Tips for applying to the MCW Young Leaders Access Program (Ogbemudia Eddy shares his story)
By Ogbemudia Eddy Uwoghiren (2017 Participant)
Do you plan to apply for the 2018 MCW (Miracle Corners of the World) Young Leaders Access Program or have already begun you application? If so, then this piece written by Opportunity Desk (OD) user and 2017 participant would be of help.
The MCW Young leaders program is a full-funded program that brings together youth from all over the world, united by the goal of creating positive change in their communities. It’s a one year long leadership program comprising of three components:
- The YLA Retreat: The YLA retreat is held for two weeks in Burlington, Vermont and New York and its fully funded. It comprises three module : Modern Leadership, Global Citizenship and Local change.
- Project Implementation
- Alumni Mentorship an support.
MCW will cover all program costs and all flight costs for every accepted participant. This means that MCW will cover all costs during the program (July 24- August 2, 2018 ) including housing, food, travel, and any necessary supplies.
Highlight of Eddy’s experience
Ogbemudia Eddy Uwoghiren is a Nigerian Medical Student passionate about Youth Development. He is a Campus Journalist with the Nation Newspaper Nigeria and freelance Medical Journalist with some national dailies and online media where he is working towards improving the profile of health stories in the media across Nigeria.
I got to know about the program from the OD website. Over the years, I have had an idea in my head towards implementing a curriculum aimed at educating high school students and youth on FIRST AID Skills but never knew how to go about it.
When I saw the advert, I knew the program was for me. I went online and downloaded materials on how to draft a project proposal, which is key in the application. I also contacted my lecturers in Medical School to secure recommendation letters.
I scaled through the first stage and went on to the 2nd stage where I had to conduct a need assessment. I studied the materials MCW sent as guidelines and used them to work on the need assessment. I also scaled through and was scheduled for the final stage. I did more research into the project and finally got selected March 31st 2017.
I went to the United States of America July 23rd – August 5th for the YLA Retreat and the program exceeded my expectation. It provided a networking opportunity and I was thereafter attached to a mentor to guide my project implementation when I return to Nigeria for the next one year.
Advice to Applicants
Understand that the MCW YLP application is divided into 3 stages
- Stage 1: General Application
- Stage 2: Need Assessment Survey
- Stage 3: Skype Interview
Here applicants are expected to fill in their Biodata. One of the most important advice is to avoid errors as much as possible. In Stage 1, applicants are expected to provide answer to three short essay questions.
Question 1: Identify an issue in your country that concerns you. How would you like to address this issue (500 words)?
While there are many issues bothering our communities like child marriage, inadequate access to education, climate change and others, you are expected to identify one that gives you so much concern and you will be willing to address in the next one year and beyond if need be. Thereafter outline your response under the following heading.
- Problem statement:
Ensure your response is in simple and clear English and state the name of the community as well as the country. For example: Lack of FIRST AID Skills among high school students/ Youth in Isihor village, Benin City, Nigeria.
- Introduction/ Problem Analysis:
Here, you are expected to dwell on the problem. Introduce the problem and analyse it is details, explain while it concerns you the most and also talk about the impact of the community issue you have identified. If you have a good and inspiring story of how the community issue has affected you in the past, talk about it.Use figures/statistics and quote research works done by foreign agencies that bother on the community issue.For example: it is better to write ‘8 in every 10 high school students in Isihor village, Benin City, Nigeria lack basic First AIDS Skills to administer during times of emergency condition.In analysing the problem ensure to talk on the effect of the community issue – long short term effect.For ExampleThe absence of First AID skill among youths in Isihor Village, Benin City, Nigeria has led to increase in avoidable deaths, loss of manpower and a poor health index in the community.
Understanding that the MCW requires participant to implement solutions to the problem they identified. Applicants are expected to know that, they have a minimum of one year to implement the project.You are expected to come up with objectives for the community issue you have identified and state how this project will change the fortune of your community.Outline your answer in bullet points and make sure it’s not more than three
- Project Action plans and Efforts thus far:
While also outlining your answers in bullet points, you are expected to come up with possible solutions to the community issue you have identified. Note that these solutions should be as clear as possible and you must be willing to implement them within the next one year and beyond (If need be). Do not write more than 5 and use bullet points.I will also advise you to state (also in bullet points) actions you have taken in the past or presently towards tackling the community issue you have identified. This clearly defines you as a leader because leadership is all about taking actions to better your community and not necessarily holding a political position.
As leaders, we understand that a problem can’t be solved in isolation.Here, you are expected to list stakeholders you will collaborate with in tackling the community issue you have identified and make sure they are not more than three.
- Sustainability plans: List out your plans towards making the project sustainable. This could include continuous advocacy campaigns, health education, formation of support clubs etc.
- Benchmark/ Indicators:
Here you are expected to come up with possible indicators you will use in monitoring the progress of your actions. This could be through conducting surveys.
Question 2: Please describe any experience in community or grassroots work.
Have, you are expected to talk about your volunteering experience in grass root level. As much as possible, talk about impact. Use numbers to show impact. Don’t be modest. Be the best and most amazing version of yourself. You are free to BRAG but Don’t LIE. They will find you out.
Rather than write ‘organized four sickle cell Anaemia awareness campaign in Isihor community for one year’,
Present it in this format: ‘Organized four sickle cell Anaemia (SCA) awareness campaigns in Isihor community over a period of eight months leading to an increase in awareness rate of SCA to 85% as against 20% as indicated by a survey done before and after the campaigns”.
Question 3 – Describe one time you had been faced with a challenge and had to come use a leadership skill to come up with a solution.
I advise applicants to first identify a specific leadership skill from the array they possess and thereafter describe in details (take note of the words limit) a situation where it helped them in tackling an issue.
MCW requires 2 Recommendation letters. Ensure you get a recommendation Letter from the following persons.
- Academic Head: This person should vouch for your English proficiency.
- Non – Academic Head: I will advise you get a letter form an NGO who should speak on how they knew you and have worked with you.
Applicants who successfully scale through to Stage 2 will be invited to conduct a need assessment survey on the community issue they have identified using questioners. Good news is that MCW sends materials to prepare the need assessment survey. My advice at this stage is that applicant should be more detailed when reporting their findings to the selection team.
This is the Skype interview stage and you are expected to talk more about the community issue.
Some of the common questions asked include;
- What will be your contribution to the MCW YLP?
- What do you know about MCW and how did you hear about it?
- Discuss your community issue (Project proposal) in details.
I hope these tips guide you and I look forward to reading about your selection story on Opportunity Desk very soon.
With Love, from the Ancient City of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
Ogbemudia Eddy Uwoghiren
MCW YLP Participant 2017
Apply now for the MCW Young Leaders Access Program.