USA selects 16 Malawi youth leaders for Mandela Washington Fellowship

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe has announced a list of  16 Malawian that have been invited to participate in this year’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Washington Fellowship.

Lusungu Kalanga: Delighted

Lusungu Kalanga: Delighted

U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, accompanied by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Todd Haskell said her government has been geared to help Malawians with skills that would help in developing the country.

“You will join 1,000 young leaders from across Africa working toward positive change in your communities. This is an incredible opportunity to enhance your professional skills, grow as a leader, and network with other like-minded young leaders from across Africa.” said Palmer.

The group will travel to the U.S. in June for a six-week program on the campus of an American university before attending a summit which will be hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington DC.

According to Palmer, the number of fellows for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders has been doubled from eight in 2015 to 16 this year as one way of creating a chance for Malawians to have skills that can bring change in the country.

The full list:

Ms. Nancy Chawawa, 33; Public Management:  Nancy is an environmentalist working as a civil servant for Malawi’s Department of Environmental Affairs.  In her current assignment she coordinates environmental and climate change programs at a district level and is responsible for managing the department’s role in natural disaster situations.  She also provides environmental training, technical advice, and policy guidance to local communities and relevant stakeholders.

Mr. Bester Chilombo, 33; Public Management:  A committed public servant, Bester has seven years of experience working in the Malawi government’s civil service.  He is currently an Assistant Director of Administration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  In 10 years he sees himself serving as a Principal Secretary in a government department.  He is passionate about Malawi’s Public Sector Reforms which he believes are key to rooting out corruption in the country.

Mr. Admore Chiumia, 28; Business and Entrepreneurship:  Admore is an energy engineer working for Renew”N”able Malawi (RENAMA).  He plans to embark on a business enterprise in renewable energy technologies that will sell solar lights at affordable prices, design mini-electrical grids and biogas plants, stand-alone systems, and develop small wind systems targeting rural communities in line with UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) objectives. He also intends to conduct Research and Development (R&D) and Market Assessments of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) to spearhead appropriate technology energy transfer in rural communities of Malawi.  He is the only Malawian to join 25 Fellows from across Africa to attend a first-ever YALI academic institute focused on energy.

Mr. Davies Chogawana, 34; Public Management:  Davies is an environmentalist working as a District Environmental Officer in Salima where he coordinates natural resource management and climate change interventions at the district level.  He is passionate about assisting people with environmental management, especially in the field of energy conservation.  His goal is to help Malawians, particularly those in rural areas, to adopt efficient energy technologies to curb the effects of climate change in Malawi.

Mr. Mixon Faluweki, 25; Business and Entrepreneurship:  Currently a staff associate of physics at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Mixon is an innovator who manages his own business producing and selling bicycle-powered cell phone chargers to inhabitants of rural areas where there is no electricity.  He aspires to become Malawi’s most successful young entrepreneur in the energy sector, manufacturing and supplying affordable renewable energy solutions to the people of Malawi and across Africa.

Ms. Lusungu Kalanga, 27; Civic Leadership:  Recognized as one of the emerging young women leaders in Africa, Lusungu is passionate about the advancement of children and women’s rights. Through ActionAid International Malawi, she advocates for children’s right to quality education.  Driven by the phrase “Create what you want to be a part of,” Lusungu works with girls and young women to provide mentorship and career guidance through Growing Ambitions, an organization which she co-founded.  She envisions a Malawi where girls and young women, regardless of their socio- economic status or past negative experiences, take charge of their lives and thrive.

Ms. Virginia Khunguni, 26; Civic Leadership:  Virginia is a “youth alert” presenter and producer for Population Services International Malawi (PSI) where she advocates for access to reproductive health services for young women.  She is passionate that women are more than “baby-making machines” and believes Malawian women have a key role to play in developing their country.  Through her work and volunteer activities, Virginia strives to increase awareness of the unacceptable rate of gender-based violence in Malawi and advocates for the protection of vulnerable girls who suffer from abuse.

Dr. James Kumwenda, 25; Public Management:  James is a medical doctor and hospital manager, currently serving at the rural Monkey Bay Community Hospital on Lake Malawi.  As the only medical doctor at this key facility he practices medicine, teaches, and provides leadership. James aspires to transform healthcare in Malawi through leadership as a healthcare manager and leading internal medicine specialist. Trained as a medical doctor – not as a public manager – James looks to YALI to enhance his public management skills and grow as a leader.

Mr. Charles Lipenga, 27; Civic Leadership:  An award-winning architect, four years ago Charles started a leadership development organization called “Maestros” through which he provides leadership development trainings and activities to a wide range of Malawians from high school students to professionals at leading companies.  He strives to equip Malawians to be catalysts of change for a better Malawi.  To date, “Maestros” has provided academic scholarships to more than 1,000 Malawian high school students across the country.  Charles aims to grow the reach of his organization across Malawi and the continent.

