Elvis Ndansi, NUDP National Youth President, talks on his recent election into the West African Advisory Board of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme.
You have been elected into the West African Advisory Board of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme for Young African Leaders. How is this election important to you and Cameroonian youth?
It was a great opportunity for me to be selected among the 4,000 applicants in Cameroon to attend the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme. This is a flagship programme of President Obama's young emerging African leaders and I think it was a great opportunity for me to be part of this fellowship programme. I feel so proud to have been integrated into the alumni of this fellowship programme.
As a Cameroonian, it's a great honour for me because the responsibility of this Regional Advisory Board is to liaise between USAID funded projects and the fellows themselves. I serve as a liaison between them and the various funding programme of USAID as well as the West African countries. I am going to make sure I put my plan of action I put forth during my campaign manifesto and one of them is to ensure that governments of different States of West Africa recognise the knowledge and skills that Mandela Washington Fellows do have so that they can make a great uptake of their expertise for good governance and development of our West African countries.
Following your participation in the Fellowship programme, what lessons have you brought back for NUDP youths in particular and Cameroonian youths in general?
I have started with a coaching programme which will be able to coach many young people who want to apply for the Mandela Washington programme next year as well as an inspirational coaching programme to give hope to youths who are already being discouraged due to frustrations they go through as a result of unemployment amongst others. In terms of projects, I run a foundation known as United for Health Foundation which works to provide basic health care to underserved communities.
As a Mandela Washington Fellow, we are open to a world of opportunities across the board. The Mandela Washington Programme is a great opportunity for us to network as African young leaders and see how we can impact our different communities. One of my missions as Mandela Washington Fellow is to promote servant leadership in Africa.
As a young political leader, elections are coming up in 2018, are you seeing yourself running for an elective position?
The ambition of any politician is to run for an elective post but there are procedures that are being followed. I belong to a political party that is disciplined and there are procedures to run for either municipal or legislative elections. When the time comes, my party will judge my work on the field and see if I am eligible to run for an elective post in my community. I think it is a very great opportunity for young people to invest in politics by making sure that they get interested. In my book "Gateway to Politics", I made it clear the political ambition alone is not enough to give you an elective office.
Do you have any projects for the NUDP youths in perspective?
We are preparing for our congress that is coming up early next year and that is going to be a great moment for us to take stock of our achievements so far after the five-year mandate that was given to me in 2012. We are going to give an account of our stewardship. We are holding our bureau meeting next month to do an assessment of our five year-mandate.
As far as Cameroon youths are concerned, the NUDP says keep hoping, keep loving your country and keep believing in Cameroon because the future is bright. The love of the nation should always be paramount in midst of any kind of frustration. I encourage young people to register on the electoral list when the voters' register will be opened again next year and take part in politics.