Showing posts with label Mandela Washington Fellowship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mandela Washington Fellowship. Show all posts

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Mandela Fellows’ Anti-GBV Campaign Enters Southern Province

By Paul Shalala in Pemba
The Mandela Washington Fellows before the marchpast

Disturbed by the increasing number of media reports showing wives killings their husbands in Zambia, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows in Zambia have launched the #MWFAgainstGBV campaign to raise awareness about the gender based violence.

Since the idea was shared among the 43 Zambian fellows in early September, the group raised money and made arrangements to launch the campaign in Pemba, a rural district in Zambia’s Southern Province where Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases are alarming.

The fellows first launched the hashtag #MWFAgainstGBV on social media ahead of the launch.

On 25th November, five fellows travelled to Pemba District which is about 300 kilometers south of the capital Lusaka, to launch the campaign together with civil society, government officials and activists.

Mandela Washington Fellows leading the procession
The launch coincided with the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence which commenced that day and will end on 10th December 2016..

The day started with the Mndela Fellows paying a courtesy call on the district Commissioner to explain their mission in the district.

After that, it was time for a marchpast across the central business district of Pemba.

Pemba District Commissioner Reginald Mugoba flagged off the marchpast.

2016 Mandela Washington Fellows Paul Shalala, Mwanga Simwanda, Nang’amba Chintu, Abigail Nedziwe and Vwanganji Bowa led the hundreds of marchers along the three kilometre route from the District Administration offices to Pemba market where hundreds of marketers and residents were waiting.
Part of the crowd during the launch

Majorettes from Pemba Primary School provided entertainment as the procession made its way along the T2 main highway to the market.

At the market, various traditional groups provided entertainment for the hundreds of people who showed up at the event.

One touching sketch by a women’s group depicted a woman who poisoned her husband in order for her to inherit his wealth.

In another sketch performed by students from Pemba Secondary School, an alcoholic father was seen abusing his wife and children everytime he returns from drinking sprees.

Mr Mugoba speaking as Egala Kabesha holds a placard
The event was almost disrupted by heavy rains but the crowds defied the weather and remained attentive despite being soaked.

And in his speech, the District Commissioner thanked the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows for choosing his district to launch the #MWFAgainstGBV campaign.

“Your decision to launch the campaign in my district is welcome. Allow me to thank President Barack Obama for coming up with the Mandela Washington Fellowship which has seen our own youths doing great things upon return from the USA,” said Mr Mugoba, who was dressed in a Mandela Washington Fellowship t-shirt.

The fellows appeared on a live program on Byta FM
And speaking on behalf of other fellows, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow Mwanga Simwanda said the team chose Pemba because of the increasing cases of GBV.

“We chose Pemba District not because of the hardworking 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow Nang’amba Chintu who is based here, but because of the 223 gender based violence cases you recorded last year. These are figures which are moving. We need to fight this problem together,” said Ms Simwanda.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Police Service in the district has recorded an increase in GBV cases this year.

Fellows taking a selfie at Pemba market
“From January to November this year, we have recorded 226 cases of GBV. Most of them involve defilement, wife battery and family neglect,” disclosed Inspector Henry Bwalya, who is the Coordinator for the Victim Support Unit at Pemba Police Station.

At the event, two people were honoured by the District Commissioner for joining the fight against GBV.

Egala Kabesha, a housewife, was honoured for defying the community and reporting her husband to the Police for beating her repeatedly.

Her case is currently before the courts of law.

Another person honoured was Inspector Mwangala, a Police officer who was a perpetrator of gender based violence but is now a Pastor in one of the local churches where he preaches against GBV.

After a radio program at Byta FM in Choma
After successfully launching the #MWFAgainstGBV in Pemba, the fellows left for neighbouring Choma District for a radio program.

Paul, Mwanga and Vwanganji were featured live on Byta FM to discuss the campaign and the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The program, which was very interactive, was moderated by Mathew Simonje who himself is interested in applying for the fellowship next year.

Through the program, Mr Simonje, who is also the station's manager in charge of Marketing, was able to get tips which he hopes will help him apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship when it opens for applications next year.

The fellows at Falls FM in Livingstone
The following day, the trio also featured on another live program on Falls FM, a radio station in Livingstone, a city which hosts the world famous Victoria Falls.

