CDAF Recipients

Across the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa

Reciprocal Exchange Participants and Fellowship Alumni Awarded Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF)

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is proud of the Reciprocal Exchange Participants and Fellowship Alumni who have been awarded grants from the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF).  The CDAF competition provides small grants of up to $10,000 to teams, led by at least one U.S. citizen Alumnus/a of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, to carry out public service projects using the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange experiences.  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 Partners of the Americas, a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Learn more about CDAF.

Learn more about how Reciprocal Exchange Participants and Fellowship Alumni are making a difference through CDAF grants in the stories below, and see a full list of CDAF recipients.

Reciprocal Exchange participant Tom DeFayette during his 2019 Reciprocal Exchange in Botswana

Advocating for disability rights across Sub-Saharan Africa

Together we have grown professionally side-by-side in an area of human rights that we are both passionate about. We will continue to assist each other for the rest of our lives while advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.”

Thomas DeFayette, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant and CDAF Grantee

Following his 2019 Reciprocal Exchange, Thomas DeFayette established a WhatsApp group to connect U.S. Reciprocal Exchange Participants and Fellowship Alumni working on disability rights and accessibility in Africa. With the help of the network in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Portal, the group has since evolved into an informal disability rights working group, expanding to over 30 members across the United States and Africa.

In 2020, some members of the working group were awarded a Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) Rapid Response award to address gender-based violence affecting persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Botswana. Seeing the success of the project’s tele-counseling and referral service, the U.S. Embassy in Botswana extended the project through December 2021.

Improving sanitation conditions for rural communities in Namibia

I can say, without a doubt, that my work with the Young African Leaders Initiative, Mandela Washington Fellowship, and Reciprocal Exchange is one of the proudest achievements of my career. Working with KV has taught me to be resourceful, inquisitive, and eternally positive in the face of sometimes overwhelming adversity.”

Andrew Lentz, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant and CDAF Grantee

After his Professional Development Experience (PDE) at Deloitte, 2018 Namibian Fellowship Alumnus Kaveto “KV” Tjatjara collaborated with his Host Supervisor Andrew Lentz and colleague Taylor Au on a Reciprocal Exchange in 2019 that resulted in the scaling up of KV’s waterless toilet business, which improves sanitation conditions for rural communities in Namibia.

After the initial project, the group received a CDAF, which will help them to build upon the progress made during the Reciprocal Exchange. The CDAF project will provide access to sanitation facilities for an additional 1,300 school children.

A man hands a certificate to workshop participants with other observes smiling and looking on
Katy Kutzner (left) and Bob Wolff (right), Reciprocal Exchange Participants, award completion certificates to workshop participants in Malawi.

Expanding the beekeeping network in Africa and the United States

Through the connections made with the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the other State Department programs, we have developed important relationships and expanded the beekeeper network on the continent.”

Robert Wolff, 2018-2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant and CDAF Grantee

Through the CDAF grant, 2017 Reciprocal Exchange Participant Kathryn Kutzner and 2018 and 2019 Participant Robert Wolff traveled to Malawi in February 2020. The pair collaborated with 2016 Fellowship Alumna Chikondi Mandala to conduct beekeeping workshops to promote women’s empowerment and combat food insecurity.

2020 Reciprocal Exchange Participant Connie Green and 2017 Fellowship Alumnus Janvier Manirakiza reading to preschool children in Burundi.

Building capacity through virtual teacher trainings in Burundi

In the spring of 2020, Constance Green traveled to Burundi to work with 2017 Fellowship Alumnus Janvier Manirakiza to establish the first preschool in Butanuka as part of a Reciprocal Exchange. In the fall of 2020, the team won a CDAF award to implement Phase II of their project, in which they doubled the capacity of their pre-school through virtual teacher trainings and workshops.

With Constance based in the United States and Janvier in Burundi, they continue to collaborate virtually to prepare for Phase III, which will include the construction of a new building for the school so they can accommodate more than 100 students. By the end of the project, Butanuka will have gone from having no pre-school to a village supported by a model institution accommodating more than 100 students.

2019 Fellowship Alumnus Suraphel Alemu conducting virtual activities in Ethiopia for a 2020 CDAF grant.

Promoting civic education in Ethiopia

2019 Fellowship Alumni Suraphel Alemu and Hewan Goitom and Reciprocal Exchange Participant Dr. Ronald Quincy connected during the 2019 Fellowship through their mutual interest in the power of dialogue and civic engagement to amend and enforce social contracts. In 2020, the team received a Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) grant to implement their virtual project, Article 41.

Named after Article 41 of the Ethiopian Constitution describing Ethiopians’ economic, social, and cultural rights, this project aims to engage young professionals in Addis Ababa in a series of roundtables promoting constructive dialogue, civic mindedness, and constitutional consciousness in Ethiopia.

Fellowship CDAF Winners

Here is the full list of CDAF winners from the Fellowship Network:

  • Adolescent Health in Rural Ghana
  • Article 41
  • Butanuka Community Preschool, Phase Two
    • Constance Green, Reciprocal Exchange Participant
    • Janvier Manirakiza, 2017 Fellowship Alumnus, Burundi
  • Community Connection
  • Create Dignity, Prosperity & WASH Access in Namibia
  • Gender-based Violence and Disability, COVID-19
  • Kalendari INEZA
  • Moyo Honey – Malawi Women’s Beekeeping Initiative
  • Reducing Adolescent Pregnancy (RAP) in Malawi
  • Women’s Entrepreneurial Training
  • World Alumni LINK!
    • Sarah Cohen, Reciprocal Exchange Participant
  • 2020: Through the Eyes of Black Folk