Interview with Mohamed Okash – Class of 2019 Valedictorian

Mohamed Okash was selected the Young and Emerging Leader's Project (YELP) Class of 2019 Valedictorian. He spoke to Charlotte Natukunda about the award and his leadership journey after the fellowship.

Mohamed Okash was selected the Young and Emerging Leader’s Project (YELP) Class of 2019 Valedictorian. He spoke to Charlotte Natukunda about the award and his leadership journey after the fellowship.

YELP Fellows (L-R): Linda Mwaura, Mohamed Okash, Liz Muange and Roland Niwagaba pose for a photo at the graduation seminar in Kampala.

Charlotte: What does it feel like to be recognized as the YELP Class of 2019 valedictorian?

Okash: I am immensely grateful to my class of 2019 for believing in me and choosing me the best fellow among the class. It was a humbling experience and honour to be the third recipient of the Magnus Mchunguzi Certificate for Outstanding Leadership.

I accept the recognition and award on behalf of all the fellows of the class of 2019 and the entire YELP Family. I feel honoured and responsible for accelerating efforts to deliver impact and changing people’s lives in my community.

Talk to us about your experience in the YELP Fellowship

First of all, I want to thank you, Charlotte, Amri, Kwezi, Awel and the faculty members for the tireless effort they invested in empowering us to transform our lives and contribute building the Africa we want: a peaceful, prosperous, and integrated continent.

I always feel honoured to be part of this great YELP family. Previously, I had participated in some kind of leadership training, summit or seminar, but the fact is that YELP is a different; it is inspiring and life-changing. In a few words, it is about aiming high, breaking the barriers and winning for all.

 

Okash (R) with fellow Class of 2019 member Jonan Twinamatsiko from Uganda enroute to the second seminar in Kalangala, Uganda./LeoAfrica/Flickr

This fellowship has been a one-year-long transformational journey which has not been limited to just our professional but also personal growths. The friendships I made, the ideas we explored, the leadership conversations we had and Pan-African readings we reflected were incredible.

What has been your biggest take-home?

YELP has helped me to become an agile, empathetic and forward-thinking thought leader. One who represents a vision, a hope, and a change for better.

I will champion this new mindset, knowledge, and skills that I gained during the fellowship towards both my personal and professional success and contribute to the Africa we all want.

Now that you have graduated from the YELP Fellowship, what next?

Aluta Continua! The struggle will continue to free Africa from hunger, poverty, inequalities, and conflict. Now going back home, to Somalia, I will commit to empowering lives, sustaining the fragile peace we have, and changing narratives about my country and Africa.

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