On the 27th of February 2016 I got a mail from the YALI saying “Congratulations Olufunmilola, we are pleased to announce you have been accepted into the YALI RLC, Out of 14,000 applications”. I was happy, nervous and somewhat excited at this news.
Little did I know it was going to a life changing experience for me. YALI stands for The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and was launched by President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa seeks to empower young men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 from Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, who are ready to embrace leadership and work hard to transform their countries.
Here are a few lessons I learnt from my 5 most memorable weeks at YALI.
Have a Personal Value Statement
Everyone lives and stands for something, it might be a cause, a religion or a vision, that is what I learnt from a personal value statement. I was taught that a personal statement helps you develop your values and what you stand for as a person. It makes you aware of what you believe in and what you would fight for. I have shared mine below-
My personal mission statement
To live a life worthy of emulation through community service, knowledge transfer while exhibiting the highest level of integrity, character, responsibility and godliness for the good of the girl child.
The Game changer: The game changer for me was learning about how our values shapes our lives and how sharing those values with those around us makes us accountable to others. As the saying goes, your word should be your bond.
Things I learnt from the great people of Accra
Ghanaians are very patient people, and regardless of where they are going they exercise an enormous amount of patience. I definitely have to say I learnt how to be more patient especially when things did not go as I wanted them to.
Calmness in the face of a storm is definitely an attribute one should possess. This I learnt from the great people of Accra.
Even in the midst of little and plenty I sensed contentment on the faces of many. This made my heart melt.
Selflessness is an amazing attribute which I think makes you really special among multitudes. The ability to put someone else first before yourself is both divine and blissful. I met so many selfless Ghanaians.
Kindness I experienced was enormous, many were so happy to help and show me around.
The Game changer: Wherever and whatever you have, learn to be fully content while showing love, support to others you.
Things I learnt from YALI Participants
All participants from all 7 West African Countries showed great support to each others cause, while at the training , many held short workshops on Agriculture, Technology,Business and Languages and the turnout was very good. Many participants were eager to learn, help out and be part of something great. I experienced an amazing surge of team spirit.
Things I learnt from YALI Staff
From day 1 I experienced the love, warmth and support of the facilitators. From the registration desk, they were smiles all the way. They were extremely helpful and understanding.
Things I want to never forget
Always be your self
Never give up
Stick to your values
The next cohort for YALI is open for applications, to part of this great network who are ready to change the world- to click here www.yaliwestafrica.org