Host a Fellow for the 2022 Professional Development Experience

A group of Fellows stands in front of a Habitat for Humanity ReStore building
2019 PDE Fellows volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 2022 Professional Development Experiences (PDEs) offer enriching opportunities for U.S. organizations to participate in a collaborative exchange by hosting young African professionals for substantive work experiences that explore issues, innovations, and best practices from U.S. and African perspectives.  The PDEs are scheduled to take place from July 21 to August 17, 2022.

Fellow Facts: 25-35 years old, 5-7 years work experience (average), 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, invaluable global perspectives

Why Host a Mandela Washington Fellow?

PDEs provide U.S. companies, non-profits, and government agencies with a unique opportunity to gain a global perspective on their work while offering a tailored experience to accomplished young professionals looking to share their expertise, hone transferable skills, and forge lasting professional relationships with their U.S. counterparts.  Mandela Washington Fellows are motivated to take their careers to the next level and share knowledge with their U.S. peers and other future leaders across Africa.

As a PDE Host, organizations will:

  • Benefit from having African professionals contribute their skills and expertise.
  • Develop employees’ professional capacities by mentoring and supervising Fellows.
  • Build their cross-cultural and international communication skills.
  • Learn from Fellows’ global perspective on industries in their home countries.
  • Grow their networks by connecting virtually with other Host Organizations, Fellows, and Fellowship Alumni.

Benefits to U.S. Host Organizations

During the PDE, Fellows not only learn about a sector of interest from a U.S. perspective, but also actively contribute their own experience and expertise to their PDE Host.  Fellows have provided their insights to companies and organizations such as Brookings, Dell, Deloitte, Echoing Green, Microsoft, Rotary International, Starbucks, the U.S. Congress, and more.  These experiences help build economic ties between the United States and Africa by connecting Fellows and their businesses in their home countries to U.S. businesses and professionals.  See all 2021 Host Organizations.

Highlights from Past PDEs

2021 Fellow Farida Yahya collaborated with UPS during her virtual PDE.

2021 Fellow Farida Yahya is on a mission to help other female entrepreneurs amplify the impact of their enterprises and promote community prosperity in Nigeria.  Through her virtual PDE at UPS, Farida supported the Green and Women Exporter programs through survey and policy paper development.  She says, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on such important policy work that will shape the future of trade through a gender lens.”  Farida hopes to apply what she learned to her Brief Academy female entrepreneur learning hub and haircare brand Lumo Naturals.

Souleymane’s team plants the USDA’s strawberries in Senegal.

An agripreneur in the strawberry industry, 2021 Fellow Thierno Souleymane Agne of Senegal collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Service office during his virtual PDE to help the USDA develop new higher quality varieties of strawberries with longer shelf lives adapted to both the Senegalese and U.S. climates.  The techniques that Souleymane learned will help him build his company Fraisen Africa, with the goal of being the first pan-African strawberry producer.

Chrissy delivers an Ignite Talk at the 2019 Summit.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) enjoyed hosting 2019 Fellow Chrissy Zimba of Malawi for her PDE.  Chrissy worked on information and referral services, which enabled her not only to help the AAPD’s beneficiaries, but also to learn about services other disability organizations in the United States provide.  In addition, Chrissy was inspired by AAPD’s “Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power Initiative,” a program she hopes to replicate in Malawi to make the act of voting possible for people with disabilities.

Mmeli joins his team at Spotify from Eswatini.

During his virtual PDE with Spotify, 2021 Fellow Mmeli Hlanze, the director of Antidote Music in Eswatini, developed a marketing strategy for Spotify for Artists to penetrate the African music market.  He reflected: “My PDE experience… has exceeded my expectations.  My PDE supervisor and the organization as a whole has been very engaging and proactive in terms of making this experience worthwhile.  They treat me like I’m actually part of their organization and I’m very much grateful.”

Margaret completed her PDE with the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C.

2019 Fellow Margaret Wagana from Uganda enjoyed her PDE with the American Bar Association (ABA).  Margaret’s goal is to start her own legal aid clinic, so the ABA’s rapid response model to human rights crises in Africa was a perfect model for her future goals.  During her PDE, she contributed to research projects, wrote a Rule of Law letter, and attended events.  According to Margaret, the PDE made her “more confident about succeeding in my future plans, both personal and professional.”

Contact

To learn more about hosting a PDE, please complete the Host Interest Form.  For questions, please email MWFellowship@irex.org.