A young Motswana, Lebogang Maruapula, has been nominated for the 2014 Top 35 Africans Under 35 organised by the Young People in International Affairs (YPIA).
YPIA is an entity at the forefront of identifying and creating opportunities for international affairs students and recent graduates throughout the African continent.
It seeks to provide young professionals with skills, exposure, knowledge, and relationships required to develop a career that will have a lasting positive impact on the African and global political leadership.
An ecstatic Maruapula, 29, could not hide her excitement when The Monitor contacted her for a comment.
“It’s a great honour to be recognised for the little work I do. I especially think for me it’s a huge encouragement to continue working hard in my chosen line of work and in my passions,” she said.
Being the altruistic person that she is, Maruapula believes that her nomination will serve as motivation to other young people to work hard.
She, however assumed, a sullen face when she mentioned that youth often are forgotten for the input they make.
“A platform such as YPIA is one which shares the voices of youth and I’m proud to be aligned with such a great platform,” Maruapula said.
Maruapula is co-founder of The GODDESS Foundation, which she co-founded with Tumie Ramsden and Gao Molosiwa in 2011. The foundation focuses on empowering girls through mentorship and activities that promote dialogue and shed light on their struggles.
“We have in the past worked with SOS, Old Naledi and Maruapula locations and we are currently re-grouping and strategising on how to make a greater impact with girls in our communities,” she said.
She is also a Global Shaper, an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which selects young people who show leadership potential and are committed to making positive socio-economic impacts in their community.
In addition, she is the regional ambassador of ‘Girl Rising’, which is an international movement that brings awareness of equal opportunities for
Being a UNICEF Pacific’s Youth Media Activist, Maruapula believes that youth should be actively involved in bringing about positive change through focusing on International Development issues as well as International Affairs. Apart from her work with the foundation, she works as a public relations officer for Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), with six years of experience in communications, public relations, and marketing.
She also has a keen interest and passion for new media, digital media, and social media management.
Currently, Maruapula is studying to obtain her master’s degree in International Policy and Diplomacy with a specialisation in Public Policy.
Upon completing the Washington Fellowship programme, Maruapula said she will work on empowering youth and conducting community outreach programmes for youth in rural Botswana.
Early this year, YPIA put out a worldwide call for nominations to find Africans under 35 years of age making an impact “in their respective countries, on the continent and in the wider world.
The nomination was open to individuals under the age of 35 at the time of call for applications, a citizen of an African country, excelling in their respective field and area of expertise, and making a substantial impact on critical African issues and international affairs.
Possible candidates also had to be recognised among colleagues and the broader community as a leader or future leader who values ethics and human rights.
It was befitting that Maruapula and the 34 other youth from around the African continent were nominated. Her nomination falls under the category of Community and Development.
The other nominated youth came from 12 African countries including, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Egypt.