Acumen Fund East Africa Fellows Program: Julian's First Training

When I first applied for the Acumen Fund East Africa Fellows Program, I felt like my chances of getting into the fellowship were slim, because after reviewing the profiles of the past fellows, I soon realized that there an amazing group of people who are just as driven and passionate as I am in making a better world, and that my work is only just beginning in helping to drive long-tern change.

Well, despite the rigorous interviews, I am grateful that I made the cut and that the Acumen Fund afforded me the opportunity to develop my leadership potential. As a Acumen Fund East Africa Fellow, Class of 2013, I am now only a few seats away from Acumen Fund's founder Jacqueline Novogratz.

The Fellows program kicked off with a one week-long intense workshop in Kenya, led by some of the best brains behind the fellowship program, past fellows and design thinkers.

The first workshop was a great experience and an eye opener for me in many ways. First, I got to meet the most amazing people - my fellow colleagues - and my cohort includes social entrepreneurs to political figures to health providers. Some of my colleagues include future East African presidents, I am sure of it! 

My roommate, a woman from Northern Kenya, has dedicated her life to saving young girls from early marriages and genital mutilation. She faces harassment and has even been chased while rescuing a 9-year old from getting married to a 70-year old chief. It's startling how she can confront such human rights violations!  

The Acumen Fund workshops were quite engaging. We learned how to develop an elevator pitch, work together to designing a project, and learned all the essentials about business operations - skills that are imperative to my work.

Even though I am back in the office, I am currently engaging with my colleagues around developing and presenting elevator pitches.  FUN!

The program has just begun, but I have been deeply moved and touched by the kind of work and great things being done by each of the Fellows; it’s an indicator that the region has a lot of potential to unlock. 

Watch this space for more interesting news coming to you live especially since the next workshop will be led by Jacqueline Novogratz herself!

-Julian Ingabire, Chief Operating Officer


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