Alhasan Bah is an active “activist.” We first meet during our layovers at the new, ultra-modern Blaise Diagne International Airport outside Dakar, Senegal. He was flying back to Gambia after attending an Immersion for Early Stage Entrepreneurs conference in Pune, India. I was flying in from the United States on my way to his home country, The Gambia.
We had chatted earlier on the Internet after I had reached out to him from a list of Mandela Fellows whose interests are similar to ours, The Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP). Since its start in 2014 by the Obama Administration, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders has provided young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home.
“I was at the University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy for a six week intensive leadership program,” explained Bah, who is a school teacher.
“Basic skills of communication, networking, collaborations skills, drafting policy document, building organizations, and branding,” were the topics we covered, he continued. While there he learned how to use social media, which helped explained to me his love for his selfie stick and use of GoFundMe.
It was during his Mandela Fellowship stint that the Soma, Gambia native networked at a conference at the Omni Hotel in Washington, DC and met the folks from Teach for All. “I am now a prospect partner and part of the Gambia team working with extending (the education program) to The Gambia in 2020,” he stated.
It was through the Teach for All program that he parlayed his work into the opportunity to learn more about the program in India and to learn entrepreneurial basics in Kathmandu, Nepal. The international travel he says, “has changed my view on how to approach grassroots change or development. I learned how important it is to first conduct research on the current realities and to work with the communities to create a theory of change were every change will be considered.”