Explore AL for Governance:

Umholi we Africa Fellowship

The Umholi we Africa (UwA) Fellowship, initiated by the African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a transformative two-year fellowship designed to cultivate the next generation of African senior leaders in governance and public service.

Our Vision

At UwA, we envision a continent where young Africans are empowered to actively participate inshaping the future of governance and public policy. Through mentorship, experiential learning, and meaningful engagement with senior leaders, we aim to create a diverse, competent, and inclusive public sector workforce that reflects the dynamism and potential of Africa’s youth.

Program Overview

The UwA Fellowship places high-potential young Africans in Special Advisor roles within Ministerial offices and intergovernmental organizations. These positions offer unparalleled opportunities for fellows to contribute to policy formulation, gain hands-on experience in governance, and expand their professional networks.

Our Theory of Change

We believe that by providing young Africans with a supportive community, clear pathways for engagement in policy-making, and opportunities for personal and professional growth, we can inspire them to pursue careers in politics and the public sector. Through their leadership and innovation, they will drive positive change and contribute to building a more prosperous and equitable Africa.

How to get involved


Host a Fellow

Governments can host a Umholi we Africa Fellow within their Ministerial offices or intergovernmental organizations. By providing a platform for young leaders to contribute to policy formulation and implementation, governments can benefit from diverse insights and expertise while offering fellows invaluable hands-on experience in governance


Mentorship and Support

Senior government officials can serve as mentors and advocates for Umholi we Africa Fellows during their placement. By offering guidance, support, and access to networks, mentors can help fellows navigate the complexities of public service and maximize their impact.


Promote Fellowship Opportunities

Governments can help promote fellowship opportunities within their networks and communities. By raising awareness about the Umholi we Africa Fellowship and encouraging qualified candidates to apply, governments can contribute to building a pipeline of talented young leaders passionate about governance and public service.


Long-Term Engagement

Beyond the fellowship period, governments can continue to engage with alumni of the Umholi we Africa Fellowship. By offering opportunities for ongoing collaboration, training, and career advancement, governments can nurture a network of young leaders committed to driving positive change in their countries and across the continent.

Meet the Fellows

John Sankara


John is an 2009 ALA alumni from Kenya. He currently serves as the Chief of Staff to ALA alumni, Senator Eddy Oketch in Migori County, Kenya. He holds an M.A. in Global Thought (Impact Finance) from Columbia University and an Economics Degree from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. John is a Kofi Annan Scholar and was a 2013 Chuck Green Fellow.

Idris Ibrahim


Idris is a Mastercard Foundation alumna from Kenya. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently serves as an Advisor to the AU Youth Envoy. Previously, he I produced and reported on current affairs and news pieces for CNN International. He has also worked for Deutsche Welle (DW) as a Junior Correspondent for East Africa.

Utani Chris-Junior Hikuam


Utani is a 2015 ALA alumni from Namibia. He currently serves as a Special Advisor for the AU Youth Envoy. Utani holds a Bachelor of Economics Degree from the University of Namibia. He has worked as a Communications and Public Relations Intern at the United Nations in Namibia, a Gender and Youth Coordinator at the Solidaridad Network, a Procurement Specialist, and a Consultant.

Yesubet Dereje


Yesubet is a 2011 ALA alumni from Ethiopia. He currently serves as a special advisor to the African Union Youth Envoy in the Chairperson's Cabinet. He is a Biomedical Engineering graduate from the University of Rochester. Yesubet worked at National Institute of health (NIH), researching on oxygen imaging probe to treat cancer. He also worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) as a technical advisor of Biomedical Equipment Management in Ethiopia.

Aicha Fall


Aicha is a 2016 ALA alumni from Senegal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in International Relations from Ashoka University, a Liberal Arts college in India. She has worked for various organisations such as #FixPolitics, Impact Hub Dakar, and Suguba.

Leonor Fall


Leonor is a 2009 ALA alumni from Senegal. She is an incoming advisor to the AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace & Security, Madame Bineta Diop. graduated with a degree in Agricultural Sciences and natural resources management from EARTH University. She has also worked as Head of Innovation and Impact department with Kossam Société de Development de l’Elevage, a subsidiary of la Laiterie Du Berger. In 2022, Leonor became a Mandela Washington Fellow.

Arlette Akingeneye


Arlette Akingeneye is a Mastercard Foundation alumna from Rwanda with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health Policy from Quest University Canada. She is an incoming advisor to the Director of the Women, Gender, Development and Youth Directorate at the African Union. Previously, Arlette worked as a Program Assistant for the Nutrition Program at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and a Research Assistant at the Rwanda Ministry of Health.

Gabriella Stadhauer


Gabriella is a 2014 ALA alumni from Namibia. She isthe Special Aide to the Whippery of PDM in Namibia. Gabriella has worked for companies such as Vuttomi Liquids, the Center for Analytics and Behavioural Change, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Namibia, and the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa. Gabriella is completing a Bachelor's in Political Science from the University of Namibia.