Friday, September 5, 2014

Creating extraordinary pathways; How YALI program changed my life!

“The Washington Fellowship of the Young African Leaders Initiative has come and gone.  For all the participants it was a life changing event.  One of the YALI Fellows here writes about her experience.”

Until I attended the YALI program which commenced on June 14, 2014, I was just an ordinary girl, contributing my little quota to the society and changing the world from my own little corner. Today, I'm still that ordinary girl changing the world and lighting the path for many others but the YALI program has made my pathway an incredible and extraordinary one. I am a lawyer, a community advocate and a founder of two organisations promoting maternal and child health in Nigeria. I am Adepeju Jaiyeoba.

December 2013 was my turning point. I woke up to an email from a friend with the link to the YALI program application portal.I opened it and contemplated filling and submitting, I had my program scheduled for 2014 already, YALI was not on it and I really didn't want to apply. Today, I cannot imagine being anywhere else at this time but on this program!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Going to America

A few years ago Moses Onyeabor’s goal in life was to finish secondary school.  He thought the best that he could ever be was to become a petty trader like his elder brother, but he did not stop dreaming of a university education and a better future.  Thanks to the U.S. Embassy’s Education USA Advising Center’s United States Achievers Program (USAP), Moses is now the proud recipient of a $41,000 scholarship from the Arizona State University, to study Biochemistry.  His scholarship includes the award of a laptop computer, living stipends and air tickets.  Through USAP, the U.S. Embassy’s Education USA Advising Center identifies highly talented, economically disadvantaged straight ‘A’ students and mentors them through the application process to U.S. colleges and universities that offer them admission with full scholarship.

Friday, August 8, 2014

“Spark a reaction” Summer Reading program begins

The U.S. Embassy annual summer reading program for children kicked off with a large turnout of excited and enthusiastic children and parents.  The program is open to children age six to twelve.   The fifth in the series, participation has grown every year!

The theme for this year’s program is “Spark a reaction,” intended to not only stimulate a love for books and encourage a reading culture among children, but also to  inspire them to make a difference in their community. During the three week program, children have the opportunity to read books covering a wide range of topics - from history to science to geography.  They will also engage in other activities to motivate learning, such as storytelling, spelling bee, poetry, book discussion, arts and crafts and, for the first time, implement a community service project.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Be a Part of History! U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and YALI 2014

You can be a part of history in the upcoming weeks!  To build on the U.S. Government’s commitment to Africa’s security, democratic development, and its people, President Barack Obama will host two, first-of-its-kind summits in Washington, DC - the YALI: Washington Fellows Presidential Summit (July 28 to July 30) and the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (August 4 to August 6).

Friday, July 11, 2014

Investing in Africa’s future

Today five hundred young Africans, women and men adjudged to be some of the most promising leaders on the continent, are in the United States for a six week program courtesy of President Obama’s Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI).  YALI is a program initiated by President Obama in 2010 to invest in the next generation of African leaders.  This is through enhancing their leadership skills, encouraging entrepreneurship and connecting young African leaders with one another and with Americans.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Catching up with Ruth Danjuma, alumna of Pan Africa Youth Leadership program

The Pan African Youth Leadership Program is U.S government sponsored three-week intensive exchange program for high school students between the ages of 15- 18 who have demonstrated commitment to leadership and community service. It offers high school students and adult educators from up to 38 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to explore the themes of civic education, youth leadership development, community engagement, and respect for diversity.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Power Africa Off-Grid Challenge – Round II

The Challenge is Clear – The Time is Now

Power Africa has brought all corners of the US Government together to tackle a challenge of monumental proportions with the potential to reap substantial development dividends.  Power fuels economic growth, it also lights homes so children can study at night, illuminates clinics saving lives at childbirth, and chills medication to ward off unwanted disease.  This is one development battle that, if we come together, we can win.

Most have concentrated on the BIG energy gains – setting sound policy environments, facilitating power plant transactions and paving the way for utility companies to deliver energy for industry and growing urban centers.  Yet, as we know, more than 60% of Africa is home to rural communities who not only are not served by the grid today, but are unlikely to be reached anytime soon.  What does Power Africa mean for these communities?

We believe that Africa’s energy entrepreneurs are in the process of inventing the answer to this question.  All across the continent we are seeing entrepreneurs and communities come together to create new ways of generating and delivering renewable energy while making it available and affordable to remote households, schools, clinics and local industries.

