Fellowship Alumni Network

Across Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States

Fellowship and Reciprocal Exchange Alumni Among 2023 CDAF Grantees

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is pleased to announce that six Fellowship and Reciprocal Exchange Alumni have been selected to receive grants for the 2023 Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF).

CDAF was launched in 2019 to address key foreign policy goals by empowering U.S. citizen alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs (ExchangeAlumni) to support their communities through policy-inspired projects. To date, 236 teams of U.S. citizen ExchangeAlumni have been granted over $1.85 million to build on skills gained during their exchange programs, advance U.S. foreign policy priorities, and address the needs of their communities. CDAF showcases the unique skills and abilities of ExchangeAlumni by providing them the tools and resources needed to tackle challenges around the world. This year, four teams comprised of Fellowship Alumni and Reciprocal Exchange Alumni were among those awarded.

CDAF is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and Office of Alumni Affairs and implemented by Global Ties U.S.  Learn more about CDAF.

This year’s winning projects run by members of the Fellowship Network include:

Healthcare Simulation Educational Exchange-Training Ethiopian Nurses to be Emergency First Responders Utilizing Scenario-based Learning, organized by Emnet Shimber, 2021 Fellowship Alumna from Ethiopia, and Lee Wittman of the U.S. Peace Corps, aims to design a training program built in collaboration between experienced healthcare educators from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina and Hawassa University/Ethiopia Ministry of Health. The project team will train more than 200 nurses to work on local ambulances in Ethiopia’s first national modern Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in an intensive two-week program in June 2023. The Ethiopian local first responders will be trained using high-fidelity simulation mannequins, similar equipment used to train paramedics in the United States.

Riverside Chats: Community Conversations towards Protecting Alabama’s Freshwater Resources, organized by 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Alumnae Rebekke Muench and Kelsey Herndon, will bring state-level legislators, NGOs, and local community members together to share and learn about Alabama’s watershed. The state of Alabama is rich in freshwater resources and has the greatest freshwater biodiversity in the country. State-level legislators and the general public, however, lack opportunities to learn about the importance of Alabama’s freshwater resources. This disconnect has contributed to extensive threats to the sustainable and equitable management of Alabama’s freshwater resources, as Alabama waterways are increasingly impacted by drought, and the state ranks second in species extinctions. By facilitating community conversations, this project aims to improve the management and protection of Alabama’s 132,000+ miles of rivers and streams.

Supporting the Civic and Democratic Participation and Persistence of Girls in Benin, organized by 2021 Alumna Ghislaine Akakpo of Benin and Reciprocal Exchange Alumnus Brian MacHarg, seeks to empower girls to remain in school and inspire them to become civically engaged citizens. The project will integrate service learning, civic education, and civic engagement into curricula in targeted areas of Benin to support both girls’ education and their development of democratic civic engagement. The project will use civic engagement to promote educational persistence and educational retention, and in turn, support pathways for girls to continue to be civically engaged as graduates.

Youth Artpreneurship Training, organized by 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Alumna Le’Kedra Robertson and Fulbright Teacher Exchange Alumnus Jobert Ngwenya, aims to equip youth ages 18-21 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, with skills to create positive change in their communities, particularly around environmental protection. By providing training in social entrepreneurship and digital literacy, this project seeks to tackle the lack of opportunities for youths to develop social entrepreneurial skills, while also inspiring and empowering youths to become leaders in their communities and create a sustainable future for all. The project also provides community-building opportunities for participants to share insights with their peers in New Orleans, Louisiana.

You can read more about all of the winners on the Exchange Alumni website. Congratulations!

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