The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders team is working to identify organizations to host a Fellow for their four-week professional placement (free of cost) from August 5 – August 30, 2024.    

Placements are being prioritized for the following cities: Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati, Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Raleigh. We are currently able to place Fellows in a variety of work environments, provided the following requirements are met:   

  • Host Organization maintains a physical office/work site that the Fellow can access at least three times per week. 
  • Host Organization staff can be present with the Fellow at the office/work site at least three times per week. 
  • Host Supervisor attends a one-hour virtual orientation session in July. 

Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has brought nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. for academic and leadership training. The Fellows are accomplished innovators and leaders in their communities and countries. This June, the Fellows will complete six-week executive-style Leadership Institutes at 28 top American educational institutions.   

Following Leadership Institutes, 100 Fellows will complete aProfessional Development Experience (PDE) from August 5 – August 30 that is designed to be a flexible, substantive, and short-term work experience to gain transferable skills, learn about an issue or topic of interest from a U.S. perspective, produce work products valuable to their Host, and get exposure to U.S. work culture.   

Please see the relevant Fellow profiles below (the hyperlink in the Fellow’s name will take you to their profile which includes their resume, writing sample, and introduction video).  

  • Amara Kamara, Liberia – Amara Kamara is the chief executive officer at Go-Solar Fresh, a firm that provides energy access to rural Liberian communities living off the national grid through solar solutions and innovations. He aims to build on his inclusive leadership approach to solving institutional challenges by improving his listening skills and fostering an open mindset. Through the PDE, he hopes to develop ethical leadership and entrepreneurial business skills, which will help him grow as a business leader. This summer, Amara will participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, studying Leadership in Business at the University of Nevada – Reno.
  • Gibson Kawago, Tanzania – Gibson Kawago is the founder and CEO of WAGA, a socially responsible company dedicated to providing clean and affordable energy solutions to low-income rural communities in Tanzania. WAGA repurposes recycled laptop batteries into portable power packs equipped with solar panels, ensuring sustainability and affordability. He actively engages in mentoring young entrepreneurs, advocating for clean energy solutions, and supporting digital literacy programs in his community. Through the PDE, he would like to acquire advanced skills and knowledge in sustainable energy solutions, socially responsible entrepreneurship, financial management and innovative business strategies. This summer, Gibson will participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, studying Leadership in Business at the University of Nevada – Reno.
  • Farah Tchacondoh, Togo – Trained as an electrical engineer, Farahane “Farah” Tchacondoh coordinates operations and maintenance at the Adetikope industrial platform with the group ARISE IIP. She is responsible for internal ISO audits of industrial zones, as well as the administrative and budgetary management of her department, which specializes in renewable energy projects. Her goal is to expand her career to national or international organizations working to industrialize and develop energy infrastructure in African countries that mitigate climate change and carbon footprints. Through the PDE, she would like to understand American industrial and energy policies, strategies and technologies that have been effective for mitigating carbon emissions and facilitating the green energy transition to inform the same processes in Togo and other African countries. This summer, Farah will participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, studying Leadership in Public Management at Boise State University.
  • Salissou Mahamadou, Niger – Amadou Abdou “Salissou” Mahamadou is an electrical engineer who specializes in renewable energy. He works at Spark as a technical project engineer, where he manages solar home systems. He also founded Ouba Energy and the non-governmental organization Action Energy for Development (ACEDE) to bring energy to different communities and institutions, including schools to enable more people to access education. He is also focused on providing solar power to farmers and ensuring that hospitals have consistent access to electricity. He hopes that the PDE will allow him to gain project and personnel management skills, learn data collection and analysis methods, improve his communication and digital marketing abilities, and expand his professional network, especially in the renewable energy industry. This summer, Salissou will participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, studying Leadership in Business at the University of Nevada – Reno.

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Cason Kirby ( and Reilly Walsh ( to schedule a short call to discuss the program and next steps.  While this is a full-time commitment for the Fellows, they may not be paid by Hosts; the Fellowship fully funds and directly provides all travel and visa logistics, accident and sickness benefits, housing, and living expenses for Fellows.