Calvin Kebati, Deputy Director, JKUAT Industrial and Technology Park and Sheila Awour, a fourth year student of Food Science and Technology will jet out of the country, June 15, for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
They are among the 1000 participants drawn from a pool of 64,000 applicants in 49 Sub-Saharan countries who will take part in a six-week Academic and Leadership programme in the fields of Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, and Public Management.
At the age of 22 years, Awour is set to arguably become the youngest person to be admitted to the Mandela Washington Fellowship. With three years’ experience in volunteering, Awour in the company of her cousin founded Jabulani Youths for Transformation in 2013, where they focus on children and youth empowerment to improve the lives of those they works with.
As she applied for the fellowship, Awour knew she did not meet the age requirement but went on to apply anyway. “I love a challenge…to me it was a learning experience, and I’m naturally curious, so I thought I will lose nothing from exploring.’ She credits her unexpected twist of fortune to the selfless work she set out to do four years ago when she co-founded Jabulani Youth for Transformation.
Upon completion of the 6-week training on Public Management at Howard University, Awour plans to continue with her work in children and youth empowerment and begin the process to institutionalise her organisation to get the most out of it and accomplish its key objectives.
A calculated risk-taker and zealous about the tech industry, Kebati is the brains behind the JKUAT Tech Expo, an annual event that seeks to encourage and support students’ innovative ideas across the country in a bid to bolster innovation, collaboration and education, tackling problems across all sectors effectively.
In his capacity of Deputy Director, JITP, Kebati’s enthusiasm is to provide a conducive environment for Small and Medium Size Enterprises to connect innovation and technology to actual production of goods and services for both local and international market. “I am most fulfilled when helping people grow professionally,” opines Kebati.
Steered with the mantra that change is the only constant and continuous improvement is the only path, Kebati is committed to creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem in Kenya that will facilitate more commercialisation of innovations. He will join other young African leaders to train in Business and Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University.
Kebati, an alumnus of JKUAT, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology and is currently working toward his master’s degree in Project Management at JKUAT.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders which begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The fellowship takes young leaders to the U.S. for academic coursework and leadership training, creating unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organisations, communities, and countries.