It’s a great opportunity for me to write to you about my YALI experience in Nairobi, and what you should expect before and after applying if successful.

if you have read About me you will realize that being from DRC, and I was just like you searching for help on how I can be able to apply to a cohort in the YALI program.

worry not again I will give you a skeleton of what yali is all About.

what is YALI

According to the YALI website ” The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, results-oriented leaders comes out of the statistics: nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

it organizes 4 major track that is:

    business and entrepreneurship
    civic leadership
    public management

for your own interest, you will need to select one of the 4 tracks. YALI learning takes a period of 12 weeks total, 4 weeks in campus and 8 weeks for virtual learning.


Via their social media accounts and website, YALI provides the dates of application and deadlines for those applications, keep an eye daily on their accounts twitter YALI REGIONAL LEADERSHIP CENTERhttps://twitter.com/YALIRLCEA and Facebook page YALI FACEBOOK.

complete an online application and go and forget, I don’t say to forget that you applied but relax and wait for their response. when I applied in MARCH 2016 I received feedback in AUGUST few weeks to the actual event.

here are some of the question you expect to fill as essays in your application.

Key Responsibilities and Achievements

Personal Statements

1. Please tell us more about yourself for us to know you better. (250-word limit)
2. What do you consider your most significant leadership role to date? How does this accomplishment demonstrate
leadership characteristics? What impact did you have on the community/organization? (250-word limit)
3. Please provide the name of a person who could verify your accomplishment:
4. Describe one specific challenge in your community or country. Then discuss how you are addressing this challenge by
sharing what you (as an individual) are currently doing and your desired impact. (250-word limit)
5. Why are you applying to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program? How will you implement what
you have learned in the YALI program after completion? (250-word limit)

If you see closely its only 250 words, think critically on what you can write, do not write too many things that are obvious. better write 150 catchy words that can convince the admissions office than writing 500 words that do not have any sense.

In your response be honest, and clear that will give you a plus and added an advantage, look at a sample of my answer written answering question 4.

” My country is facing a challenge of organizing Presidential Election in 2016, Currently, I am doing
nothing to help my country go out of this tragedy
that may slow down our economy if it fails, but we are
doing public awareness of youth through social media platforms like facebook, twitter, by sharing what
we as youths need to do to save our country from any tragedy that may occur, in our group we discuss
about our constitution, what does it says of election and make the Congolese group aware, so the desire to
fight for our country be in us; Hence, we develop the spirit of “AMOUR DE PATRIE” love of the
a country in them. in anyhow as youths and the population of the country can defend our own constitution
and rights. my desired impact is to see a peaceful, fair election coming November in DRC. where the
DRC will have a new president.”

try to be unique and realistic on your contribution don’t speak stuff for the sake of speaking but what you have actually done.

Be open-minded while answering the question

what next after application

After your application, seat down and continue your normal work, normal activities but remember to check your email at least twice a week. YALI admission will communicate with you via email and not phone not unless selected you can have a Skype call or normal phone call. on special cases, they can call you during your application process.


You might be selected or rejected based on your application details, and this information will be communicated to you once the decision has been made.

Rejected candidate, do not feel bad, me personally I was rejected at first then reapply, and was selected, they are always best CVs and best application than yours keep that in mind, Only the best 90s are selected.
check the website gradually and apply for next cohorts and you could be the NLG (Next Lucky Guy).

After being selected you will receive a scheduled interview for you. the interview is mostly a phone call or Skype call. so do not feel worried of you coming with a gray suit in an interview, background of the company, etc, be content because you can even do that interview in your bathroom, swimming pool, etc but remember that you are a leader , though its not physically but be ready, relaxed, compose yourself and at least 15 min before the interview time prepare yourself.

the interview normally takes 8-15 min, mine took 7 min, hahaha yeah! how?

1. Well do not over speak,
2. Answer the question as its asked,
3. Do not go round the bush,
4. Be ready,
5. take a second to think on the answer,
6. Give the interviewer time to finish his question
7. Ask 1 or 2 question that you feel relevant

After the interview seat down an relax, go back to your normal activities but check regularly your email as you may be asked to send a document tomorrow at 10 am GMT if you did not you just gave your chance to someone else and you just lost it! check your email often , check your email often , check your email often

After the interview you can be selected or not, the decision will be notified to you via email, if not selected most likely you will be on the waiting list, and keep an eye on your email, because the admission could consider you and your documents need to be sent as early as possible.

if you would like to know more of the YALI 3 weeks feel free to write to me via my details here Contacts if you need my phone number, drop me an email.

i will be sharing with you the experience from day 1 to the end.

wish you success as you are applying to YALI and be ready to learn..

wow, expect surprises from the YALI team, all catered for, from FLIGHT(To and from you country) to Washrooms. i will be sharing more surprise soon!

Enjoy !


NB: The post requires to be edited not the final copy!


    1. Hi Aliu,

      The Regional center has changed its system of training when I did, it was 8 weeks, where 4 weeks on campus and 4 weeks virtual, now its only 4 weeks on campus, hence things have changed, what I can advice is to sit back and just wait for the center’s email, the last cohort application was due on the 19th February and both successful and unsuccessful candidates were notifed for the second step which is the interview on May 21st, 2018, as you can see, the waiting period is close to 9 weeks wait, the center recieves a 1000 application for only 90-100 spots

      Good luck and all the best


    1. Mussa Mchichiona

      Which documents they will ask you to submit because I am among the one who have been selected in yali regional east Africa this year 2019.


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    1. Mussa Mchichiona

      Which documents they will ask you to submit because I am among the one who have been selected in yali regional east Africa this year 2019.


  3. Alhaji Daramy

    Very Educative, i have been selected and my interview is schedule for the 26th May 2020
    thanks for advice its has got me relax now


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