WASHINGTON DC —
By Mike Hove
Sixty Mandela Washington Fellows of 2017 are expected to leave Zimbabwe on Thursday for the United States where they will be doing professional studies at various American universities and colleges for six months.
One of them is Liberman Bhebhe, the founder and executive director of the National Youth Development Trust.
Bhebhe, who has 12 years civil society management experience in the democracy, rights, and governance sector, says he is raring to go.
The civic society leader firmly believes that rubbing shoulders with other fellows will lead to him learning more about how youths from different nations face their challenges.
He will in turn look towards implementing his findings back home after completing the six-week program.
Bhebhe further says he was selected to be among the 60 Zimbabwean fellows because of the work his organization conducts, which is in governance of the four pillars the organization was founded on such as educating the masses on elections, democracy on human rights.
The second being peace building and conflict transformation, the third leadership and capacity development and the last focusing on business leadership and entrepreneurship.
According to Bhebhe, it is the last pillar that made his work at the NYDT attractive towards the selectors for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship.
“The problem that we have among the youth of Zimbabwe is that we have a lot of youths who have founded their companies and have great products and ideas that should be monetized, but unfortunately we don’t have the knowledge as to how to sustain our businesses.
“Partially, the reason why I’m so excited to be part of the program is that I am looking forward to seeing how youths of other nations are doing it, especially my American counterparts.
Upon completion of the six week fellowship, Bhebhe intends to utilize his position as founder of the NYDT and knowledge attained on the program to open a school of leadership and entrepreneurship, under the name NYDT School of Leadership and Entrepreneurship.