Notre Dame YALI Participants Receive International Grants

Author: Kara Kelly

Nkosana Masuku and Ludmila Mero, members of Notre Dame’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) 2021 class, were recognized at last week’s International Symposium on Climate Change and Governance in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the new startup companies they founded.

Masuku and Mero each received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) “to support innovative business ideas and civil society initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa.”

(Read more about Nkosana Masuku, chief executive officer for Phenomenon Technologies, which provides virtual and augmented reality to improve the students’ science learning outcomes.)

Pulte’s Melissa Paulsen and Jennifer Krauser and ND Studio and Teaching & Learning Technology’s Tom Marentette attended the Johannesburg symposium, where Notre Dame’s 2021 Mandela Washington Fellows were able to meet in-person for the first time (COVID-19 restrictions had required them to meet virtually).

Paulsen, Krauser, and Marentette joined delegations from 49 countries for the week-long event facilitated by the US State Department to discuss the successes and challenges of African development and the state of democracy, youth empowerment, and women’s rights on the continent.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield served as a keynote speaker and panels focused on issues facing Africa and its youth and what participants could do to effect change.