Welcome to the review of the final question for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship. It’s been a very long journey and today, I would like us to deeply appreciate every fellow who has been a part of this review one way or the other. Through their very busy schedule, they have spent their time, effort and resources to ensure that you all put in a very solid application. They surely deserve some accolades!!
Remember that for this year’s review, 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
Tola Oni- Nigeria
Dayo Nigeria- Nigeria
Based on your understanding of your preferred track, what skills and knowledge do you hope to gain from the Fellowship that you would not be able to develop through other education or training? How will you use those skills and that knowledge to adapt your activities in your home country within the next 3 – 5 years?
Elements of the Question:
A. What can the MWF support you with that you can’t get from other education or training?
B. How will the skills and knowledge gained support your work in country for the next 3-5 years?
This is one core question you need to think through before responding. It basically wants to know what exactly you aim to GAIN from this fellowship. If not MWF, what do you tend to lose? How is this fellowship different from every other fellowship? What exactly are the gains you hope this fellowship adds to you? Are you certain other educational exposure or training will not equally give you the skills and knowledge you seek?
Over the years, reviewers of the fellowship application have seen people ask from the fellowship what only a Masters or a PhD can offer time. You canno, for instance, be seeking knowledge of supply chain lines when you are currently in the university studying supply chain at Masters level.
Look critically at the challenges you have itemized as needing to solve during the fellowship. Place it against your education, experience or background. You need to be sure that your education, experience or background has not given you already an opportunity to solve the challenges you wish the fellowship to help you with.
When you’ve thought through this exercise, go ahead to state how you intend to use the skills and knowledge gained back home on your return. What exactly would you be doing with the knowledge that you’ve gained and how do you intend to use this knowledge. Be specific. Present your mid-term goals of 3-5 years and state exactly how this would be implemented through the help of the skills. They are not asking for a year’s plan, but an average of 3 years. This means you need to think through, then be sure that whatever you state is what would help in realising your goals.
Whatever goals you present must relate to your central theme as well as your community. Winning a visa lottery so that you can relocate to the US as a long term go for example is a complete NO NO!
One of the ways to see that your plans are fitting through, is when you take a thorough look at the essays from 1-5 and see that there is a central theme therein. There should be some lines connecting the dots of all you’ve been talking about. This final question is a sum up of all that.
State the skills and knowledge that would help you navigate through the preferred track you’d be placed. Explain why these skills are necessary to be gained and how you’d miss out if you don’t get the opportunity. You then go ahead to state how you intend to use the learned skills to expand your work in a period of 5 years. If you can draw up a great blueprint of where you want to be, then answering this question would be easy for you.
As you respond to this final question, be sure to also relate it to your chosen track. Ask yourself: What are your mid to long term plans once you must have gained these skills? Do you plan to use the knowledge to teach rural women how to follow their pregnancy journey? Do you want to use it to help keep girls at school? Do you want to use it to mentor young people and women on how to manage their petty trades? The answer you get will help you respond appropriately.
Wishing you all the very best with your application! I’m certain all fellows are looking forward to welcoming you into the alumni fold!
Lots of love from all of us.
Compiled by Adepeju Jaiyeoba for the Team)