Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
Yonas Alemayehu, Cohort 27, Ethiopia
This small house is neither my grandmother’s house, nor my relatives in a small rural village. This is the Oromia Regional State Attorney General, Omo Beyyam District Office. My office is located in a rural village called Dalota,100km from the city. The only means of travel is a motor bike, which I ride for 24km over a mountain road covered with tiny sharp rocks, making it hard to travel through. My office village is behind in civilization, there is no water, electricity, internet access, transport and restaurants. Moreover, the village is extremely cold and one has to constantly keep warm and ensure extreme safety while traveling to and fro the village to avoid fatal accidents. Dalota is a very cold mountain village in Jimma. You have to dress up like an eskimo. My fellow participants thought the venue of our teambuilding, Brackenhurst in Limuru, Kenya is cold. Dalota is worse! Riding a motor bike over this cold mountain is very dangerous and nerve-racking. In case you slip, you will end up falling about 60 meters, to fatal injuries and even death. I am the only staff member who has not been in any accident. I work as a public prosecutor in Ethiopia, in which I came to learn during my stay in YALI that it is a grand and well-paying job in other East African countries unlike in Ethiopia. Being a judge or a public prosecutor in Ethiopia is a tough job, moreover, if you are a junior. It is not as glamorous as it sounds. When I was in Nairobi for YALI RLC EA program, I realized my profession is held in high regard. One day, in the beginning of our class, Public Management track, it was my turn to introduce myself. I stood up in front of the class and told them my name, where I come from and my profession. The mention of my being a Public Prosecutor in Ethiopia led everybody to exclaim. It was a proud moment for me. Raphael Laurent Banzi, a humble and kind roommate of mine at YALI RLC EA, told me my profession is the most respected and one of the highest paid in his country, Tanzania. I learned, public prosecutors and judges in Tanzania drive the most expensive vehicles, live in the posh suburbs, and have security detail. This was the same narrative I heard from various countries represented at the Center. They imagined I was also wealthy. Back at home, I am the most paid public servant in Ethiopia earning 9067 Ethiopian Currency (Birr) per month, which is approximately $335 with no benefits. My passion and commitment is what keeps me going and to continue working in Dalota. I am aware I can get better opportunities in the capital city, Addis Ababa but the satisfaction I get from serving my people is immeasurable. The need to serve the poor people whose thirst of justice is next to hunger of bread is my motivation. By attending YALI RLC EA, I was able to do more for my community like better engagement and servant leadership. I realized this is not just a job but also a calling. I do pass on the skills I got at the Center through trainings and I hope to help this village become better. There is a lot of potential in Dalota. It is a scenic place with a beautiful scenery, but the village needs the basic amenities to function effectively.