On this program, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows discussed various issues surrounding gender based violence ranging from tradition, the law, early marriages and alcohol.

The fellows wrapped up their tour of Southern Province with an interview at ZNBC Livingstone offices where they explained to the country’s national broadcaster their mission in the province.

In 2017, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows hope to extend the #MWFAgainstGBV to all provinces with the help of some funding.

At present, the fellows are running the campaign using their own resources.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Buumba Malambo: Young Councillor, Award Winning Social Worker

Buumba with one of her many awards
By Paul Shalala

Since the election of Members of Parliament, Mayors, Council Chairpersons and Councillors two weeks ago, this blogger is profiling a number of youths and females with unique attributes who were elected to lead for the next five years.

A week ago, this blog profiled newly elected Patriotic Front Kalulushi Member of Parliament Kampamba Mulenga who is the only female among the 22 newly elected lawmakers on the Copperbelt.

Today, this blogger is profiling newly elected Magoba Ward Councillor Buumba Malambo, an award winning social worker and women’s rights activist.

25 year old Buumba was elected on the UPND ticket and is the only female among the 16 Councillors in Kafue District.

Who is Buumba Malambo?

Buumba was born on June 10, 1991 and she grew up in the mining town of Mufulira on the Copperbelt.

She went to various schools in the town and later enrolled at the University of Zambia where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Social work in 2014.

She has also acquired other education qualifications in the UK and the USA.

A staunch Seventh-Day Adventist who has taken leadership positions in the Youth Department over the years, Buumba still considers herself a committed Christian.

She is not yet married but ‘is in a relationship.’

Some pupils at Magoba School who received her donations
Charity work

Buumba says she started charity work at the tender age of 15 and she has not looked back at giving back to the community.

“At the age of 15 i was already involved in charity work with the Judith Chikonde Foundation and participated in the maize distribution project where I was donating maize meal to the people of Mupambe village during the typhoid outbreak in 2007. I was even appointed Mufulira Youth Secretary by the then Mufulira Town Clerk from 2008 to 2010” said Buumba in an online interview.

When she was studying for her degree in social work, Buumba chose to do her rural experience in Magoba ward of Kafue, an area which any student would refuse to live in.

“I chose Magoba because I wanted to meet real people. I wanted to learn their way of life,” said Buumba in one of her Facebook statuses.

And this is how she developed interest in Magoba to an extent were she would set up an organisation to help the women and children and later stand for elections as a Councillor.

She says her work in the community does not just involve local people only but government as well.

Some women beneficiaries of Buumbalambo Foundation
“Am the youngest serving member of the Ministry of Gender and Child National Co-ordinating Committee. Over the years, I have worked with the Ministry of Gender and Child Development to organise events related to children such as the International Day of the Girl Child, Day of the African Child, Children Rights Day and Child Labour Day.

My Charity Buumbalambo Foudation is currently working on a project to stop early marriages in rural Zambia with the help of the Ministry of Gender and Child Development and the Ministry of General Education.”

According to details on her Facebook page, Buumbalambo Foundation is registered both in Zambia and Britain and has enrolled 435 children on its sponsorship programme since she launched the project in March 2015.

Through her charity, she has collected over 15,000 clothes, toys and shoes from the University of Zambia, colleges, individuals and Radio Phoenix Helpline project which she put in her charity shop and donated to the needy.

Some donations have also come from places like the United Kingdom, Australia and some South American countries.

Buumba meets Queen Elizabeth II in London
Awards and Recognitions

In early 2016, Buumba was selected by the US State Department to be among 42 young Zambian young leaders to take part in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship, a six weeks training in professional courses at various American universities.

The fellowship is championed by President Barack Obama under his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which brings 1,000 young African leaders annually to the US to study Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Engagement, Energy and Public Management.

However, a month before she was to leave for the US, Buumba was informed that the opposition UPND had adopted her as its candidate for the Magoba ward election in the August 11 general elections.

She decided to choose politics and withdrew from the fellowship.

Her selection in the fellowship was on the basis of her community work and the recognition she has received over the years.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is not the only recognition she has received from a world leader.

In June 2015, she was invited to Buckingham Palace in London by the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II as part of her Young Leaders Advisory Panel.

