Welcome to the review of question one of the Mandela Washington Fellowship application for 2019.
As always, I have worked with a number of fellows across Africa and cohorts to put this review together. For question one in particular, I have worked with:
This year, we are focusing on improving the quality of our applications so that it can be competitive.
Please give a brief description of your professional background and current work, including any specific professional accomplishments within the last year. Why have you chosen this work? (150 words).
We would look at this question in three components.
Element of the Question-
A: Your professional Background.
B: Current Work
C: Any SPECIFIC professional accomplishment within the LAST YEAR.
D: Why you have chosen this work.
E: 150 Words
In responding to this question, you need to touch on ALL the elements of the question.
A: Your professional background:
Be creative in merging your response on your professional and current work together. You will typically want to touch on where you’re coming from, professionally, what did you studied in school, what you do now etc. All these should be a few lines with only the most important things listed. Do not spend too much time on it, unless it has a connection to your current job.
Not everyone does the same thing they studied professionally. So here, you talk about your current job, where work and what you do there, how you have been able to impact lives through this current job you hold etc. Note that you should be meeting a need here or contributing towards something.
150 words isn’t a lot so be creative.
Example- “Although I studied law and trained as a lawyer, the concept of right developed a new meaning for me when I lost a close friend at childbirth. Her death motivated me to start Mothers Delivery Kit which provides ultra affordable sterile supplies to women in rural community.”
This example is 47 WORDS! In it, I have combined my professional background with my current work, stated my inspiration and mentioned the needs I’m meeting.
B: Any SPECIFIC professional accomplishment within the LAST YEAR.
The example to reference here must be within the last 12 months prior to your application. This does not necessarily mean an award. This could be your impact figures, community recognition and acknowledgment of the work you are doing or accomplishment a beneficiary has been able to achieve because of what you do. It must be related to your current work.
Think through all you have achieved and see if it’s possible to narrow down your accomplishment and justify it. SHOW why it is an achievement that is important to you. Give details. Numbers. Anything to buttress your point. Just ensure that you make them see how this particular achievement is IMPORTANT to YOU and your career growth.
Talk about it. Show it. DO NOT LIE.
C: Why you do what you do.
Here, you explain the WHY which connects a and b together. If you are into an entirely different job from your professional background, explain why you switched to the new job I.e your inspiration. What motivated you to do the switch? What are the reasons why you doing your current job?
This is more of problem solving. There must be a problem/need your current job seeks to solve. This should be the WHY. It is reason you do what you do.
Again, keep in mind that you have just 150 words so clear and straight forward.
If you are involved in several current work, it is important to chose the one you have the most proven track record in, are most passionate about, desire some growth in and the one the Fellowship can support you the most in.
Here are some further pointers:
– In what sector am I skilled at/ involved in the most? In my case for example, I worked as the head of social affairs in a webmarketing company, but besides that I was engaged in an NGO working for children rights and youth empowerment. I chose to talk more about the NGO and apply for the civic leadership track as my principal interest was pointed into the community development.
– What specific facts drove you to this work? Be sure to include personal or academic experiences or any other important reasons that explain your choice for this position. Why do you personally want to contribute to solve this problem?
We know you have a lot to write but please select only the most important.
Wishing you nothing but the very best! We all can’t wait to welcome you into the alumni fold which is why we are cheering you on and committing our time, effort and energy to ensure you put in a very solid application.
Cheers everyone! Have a great day ahead!!
(Compiled by Adepeju Jaiyeoba (Team Lead) for the review team)