Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) – Summer 2023 Cohort

In July 2023, Meridian welcomed 46 youth participants and 12 adult mentors from 12 African countries to the United States for the Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP), an annual three-week academic and cultural exchange on leadership development and civic engagement. 

Opening in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 16, 2023, the first week of the program consisted of a series of workshops and cultural visits that introduced participants to community action planning, leadership approaches, civil rights and social change movements, and key sights around Atlanta. 

After the Atlanta opening, participants split into three smaller cohorts, each one travelling to a different city across the United States: 

  • Burlington, Vermont: Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Madagascar 
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad 
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: Mauritania, Niger, Republic of Congo, Togo 

During their time in their host cities, participants lived in homestays, allowing them to gain insight into diverse facets of American culture, cuisine, and family life. In addition, participants undertook a comprehensive program of leadership training, civic engagement, and cultural immersion through virtual action planning sessions, skills development workshops, and visits to historical, political, and cultural sites. Highlights included a visit to the Arkansas State Capitol, volunteering at a berry farm in Vermont, and learning about technology and coding education initiatives with WeCode KC in Kansas City.

On July 31, the program culminated with participants’ Community Action Plan presentations and closing ceremonies in each cohort’s respective host city. Community Action Plans were detailed and wide-ranging – from sensitization campaigns on environmental issues to school improvement projects to technical skills and empowerment workshops for women. Upon returning to their home countries, participants will have the opportunity to apply for a PAYLP Mini-Grant of up to $500 to implement their fantastic Community Action Plans. 

Project summary

Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) – Summer 2023 Cohort
Regions: Africa
Countries: Republic of Congo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mauritania, Togo
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement
Program Areas: Global Leadership