The following are some of the local and international awards she has won over the years: the first and youngest Zambian to win the Women4Africa Award (2015), Africa Arising Award (2015), Zambia Woman of the Year Award (2016), Mwape Peer Award (2015), the African International Achievers Award (2014), Zambia Woman of the Year (2016) and Voice of Youth Africa Award (2013).

She also adds: “Due to my contribution to the Education sector in Zambia, I was selected to meet the President of Malta during the Commonwealth Youth Council meeting to seal the gap and make collaborations of youth activities between Zambia and Malta. I was also selected to represent the youths during the visit of International Labour Organisation Director General Guy Rider’s first ever visit t to Zambia"

Buumba sensitising women about PMTCT
Buumbalambo Foundation

Buumba is passionate about women, their well being and children.

She runs Buumbalambo Foundation, an organisation which champions the rights of women and empowers school going children with clothes, schools books and beddings.

The charity has four projects currently running:
  1.  Mwana Apunzile sponsorship programme where people choose a child and support their education.
  2. Sewing a future project for young mothers where they sew and make crafts that are sold locally and internationally to help raise money for them to support their children’s education.
  3.  Through the help of traditional leaders, Buumbalambo Foundation was given land to build a community school, a resource centre and develop a farm in Gelemiya Village where children walk several kilometres to the nearest school.
  4.  The farm project which will assist in food production as some children in the areas she is working in die of hunger.
  5. Pop A Future project where young people are empowered with employment through skills, ICT and popcorn machines.
Buumba Foundation, with funding from SAFAIDS is running a four months project called BREAK THE TABOO aimed at curbing the rampant levels of deaths among children born with HIV.
The project is training mothers in Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
In June when the project was launched, this is what Buumba said: “ A woman is the heart of a community. On Saturday i launched my 4 months ''Break the taboo'' access to PMTCT services project with a two days training attended by 150 women from 6 villages in my ward Magoba sponsored by SAfAIDS”

She says when she realized that many women in the area had less or no knowledge on PMTCT and sometimes shun important health service because of local beliefs like taboos, she wrote a project proposal to SAfAIDS who gave her a grant to run the project.

Buumba The Politician
Buumba campaigning in July 

At 24, Buumba is a young politician.
She entered politics at a tender age and seems to be inspired by several local female politicians.
On her Facebook page, she has photos with several former Ministers like Dora Siliya, Sylvia Masebo, Professor Nkandu Luo and several others she has shared platforms with on issues of gender and children.
Earlier this year, Buumba travelled to Ghana to attend the African Young Women in Politics Conference which was held at the west African country’s House of Parliament.
She describes the deliberations at the event as successful and inspiration.
She also talks of her delight to have been given the honour to tour the Ghanaian Parliament.
With her recent involvement in the general elections, Buumba seems to have gone through what other women face in politics.

Writing on Facebook recently, she complained of the stereotypes that women in politics usually face.
Buumba with former Energy Minister Dora Siliya

“I was not shocked when i was called a prostitute and all sorts of names……. From time in memorial, I have seen how women who have stepped up the ladder of leadership are victimised,” she said.

Having realised that the campaigns ahead of the general elections divided her electorates, Buumba has now embarked on a mission to unite her ward.

“These elections definitely brought a lot of pain and separated a lot of people and my community was not an exception. Today I held a reconciliation meeting with all the traditional, civic and other leaders in my ward as we prepare for a public meeting where I will address my people for the first time after elections.
We also successfully elected our leaders for the Ward Development committee putting the past behind us and moving towards development as a ward.”

Her Plans Beyond 2016

Her election as a Councillor for Magoba ward has not made Buumba relaxed, she is still aiming high.

She has just announced her intention to challenge other elected councillors to contest as the Deputy Council Chairperson for Kafue District.

Three other councillors have also expressed interest to contest the position.

Buumba says women need to be represented in the Council and the fact that the Council Chairperson is a man will make it easy for her to campaign as a female candidate.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

President Obama Discusses His Presidency, Legacy And Africa

Zambian fellow Sombo Chunda shouting behind Obama
By Paul Shalala in Washington, DC

Today, he entered the Regency Ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel like a rock star.

