1 December 2015

West Africa: MFWA Hosts Mandela Washington Fellows From 4 Countries

press release

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is hosting four awardees of the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship under President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) initiative.

The Fellows, who will be hosted by the MFWA for six months, are Ms. Mirable Nfihkela Ngong from Cameroun, Mr. Omotola Samuel Oni from Nigeria, Ms. Emile Essan Ako from Cote D'Ivoire, and Mr. Felix Dela Klutse from Ghana.

These Fellows have experiences from diverse tracks spanning youth and girls empowerment, community mobilisation, Media and Citizens' participation in governance, gender empowerment, business and entrepreneurship.

The YALI fellowship, the flagship programme of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

"We are pleased to be one of the few organisations on the continent to have the opportunity of hosting and working with these exceptional young Africans who have demonstrated excellence in their different fields of endeavor," said Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA.

"As a regional organisation, it is great to host and work with people from different countries and backgrounds. We are hopeful that they will contribute to promote freedom of expression and good governance in the West Africa region, and leave with enhanced knowledge and skills for their future endeavours."

Ms. Mirable Ngong is hopeful of learning and contributing to the work of the MFWA. "Working with the dynamic team at MFWA is fulfilling and a platform to sharpen my advocacy, media and external communication skills as I contribute my knowledge, skills and expertise to MFWA's work," she said.

For his part, Mr. Oni looks forward to contributing his expertise and experience in entrepreneurship and youth engagement to advance opportunities for the youth and increase youth participation in governance processes in the region.

Below are short brief profiles of the Fellows:

Below are short brief profiles of the Fellows:

Mirable Ngong (Cameroon): Mirabel is a feminist advocate. She has reached out to more than 400 women in her native Cameroon, strengthening leadership skills and boosting the political confidence of the women. She also used radio drama over 7 community radio stations in the North West Region to advocate for the education of girls and teenage single mothers.

She Coordinated Youth Projects at a local NGO called the World Vision for Education and Development Cameroon (WVED) where she focused on equipping youth with leadership and business skills, promoting the education of girls and developmental priorities that address self-reliant skills.

She holds a Bachelors Degree Journalism and Media with a minor in Gender Studies; and also completed The Venture Creation Trainig with the Colombian Business school under the Creating Oportuniities for Rural Youth project. Mirabel recently completed a Civic Leadership institute at the University of Virginia, as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Omotola Oni (Nigeria): Omotola is the founder of Oludehin Nigeria Company, a printing, media and publishing firm he established immediately at graduation from University. He has also established business incubators in his native Nigeria. He is the Publisher of Destin and Springboard Magazines; former Editor in Chief of Bayelkopa and sits on the Editorial Board of Road Sweeper Community Newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria. He has trained and mentored over four hundred youth entrepreneurs in various sectors ranging from publishing to energy

In 2003, he was the best graduating student from the Department of History at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria.

He is an awardee of the Youth with Enterprise and Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) Presidential Program and a recipient of the National Youth Service Corps Entrepreneurship Development Project Award. At Northwestern University, Illinois, USA he completed the Business & Entrepreneurship Institute as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, where he received the Northwestern/Robert & Charlene Shaw award for excellence.

He is an alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy, Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre and the prestigious Pan Atlantic University where he obtained Advance Certificate in Leadership and Entrepreneurship respectively.

Felix Dela Klutse (Ghana): Felix is a multi-award-winning journalist with over 13 years' experience. He is currently the editor-in-chief and publisher of Business Day, a business and financial newspaper in Ghana and leads a youth association in Accra that works to harness the energy, talents, and potential of over 200 youth through activities and training. He has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and an Executive MBA from University of Ghana Business School.

He is an alumnus of journalism and executive management courses at several prestigious institutions including the International Institute for Journalism in Germany, Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in the USA, and the Institute of Commercial Management in the UK. He is passionate about job creation for the youth.

Emile Essan Ako (Cote d'Ivoire): Emile has worked for the past four years as the Managing Director of Radio Arc-en-ciel, a community radio station in the populous urban area of Abobo in Cote d'Ivoire. Under his management, Radio Arc-en-ciel became the best community radio station in Cote d'Ivoire, and in 2014 won a UNICEF competition on mother-and-child wellbeing.

As a consultant in advocacy and participatory budgeting, Ako is passionate about training and mentoring local stakeholders using results-oriented approaches. Ako holds a Master's degree in English Linguistics, and further certification in sustainable development, advocacy and community-based development approaches.

MFWA Hosts Mandela Washington Fellows from 4 Countries

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