July 18, 2018, the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, is an opportunity to reflect on his continuing impact and inspiration. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is dedicating this year’s Mandela Day to Action against Poverty, honouring his leadership and devotion to fighting poverty and promoting social justice for all.
The African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship Program was created to commemorate the late Nelson Mandela’s commitment to social justice and equity by supporting young African professionals to become leaders in public policy and administration. Participating scholars complete a Master’s degree in public administration, public policy or public finance at a Canadian university.
Below, some of the ALT scholars currently in Canada reflect on how their studies are preparing them to address poverty on their return home.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela
The ALT Scholarship has prepared me with empirical research and transformative leadership skills, which I intend to use to tackle poverty by developing effective economic policies to promote sound financial services and entrepreneurship in the Liberian economy, as well as provide leadership development training and civic engagement for community youth leaders and organizations.
—William A. Sulonkemelee, Jr., McMaster University, Liberia
Africa needs to educate and re-educate its youth to not only fight against ignorance, social injustice, violent extremism and poverty, but more importantly to ensure the conditions conducive for its development. The program in Education Administration at the Université de Montréal has strengthened my capacity to develop and implement education policies within educational institutions. These new skills will help me address some of the key challenges facing education – quality, equity and effectiveness.
—Abdoulaye Ky, Université de Montréal, Burkina Faso
“When people are determined, they can overcome anything.” —Nelson Mandela
The multidimensional and endemic nature of poverty makes achieving sustainable development seem like a mirage. Desired change will happen though participatory pro-poor policies, cooperative leadership, and political will. My studies have equipped me to understand the dynamics of the policy process which I will apply to sustainable pro-poor planning in Africa.
—Adedoyin Luwaji, University of British Columbia, Nigeria
The knowledge gained from my program so far has helped me to understand that poverty is a wicked problem and, hence, needs a collaborative effort by involving various stakeholders to combat issues of income and social inequities, illiteracy, and unemployment.
—Titus Ojo, University of Regina, Nigeria
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela
As a young African leader, I am driven to contribute to changing the continent’s narrative. Africa has so much potential and high economic growth rates, but no noticeable improvements in the living conditions of its people. I refuse to settle for less than the elimination of hunger and extreme poverty.
—Anointing Momoh, Simon Fraser University, Nigeria
Building on my academic training in local public policy and experience with Canadian case studies, I will dedicate my career to helping African local governments formulate policies that promote inclusive urban development and equitable socio-economic transformation.
—Elmond Bandouko, Western University, Zimbabwe
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” —Nelson Mandela
Taking Action against Poverty starts at the policy level (decision making and plans): Great policy makes great programs. Public administration involves implementing those plans. As such, the knowledge obtained here in Canada will help me in making impact-oriented policies on poverty reduction which will produce transformational programs in poverty reduction and alleviation.
—Isaac Mpinda, University of Regina, Malawi
Knowledge of public administration has equipped me to understand the effectiveness of government policies from a cyclical perspective – formulation, implementation, and evaluation. I will take action against poverty by contributing my fair share to reviewing existing development policies in Sierra Leone.
—Abdulai Conteh, University of Regina, Sierra Leone
My education in Public Administration, particularly my internship with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, is allowing me to contribute to the fight against poverty, by working on the International Climate Change Program which aims to tackle climate change and support poverty reduction in Africa and Haiti.
—Maroufath Ogoussan, Université Laval, Togo
The ALT Scholarship Program is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and by the Mastercard Foundation. It is managed by CBIE in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and in collaboration with the African Association of Public Administration and Management and the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration.