The Global Citizen Fellowship Program, funded by Tyler Perry through BeyGOOD, is now in its third year and for 2021, it will include participants in Nigeria and South Africa.
Originally launched in 2018 in front of 60,000 Global Citizens at the Mandela 100 festival, the fellowship is a paid, year-long program aligned to one of Global Citizen’s four pillars of activity: creative, campaigns, rewards, and marketing.
Fellowship alumni are already putting all the things they learnt into practice and using the experience to create impact in their communities.
This year’s fellows will get work experience in a dynamic environment and learn skills they need to play a role in social development, helping their communities achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and amplifying causes that they believe in.
The fellowship has a five-phase curriculum with interactive modules that focus on leadership, advocacy, international development, global citizenship, and work readiness.
For 2021, the Global Citizen Fellowship powered by BeyGOOD will include Nigerian participants and have 15 fellows in the cohort for the first time.
The third cohort of the Global Citizen Fellowship were chosen after a rigorous selection process that started with hundreds of applications; only dozens of candidates were chosen to continue through a series of tests. From these scores, the advisory council assessed 30 applicants before arriving at our final 15.
The council looked for candidates who could show how they have already started effecting change in the spaces they occupy, for instance, through supporting community causes or standing up for social issues, and applicants whose potential was complemented by their understanding of developmental issues.
So who are the high-potential young Africans that will have the experience of a lifetime? Let’s meet them, in no particular order:
1. Tshiamo Mobe
“What I am looking forward to most during my time in the fellowship program is gaining new skills and working constantly towards being the change I want to see in my community,” says Tshiamo Mobe, as she looks ahead to being a Global Citizen fellow.
Mobe is interested in issues affecting Black women in South Africa such as Gender-Based Violence (GBV), unemployment and inequality.
Mobe applied to the fellowship to gain skills that will help lead activities that support Black girls and women in her community and to hone her creative and collaboration skills.
“I would love to see how I will grow and be influenced by the other fellows ... I believe that collaboration is one of the best tools we have as people because we can compensate for each other and bring in our unique talents to create something bigger than ourselves,” Mobe told Global Citizen.
2. Rukayat Tokosi
Rukayat Tokosi is interested in human rights and providing educational access for underprivileged and vulnerable groups in her community particularly children, young girls and women.
Her passion is rooted in personal experience too — she was denied a fair chance to contest for class governor in her university because of her gender, she told Global Citizen.
“No one cared about my credentials or past successes but for them ‘why should a woman lead a sea of men?’ This was one of the many defining points for me where I realised that there's a gap [between men and women] that must be bridged quickly,” Tokosi said.
She is particularly interested in improving her storytelling skills so that she can “shine the light on people’s differing perspectives which in turn builds their empathy for others and [build] a [community] of inclusiveness.”
3. Mpho Mogale
Soweto resident Mpho Mogale is particularly moved by poverty and the lack of development in local communities across South Africa, and that’s why he was interested in joining the fellowship program.
Most recently Mogale has been motivated to work for her community following the week of rioting and looting that took place in South Africa in July. These riots were driven by economic disparity and Mogale believes that more needs to be done to save businesses and secure employment for young people following the unrest.
He’s excited to help shape a positive future for her community and other young South Africans with skills that she hopes to gain from the fellowship program.
“I am looking forward to being an active citizen that fights against issues that affect us as a community and I’m committed to being a citizen that will also create opportunities for the youth after the end of the program, contributing to ending poverty and promoting sustainability in our country and globally,” Mogale said.
4. Molebogang Matsagopane
Public speaking enthusiast and debate champion Molebogang Matsagopane hopes to empower young people by sharing the knowledge and experiences that he’s gathered as a debate coach, community activist, and now, Global Citizen Fellow.
Driven by his passion to protect the vulnerable, Matsagopane is an advocate for the fight against gender-based violence in South Africa.
“I come from a family where I am the only male, so growing up surrounded by powerful women and seeing all the hardships women face, mainly discrimination, sexism and even violence made me an advocate,” he told Global Citizen. “I believe something as arbitrary as gender shouldn't mean your freedom should be limited.
In joining the 2022 class of Global Citizen fellows, Matsagopane says he’s most looking forward to the things he’ll learn to help change the country.
He said: “It’s going to allow me to further my passion but most importantly to be able to have a hand in making active and meaningful change towards issues affecting South Africa.”
5. Landile Mchunu
“I’m a big believer in tending to the desires of your inner child,” Landile Mchunu told Global Citizen. Mchunu goes on to explain that her biggest dream is to help children in impoverished areas achieve their dreams.
“We tell children to ‘dream big’, but for impoverished children, the breadth of their dreams is curtailed by what they see around them, and what they have access to. I want children to be able to dream beyond the confines of their reality,” Mchunu said.
With this vision in mind, Mchunu is passionate about bringing child poverty to an end, having grown up in a low-income township in South Africa. She’s most looking forward to collaborating with the other fellows and working towards becoming a changemaker who can make a real difference in a post-pandemic world.
Mchunu is also a lover of nature, books and a whole lot of sunshine.
6. Katlego Ramokgopa
Noticing that the immediate community around her and South Africa as a whole is burdened by racial and gender inequality, Katlego Ramokgopa is aiming to gain the skills to tackle inequality head-on.
“I believe that if we can change the way that the branches grow, these being gender and racial inequality, we can eliminate the root that is overall inequality, and make better judgements based on qualities portrayed, rather than on skin color or gender.”
Her interests lie in digital campaigns and marketing, she’s enthusiastic about delivering messaging that will drive community engagement and action.
Ramokgopa is looking forward to garnering the expertise needed to become a compassionate leader and working with the other fellows to share essential knowledge and skills that could help to eradicate poverty in South Africa, and the world.
7. Sophiyat Sadiq
Sophiyat Sadiq grew up in a low-income household and experienced first hand the lack of opportunities for girls in her community. It is what drives her passion to advocate for access to quality education for girls in underserved communities.
“Everyone everywhere should be able to access quality education and opportunities regardless of gender barriers, cultural beliefs and stereotypes, socio economic background or financial status,” Sadiq told Global Citizen.
She applied to the fellowship to hone her campaign and policy skills to influence change in her community.
“I want to gain practical work experience by actively engaging with various stakeholders involved in the process of making a change or passing a law,” she added.
Sadiq spends her time encouraging more girls into STEM-related careers and teaching them basic uses of technology, and volunteering for organizations that provide opportunities for young girls and women.
8. Tife Sanusi
“Growing up as a woman in Nigeria, I saw first-hand how women were silenced and limited simply because of their gender,” Tife Sanusi told Global Citizen. “I want young girls to grow up learning about the passionate revolutionaries who came before them and recognize that they too can change the world.”
Sanusi says that is why she is interested in telling the stories of women’s journey to liberation by documenting the movements and “changing the dangerous, damaging, and naive narratives that have been constructed around us.”
As a writer, Sanusi fully expresses her belief that everyone deserves to live a full and liberated life. Her work cuts across reduced inequalities, quality education and gender based violence, and has been featured in publications like Teen Vogue and VICE UK.
9. Adekunle Adepoju
Born to a family of five in Ibadan, West Africa’s largest city, Adekunle Adepoju has always had big dreams and aspirations especially when it comes to using technology to help small businesses and rural communities overcome challenges..
“I strongly believe that economic growth and sustainable development in Africa can be truly led by small businesses and I have seen first-hand how technology can be leveraged to create wealth and jobs over a short period of time,” he told Global Citizen.
He’s hoping the fellowship will provide him with knowledge and resources because he wants to build a business in future.
“I have always lived my life based on the idea that I don't need to be great before I start, but I need to start to be great,” said Adepoju. “I am setting out with a big dream, vision and hope of making Africa and the world at large a better place for all of us. I hope that by participating in the fellowship program, I will have access to enough knowledge and resources to be able to build [for my community].”
10. Azeez Abubakar
Azeez Abubakar is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and technology. He is particularly driven to help vulnerable communities facing the impacts of climate climate change and extreme poverty.
“Millions [of people], especially in Africa, lack the resources to quickly recover from the effects of climate change, specifically those who did the least to cause it,” Abubakar told Global Citizen. “It is imperative that developed countries take immediate action to mitigate climate change and help the most vulnerable people adapt and build resilience against climate-induced loss and damage.”
