Building a Robust Next Generation of West African Leaders

Building a Robust Next Generation of West African Leaders

“Through a hands-on approach to executing tasks in the next few months, I hope to get a grasp of how civil society works in the region of West Africa. This will help me understand how to channel my strength and efforts in supporting organised policy advocacy.”

These are the words of Ijeoma Kalu, a young Nigerian graduate who joined WACSI’s Policy Influencing and Advocacy team under our Next Generation Internship Programme.

The Next Generation Internship Programme (NGIP) is WACSI’s flagship youth leadership programme focusing on developing the next generation of West African development practitioners. The six months internship programme primarily targets young West Africans, either fresh graduates or early career professionals, seeking work experience in WACSI’s core areas of work.

Lisa Emefa Sengretsi, a young Ghanaian who joined the Capacity Development unit, sees this opportunity as a stepping stone for her future professional career.

“This internship will provide a conducive space for me to develop my professional capacity. It is a great place to start the transitional journey from the academic to the professional world which is my most pressing career goal at this point in time,” she says.

“By the end of this programme, I hope that I will gain a firm grasp on the way civil society works in West Africa and the impact that CSOs are making, especially in Ghana so that I know where I can be most effective in contributing to the cause of civil society in the sub-region. I also hope to improve my social skills and build life-long and meaningful professional relationships” She added.

Marilyne Francine Ayodele Agueh, a young Beninese and a graduate of the University of Professional Studies (Accra, Ghana), currently serving under the Knowledge Management unit, is looking forward to deepening her knowledge on civil society’s contribution to the development of West Africa.

“This opportunity will enhance my civic consciousness and give me the requisite skills to make a valuable impact on society. Besides, this programme will allow me to enhance my capacities, writing skills and develop my interpersonal skills”, she stated.

These are the aspirations of the new interns who will be serving at WACSI for the period of July -December 2020.

Due to the ongoing health crisis, WACSI put in place measures to adapt the internship programme to the current remote nature of its work. While Kalu is working from Nigeria, Agueh and Sengretsi are based in Ghana and working remotely as the Institute tightens measures to keep its staff safe during the life-threatening ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Till date, WACSI is proud to count 56 young professionals among its Next Generation Internship Alumni. This has been made possible thanks to the support from Ford Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

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