Are you interested in hosting a young African professional in your workplace?

The Mandela Washington Fellowship offers an enriching opportunity for U.S. businesses, NGOs, and government agencies of all sizes to host a Mandela Washington Fellow for a four-week Professional Development Experience (PDE) during the month of August.

The Fellows are established leaders in their communities who are motivated to take their careers and positive impact to the next level and bring fresh knowledge and unique global perspectives to American workplaces.  They have several years of experience in a variety of sectors and have brought a great deal of value to their Host Organizations.

Infographic illustrating the following key facts about the Fellows: They are 25-35 years old; have 5-7 years of work experience on average; come from 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa; and contribute invaluable global perspectives.

The Fellowship Team works with both the Host Organization and the Fellow through an intensive and personalized matching process to ensure that the Fellow’s experience and skills align with the organization’s mission and goals.  PDEs have shown that they are mutually beneficial for both the Fellow and the Host Organization.  Here are just a couple of examples of how the Fellows contributed to businesses and organizations in the United States:

2016 Fellow Nathalie Kpante presents chocolate products from her company ChocoTogo.
2016 Fellow Nathalie Kpante demonstrates how to make chocolate at her company, ChocoTogo.

Gambah Labopou “Nathalie” Kpante is the co-founder of Togo’s first chocolate-making company, ChocoTogo.  Using the skills she learned at her PDE at Theo Chocolate in Seattle, Washington, and refinery equipment she purchased from U.S. small business Diamond Custom Machines (DCM) in Hillsborough, New Jersey, Nathalie introduced refined chocolate production to ChocoTogo.  Due to the popularity of the refined chocolate, ChocoTogo expanded to supermarkets across Togo, Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire, and DCM is growing their exports to African markets. Learn more about Nathalie’s work.

2016 Fellow Nyasha Mharakurwa poses with a U.S. Paralympic Athlete during his PDE at Ability360.
2016 Fellow Nyasha Mharakurwa met U.S. Paralympic Athletes during his PDE at Ability360.

Nyasha Mharakurwa is a wheelchair tennis player who represented Zimbabwe at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  For his PDE, Nyasha was placed with the sports arm of Ability360 in Phoenix, Arizona.  There he met Sarah Olson, a Program Coordinator at Ability360 who, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s Reciprocal Exchange component, later traveled to Zimbabwe to work with Nyasha on the launch of a youth adaptive sports program.  The program mirrored Ability360’s MaxInMotion Youth Adaptive Sports Clinics and allowed Nyasha to grow his organization and Ability360 to expand its partnerships internationally. Learn more about Nyasha’s work.

“It is a great opportunity to further global competencies and create moments of connection between people and organizations that normally would not have an opportunity to connect.” 

Host Supervisor, Starbucks Coffee Company

As a Fellowship PDE host, you will:

Infographic demonstrating that 93% of 2018 PDE Host Organizations would host a Fellow again in the future.
  • Benefit from having an African professional contribute to your organization with all expenses covered by the Fellowship.
  • Collaborate with the Fellowship Team in selecting a Fellow who is well suited for your needs and interests.
  • Develop your employees’ professional capacities by mentoring, supervising, or working with a leader from Africa.
  • Learn from the Fellow’s unique perspective on your industry in their home country.
  • Grow your network by connecting with other Host Organizations in your city and sector.
  • Build long-term professional relationships that may lead to future professional collaborations in Africa.
  • Gain unique insight into other opportunities offered by the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, including Reciprocal Exchanges offered to American professionals.

Would you like to participate in this collaborative exchange opportunity by hosting a young African professional at your business or organization?  Would you like to learn more about PDEs and how they will benefit you and your colleagues?  Please contact the Mandela Washington Fellowship Team at MWFellowship@irex.org.