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Q: What does YALI stand for?

A:Young African Leaders Initiative

Q: How do I apply to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa?

A: Apply to participate in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program via the online application found at You will need access to a computer and the Internet to apply. You will be required to register an Applicant profile, using your mobile phone and then fill out your application. Applications and information submitted through email or other means will not be considered.

Q: Is there a fee to apply to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program?

A: There is no fee to apply to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program.

Q: If I am selected, what does the program cost?

A: If you are selected to participate in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program, all of the following expenses will be covered by the program:

  • Visa to Kenya (if required);
  • Round-trip travel from your country of citizenship* to Nairobi, Kenya;
  • Transportation to/from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to/from the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa for all non-Kenyan participants;
  • For Kenyans, transportation to/from the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa will be provided for from your location of residence;
  • Customized academic and leadership course;
  • Accident and sickness benefit plan;
  • Housing and meals; and
  • Stipend to cover miscellaneous costs when in Nairobi.
* The Program will only cover your transportation costs to and from Kenya if you are residing within one of the 14 countries served by the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa.

Q: What expenses are not covered by the program?

A: Expenses that are NOT covered by the program include: incidental expenses such as entertainment, alcoholic beverages, and internet fees that may be necessary for participation in the distance learning portion of the course.

Q: Where is the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa located?

A: The YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa is located at the main campus of Kenyatta University located on Thika Road in Nairobi, Kenya.

Q:What will be the housing arrangements when on campus at the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa?

A: Please note that housing will be typically in university hostels or similar accommodations. You will be expected to share a room and washroom with one or more other participants of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus cafeterias or restaurants, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. It is important that applicants are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations. To the extent possible, care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding disability, diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. If you live in Nairobi, you will still have to reside in the university hostels for the residential part of the program.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: Competition for the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa is merit-based and open to young East African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Are 18 to 35 years (inclusive) for the duration of the 4 week program;
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.;
  • Are not living outside of the 14 coverage countries listed above;
  • Are eligible to receive any necessary visa to Kenya; and
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.

Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The management of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa reserves the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant disqualified.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee for consideration.

Q: What is the selection process and criteria for selection?

A:  Selection for participation in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program will be conducted as a merit-based, open competition. All eligible applications submitted by the designated deadline will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semi-finalists will then be interviewed before a final selection is made and an invitation to join the program is issued.

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications:

  • A demonstrated leadership in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement;
  • Active engagement in public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others;
  • Strong social and communication skills;
  • An energetic, positive attitude;
  • A demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the sector/track selected; and
  • A commitment to apply leadership skills and training to benefit of your country and/or community after the program.

Q: Must I be fluent in English? Will courses be taught in French, Swahili or other languages?

A: At this time, English is the only official language for all correspondence and instruction at the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa. You must have good listening, reading, writing and speaking skills in English in order to participate.

Q: What is the overall goal of the YALI Program?

A: The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was established by President of the United States Barack Obama to support young African leaders as they spearhead the socio-economic transformation of Africa as well as enhance peace and security across the continent.

More information about the overall YALI Program can be accessed here:

Q:What are the other components of YALI?

A: YALI has three major components, namely: the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the YALI Network which provides access virtual resources and networking opportunities for young African leaders, and finally the Regional Leadership Centers.

More information about the YALI Mandela Washington Fellows Program can be accessed here:

More information about the YALI Network can be accessed here:

Q: What is the purpose of the Regional Leadership Centers?

A:The four Regional Leadership Centers across the African continent (in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa) are expected to be a catalyst for transformational learning and leadership through interactive, experiential education, group projects and simulations, and mentored individual project development.

Q: What is the goal of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa?

A:  Our goal is to equip participants with the skills and tools to add greater value to society, business and the public sector after the program than was possible before it. The YALI Regional Leadership Center, East Africa – Nairobi will engage individuals who are ready to lead, to solve today’s problems and those not identified. In a sense the RLC is a service producing a differentiated human capital product with each graduate of the program working in the public sector, private sector, serving society or starting their own business. In turn our return, impact, and sustainability will be judged accordingly.

Q: What is plagiarism?

A:  Plagiarism is a type of deception in which a person presents another person’s writing, ideas or materials as their own without crediting the source. Plagiarism is strictly forbidden at the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, and those who plagiarize their application materials will be disqualified. Please note that the staff and selection committee for the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa will be checking all applications for plagiarism. Applicants who are found to have submitted answers that are not their own will be automatically disqualified. For more information, visit

Q: I have a physical disability or special need and I need another person’s assistance to complete my application. Is this considered plagiarism?

A:  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa. Applicants with physical disabilities or special needs who require another person’s assistance to complete an application may do so. However, the thoughts, ideas and content of their application must be their own; they cannot collaborate with the person assisting them on the content of their application.

Q: If I have a disability, will the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa accommodate my special needs?

A: The YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa highly encourages disabled persons to apply and, if selected for admission, will do everything possible to accommodate your particular needs. We encourage you to describe any special needs in the Supplemental Information section of the application prior to submission.

Q: Do I have to complete the application in one session?

A:Once you have started your application, you can save it, log out and come back as many times as you wish to work on your application, as long as you have not clicked Submit. Once it is submitted, the application cannot be modified. Application not submitted by the indicated deadline for the appropriate cohort will not be considered for selection. Incomplete applications will not be considered for selection.

Q: I lost my internet connection mid-way through completing the application. Will all my information be lost?

A:  No, the application automatically saves (refreshes) every few seconds depending on the speed of your internet connection, so it is unlikely that any information will be lost, except for maybe the last question you were working on at the time of the internet disruption.

Q: After I complete and submit my application, can I go back in and make changes or add supplemental materials at a later date?

A: No, once you have clicked Submit on your application, you can no longer add any additional information or make any changes. All information and documents must be uploaded prior to your final submission.