This evening, we review question 5 of the Mandela Washington Fellowship 2018 application questions. Sincere apologies this is coming late, we’ve all had very hectic schedule but we are excited to keep our words and present our fifth review to you all.
As usual, I’ve worked with the following fellows:
Patience N. Agwenjang – Cameroon
Lucinda Mary Athieno – Uganda
Witika Mk (Bwalya Maketo)- Zambia
Helina Stiphanos – Ethiopia
Adepeju Jaiyeoba – Nigeria
Esther Mark – Nigeria
Owolabi Tobi Isaiah – Nigeria
Tola Oni– Nigeria
Janet Gbam– Nigeria
The Question:
The MWF seeks dynamic, innovative and accomplished leaders from all sectors of the society. Please explain how you stand out in your field.
1. This not where to be humble. Blow your trumpet. You have invented something? Mention it! You established a process that has now been adopted by several others? Be clear about it.
2. Talk about what you have done NOT what you will do.
3. Try not to just list all your achievements out in bullet point, show off effortlessly and let it flow.
4. Remember that this question isn’t just about achievement, it is about impact and the work you did to achieve great impact and recognition
Question Components:
1. Show how you are a dynamic, innovative and an accomplished leader
2. The sector you work is irrelevant. Outstanding performance is everything!
3. How you stand out in your field?
Your Response
A good way to start is to show the reviewer exactly how dynamic, innovative or accomplished you are. The best way to do this is to show the qualities by examples. For example, you can say:
‘Growing up, I saw my mother walking hundreds of miles just to fetch water from the nearby river. As a young girl, I dreamt of seeing my mom fetch water from our backyard. This was what inspired me to develop the first ever technologically monitored water well in y community, which ended up helping thousands of mothers in my rural area.’
This example shows ones innovative side without directly saying to the examiner that ‘Janet is a very innovative person’ specifying the word. Remember, you might be all the three but you also might stand out best as only one; in the case of the later, go with one as it would allow you to use more words to tell your story and answer the remaining questions too.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is for everyone. The fact that the person that made it to the 2017 fellowship from your area runs a ‘keep girls in school’ project doesn’t mean you must establish such organization too.
The fellowship is helps cultivate your leadership skills so you can give back to your community in an effective and efficient way.
Focus on yourself while addressing this question. This will help show how you stand out in your own right without comparing yourself with others by simply telling what you do best and how you do it.
How do you stand out? What makes you unique? What makes you different from everyone else? How have you been adding value to your community? These are deep questions you will have to consider here.
This question basically asks that you talk about your Unique Selling Points. Those accomplishments that have added a feather to your cap. Talk about what you consider your great moments. You have won awards, gotten recognitions and other nominations in your field, talk about it.
Only you know what makes you unique. It could be the problem you are solving. It could be a problem you have already solved. It could be an idea that you birthed. Talk about it. Let the reviewer know why you stand out in your field and HOW.
Since the question tilts more towards what makes you stand out, you should explain. Do not just list your accomplishments. Talk about them and how they make you feel. What impact these accomplishments bring to you.
Here, do not just place emphasis on what you want to do. Talk about what you have DONE. What has brought you thus far to where you are.
And possibly, what you are doing now. But the key word should be ‘done/ doing. Not what you hope to do.
As usual, the points should tally.
All the best everyone!
See you again on Monday with the review of the final question
Compiled by Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Founder, Mothers Delivery Kit and Brown Button Foundation.

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