2019 Yale Young African Scholars program kicks off

Yale Young African Scholars program session

On July 25, the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) program kicks off its 2019 season with sessions in Accra, Ghana; Harare, Zimbabwe; and, for the first time, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sourced from a YaleNews article, linked here:

YYAS brings together African secondary school students for a cost-free, seven-day residential program designed to introduce students to the U.S. university and financial aid application process and requirements.

Administered by the Yale Young Global Scholars Program and building off that model of an interdisciplinary academic curriculum, YYAS participants attend lectures led by prominent Yale faculty, seminars by Yale student instructors, and experiential exercises designed to augment their leadership skills. Participants engage in robust intellectual exchanges that are crucial to understanding Africa’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

In addition to the introduction to university application processes, Yale student-led courses and leadership training, YYAS participants also receive standardized test preparation lessons, which are designed especially for African test-takers new to exams like the SAT.

Host nations and program dates are:

  • Ghana: July 25 – Aug. 1
  • Kenya:Aug. 7 – 14
  • Zimbabwe:Aug. 18 – 25

All YYAS participants are citizens of an African country between the ages of 14 – 18 and currently attend school on the African continent. This year’s cohort of 300 students is the most diverse since the program’s inception. It includes students from over 40 different African nations who attend over 280 secondary schools. With such diversity, Associate Director of YYAS Lucy Appiah describes the program as “synonymous with the African Union (AU) Assembly. The competitiveness of YYAS, which has an acceptance rate lower than 6% this year, makes each participant an outstanding leader and representative from his or her country.”

YYAS students standing in a circle outside.Thanks to the support of the Higherlife Foundation, YYAS continues to be free to all participants and offers travel stipends for students from low-income backgrounds.

Further support for the YYAS program comes from partnerships with youth and education access-focused organizations working in each host country. Ahaspora in Ghana, Education Matters in Zimbabwe, and new partner Akili Dada in Kenya will run parallel Educators’ Conferences for 180 teachers, headmasters, and advisers from African secondary schools in their regions through the Higherlife Foundation’s support. With expert contributions from new partner universities such as Johns Hopkins, Rice, and Ashoka, and existing ones such as Columbia, Rochester, and Sciences Po, these conferences will introduce the educators to university guidance strategies and resources so that they can offer application support to all the students at their schools who may want to pursue tertiary education abroad. By equipping both students and educators with information about university access, the YYAS program aims to magnify its ability to support students across all of Africa.

For additional information about YYAS or the program’s partners, visit the YYAS website or contact african.scholars@yale.edu.

Yale and Higherlife Foundation Convene Access Network for Education Leaders Across Africa

HALI Access Network members at the fourth annual Indaba in Ada, Greater Accra, Ghana.

HALI Access Network members at the fourth annual Indaba in Ada, Greater Accra, Ghana.

From April 26th through the 29th, the 2019 HALI Indaba brought over 2000 high-achieving, low-income (HALI)  high school students from all over Africa together. This year, the Yale CIPE and the Yale Young African Scholars Program, a flagship program of the Yale Africa Initiative, were both representatives and, for the YYAS, served as the secretariat for the meeting. According to the Yale Young African Scholars News,

Now in its fourth year, this year’s Indaba theme was ‘From Success to Support,’ focusing on how member organizations can support their alumni as they transition into university and, later, back to the continent after graduation. Network members and university admissions representatives presented information and led discussion sessions on topics including mental health support, helping alumni to stay connected with and to give back to their home communities, and supporting students from conflict-impacted regions. One participant commented that the indaba offered, “some fascinating and well thought out sessions, with the focus on mental health and wellbeing of students as a critical conversation each year…” and another remarked that, “data sharing, in particular, allowed for different organizations to gain helpful insights into the work generally being done in university access across the continent.”

To read more and for more information, read the full-length article here.

Looking for Balance Between Conservation and Development in Africa

helen gichohi

Posed as a question, it sounds like a corny joke.

Why do they need to build the highways in Africa so high? So giraffes can walk underneath!

But for ecologists like Helen Gichohi, it’s a legitimate concern. As the African continent aims to modernize its infrastructure and diversify its economy in the decades to come, striking a balance between development and conservation — like building highways high enough above the ground for wildlife to migrate safely underneath — will be paramount.

