One hundred and twenty participants from nine West African countries, who have completed the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) in Regional Leadership Centres (RLC) across Africa, met in Accra last Tuesday.
YALI is a programme that empowers young African leaders to harness their skills to make positive changes in their countries.
The participants were from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Cameroon and were between 18 and 35 years.
The five-week leadership programme, at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with support from the Master Card Foundation, the Private Enterprise Foundation, Africa 2.0, Care International and other stakeholders.
The YALI RLC programme offers experiential learning programme in three modules; public policy and management, civil society leadership and business and entrepreneurship.
Addressing participants at the YALI RLC Partners Networking Dinner organised for the graduates last Tuesday, the Director of YALI West Africa, Dr Shola Safo-Duodu, said the participants went through eight weeks of training in mentoring and internship or community service, and four weeks in report writing.
In addition, she said the programme included presentations and field trips aimed at exposing the participants to practical leadership.
She urged the participants to make use of the knowledge gained from the training and make positive impacts wherever they found themselves.
Dr Safo-Duodo said the participants were also taken through experimental programmes on public policy and management, civil society leadership and business and entrepreneurship.
The course also discussed ethics and contemporary issues affecting Africa and other transformational topics.
She said the YALI RLC programme had so far trained 1,700 people since its inception in 2014.
“In July 2014, President Obama announced the creation of the four YALI Regional Leadership Centres in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal to train young Africans to assume leaders roles within a year.
Today, we can say that we are working towards achieving that objective,” she said.
The West Africa Regional Mission Director of USAID, Mr Alex Deprez, urged the graduands to make exceptional contributions to foster sustainable development, social justice and social welfare of the vulnerable in society.
He said YALI’s vision, which is to integrate training and education for the African youth, was making progress and, therefore, believed that the next generation would have competent leaders who would have influenced them positively.