Published On: 19 March 2024

Mr Trevor Mvundura, Country CEO at THINK (Tuberculosis & HIV Investigative Network), clinched an illustrious opportunity when he was selected for The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This incredibly inspiring program is part of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

The programme is designed to empower young leaders between their early 20s and mid-30s who have already demonstrated exceptional leadership potential within their communities, organisations, and countries. Since its inception in 2014, over 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in this Fellowship.

Trevor, also an accountant by profession, is at the helm of a fast-growing non-governmental organisation that is making major inroads in artificial intelligence within the public health space. THINK work spans five central domains – Community Engagement, Education, Capacity Building & Training, Technological Advancement, Research & Clinical Trials, and Health Systems Strengthening. The core focus is on TB and HIV. However, it has expanded to address a wider spectrum of critical challenges related to planetary health – including health, mental well-being, digital health, and climate change.

Trevor is at the forefront and leading a large group of diverse people; under his leadership, this exceptional team, which is the organization’s nerve, has grown from just three individuals 10 years ago to nearly 300 today. THINK has created over 500 jobs throughout these years, and its work has directly impacted over 500 000 South Africans. THINK has also gained over R1 billion in foreign investments to improve health in South Africa.

The Mandela Fellowship for Young African Leadership program comprises a six-week leadership institute training that prominent U.S. colleges or Universities host. During this period, Fellows are exposed to various topics, including business, civic engagement, and public management. They also participate in team-building exercises and engage with local communities to share best practices.

Fellows attend a Summit where they interact with some of the most influential leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors in the United States. This creates opportunities for long-term engagement between the United States and Africa and allows Fellows to build a network of highly influential contacts.

Furthermore, Fellows may apply for the opportunity to work with private, public, and non-profit organizations for up to six weeks after the Summit. This allows them and their hosts to discuss shared issues and challenges in their sectors, broaden their perspectives, and position U.S. organizations for international engagement.

Also U.S. citizens can participate in this global initiative by applying to implement projects in Sub-Saharan African countries, allowing them to continue collaborating with Fellowship Alumni on the continent. These partnerships and professional connections are intended to form lasting relationships, expand markets and networks, and increase mutual understanding.

Trevor’s comment on being presented with this opportunity: “I am privileged to be among the top candidates that have been given an opportunity to add to my knowledge in terms of leadership. This is an opportunity also to share what Africa has to offer to the world.”

Overall, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is an amazing program that will make a lasting impact on all those who participate.