If one of the ancient writers of the Bible was present at the event, he or she would have said: “President Barack Obama made a triumphant entry into the ballroom.”

“Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes We Can!”

Those are the chants President Obama was welcomed with when he walked into the ballroom to address the 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows who had just completed their six weeks training at various universities across the United States.

Just when the American President reached the podium and thought the Mandela fellows would stop the chants, they unanimously changed strategy and sang the happy birthday song to wish the first African-American President his 55th birthday.

This blogger was also carried away with the excitemen.

He even forgot to get notes when President Obama read the first few paragraphs.

Of course it was his first time to see the American President but it is typical of journalists to also be carried away, kaili mutola nkani naeve ni muntu (Even a journalist is human).

He held a town hall with the fellows whose number was this year doubled from the initial 500 in 2014 and 2015.

The 1,000 fellows came from 49 African countries and studied at universities in four different tracks: Business and Enterpreneurship, Civic Engagement, Public Management and Energy.

As is common for him, just his first few words caused a lot of excitements and standing ovations by the fellows.

Later, President Obama gave a wide ranging speech from issues such as corruption to women’s rights, development and US-Africa relations.

The 44th US President spoke for about 30 minutes and then devoted over an hour to a question and answer session which saw fellows asking him questions on various issues.

He also recognised three youths for their hardwork in various areas such as governance, human rights and entrepreneurship.

President Obama also described John Paul Usman as a dedicated youth who will earned himself the title of Mandela Washington fellow and will continue having it even in death.

Usman drowned in June a few days after arriving in Virginia for the six weeks training under the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Trade

President Obama said he was working hard to ensure that the volume of trade across the Atlantic grows every year.

“We are working hard to boost trade with Africa. I’m just from signing an executive order which will encourage more American companies to invest in Africa. This year am also hosting the second US-Africa Business Forum,” said President Obama.

President Obama addressing the Mandela fellows
He said when trade increases between the US and Africa, more jobs will be created.


Youths

Possibly the most important part of his speech was a line were he pledged to ensure the Mandela Washington Fellowship continues to bring young African leaders to the USA beyond his retirement.

“I will continue with the YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) program even after I leave office next year because I believe in it.”

He also disclosed that over 250,000 youths across sub-Sahara Africa had so far joined the YALI online Network where they are organising grassroot activities.

President Obama added that over 150,000 certificates had been issued to youths who had completed online courses on various issues.

Democracy

Answering a question from a Congolese fellow who asked him to personally sort out the on-going conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Obama said there was need for Africa to make a different and not blame the past.

“We should not always blame the past for what we are going through. It is now our time to make a difference. If people in the past messed up, our current generation must make a difference and make democracy thrive.”

He however conceded that democracy was not only a problem in the developing world but even in the oldest democracies.

He said democracy was hard even in the US but all players in the country were committed to its tenets.

On His Two Terms In The White House

President Obama spent more time to talk about his two terms in office which come to an end on January 20, 2017.
Fellows raising hands to ask questions

“The financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 was the biggest challenge. It hit us just when I entered office. But we worked hard and averted the worst of the crisis,” he said in response to a question posed by Charles Tembo of Zambia on Facebook.

The ongoing conflicts in Syria and South Sudan also pose a challenge to his presidency.

He said these wars are a source of his daily frustration.

Media

President Obama called for a free press in Africa adding that the media promotes transparency and accountability to those in public offices.

He said in America, the media always probes in order for the public service to serve the people efficiently.   

President Obama said most leaders who fight the media are those who overstay in office or those who have something to hide.

“In my two terms, I have also had a fair share with the media. Sometimes I read newspapers and think ‘no they are being unfair to me.’ But sometimes I see what they report and I smile.”

He however accepted that American TV networks always reported Africa with stereotypes saying Africa appears only when there is war, poverty or disease.

President Obama has encouraged African journalists and every African to take the lead in telling the African success story.

His Advise To Young Politicians

When asked by Folanski Aina of Nigeria what his words were to aspiring politicians, President Obama said anyone who thinks of going to politics must first check himself or herself.

“If you want to join politics, first ask yourself a question: ‘What do you want to do for people?’ Can’t you do that even without being elected? It is not only with an office that you can serve people.”

He said his ascendancy to the national scene was not easy.

