At home in ELF-Africa, away from home

All Ikpang Ekpenyong Idongesit wanted was to spread his wings in his career and have a different experience beyond the city of Abuja in Nigeria. An indigene of Akwa-Ibom state, he wanted something more than the opulence and the great taste of luxury that Nigerians in Abuja are known and loathed for.  

Teaching was good for him, but he wanted to work with young people at a different level. He started seeking opportunities for scholarships, internships, and fellowships then, he found Princeton in Africa. 

He applied in October 2022 to Princeton in Africa, and they responded positively. They sent him a list of possible organizations that met his areas of interest, and among them was Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa.  

“I did my research on the organizations and thought ELF-Africa came close to what I really wanted to do – work with young people,” he says. 

He had an online interview with ELF-Africa and was later informed by Princeton in Africa that he had been selected. Then came the big switch to Kenya for the next 12 months. 

“I knew I was on the verge of something new and was therefore not scared,” he recalls.  

Upon arrival, he joined the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship Programme, which targets young public servants.  Under the PSELF program, he works as a Programme Associate assisting with the activities of the programme, such as training sessions, ELF-Africa events, and administrative support. He also helps coordinate seamless transition between different sessions during the training.

If he was nervous, his first impression of the ELF-Africa office helped calm him down. “The office had an African touch to it, complete with pictures of Pan-African nationalists, which I found very impressive,” he said. 

Within no time, he found himself immersed in the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship, a programme the organisation ELF-Africa is involved in together with other partners, including the Public Service Commission in Kenya. 

He found ELF-Africa staff getting ready for the Youth Day of Service (YDOS) in different parts of the country. Though he had been in the country for hardly a week, he was incorporated into the team that was going to Rongai in Kajiado County. 

“I got the chance to meet the staff outside the office, met alumni of the different programmes and even planted trees at a nearby hospital,” he adds.  

Soon after the YDOS, Idongesit was involved with the training for the public servants, where he got the chance to rub shoulders with past and present high-profile career civil servants like former Head of Public Service Dr Sally Kosgey, among others.  

He also realized that young public servants in Kenya are just as driven as those in Nigeria. They want to change the narrative of public service in their countries and be the agents driving change in their various sectors.  

Furthermore, Idongesit finds ELF-Africa as a family, and that stood out for him the most. Passion for work and desire to excel were also key things that impressed him in the organization. For these reasons, he would recommend ELF-Africa to anyone seeking a credible organization.  

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