Alumni TIES: Mandela Washington Fellows

We are in Nairobi, Kenya for our second
Alumni TIES on the topic of strengthening democratic institutions for our Public
Management Fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Alumni TIES provides opportunities across the world for alumni of U.S. government programs to get together in similar sectors to share best practices and network and take home action plans that they can hopefully implement in their communities. Currently being based in South Sudan there is a lot of corruption issues as the world may know. This Alumni TIES could not have come at a better time for me. As Obama once said when he was in Africa recently corruption is cancer in Africa and if that cancer is removed there are unlimited possibilities for the growth of every country on the continent. One of the most important elements of Alumni TIES is the opportunity that it provides for alumni to network. We have different experience, and it’s
interesting to see the different point of views and debates and discussions to address, not only corruption but also other issues that matters, uh to – to our lives. It’s very important for us exchange our experience and discuss about what we have like problem in our career. We can sit and that think that we have all the ideas, but if we don’t come out, share ideas, learn experiences, I don’t think we’ll be fully equipped to make the differences, which we want to make. And I hope we can still keep this part – this um network in order to improve what we are doing in our communities. An important part of the Alumni TIES is that it provides a small grant of up to $10,000 for alumni to implement community based projects when they return. When I return to Sierra Leonne, I want to raise awareness about corruption. And when I say corruption I don’t mean corruption on a very high level – it includes petty bribery, which is the most difficult and the most contagious thing in our countries. I had initially thought of a boarding school in a rural village, but now I feel like we need to concentrate more on something that is sustainable, something for the
generations to come. So I was thinking of a garden project in
this village. What they are doing in the communities, the way that they’re making an impact, the way that they give their time, their commitment is just admirable. One of the things I learned is not to judge on face value. And not to deal with – not to fall into the stereotypes. It is good to learn from people from their individual experiences, because we experience the world through other people.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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