President Obama disclosed that when he was a Senator in Illinois, he ran for US Congress but lost and when he tried for the second time, he told his wife Michelle that when he loses he will leave politics but he ended up winning.

Some of the Zambian fellows during the Town Hall
He revealed that when then Democratic presumptive nominee John Kerry chose him to speak at the party’s National Convention in 2004, he did not know that the speech would earn propel him to stardom and help him get nomination for the presidency four years later.

“John Kerry accidentally picked me to speak at the convention in 2004. The following day, I was all over in the media and a crowd of hundreds stood outside waiting to greet me.

I walked towards them with a friend of mine and I told them ‘I’m not more smarter than I was yesterday.”

His Legacy

President Obama said he wants to be remembered for having been a good parent who brought up his children well.

“I don’t want to be remembered for having given that powerful speech at some conference or things like that….. One day when I will be on my deathbed, I will be happy to remember how I held the hand of one of my daughters and walked her in a park.” 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mandela Washington Fellow: Paul Shalala

He is popularly known as ‘Mumbwa-Mumbwa’ or the boy from Nangoma.

You probably know him as a journalist but us who are closer to him know him as a proud Mumbwa villager.

Paul Shalala is so proud of his village that whenever he visits it in his native Mumbwa District, he never comes back without uploading a photo of himself eating lusala or eating mango with his ageing father.

Some have been making fun of his once ‘backward’ Mumbwa but the young man does not shy away from revealing his love for his childhood.

“I was born in Lusaka, raised in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District, educated in Mumbwa, working in Kitwe and I know one day I will be buried in Mumbwa. That’s my home and I know no other home than Mumbwa,” said Paul in a telephone interview from Syracuse University in New York where he is studying Public Management as part of US President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.

At a time when most youths brag about ‘living’ in Kabulonga, Ibex Hill or Woodlands, Paul is always talking about his Lubanze village.

What is so unique about Nangoma?

“Nangoma is an area in Mumbwa which consists of over 500 villages which form almost half of the Chiefdom for Senior Chief Shakumbila of the Sala people. I grew up in Lubanze Village. That’s my homeland. I love that area and I visit it very often.”

“As a family, we have a lot of land. We do agriculture and own houses. My parents moved from Lusaka to that area in 1967 and since then they had been moving from one school to the other until they finally settled in Lubanze and retired there. “

“My father taught at over five schools across Nangoma. My mother did the same too and currently she is in the board for Nangoma Mission Hospital. Shalala is a household name there. Actually my elder brother Louis is contesting as Mumbwa District Council Chairman under the Patriotic Front.”

Asked about his own contribution to his village, Paul smiled before opening up saying he even owns a registered transport company for minibuses called Nangoma Transport.

He says he had been a Youth leader for the SDA Church in Mumbwa and worked a lot with youths thatside.

“I spent over five years from 2008 to 2013 leading and training Adventist Youths in Mumbwa as a whole: covering Kabile, Mumbwa, Nangoma, Keezwa, Lutale and other areas. Currently, I sponsor an annual Independence Football tournament called Shakumbila Cup which is named after Senior Chief Shakambila and is held at his Chisalu Palace in Kakombo area. This tournament is for all the village teams in Nangoma. I also sponsor and buy balls, boots and jerseys for two amateur football teams in  Nangoma called Manchester United and Kakombo Boys. Nangoma is my home and I cannot forget where I come from.”

Despite being born in the capital city, Paul never boasts of being a town boy.

His obsession for Mumbwa is surprising.

On Thursday last week, he and 41 other Zambian youths left for the United States to be part of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The 42 youths were selected by the US State Department to be part of the 1,000 young Africans who are currently spread across the US attending training at various American universities in public management, energy, civic leadership and business and entrepreneurship.

Paul is studying Public Management at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs with 24 other youths from other African countries.

“I never ever dreamt of one day stepping into an American university and be taught by a Professor. It’s a humbling experience and I thank President Barack Obama for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I applied for this opportunity in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t make it. I never gave up and for sure the following year I applied and here iam………,” he said.

Paul says he is already inspired by the composition of the fellows he has seen so far.

