Video: Fellow Final Thoughts, Jacqueline Lawrence Mwakyambiki

Author: Luis Ruuska

Jacqueline Lawrence Mwakyambiki, a participant in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the University of Notre Dame, is a media owner from Tanzania who specializes in broadcasting technology and journalism. In this video, Mwakyambiki discusses her personal leadership transformation and the lessons she learned from local nonprofits. 

With the goal of giving citizens from her home region of Mbeya greater access to information, such as the promotion of entrepreneurship strategies and opportunities, Mwakyambiki founded her own station: Mbeya Highlands FM. Among other things, the station features live community forum programs in which members of the community are connected to government leaders to discuss critical issues and debate solutions. In the past, these forums have produced tangible results such as increased government transparency and improved communication, as well as new water wells, which were built after the airing of a particularly popular community forum program called “Haki Maji” (“Right to Water”).

Since 2014, the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) has worked closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, to bring the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), to Notre Dame. The fellowship empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities.

The program is highly competitive, and the U.S. Department of State received more than 64,000 applications for only 1,000 placements across the country for the 2017 fellowship. Notre Dame’s class of 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows, 11 men and 14 women, came to campus from 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2016, the fellowship staff received a Presidential Team Irish Award for "exemplifying the University of Notre Dame’s core values on behalf of [NDIGD] and the University."

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development — an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame — promotes human development and dignity among people worldwide through applied innovations, impact evaluation, education and training that help build just and equitable societies.

Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development,