Expanding Pan African Leadership Incubator (PALI) Aspirants Training
by Anna Musandu
The Pan African Leadership Incubator (PALI), an initiative spearheaded by my fellow 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders alumnus Jacob Ouma and me, conducted its third PALI Aspirants Training Workshop in October 2021. The theme for the 2021 round of training was “Effective Campaigning Amidst a Global Pandemic” which provided more insight to participants and placed an emphasis on how to execute campaign strategies through digital media. The Covid-19 global pandemic immensely affected all spheres of society and leadership aspiration is no exception. With disruption of income on a global scale, the individuals in the special interest groups suffered the greatest hit. The ambitions of many were thwarted further by the change in human interaction with the periodic cessation of movement, curfews, and banning of social gatherings. These challenges presented a setback to many who greatly depend on physical interaction and their personal savings to drive their campaigns. PALI aimed to bridge this gap by developing an e-learning portal and a virtual curriculum to build the aspirants’ capacity to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic. This was a change from our previous trainings, funded by the Alumni TIES small grant, as they were conducted in-person in major cities of Kenya.
The October workshop could not have come at a better time as the response to the call for applications was overwhelming. Previous success stories from PALI alumni further augmented the reach and efficiency, and in the end, the target number of 450 applications was met within the first three days! This was followed by a rigorous vetting and screening process of applicant submissions which surprisingly included numerous applications from other countries such as Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria. After selection, all successful applicants were enrolled into the e-learning portal. A needs assessment survey was also conducted to aid in the development of the program curriculum.
Among the esteemed organizations that partnered with PALI to deliver on the training were the Jonathan Jackson Foundation (JJF), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Transparency International (TI), and Judiciary Committee on Election (JCE). The topics that were covered by senior representatives from our partner organizations included community engagement, partnerships and political fundraising, campaign planning and management, electoral integrity, and ethics, and resolving election disputes. The trainings were delivered in four sessions spread across four days and each session had an average of 65 participants following along in real time from across 47 counties. Recordings of each training session were posted on the e-learning portal for those who were not able to join live. With the dedicated work and talent of our project team and speakers, we successfully trained a total of 150 people via the live and recorded sessions.
Pan African Leadership Incubator (PALI) is funded through an Alumni TIES small grant from the U.S. Department of State.