Africa Youth Leadership Program
Africa Development Corps provides Francophone African secondary students with 3-week Youth Leadership Exchange program in the United States. This youth exchange program is aimed at bolstering African students’ understanding of civic participation and the functioning of a democratic society as well as imparting specific skills in leadership, conflict resolution, and community development. By participating in this exchange program, these future leaders are equipped with the tools needed to tackle the socioeconomic challenges they face in their respective countries. This exchange program also encourages mutual understanding between Americans and Francophone Africans by assigning the students and educators to partners.
The student participants are 15 to 18 years old with a strong academic background and both students and educators have demonstrated leadership skills. 48 students and 12 educators come from Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania and Niger each year. These countries are all on the IMF’s list of the worlds’ least livable countries, except for Mauritania, and they are all also on the IMF’s list of Highly Indebted Countries. The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy in each country recruits, screens and selects 8 students and 2 educators from each country. Two countries participate in each 3-week trip.
The three week program includes visits to the U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court, the State Department, the White House and Smithsonian museums. They visit a nonprofit activist organization, a homeless shelter and participate in community service. A four day trip to Virginia emphasizing American history includes visits to Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, Fredericksburg and Mt. Vernon. Participants attend eight lectures on American democracy and civics, and engage in the intensive four-day Project Citizen training where they endeavor to solve a socioeconomic issue in their home countries.