2016 Mandela Washington Fellow

27 Jul 2016 - 15:00

Adele Boadzo, a 2015 electrical engineering master’s graduate, has been selected as a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow. She completed her BSc in electrical engineering in 2010 and her MSc in 2015 under the supervision of Dr Sunetra Chowdhury.

  Her MSc focused on distributed renewable-energy systems to electrify South Africa’s rural areas.  Her research at UCT fuelled her passion for renewable-energy projects and highlighted the importance of research in growing Africa’s knowledge and capabilities in the renewable-energy sector. She was supported and encouraged by the UCT Electrical Engineering Department to co-author papers focused on harnessing biogas, wind and solar technologies. Consequently, she has worked in this field as both an electrical engineer and a management consultant.  She is currently a project manager at a renewable-energy company based in Johannesburg, where she delivers clean-energy solutions to increase the continent’s renewable-energy footprint and electrify Africa’s rural population.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The Fellowship will be held in summer 2016 and provides 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at US higher- education institutions. Host institutes focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. New in 2016 will be a pilot Institute focused on Energy. Mandela Washington Fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and bringing positive change in their organisations, institutions, communities and countries.

As a Mandela Washington Fellow, Adele will spend six weeks at the Energy Institute hosted by the University of California-Davis. There, she has the opportunity to gain skills around the design, evaluation and commercial viability of clean-energy projects as well as to increase her understanding of innovative policy, regulatory and entrepreneurial approaches to clean energy. After her academic residency, she will travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the three-day Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit hosted by President Obama. During the Summit, she will have the opportunity to interact with US leaders in the fields of business, government, and the non-profit sector.

Adele said “My ultimate goal is to confront Africa’s electrification challenges by running a solar technology distribution company, Hope Rises Solar, managed by women in rural areas to electrify at least 1 million households in ten years.  After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, I will continue my work in growing Africa’s renewable- energy sector, while building my organisation that brings light and clean energy to Africa’s darkest countries.”