Tips for successful YALI RLC Application

If you have applied for YALI RLC without been successful, it nothing to worry about, just think of what you feel you didn’t do right then and make amends and if you’re applying for the first time, this can be your time, I got selected on my first application. Below are tips to help your application stand a better chance.

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by the United States government as an effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders that will build the continent through enterprise, participation in different arms of governance, entrepreneurship and the civil society.


  • HAVE A FOCUS; you might be doing many things, but don’t bring everything in, rather focus on one or two projects you’re most active in. Don’t mix everything up, and if you’re adding two different projects you’re working on, ensure they are very related.

If you have several project and you’re running, kindly pick the best that gives you most information and where you have more stories to tell. This shall make your application be more cohesive and makes your story flow well.

  • USE NUMBERS AND DATA: Numbers don’t lie, have your data and numbers in place, numbers and data such as: I founded my initiative in xxxx year, we have employed xxxx young people, xxxx women, and xxxx people with disabilities. Our project have benefited xxxx, living in, and the likes, just be specific and make projections for the future. This shall assist to measure the impact of your work.

YALI is interested in investing in you, so that you can then go on and invest in other people. You have to make that connection and make it clearly with numbers.

  • WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? EXPRESS IT CLEARLY: Motivation is the driver of social change, as a young change maker, what motivates you to start your project? What story touches your heart and made you want to see the change you’re working on? More importantly what motivates you to apply for YALI? What do you wish to gain? Ensure you’re able to express it clearly.

There is a section about what your work will look like after YALI. Make it about people, about your country which will inevitably feed into our growth as a continent.

  • AVOID LYING: there many truth about you enough to make your application successful, don’t forge qualification you have or don’t, what work you’ve done or not done.

YALI as an international organization knows that no one is perfect, they know are have lots of deficiencies, and that’s one of the core aims of the program, to groom young leaders, be true to yourself and your application, if you’re found misrepresenting yourself in your application, it can lead you been blacklisted by YALI and its other afflicted partner and sponsors.

  • VOLUNTEERING IS PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: your volunteering experience is also a professional experience, ensure you only add relevant experience to your application.

In case you don’t have full time experience, leverage your experience as a volunteer. That counts as professional experience, seeing as you were part of helping an organization achieve its goal. Think about specifics that relate to your role in that organization and link it to a bigger picture.

It’s about what you’re saying, as much as it is about how it is being said.

  • LET YOUR STORY BE CONTINUOUS: Ensure your stories are continuous and related, your answers to the interpersonal skills, administrative skills, and leadership skills should be reflected in your backup answers.

In conclusion, don’t rush through your application. You don’t have to finish it in one seating. Take a break. Ask questions. Read through your answers before making your final submission; if you were on the other side as a reviewer, would you select you? That question honestly helped in shaping my answers and telling my story.

I wish you all the best, and I hope that the next time we talk about YALI, you’ll be sharing your acceptance email with me!

Registration for the next cohort is still open you can APPLY HERE the deadline: 29th November, 2020.

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