Nature enthusiast and community rights activist Promise Muleya Simwinde is among the 30 participants from Zimbabwe selected to participate in the second slate of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States of America.
During his six week fellowship which will wind up with attendance at the Presidential Summit in Washington DC, Promise will be stationed at the University of California at the Goldman School of Public policy where he hopes “to tell his story to the world, network and build new relationships with people/mentors who have overcome challenges in their lives to make it at the top while remaining in touch with the downtrodden in society.”
He says he will “explore climate change and environmental preservation issues from a different perspective and build synergies for his PhD research and host organization SOFECSA with other renowned professors, improve on his strategic leadership for PFAU.” In addition Promise says he looks forward to acquiring fund raising and resource mobilization skills so he can develop the local programs he is working on.
Promise is the co-founder of the Promise Foundation Austria (PFAU) http://www.pfau-verein.org/english, which he established, with the objective of helping disadvantaged, but academically gifted children. His program has helped over 180 children in his hometown Binga access primary school education through PFAU sponsorship.
The foundation has also successfully spearheaded the construction of a solar powered borehole pump to ensure clean and affordable water for the school and community at large through a Michaela Baschny donation. Promise believes that “with a sustainable water system, permaculture gardens and green islands can be set up around the school as a source of food through the school kitchen concept and a living laboratory for learning pivotal skills in agriculture for the kids and the community at large.”
Upon his return from the fellowship Promise hopes to “continue inspiring other young Africans that despite challenges, the vicious cycle of poverty can be broken.’ He also hopes to “contribute to science and policy progress with regards to climate change and agricultural research as a career path as well as continue working on scaling up the activities of PFAU to other areas.”
Promise holds a BSc honors degree in Natural Resources Management and Agriculture (Agronomy) from Midlands State University in Gweru, a MSc in Physical Land Resources (Soil Science) from Ghent University in Belgium and is currently a PhD candidate based at the University of Zimbabwe researching on “Integrating Strategic Design, Appropriate Management Practices, and Traditional Knowledge To Assist Farmers In Zimbabwe To Better Manage Climate-Related Risks.”
You can follow his MWF experience on twitter @PromiseMuleya