Facebook Community Leadership Programme to Boost Socio-Economic Development in Africa

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Facebook, one of the world’s leading social media companies has opted to invest in Africa through an initiative dubbed the Community Leadership Programme.

In line with its focus on bringing people together and supporting the development of connected communities, Facebook has announced the names of 116 people worldwide who have been selected to join the Facebook Community Leadership Program. Around a dozen African community leaders have been selected to become programme residents and fellows.

“Many community leaders worldwide and in Africa turn to Facebook to create connections through Facebook groups, WhatsApp or Messenger,” said Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director Facebook Africa.

“This programme is all about empowering them with the tools, support and funding they need to advance their causes and build their communities,” Ntshingila added in a statement issued this week.

Since announcing the programme in February, Facebook received more than 6,000 applications from all over the world. A selection committee, which included employees as well as community experts from outside of Facebook, reviewed each application to identify leaders with a strong, clear and committed vision for their community.

Five participants have been selected globally as community Leaders in Residence, each will be awarded up to $1 million to fund their community initiative. The final amount received will be determined based on final budget proposal created and submitted by each resident as part of their program training.

Kenya’s Noah Nasiali, the selected leader in residence for Africa, has brought together more than 100,000 farmers across Africa through a Facebook group in less than a year. Farming is one of Africa’s most important industries, and Noah’s community helps farmers obtain and share critical information.

“Africa Farmers Club was formed to help farmers come together to access credible, reliable and applicable farming information that will help them develop their skills and most importantly help them to get a market for their produce and in the end get returns for their hard work,” he explained.

“I invite group members to share their stories both positive and negative through pictures so that we can learn together. Our community aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal which is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” Nasiali said.

The programme will also host more than 100 fellows and youth participants who will receive up to $50,000 each to be used for their community initiative. Fellows from Africa, and Kenya in particular, include: Felista Wangari, the person behind a drive dubbed the 52-Week Savings Challenge; Pamellah Oduor, of Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals; Asha Mweru of #WomenWorkKE; Caroline Kihusa of Still A Mum; and Truphosah Monah, Women And Realities of Disability Society.

Other Fellows include: Anike Lawal, of Nigeria-based group, Mamalette; Mamadou Sy, of Senegal-based group, Docteur Nakamou; Gabriel Hoosain Khan of South Africa’s LGBTI community, Human Rights Group; Lusanda Magwape, Dream Factory Foundation (South Africa); Nadine Maselle, Salt River High Tutoring (South Africa) and Savio Lule Mark of The Youth Hub Uganda.

“Our group of African fellows and our resident represent diverse perspectives from different parts of the continent, but they share a common goal of helping their communities thrive. We know they will do great things over the next year and we’re excited to get them started,” commented Ime Archibong, Vice President, Product Partnerships at Facebook.

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