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VOA Showcases Career Diversity of Young African Leadership Initiative Fellows

Clockwise, from upper left, Young African Leaders Fellowship attendees Glad Mabele of South Africa, Raabia Hawa of Kenya, Rui Figueiredo Soares of Cape Verde, Adele Boadzo of South Africa, and Balarabe Ismail of Nigeria.

“I love VOA,” said Kenyan YALI Fellow Sheila Van de Graaph. “As a leader, VOA is doing an awesome job. Keep on doing that. Keep on mentoring young leaders, and the future is bright.” Van de Graaph was one of the 130 fellows who VOA’s Africa Division interviewed at this year’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) summit and during their university studies in the United States during the last month.

Interviews with the fellows explored the factors that motivate them to succeed, and highlighted the diverse careers they have chosen to pursue.

VOA’s Africa Division provided comprehensive multimedia coverage of the summit. President Barack Obama’s remarks at the YALI summit were streamed live on all VOA Africa Division Facebook pages, receiving more than 20,000 video views. VOA hosted a Facebook live town hall with Swahili-speaking YALI Fellows at Howard University in Washington, and a VOA reporter traveled to Bridgewater University in Massachusetts to talk to Portuguese-speaking YALI Fellows.

In French and Bambara, YALI Fellows appeared on radio on Anba Fo and L’Amerique et Vous, and on the TV magazine show Vous et Nous. English language profiles of YALI Fellows Glad Mabele (South Africa), Yar Mayen (South Sudan), and Raabia Hawa (Kenya) aired on VOA’s Africa 54 television program.

The YALI Fellowship graduation ceremonies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and The College of William & Mary were broadcast on Facebook Live by VOA’s Hausa, Amharic and Somali Services. And YALI interviews conducted at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Presidential Precinct were streamed live on Facebook.

President Obama launched the YALI initiative in 2010 in an effort to support the next generation of young leaders across Africa.

VOA broadcasts “have contributed significantly to raise awareness of the [YALI] Association with the Malian public,” noted U.S. Embassy Mali local YALI coordinator Adama Kouyate. “We have always had the impression that we increased our influence among our target groups after each broadcast or interview with VOA about our programs. These broadcasts have also enabled us to increase the number of people who follow us on Facebook and therefore increase the number of young people with whom we interact on issues related to good governance, leadership, education, etc. Furthermore, on a personal level, VOA broadcasts provide opportunities to expose members of the association and promote contact with people who share mutual interests with us,” said Kouyate.

VOA broadcasts to Africa in 15 languages, including English.