Monday, February 20, 2012

On LEAD Francophone Africa Top Officials’ Visit

Group Picture: LEAD Team at Seaview Hotel
Three top officials of Leadership for Environment and Development- LEAD, Francophone Africa, had visited the Gambia recently namely, Mr. Abdou Gueye, Acting Director of LEAD Francophone Africa, Mary Mah, LEAD Africa Communication and networking Officer, Dakar, Senegal, Madam Marie Skraep, project manager LEAD
During their days visit, the LEAD Francophone  Africa officials were hosted by their Gambian counterparts- LEAD Steering Committee.
At a debriefing session held at the Seaview Hotel, Mr. Abdou Gueye, Acting Director of LEAD Francophone Africa thanked his Gambian counterparts for hosting them. He told the session that LEAD Francophone officials which he (Gueye) led were in The Gambia to inform counterparts about their upcoming events-LEAD Africa fellowship programme which includes training of mid-career professionals.

According to him, The Gambia is part of LEAD Francophone Africa simply because the country shares the same values with senegal, adding that for the country to twin with Senegal in their programmes would be a ‘great success’ to both nations.
As he put it, “The Gambia and Senegal share the same boundary, culture, tribe, local languages etc; therefore it will be very easy to implement programmes and exchange visits”.
In addition, he noted that the Gambia shares the same environmental issues with Senegal, hence  whatever affects its environment could seriously affect the environment in Senegal.
“We need to work hand in glove to make sure that the programme is successfully implemented- training of mid-career professionals in both countries,” he remarked.
Gueye also told the session that LEAD Africa has developed a standard training manual for the LEAD fellows. Also, he said the training manual would be used for all their trainings. He explained that LEAD is a non-profit organisation that was created in the wake of the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development.
Currently, as Gueye disclosed,  LEAD has thirteen members programme in most regions around the world, including LEAD Francophone Africa. The LEAD Francophone Africa is hosted by Environment and Development in The Third World (ENDA). LEAD Africa, LEAD  International and the Shell Foundation have entered into a partnership in order to set up and implement the LEAD Africa fellowship programme.
The programme aims to train each year close to 500 African leaders by 2015,according to him, as he explained further that LEAD Africa programme fellowship targets mid-career professionals age between twenty-five to forty-three years old; and the age bracket covers all LEAD  programmes.
The fellowship,he apprised the gathering, is open for both Francophone and  Anglophone  African countries and the applicants should be living in the following countries-Chad, Malawi, Senegal and The Gambia.
Expected fellows, he told the briefing session, should hold a university degree with two years’ working experience, or five years for non-university graduates and be working in the private sectors like Banks, Industry etc.
For that of the public sector, he said the training targets civil and related services sectors; to wit non-governmental organisations, local authorities,social-professional organisations.
He, however, added that universities, research centers,  intergovernmental bodies and the media  are all eligible to apply for the fellowship programme.
Again, they (applicants) should furthermore have written and oral English language skills  which allow them to fully participate in  sessions, a good knowledge of social media, and a capacity to work with a multidisciplinary and multicultural team.
Still on the qualifications, he said applicants should be ready to help promote sustainable development within young leaders’ associations “and last and just as important”, have a leadership potential and aspire to become an agent of change.
Also speaking was Mary Mah, LEAD Africa Communication and networking Officer, Dakar, Senegal, who informed the debriefing gathering that LEAD Africa gives fellows the opportunity to enhance their capacities and knowledge.
This, she went on, couldbe in terms of leadership and sustainable development, analysising and sorting out complex issues connected to the choice of environment and development alternatives.
Successful applicants  would have the opportunity to build their skills around negotiation, communication, networking, social entrepreneurship and ethics among other relevant topics, according to her.
After attending their-LEAD Africa, she also stated that one fellow would have the chance to join a large international network of fellow young leaders.
About the training session, Madam Mah said the training would take place in two forms: national session and  pan-African session of one week, each.
By virtual means, fellows would also do online distance learning, teleconferencing, forums etc.
The Pan-African session, she averred, is the session where associates are graduating- will be held in Malawi for 2012.
As part of the training session, she said there would be a-one week international session ,which follows the pan-African session and is organised each year by LEAD International.
She stated that this session is not included in the LEAD fellowship fees and therefore it would be charged separately.
The beauty of the programme is that LEAD Africa would cover a grant of the total cost of the forty best candidates from Senegal and twenty best candidates from the Gambia, she revealed.
The remainder percentage would be covered by the applicant which stands at 670.000 CFA , to be paid by personal means or by the candidates’ institution.
She then called on female candidates and professionals from the private sector to apply as they would be given special considerations.
Mr. Muhammed Fayenkeh, National Coordinator LEAD Africa- Gambia; Mr. Amadou Taal Steering Committee LEAD Africa-Gambia all spoke at the debriefing  which was attended by youth groups, organisations and non-governmental organisations in the country.

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