The Young and Emerging Leaders Project (YELP) is an initiative of the LéO Africa Institute, which has been ongoing for 2 years, that annually inducts 20-30 outstanding thought leaders into a fellowship program designed to train and orient values of self-advancement, integrity, social responsibility, and socioeconomic transformation.

Fellows of the YELP come from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, and have backgrounds in media, social enterprise, the Arts, innovation, and activism.

The fellowship imparts critical skills needed in leadership that transforms the individual and society around them. This is achieved through critical reflection sessions, conversations with leaders from various sectors, peer-to-peer sharing and readings about different leaders in Africa and the rest of the world.

At the heart of what we want participants to achieve from this Fellowship is to connect their ideas and visions to individual action and to embrace the concept of servant leadership: the idea of submitting one’s self to the betterment of lives of others and a better society.

Upon graduation, YELP alumni form part of the Institute’s growing network of outstanding thought leaders across East Africa. They continuously support and lift each other up, inspire one another, and collectively encourage each other to become positive change makers. The alumni network is also kept in touch with one another through our Annual Leaders Gathering event that brings together all members of the LéO Africa Institute across Africa

Selection Process

Applications for the Young and Emerging Leaders Project (YELP) open in November every year and the Institute receives hundreds of applications from all over Africa. The call for applications goes out through the LéO Africa Institute website and social media pages, and is therefore open to the general public. However, prospective fellows may also be recommended by the YELP alumni and partners (Stanbic Bank and KAS).

The prospective fellows must be between the ages of 20-30 and through their applications, show a proven record of leadership in their communities.

Once the application period is officially closed, the selection process is done by the LéO Africa team. The initial sieving is based on whether they fit the age requirement of the project – 18-30 years; and are from an African country.

Subsequently, the evaluation is based on the impact of the various initiatives they are involved in, and their passion to transform the lives of people in their communities and beyond. The first round of selection shortlists the top 40 applicants who then share more information about themselves and their work; links to the work they are involved in, as well as their various social media pages to give the team further insight on who they are and what they’re passionate about.

The last phase of the selection process involves an evaluation of these extended profiles, from which the cohort for the next class is finalised and announced as the new Young and Emerging Leaders Project (YELP) fellows.

The fellowship represents our signature leadership development project which aims at nurturing a new breed of socially responsible leaders in Africa.
Awel Uwihanganye
Awel Uwihanganye
Founder, LèO Africa Institute