“We have a young politician from South Africa who is part of our class. He is the youngest elected Councillor in his country, having won a ward in Johannesburg at the age of 22 in 2012. I have also seen a South Sudanese and a Nigerian fellow who are both blind but are doing wonders back home.”
And with the coming of the Presidential Summit in Washington, DC which will climax with President Obama addressing all the 1,000 fellows during a town hall meeting in August, Paul says it will be an emotional thing for him to see Obama.

“I grew up in the George W. H. Bush days and I know every US President  since then,by name. Obama will be a special one because I will see him face to face and probably greet him. I cannot wait to get a selfie with him…….,” said Paul before bursting into laughter.

And when asked about his future prospects after coming back home, Paul says he has major plans for ZNBC and the media.

“With the help of my employer ZNBC, I plan to help set up desks for specialisation in the newsroom. Am learning how American newsrooms operate with specialised reporters in each desk. We can replicate that back home. We will be touring several media institutions and meet opinion leaders who can help me in that area.

“Secondly, with the help of other 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows, we plan to start training young reporters and school going children in basics of journalism. Our plan is to cover at least five provinces and spread the best practices of this noble profession to future media personalities.”


Paul is expected back home in August, a few days before Zambia gooes to the polls and he says: “Am coming to vote and I hope my 1 vote will add to someone’s 50 percent…...”

Note: This story was originally published by Zambia's largest online newspaper Mwebantu on June 20, 2016. It has been reproduced with permission

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Mandela Washington Fellowship: Its Meaning To Villagers Like Me

By Paul Shalala in Syracuse, New York
On arrival at Syracuse Airport with fellows from South Africa


I have lived a life of poverty, a life full of problems, a village life of being a kachema wangombe (cattle herder) and now i can dine with Kings, Presidents and comrades from all around the world.

Am Paul Shalala, the boy who in the 1990s used to wake up at 04:00hrs and help his father tie cows, go to the field and plough.

Am the same Paul who used to walk to Kasalu Primary School, learn and later go home to look after our cows two of whom i fondly remember being named Kingdom and Manyando.

Am still the same Paul who later went to Mumbwa High School, Evelyn Hone College and worked for New Vision newspaper, MUVI Television and now the Zambia National Broadcasting corporation (ZNBC).

Oh by the way am still the Paul who solely runs this blog you are reading The Zambian Analyst.

Am still the same village boy who has at least traveled to a few countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe to cover events and later receive phone calls from my fellow villagers to confirm that they heard my voice on TV1.

What am i trying to say with all this confusion am creating in your precious mind?

Am Paul Shalala, a villager who never ever dreamt of ever stepping a foot in an American University.

With fellows Chipo, Kelly and Namaku on transit in Johannesburg
But yesterday, i was given an access card, a meal card, a room, an ATM card (really) and a tour of Syracuse University, a prestigious university located in the small town called Syracuse, a few kilometers north of New York City in an area the locals call the upstate.

By the way this is not just a simple university, its the institution which educated Joe Biden, the current Vice President of the United States.

This is no Matero University (where fake PhDs can be produced in 30 seconds).

I never paid anything to find myself here.

Actually, children of the rich are the ones who were supposed to be here, not ine Mumbwa-Mumbwa.

But who am i to find myself at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University?

What did i do for me to deserve this chance to be among the 1,000 Mandela Washington fellows who are currently studying at various universities for the next six weeks?

 Here is a bit of background in case some of my villagers are reading this.

In August 2006, when Barack Obama visited Kenya as a first term Senator, it was the first time i ever heard of this son of a Kenyan man who was destined to be the world's most powerful politician for an eight year period..

In the run up to his 2008 historic election as the 44th President of the United States, Obama had a lot of sympathy from many of us in Africa for obvious reasons.
At our village in Mumbwa with my kid bro Mukena in the 1990s

At the time i was a cab reporter in Lusaka and i remember interviewing some people to get their reactions to his election and what it meant for Africa.

In a major policy speech in Accra, Ghana in July 2009, President Obama said the future of Africa was in the hands of its young population and there was need for Africans to seize the opportunity.

In the subsequent years, Mr Obama established the Mandela Washington Fellowship which has over the past four years sent thousands of African youths to American universities to study business and enterprenueurship, civic engagement, energy and public management.

The selection of fellows for this program is so intense that in the past two years i had been applying and failing but on the third attempt, the US State Department selected me.

