“Eid Mubarak y’all!! Just received my certificate of completion of the YALI [Young African Leaders Initiative] program! Signed personally by president Barrack Obama & a signed portrait. This has been such a cool, informative, so insightful and inspiring experience! Recharged, motivated and ready to go hoommmeee & apply all I’ve learnt to amplify my organization’a reach and impact and contribute to real change in Somalia! Let’s do this!” Ilwad posted on her Facebook page.
On the YALI’s website, it states: the Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative YALI is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
Ilwad Elman co-manages the Elman Peace Centre in Mogadishu, the organisation established in honour of and named after her late father, Elman Ali Ahmed. Ilwad also helps run Sister Somalia, a subsidiary of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center. The country’s first program for assistance of victims of gender-based violence, it provides counseling, health and housing support for women in need.
In June this year, we covered the story of Aminazahra Sigat, from Garissa, Kenya, who was also selected for the same fellowship. It is very encouraging to see ambitious young Somali women given fair opportunities to excel. Congratulations to Ilwad Elman.