Picture a scenario where you have the opportunity to nurture the leaders of tomorrow, guide their learning, and empower them to follow their passions. The Global Citizen Fellowship Program, supported by BeyGOOD, the charitable foundation of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, has made it possible for more than 50 young Africans to pursue their dreams in the field of social impact.
In December 2018, Johannesburg hosted the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, where 70,000 Global Citizens took 5 million actions as part of the campaign to end extreme poverty and honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
As a result of the festival campaign, 60 pledges were mobilized to combat poverty and its impacts and today, $7.4 billion in funding has been provided to communities in need.
One of these pledges saw Tyler Perry, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, dedicate $1 million to support 50 young changemakers throughout Africa, marking the inception of the Global Citizen Fellowship Program, fueled by BeyGOOD.
Over the past five years, 50 young individuals from marginalized communities in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya have had the opportunity to gain practical experience in contributing to social impact projects through a paid, year-long fellowship with Global Citizen.
“Walking alongside 50 unique individuals over the past four years has deepened my understanding of the youth and the enchantment that lies within,” said Lipalesa Morake, Global Citizen Senior Programs Manager of Strategic Partnerships. “The journey has reaffirmed a crucial insight: there is a profound magic in this market.”
In 2019, Global Citizen partnered with the Fellowship Program's advisory council, a group of brilliant young leaders from both Nigeria and South Africa. The expertise gained by the fellowship cohort has seamlessly transitioned into ongoing contributions in the field of social impact.
“The exposure to diverse people and environments during the Fellowship Program influenced me to dream even bigger and motivated me to create my inspiring environment for positive change,” said Noxolo Gigaba, a class of 2020 BeyGOOD Fellow.
This year, Global Citizen celebrated the fellowship’s fifth anniversary by releasing a detailed impact report highlighting each cohort's role in transforming their communities.
These fellows have gained unique skills, experiences, and networks through the Fellowship Program, which has helped them continue their work in the months following their graduation.
“I am a determined and self-driven individual with a passion for creating positive change in society,” said Sibusiso Bokveldt, a Class of 2022 BeyGOOD Fellow. “My work with Global Citizen has deepened my commitment to addressing pressing issues such as mental health, climate change, and menstrual health in underprivileged communities.”
Letshego Morake, a class of 2021 BeyGOOD Fellow, added: “During my time in the Global Citizen x BeyGOOD Fellowship Program, I learned invaluable lessons on building self-confidence and effectively handling the pressures of teamwork.”.
In the lead-up to the 2018 fellowship announcements, Executive Director of BeyGOOD Ivy McGregor spent time traveling through South Africa meeting individuals, NGOs, and business leaders who believed in the program's mission.
“Our goal was to impact the lives of young people, and to give them experiences and the necessary tools to advance their lives and their futures. And I’m proud to say we did just that,” said McGregor.
In 2019, a cohort of fellows also crossed the Atlantic to grace the stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park. The Global Citizen team also stays in contact with each cohort for 12 months after the program ends to assist them in finding work.
“As each fellow moves forward, my wish is that they discover their magic in all their endeavors. I am grateful for having been part of each of their journeys, to learn, to grow, and to discover parts of myself I never knew existed,” said Morake.
In 2023, the Global Citizen Fellowship Program continues with a mission to keep helping provide the skills needed to inspire the next generation of young leaders in Africa.