African Scholars & Nevada Community Leaders To Exchange Ideas

Western Nevada – This summer, youths and adults in rural Lyon County will have opportunities to exchange ideas with some of Africa’s brightest emerging civic leaders between the ages of 25 and 35!

The twenty-five leaders from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), are trailblazers in entrepreneurship and community economic development. The Fellows visiting Nevada are part of a larger group of 500 Mandela Washington Fellows being hosted across the United States this summer as part of a U.S. Department of State program.

Why Did They Choose Nevada? The young leaders’ visit to Nevada is hosted through the Northern Nevada International Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition to working with officials, scholars, community groups, and leaders in Reno, the Fellows will also be visiting with Storey County community members through an invitation from Turning Point Inc and Community Chest, and with Lyon County community volunteers and leaders through an invitation from Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey.

What Will They Do in Lyon County? Healthy Communities director Christy McGill explained that “in an effort to showcase the amazing and resourceful things that the community of Silver Springs has been able to achieve through collaborative impact strategies, Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties is bringing the Fellows to Silver Springs to meet with local leaders. The Fellows will participate in a guided tour with youth and adult leaders showing some elements of a regional “Healthy Food Hub”, such as the volunteer-powered Silver Stage Food Pantry, the Jack Rabbit Junction Community Harvest Buyers’ Club and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program), and school garden and hoop house at Silver Stage Elementary School.  They’ll also learn about the nationally-recognized food waste reduction process and composting microbusiness led by the GREEN Team at the school. And because these 25 leaders from Africa have achieved so many successful projects in agriculture, health care, technology, economic development, and renewable energy in their own communities, we’re excited to facilitate an exchange of ideas between them and local leaders and community volunteers. We will have small group sessions and idea exchanges around topics such as entrepreneurship, alternative energy, technology, empowerment strategies, youth leadership, collaborative impact strategies and radical inclusion,  etc. We can’t wait to be inspired by their ideas and to share our community with them.”

Freida Carbery of Healthy Communities and Lilian Wambua of Kenya are shown here at a BBQ in Virginia City hosted by CCI and Turning Point for the 25 visiting Fellows

What Types of Projects Have They Led? Accomplished in both their careers and service to their communities, the Fellows visiting Nevada are inspirational young professionals making a difference in their countries through innovative strategies. They bring expertise in a wide range of academic backgrounds such as computer science, engineering, business, renewable energy, marketing, economic development, space technology, transportation, communication, health care, finance, logistics, film,technology and agriculture. They hail from over a dozen countries in Africa, including Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Ehtiopia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania, Leslotho, Liberiea, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, South Africa, Uganda, Equatorial New Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To see a list of all 500 Fellows, including details about their areas of expertise, see

What is the Mandela Washington Fellowship? The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State. Through the Mandela Washington Fellows program called the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), African leaders ages 25-35 are gaining further skills and connections to “accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

Selected from nearly 50,000 applications, the Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials. Mandela Washington Fellows have proven track records of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization; and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their communities.

The Fellows hail from many countries in Africa and include equal numbers of men and women. More than 75 % of Fellows already hold a mid-level or executive position, and 48 % have a graduate degree. Twenty-five percent of Fellows currently work in a non-governmental institution, and 39 % of them operate their own business. Nearly all Fellows were the first in their families to visit the United States.”

Additional Information:

Please see for a full fact sheet on the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

You can also follow the adventures of the Fellows visiting Reno on Twitter at #yalireno

For more about Northern Nevada International Center at UNR, see

For more about Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, see

For more about Community Chest see

For more about the GREEN Team, see:

For more about Healthy Communities and the regional Healthy Food Hub, see