024

President’s Fellowship Program Overview 2023-24

A man, part of the President's Fellowship Program, hands out boxes of supplies to a group of children gathered around him outside a building, embodying the spirit of mentoring future Young African Leaders.

President’s Fellowship Program distributes 139 boxes of donated soap on Global Handwashing Day in October 2023.

Young leaders possess the power to positively impact their communities through active engagement in peacebuilding activities. Recognizing young people’s inherent desire and ability to create positive social and economic change, the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya initiated the President’s Fellowship Program. This flagship initiative provides mentoring and leadership opportunities for young African leaders through a virtual training program in peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, climate action, and leadership.

Eleven activities covering a wide range of topics took place during the nine months from August 2023 through April 2024. Each activity focused on young people’s unlimited capacity to learn, grow, and become positive change agents by empowering them with the knowledge and skills to become moral, ethical, and innovative leaders.

Cohorts 1, 2, and 3 of the President’s Fellowship Program attended the play Young, Rich, and Famous at the Kenya National Theatre. The play highlighted several important concepts, including the complexity of morality, the power of redemption, and the impact of choices. Attendance at the play stimulated thought-provoking conversations about social and ethical issues and created a lens for the young leaders’ personal reflections.

Mentorship in Business Development and Environmental Conservation

August 3, 2023, marked the start of a comprehensive month-long entrepreneurship training program designed to provide the fellows with fundraising and business development knowledge and skills to effectively address community challenges and support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Each of the four one-week sessions focused on one of the following topics: fundamentals of proposal writing and fundraising, business plan development, business idea generation and market access, and engagement with a business expert. The training provided a thriving learning environment for the participants to enhance their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills and gain practical insights and tools to become positive change agents in their communities.

Group of people, including students in green uniforms and participants from the Young African Leaders, engage in a tree planting ceremony outdoors. Some are digging while others pour water on the newly planted tree as part of the President’s Fellowship Program's mentoring initiative.

Youth plant trees as part of GPF Kenya’s President’s Fellowship Program.

On August 17, GPF Kenya partnered with several entities, including Konza Technologies, Rotary Club of Nairobi, Chandaria Foundation, Nairobi Primary, Daystar University, Vera Beauty College, and the World Bank to officially launch a million-tree-growing exercise at Konza Technopolis, also known as Africa’s Silicon Savanna. This event underscored the importance of environmental sustainability, community engagement, volunteerism, and civic engagement for the young leaders who actively participated in the tree planting. Aligned with the national goal of achieving a 30 percent forest cover by 2032, the initiative is a benchmark for similar conservation efforts across Kenya.

The 3rd Edition of the President’s Fellowship Ambassadors Open Forum, highlighting the Western and Rift Valley Regions, was held from September 1 to September 28, 2023. Online sessions allowed participants to discuss the history, cultural heritage, tourism, notable figures, opportunities, and challenges of the two regions. The forum gave the young participants important insight into valuing Kenya’s rich and diverse culture and the need for respect and unity among its people.

In October, 100 young people participated in a comprehensive online climate training program to instill knowledge and skills in climate action and conservation. Topics covered include disaster management and preparedness, waste management and recycling, climate action and environmental coursework, and tree planting community work. Through online training and hands-on tree planting, participants could gain insight into climate-related issues, understand the importance of environmental conservation, and become empowered to address climate change challenges proactively.

The Greenlands School, the first-place recipient of GPF Kenya’s Great Places to School 2022 initiative, held a significant Community Social Responsibility (CSR) event on October 21. The school, which provides shelter, education, and emotional support for 100 girls, many of whom are survivors of child marriages and cases of rape, hosted the CSR event to enhance the girls’ education experience, promote child welfare, and empower young mothers. The event represented a holistic approach to the development and well-being of the girls and young mothers in attendance, contributing to a lasting positive change and a brighter future.

Regional Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals

The 4th Edition of the President’s Fellowship Ambassadors Open Forum, highlighting the Nyanza and Nairobi Regions, allowed the young participants to connect and engage in discussions on diverse individual and regional challenges and develop solutions and implementation plans. The discussions created collective problem-solving and capacity-building opportunities, empowering participants with the knowledge and skills to create positive change in their communities through actionable initiatives.

On November 29, 2023, the fellows participated in the National Multi-stakeholder’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Youth Pre-conference at the University of Nairobi. Aligning with the global agenda established at the United Nations General Assembly at the 2023 SDG Summit in New York on September 18 to 19, 2023, the pre-conference enhanced youth inclusivity in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the SDGs. Recognizing the significant contribution of youth to be effective change agents in their communities and beyond, the pre-conference underscored their collective role in achieving a more sustainable and equitable future.

A woman is speaking to a large group of students wearing blue uniforms seated outdoors surrounded by trees. She holds a paper and a microphone, while the students listen attentively, eagerly awaiting to learn about the President’s Fellowship Program and various leadership opportunities available.

More than 700 students receive training on preventing youth radicalization by GPF Kenya.

GPF Kenya partnered with the Chandaria Foundation and others to host the 4th President’s Fellowship Summit on December 7. The theme of the virtual summit was “The Role of Youth in the African Renaissance.” One hundred youth leaders representing all 47 Kenyan counties were honored for their endeavors. The summit highlighted the need for ongoing cross-sector investment in skills training, capacity building, and other initiatives crucial to harnessing the transformative power of youth leadership and innovation to advance Africa’s renaissance.

The official launch of the Laiser Hill Youth Association (L.Y.A.) took place on December 8 in Kajiado. This event represented a significant milestone for the youth of Laiser Hill Subsection as they joined forces under L.Y.A. to address youth unemployment in their community to increase welfare and security. The event emphasizes the importance of youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, community engagement and participation, holistic empowerment programs, and unity and social cohesion. It further highlights the force of proactive grassroots engagement in supporting youth in their drive to make their communities better.

Latest President’s Fellowship Program Launched in 2024

Over 100 youth from Kenya and two other African countries were inaugurated into the 4th Cohort of the President’s Fellowship, which started on April 16, 2024. Like the previous cohorts, the selected youth have demonstrated high leadership capabilities and a commitment to becoming positive change agents in their communities. Several keynote speakers recognized the significant role of young leaders in shaping the future and the efforts of the President’s Fellowship Program and diverse communities in supporting their transformative journey.

The eleven mentoring and leadership activities sponsored by GPF Kenya under the auspices of its President’s Fellowship Program, offered in partnership with various organizations and communities, indicate a deep understanding and appreciation of the importance of providing young African leaders with the knowledge and skills to influence positive social and economic change. These young men and women hold in their hands, hearts, and minds the desire and capability to become future moral, ethical, and innovative leaders. It is up to us to assist them in achieving their full potential to create peaceful coexistence in a sustainable environment that benefits their communities and society.

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