Development consultant Tayson Mudarikiri says his priority, after completing a six week exchange program in the United States, is to lead engagement on policy issues related to youth unemployment, which he sees as the continent’s greatest challenge.
“With unemployment being the greatest challenge that the nation’s young people are facing… I hope to rally communities towards informing evidence-based and context relevant policies and programs for youth economic empowerment at national levels,” says Tayson.
He is a committed advocate for inclusive policies that enhance youth participation in public discourse and has shown that he is able to mobilize young people to take part in key national policy processes, such as the National Youth Policy review.
Tayson is one of the 30 young Zimbabweans selected as Washington Fellows, the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). He will spend six weeks at one of the United States’ top research institutions, Arizona State University, where he hopes “to learn and acquire skills for promoting inclusive civic engagement.”
“There is no better opportunity to network with leading young African minds and learn from the best than YALI,” he said. “You cannot be part of this Fellowship and remain the same,” noted Tayson, who serves as the regional representative for Southern Africa at the African Youth Caravan, a project that seeks to consult, consolidate and integrate youth perspectives in the continent’s development agenda.
The civic leader has been working on youth development issues for the past 10 years. He is currently affiliated with the Swiss NGO terre des hommes schweiz, where he works to support the organization’s partners in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Prior to joining terre des hommes schweiz, he served as Program Manager in the Leadership and Advocacy department at the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT), where he facilitated youth participation in public policy and national discourse.
He has also worked for the Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) and currently leads the African Mobility Organization, a pan-Africanist youth organization seeking to compile the first Book of African records.
He holds a Master’s degree in Public Sector Management from Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe as well as an Honors degree in Library and Information Science from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo.
BACKGROUND ON THE YALI WASHINGTON FELLOWSHIP
• Watch the video message from President Obama encouraging young African leaders to join the YALI Network.
• For more information on YALI go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/yali/
• For more information on the Washington Fellowship, including video of President Obama’s announcement of the program go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/washington-fellows/