Abubakar wants to be part of this change to protect vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change, and he’s already got a solid start. He actively campaigns for the United Nations’ Global Goals, and mobilized fifty of his peers to join him in standing for them. He’s also taken part in the World Bank Youth Summit on Resilient Recovery for People, and won the 2019 BIM Africa Student Advocacy Program thanks to his innovative designs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability.
He also loves pop music and enjoys making all forms of art.
11. Gideon Oluwabunmi Fakomogbon
Gideon Oluwabunmi Fakomogbon believes that access to quality education is important to develop a sustainable and inclusive society and that is why he studied education policy in the university.
Fakomogbon, who lives in Kwara state, Nigeria, told Global Citizen he applied to the fellowship to gain skill and training to make his dream of ensuring everyone has access to quality education becomes a reality.
“I look forward to engaging with and gaining insights from mentors and peers constantly. The fellowship program [wil be a guide way for me to learn about the various values, attitudes, knowledge, training, and skills required to understand and solve complex [challenges relating to educational access.]”
Fakomogbon has obtained more than ten project management, technology, and leadership related certifications from top universities and companies worldwide.
12. Blossom Egbude
Blossom Egbude is a qualified lawyer who practices intellectual property and corporate law in Nigeria. However, it’s her dedication to social development and girls’ education that drove her to the Global Citizen Fellowship Program. Her personal experience growing up in a community where girls’ education is not prioritised motivated her to advocate for equal access to education.
“My grandmother did not get a formal education because it was believed in her community that it was preferable to train boys instead,” she told Global Citizen. “It was believed that boys ultimately built successful careers but girls ended up married, making their education useless. Despite these challenges, she raised three children as a single mother through her work on her farm.”
“Education is a tool to end global poverty, bridge the gap of inequality and create global opportunities and this is why I am interested in providing a more equal world for girls through education like my grandmother never had.”
In joining the fellowship program, Egbude is most looking forward to creating innovative campaigns that drive change, and using the skills she’ll gain to tackle the world’s deepest inequality, specifically in education.
She’s also the founder of her own organization that promotes equal education for underprivileged communities in Lagos, and uses her spare time to volunteer wherever she can.
13. Jenny Emem
Corruption and economic mismanagement that continue to result in worsening inequality and poverty in Nigeria are the reasons why Jenny Emem is motivated to make a difference.
“Tackling poverty caused by mismanagement and unequal allocation of national resources is a cause that grips my interest because of how rampant and normalized the inequality has become,” Emem told Global Citizen. “The worsening poverty and inequality in Nigeria has opened the gateway to several other issues in governance, social relations and even national security.”
Through the fellowship program, Emem is excited to grow and engage with like-minded people, and to open her eyes to other cultural experiences lived by her peers. She’s also looking forward to discovering all the ways she can have a significant impact in her immediate community.
“I expect the fellowship program to be a season of new challenges, mental growth and exposure to dynamic leadership and mentorship,” she said.
14. Mohammed Bayero Yayandi
Social activist Mohammed Bayero Yayandi is a changemaker who has been featured on the British Council of Nigeria’s blog as one of the 75 most inspiring stories by British Council Nigeria.
Yayandi seeks to make a change through digital literacy, having founded YandyTech, a platform that supplies young people, women, and children with skills in the Information and Communication Technology space.
“I am interested in girl child education and digital literacy, because I believe that education is key to social development, a reasonable society can’t deny the fact,” he told Global Citizen.
Yayandi aims to grow his skills in the fellowship program, and hopes to learn from the other fellows, as well as the dedicated mentors, in order to further his knowledge and empower him to continue to make an essential contribution to his community.
15. Oluwafunmilayo Taiwo
Oluwafunmilayo Taiwo is a development communications professional with over 4 years‘ experience and she is passionate about advancing the sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people, through age-appropriate sexuality education.
“Every region of Nigeria has dynamic SRHR issues, all of which are directly linked to the high rates of unplanned pregnancies and the resultant increasing poverty rates,” she told Global Citizen. “I believe that tackling these issues [by encouraging] young people [to be] aware of their sexual and reproductive rights [is] key to eliminating extreme poverty across generations.”
Taiwo applied to the fellowship to learn about improved ways to leverage technology for advocacy and storytelling for impact.
She is a former youth representative with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Lagos Office and a member of the African Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (AfriYAN).
We are thankful to the generous donation from Tyler Perry in partnership with BeyGOOD in support of the Fellowship program.