I’m Stephanie Machekom. I had the opportunity to participate in one of the highest leadership training in Africa in March 2018. YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) held in Ghana. I was enrolled in the civic engagement track. I graduated in 2015 from a business school in Douala; I have done several internships in prestigious companies in the banking sector, the aggro-industry sector but have not been able to have any job at the end. Even though I was working very hard and my supervisors always appreciated my work, it was the same disappointment at the end for me No contract! Only acknowledgements and promises to call me later for further opportunities. I thought that not being able to have a contract in a company with my strong background of graduate from a prestigious business school was like I was not good enough. I started losing confidence in myself.
At the end of 2017, I decided to volunteer with an association called the African Youth Alliance. It was a good way for me to spend my time usefully and also to feel useful for others. I found a great passion by doing that and a type of joy in serving others that I never had in my experiences so far. I heard about the YALI fellowship from friends volunteering with other organizations. I understood it was a training opportunity for young Africans and that the selection process was competitive. During one of my researches on the Internet, I saw the opportunity for the cohort 9 training in Ghana and Nigeria. I applied and choose the Ghana location using my experience as a volunteer with the African Youth Alliance in the civic engagement field.
I have been selected among 4’000 youths, and joined a group of 138 dynamic youth coming from 9 countries in Africa: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana the host country and Cameroon. An entire book cannot describe my YALI experience; it’s a journey to live rather than to count! (Laugh) 3 weeks of intensive training, made of courses, field trip, pitches on various themes and cultural activities! Moreover the courses on leadership, emotional intelligence, Civil Society governance and sustainability, Social enterprise that I had at YALI changed my whole state of mind! Being surrounded by dynamic youths having passion for what they do, strongly believing in themselves and committed to effect change in Africa, committed to make Africa a better place to live gives me enough strength and self-confidence to go back in my community and impact! To do better than I have ever did in the past! Today my success will no more be evaluated from a contract in a big private company but to how many lives I will change, to how many persons I will be able to transform. The process has already started at the African youth Alliance.
YALI experience changed my whole live, I know the path I have taken will not be easy, but I also know that I’m not alone in this battle, many youths like me are engaged in this and we will engage more others, Barack Obama had this vision of a better Africa before initiating such a great project because he believes in us, he believes in African Youths and we shall never defeat! Africa will rise yes…