“I often get asked, ‘Why are you being such an activist?’” Gichohi said during a recent discussion with students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). “Because I understand and believe that our continent must develop, but we must do it responsibly in order to secure the iconic wildlife species of Africa.” Gichohi, the former president of the African Wildlife Foundation, is this year’s Dorothy S. McCluskey Visiting Fellow in Conservation at F&ES, a role that welcomes conservation practitioners — particularly women from developing countries — to spend a semester at the School. The Fellowship recipient can pursue independent research, enhance collaborations between F&ES and environmental organizations, and expand professional training opportunities for students.



Register now for our return 2019 Service Trip to Cape Town, South Africa

Philippi, Cape Town, South Africa
July 25 to August 4, 2019

The Yale Alumni Service Corps is pleased to announce the next in our series of international service trips. We will be returning to the country of South Africa continuing our work in the township of Philippi, an urban community located in Cape Town, South Africa.

Springing from the oldest town in South Africa, Cape Town is known as the “Mother City.” Located on the southwestern tip of the country on the Cape Peninsula, its harbor contains one of the largest container port facilities in the Southern Hemisphere. The city is also one of the key economic centers of South Africa as well as the home of the country’s Parliament.

Amid this prosperity is the township of Philippi, an underserved community of approximately 200,000 residents located in the Cape Flats area of the city southeast of the central business district. Historically a farming community, its population grew in the late 70’s and early 80’s as apartheid policies drove migrants from other parts of South Africa into settlements in the area. Today it faces the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and overcrowding.

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Yale Young African Scholars Program Launches 2019 Application

Yale Young African Scholars 2018 Program Participants in Ghana.

The Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) is excited to announce that our 2019 application is now available online!

With continued support from the Higherlife Foundation, YYAS brings together African secondary school students between the ages of 15–18 for a tuition-free, intensive academic and leadership program that lasts eight-days per session. Next year the program will be held in three countries—Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe—between late July and end of August.


Africa Invents

More than half of Africa’s 1.2 billion people is under the age of 21, and governments confront challenges in educating and hiring so many young adults. But some young people are impatient, devising inventions to solve basic problems and starting their own businesses, explains journalist Raluca Besliu. She describes a 27-year-old in Ghana, Frank Darko, who had heard about children struggling to ford rivers and flooded areas to reach their schools in Volta River regions of Ghana, and he invented a water cycle with paddles. The cycle may be unconventional, but it caught the eye of his university after he could no longer afford tuition and dropped out. The university awarded Darko a scholarship for the cycle known as the Chario and launched an entrepreneurial and innovation incubator to encourage other students to transform their inventions into business ventures and contribute to the economy. – YaleGlobal

Lessons from Global Network Week in Ghana

Frank Ciminiello

On a plastic chair, she sat off to the side in a thin white shirt, refusing the needlestick. Fever and weakness were upon her, yet she would not allow the staff to test her for malaria. Only when the volunteer and her new friend—an American graduate student on a volunteer program at the orphanage—came back did Angelica even consider allowing the test. That is how the orphanage survived: through scattered volunteers, zero government assistance, philanthropic Ghanaians, and day by day. For Angelica, 10 years old by calendar but appearing no older than eight, it was no different. The food and financial donations given that day, coordinated by Yale School of Management Executive MBA student Phoenica Fitts and University of Ghana Business School coordinator Yvonne Barnieh, would help for a day or two, hopefully long enough for her test to come back and for her to start feeling better.



At F&ES, Rwanda Official Makes Case for Stronger Policy-Academic Partnership

michael jenkins forest trends yale

Last year, Rwanda became the third of 39 countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment, an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that, among other goals, set a timetable for reducing the production and usage of hydrofluorocarbons, a category of potent planet-warming gases, in cooling and refrigeration systems.

The agreement, which struck a balance between the need for these air-cooling technologies in a warming world and the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was named for the Rwandan capital that hosted the meeting where the agreement was reached. It was approved by nearly 200 national “parties” to the historic Montreal Protocol, the 1987 international treaty that sought to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances.


Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo Discusses Democracy and Development in Africa

A new age is dawning on the African continent, one that will utilize democratic processes and economic development to create a prosperous, independent future for the African people, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, president of the Republic of Ghana, told an audience at the Yale School of Management on September 27.

“Democracy and freedom are providing the political, social, and economic platforms for Africa’s long-awaited development,” Akufo-Addo said. “Africa is on the cusp of building a great new civilization, one which will unleash the great energy and potential of the African people.”

Akufo-Addo spoke about democracy and development in Africa to a capacity audience in Yale SOM’s Zhang Auditorium as part of the Leaders Forum lecture series. The series brings leaders from business and government to Yale to speak students. The event was also part of Yale President Peter Salovey’s Yale Africa Initiative.