This fellowship is an opportunity for poor, little educated and unexposed young Africans like me to mingle with America's highly educated Professors, visit historic places around the country and at the end of the fellowship see Obama in your own eyes and take a selfie with him.

Obama went to the White House as the first Black (not vama African-American) President though of course Africa argues that the first black American President was Bill Clinton due to his many beneficial contributions on the continent.

I know by now some of you may be wondering why am taking you around in this article.

In short, this article is meant to show that it is possible for a village boy like me to one day walk the streets of Yale, Havard, Rutgers, Wagner, Virginia Tech, Columbia and many other prestigious American universities if they believe in themselves and push themselves to the limit.

As i sit down in my small hostel room at Syracuse University, i remember the words my father Namasiku Kamuti Shalala told me while we were hearding cattle together in 1996 in my native Lozi language: "Mwanake bupilo kikutiya. Aubata kubonahala inge yabutali, kikuitiisa kwasikolo nikubala," (when you want to look intelligent among people, you must work hard at school and read alot),

Dad's words inspire me a lot and since he uttered them, i have seen his wisdom having an impact in everything i do.
With Dad and my two grandmothers at our village in 2014

This coming week i will start my studies in Public Management and i will be in the same class with other African fellows who have Masters Degrees, Bachelors Degrees and several other academic qualifications.

I will share the same seats with an elected Councillor, Government officials, Media personalities and several other high ranking people from across Africa.

But ndemuchangu (poor me), the small kachema (Cattle herder) from Mumbwa will sit quietly, listen attentively and learn from these highly acclaimed lecturers and get the best that the American education system can offer to poor me.

By the way, am still the same Paul from Lubanze Village in Nangoma area of Mumbwa, am just privileged to be in New York today.

Am still that same Lozi villager who comes from that Tonga village in Mumbwa.

And when am done with the fellowship in August, i will go back to my beloved Zambia to continue doing my news job at ZNBC.

I will reclaim my villager tag upon landing at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.

But for now ladies and gentlemen, allow me to forget about my villager status and sample the American foods and explore this great nation since my status here is that of a fellow: shhhh they don't know that am a villager.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Paul Shalala Selected For 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship


Paul Shalala

The US State Department has selected Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) reporter Paul Shalala as a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow.

Mr Shalala will be among a thousand young African leaders who will spend six months at US universities and institutions being mentored in public management, civic leadership and business and entrepreneurship.

Over 1,500 youths in Zambia applied for the fellowship and about 200 were interviews from which 41 were selected to travel to the USA in June for the fellowship.

The fellowship starts on 17th June and ends on 4th August.

According to a letter by US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schulz to Mr Shalala, the ZNBC journalist will be among the youths who will also attend the Presidential Summit which President Barack Obama will host in Washington at the end of the fellowship in August.

Mr Schulz says Mr Shalala was successful in his interviews hence the reason the State Department offered him a place as a fellow.

And the Mandela Washington Team has disclosed that Mr Shalala will do his fellowship at Syracuse University in New York.

In an emailed statement, the team said Mr Shalala will study public management at the university and his placement is final and it cannot be changed.

Prominent among people who studied at Syracuse University are US Vice President Joe Biden and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Mr Shalala applied for the Mandela Washington Fellowship in November 2015.

In February 2016, he was interviewed by the US Embassy.

His application for the public management track was based on his job experience at Zambia’s state broadcaster ZNBC.

He also profiled his award-winning blog The Zambian Analyst (www.paulshalala.blogspot.com) which he hopes can help him inform the public through his news and analytical pieces before, during and after the August 11 general elections this year.

Since 2014, thousands of young African leaders have undergone mentorship under the Mandela Washington Fellowship which President Obama is implementing under his Young African Leaders Initiative.

Prominent among Zambians who have undergone this fellowship are media personalities Luyando Hangala, Kenny Tonga, Patience Chisanga and Raphael Kumwenda, hip hop artist Brian ‘B Flow’ Bwembya, Governance expert Isaac Mwanza, and many other youths.

Meanwhile, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is excited about Mr Shalala’s selection for this year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.

ZNBC Corporate Affairs Manager Masuzyo Ndhlovu says the selection has been well received by management.