Here we go with Question 5! For this question in particular, I have worked with:
Esther Mark – Nigeria
Adepeju Jaiyeoba – Nigeria (Team Lead)
Amani Katana – Kenya
Chola Lungu-Mutoni – Zambia
Mioraniaina Johane – Madagascar
Patience N. Agwenjang – Cameroon
Rita Zaumu – Cameroon
Owolabi Tobi Isaiah – Nigeria
An important goal of the Fellowship is to develop skills that Fellows need to help them give back to their home communities through their professional or personal work. Describe a specific problem or challenge in your community that you have solved or are currently working to address. Explain the steps you took or are taking to address the problem. Why is this issue important to you?
Elements of the Question
A: Describe one problem you have solved or are solving
B: Explain the steps you took or are taking to address the problem
C: Why is this issue important to you?
As the fellowship seeks dynamic, innovative and accomplished leaders from all sectors of the society this question seeks to know how you stand out in your field and your commitment to the community or sector you serve. You will need to state how you have added or is adding value to your community?
This questions seeks to understand the justification for your activities, project or initiative. It will be highly helpful to think critically before answering this question.
– Why are you doing what you do?
– What is the approach of your organization?
What have you done or are you doing to create a change within your community/workplace? What problem have you identified or are you solving? Why is solving that problem important to you and the community? Be specific about the problem. Is it lack of potable water, lack of electricity, girls dropping out of school, street children on the rise, more families going to bed hungry, more women dying from childbirth complications, graduates who are jobless, trash swallowing the streets of your neighborhood? Whatever the problem you are solving, be sure to state it with solid instances.
This is not the time to explain how two of your neighbors were fighting and you stepped in as the hero to separate the fight for the peace of the compound. Think about what inspired you to embark on finding a solution for this problem, who are you working with to resolve it or who you worked with? Is it community members, your local authorities, youth, women? What motivation you to want to solve this issue?
Beware of throwing out unnecessary statistics. An example of a good answer could be that you observe that most girls who are your neighbours do not complete school compared to boys or alot of graduates in your community cannot use a computer.
It is also important to add some context and perspective to your description. For example, if you say only 5 girls have graduated from university in our village it different from saying out of 20,000 girls between the age of 15 to 30 in my village, only 10 have a university degree and more than half already have at least 3 children. Also, you need to discuss the consequence of this problem.
When you are done with that, tell us the steps you took or are taking to solve the problem you have identified. Who did you meet? How did you source for funding, how did you carryout the project? If there were challenged, how did you surmount them?
Please note that this is not the place to talk about what you want to do or hope to do. The key work here is ‘done’ or ‘doing’.
Remember that you have to maintain a central theme from the start of your application to the end.
Next, explain to us why this issue is important to you. This is where you explain the reason you embarked on this project, what you hope it will achieve with it and why it is important.
Do not try to lie to impress the judges. In the end, you will always be caught up during the interview.
Do not be afraid to show up what you are actually doing that contributes to the community development.
Among all the problems you are trying to solve, think of the one that serves as a link to all these issues.
Avoid giving vague answers such as education and community development, without stating why it is so important to you.
Wishing you the very best in your application.
Have a great week everyone!