After narrowly defeating her male opponent in the 2020 election, Wellay T. Baar was elected President of Cohort Seven of the Young Political Leadership School of Africa (YPLSA). Despite a male-dominated local and foreign delegation, she won the participants’ hearts with an issue-based campaign that highlighted, among other things, political accountability, inclusivity, and transparency. Since then, the young leader has spent the last two years devoting her time and efforts to creating and bolstering YPLSA initiatives aimed at young people in numerous African nations.
A flagship initiative of NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, The Young Political Leadership School Africa aims to create leaders with integrity and character who will alter the African continent. The organization holds that young people should be organized in large numbers with the best among them to win elected seats, bringing youthful excitement, fresh political ideas, and most importantly, excellent governance principles. Young leaders from all across Africa are gathered by the YPLSA every year to participate in a demanding five-day leadership and youth involvement in a politics training program. Over a nine-year span, the flagship program has benefited more than 830 young leaders from around 15 different African nations.
After the five days of training, the participants hold policy discussions and town hall meetings in their respective nations for three months in order to increase political accountability and integrity, and electoral outcomes. Baar claimed in an interview with this institution that the expertise she and her lieutenants gained during the YPLSA training allowed them to successfully manage the affairs of Cohorts Seven and Eight, respectively.
“The Young Political Leadership School Africa is a great opportunity for young African leaders to nourish their leadership skills. I was able to apply what I acquired during the YPLSA Training, Teamwork, being able to lead by example and availing myself and take responsibility for decisions made.”
In pointing out her achievements, she explained “we were very much successful and we delivered on our promises made during the campaign. For example, our team promised to establish the Young Political Leadership School Africa Alumni Association and we fulfilled that promise”.
The Leadership of Wellay T. Baar was also achieved in the area of preaching peace messages to young people across Liberia’s fifteen counties during the 2020 senatorial elections.
“The goal of this peace campaign was to educate and inform young people about the fact that politicians get along and don’t fight. Typically, their followers especially young people are the most violent. We use youth as a target audience for our campaigns, reassuring them that they can support opposing candidates without resorting to violence.”
Delegates at the Young Political Leadership School Africa are given the chance to put what they learned about leadership into practice after their training by taking part in an organized election process that typically elects a new leader to run the class’ affairs for a year. In the more than 10 years of the organization’s existence, Ms. Baar served two consecutive terms as cohort president of the Young Political Leadership School Africa.
“There was a problem with the election process for cohort eight, and the electoral commission decided not to move further since the candidates didn’t meet the requirements. As a leader, I decided to step up when no one else would when I was asked to continue in my role as president.”
The two-year Presidency of Wellay Baar came to an end on Friday, November 25, 2022, after another female, Musu Davis was elected by majority delegates of Cohort Nine of the young political Leadership School Africa. Ms. Baar stated that she was excited another competent female was democratically elected to lead the group but encouraged the new leadership to build upon the achievements of her footsteps in contributing towards taking the vision of YPLSA to the next level. She described the coming year as crucial to the newly elected leadership as three of the six countries in cohort nine are expected to hold major elections next year.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria are all set to go to the polls in 2023 to elect new leaders of their respective countries.
Reported by: Joseph Daniels
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