Ms. Chikondi Mandala, 24; Public Management:  Chikondi is a Malawian judicial officer who is passionate about women’s and children’s rights as well as sustainable land use and development.  She currently serves as a senior resident magistrate in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.  She exercises broad jurisdiction ranging from criminal matters to matrimonial and land disputes.  She looks forward to gaining skills that will equip her to tailor solutions for Malawi that will enhance access to justice, rule of law, and sustainable development for all Malawians.

Ms. Rachel Mhango, 32; Civic Leadership:  Rachel is a journalist currently working for Times Television as a producer and presenter.  She has chosen to specialize in health reporting.  Rachel won the MISA Malawi Maternal and New born Health Journalist of the year 2015 award. She currently hosts a popular TV show specific to health issues for young Malawians and volunteers her free time to support young women in accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare.  In ten years’ time she sees herself as an independent communications specialist on issues of women’s health and running an organization called “Save the Young Mother,” through which she aims to empower young mothers with the information and healthcare services they need.

Mr. Mandela Mwanza, 31; Business and Entrepreneurship:  Mandela, more widely known in Malawi by his stage name “Third Eye,” is a leading Malawian hip-hop artist, author, and youth activist.  In addition to his successful career as a rapper incorporating social activism in his music, he also runs a company that focuses on youth empowerment and community building.  In ten years he sees himself at the forefront of a pan-African movement bringing about social integration of African youth through the African music industry.  An artist at heart, Mandela believes YALI will equip him with the business skills he needs to expand his activities on a pan-African level.

Mr. Joshua Ngalande, 32; Business and Entrepreneurship:  Joshua is an inventor and CEO/Founder of the nsima cooker (“nsima” is the staple corn meal food product widely consumed in Malawi, and across Africa, traditionally prepared over an open fire.)  He invented the automated nsima cooker in 2010 and now has a registered business which is in the process of commercializing the technology.  He is confident that in ten years his nsima cooker company will have spread to all African countries.  The company will also diversify into research and development of other sustainable technologies that solve the challenges that Africa faces.

Ms. Linda Sichali, 25; Civic Leadership:  Linda is a founding member of Girls Platform for Social Action (GIPSA), an organization that advocates for girl child education in rural areas, where she serves as an advocate against cultural practices that promote early marriages among girls.  She sees herself as a key player in mobilizing resources and efforts for women’s empowerment, particularly in impoverished rural areas.  She dreams of setting up a resource center in her rural hometown to provide young women and girls with academic and career guidance, as well as entrepreneurship and agribusiness skills.

Ms. Halima Twabi, 24; Public Management:  Halima is a lecturer of statistics at Chancellor College in Zomba.  A proud Muslim woman, Halima dreams to be an “ambassador of women in science” ten years from now.  She is a founding member for a local organization called “Malawi Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” which encourages and promotes local young women to pursue studies and careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.  She also mentors and encourages young women from her community on the importance of education.

Mr. Peter Yakobe, 23; Business and Entrepreneurship:  Peter runs a thriving poultry business and is also the Founder and Director of “The Center For Free Market Enterprise” (CFME), an NGO that trains and empowers youth with entrepreneurship skills.  He intends to grow CFME from training 500 youth to 10,000 youth in the near future.  Peter also plans to grow his poultry business to train and employ more youth in a hands-on manner and entrepreneurial environment.

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Congratulations to all the young leaders. Winawe you have chosen to bring a totally unrelated story here. Shame on you. Ku Chanco kwakoko sikunakupundulire and you want to intimidate the young lady out of her remarkable achievement mmmmm a Malawi. Probably you don’t know the processes involved for one to be picked for the fellow ship. In short let me tell u that its hard. And this s a big achievement.

Chrissy Landers

We have all been molded and shaped stunningly,in the image of God.We re equal, so my sister don’t look down upon yourself.People should learn to have deductive reasoning rather than acting in a horrendous and vampire kind of behavior.


This is a great initiative and well done to all young Malawians who’ve been selected. These are among the people Malawi needs in order to develop.

What’s sad though are the comments on this story. Of all good things that can be written about this initiate, some shallow minds ate focusing on the looks of the world changer in this picture. The majority of Malawians are rational and intelligent people, the idiots who’ve commented negatively should go fuck themselves!


Probably she is very good in bed but certainly not beautiful

Chibwe Bongani

Hahaha kudzipha chifukwa cha uyuyu? Not worthy it.


@ 1 Mkaziyu waipa chani?Nena.Shupiti.

OKEY Ndibe

Asaaa! Munena zoona?

The Photographer

Kalekale tili ku Chanco, m’nyamata wina wake nde ankafuna kuzipha chifukwa cha mkazi ali pa chithunzi yu akuti chifukwa mkazi wathetsa chibwenzi. Seriously? Mkazi wake ameneyu yu?
Am sure wherever he is (I know where he is and is doing fine now); amazikwapula zikoti every time he thinks about it coz this Chick, just like anybody, is not worth dying for! let alone, living for!

Kaya poti paja ubwino wa mkazi sitiyeza ndi maso iai!

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