To spur this wave of innovation, the US African Development Foundation (USADF) has teamed up with General Electric Africa and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge. This business plan competition will provide $100,000 awards to 100% African-owned and managed companies that are inventing innovative business solutions to meet the power needs of rural communities.  Eligible countries include:  Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The challenge was kicked off on May 7th,  with applications due by June 20th, 2014  Awards will be granted before October 1st, 2014.  For more information on applying, check out

There are a growing number of technologies already available and each year, the costs of renewable energy are coming down.  The question now remains – who can make this commercially and sustainably accessible to  the millions of homes, clinics and schools that need electricity to function – not to mention the tens of thousands of small businesses who need energy to scale?

This current round of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge builds on the successful first round, conceived and executed by USADF and GE Africa in 2013. Initially open only in Kenya and Nigeria, the call for proposals was met with submissions from nearly 150 applicants, culminating with  six dynamic winners:

  • Solar World (E.A.) Ltd. will construct 5 solar-powered water points to address provide water and electricity to pastoralists in the semi-arid lands in northern Kenya
  • Afrisol Energy Ltd. will utilize bio-digesters to produce electricity and biogas for small businesses in Nairobi’s urban slums
  • Mibawa Suppliers will expand its delivery of pay-as-you-go lighting and chargers to households in rural parts of western Kenya
  • TransAfrica Gas and Electric will power stand-alone cold storage facilities with solar photovoltaic systems for farmers and fisherman in Jos, northern Nigeria
  • GVE Projects Ltd. will electrify 24 off-grid communities using metered solar photovoltaic micro-grid and portable rechargeable battery systems, targeted to customers’ demands
  • Afe Babalola University will investigate hydro-electric and solar system to serve students and faculty, and the neighboring community of 10,000+, who currently rely on diesel generators 

This is a development opportunity waiting to happen.  The Challenge is on, the clock is ticking.  USADF, GE Africa and USAID stand ready to support this next round of innovators and meet this challenge head on. The time is now!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Catching them young, an excited Ramatu collects
LLNI for herself. Photo Credit: USAID/TSHIP
Listening to a recent radio jingle, encouraging Nigerians to do a proper blood test before taking malaria medication, reminded me how deadly malaria could be.  The jingle was an important reminder about how many Nigerians simply go to a neighborhood pharmacy to purchase malaria drugs without proper diagnosis.  Malaria is so common here that sometimes people forget just how dangerous it is, especially for children under the age of five.  The World Health Organization (WHO) says, in Africa, a child dies every minute from malaria.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Some Last Thoughts about the Women’s Movement in the United States

In the United States the month of March is commemorated as Women History Month.  Information Officer of the U.S. Embassy Abuja, Rhonda Ferguson-Augustus spoke with Peoples Daily reporter Favour Egbuta about the month and its significance.  Below are excerpts from the interview.

Can you give us some background about the Women History month?

International Women’s Month actually started as Women’s Day in the United States, going back to 1909.  I believe that initially, women banded together to advocate for women’s suffrage, improved working conditions, equal employment, and to champion the needs of working mothers.  These issues were important in 1909 and they are just as important now.  The International Women’s movement embraces these same issues.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lakeside Vacation

Last summer, I vacationed at Lakeside, Ohio, a community on the shore of Lake Erie.   My kids played along the beach of the world's largest fresh-water lake, while I relaxed or played tennis.  My family enjoyed free daily concerts from orchestras and performers.  Free lectures on historical and scientific topics were also offered.   I marveled that despite having nearly ten thousand summer residents, crime is seldom heard of, and bicycles are often left about unlocked.

Lakeside Ohio is known as a "Chautauqua", an American community movement which emerged in the 1870's, when a Methodist minister combined a church revival meeting with lectures from noted speakers and performances by musicians and actors.  Chautauqua grew to become an American summer tradition, and yearly Chautauqua assemblies emerged, many organized around a particular faith.  But by the 1930's, as radio and other sources of information and entertainment spread, the tradition had largely died out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


When I first heard the word “SHUGA” from a colleague I thought she was referring to the normal sugar.  Turns out it’s the title of a drama that provides great entertainment but important messages about HIV/AIDS and other health issues.

The production of SHUGA 3, the third production in the MTV award winning TV series – “SHUGA” – took place in Lagos and included mostly upcoming Nigerian actors and actresses.  More than three years ago the first production of SHUGA (“SHUGA 1”) was filmed in Kenya to highlight the risks young Kenyans faced when being sexually active without the use of protection and living careless lifestyles.  SHUGA 3 highlights the realities for youth in Nigeria.