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Mastercard Scholar Alumnus Invited to Present at CGI U Meeting

Published: Wednesday, 25 Oct 2017
Author: The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program alumnus (2017) Daniel Muhwezi, along with second-year graduate Scholar Margaret Wangari Githua, was selected to attend the 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University's annual meeting. Presenting his research on improving African development, Muhwezi had the unique opportunity to collaborate with and learn from a community of young leaders.

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) is an initiative that engages with university students around the world to establish global challenges and determine solutions. The annual CGI U meeting hosts students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities to discuss issues regarding education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

As a partner of CGI U, Michigan State University (MSU) locates and encourages students with innovative ideas for global issues to apply to attend the meeting. Once a student is accepted, they are also welcomed into CGI U's network, in which they can work with mentors to develop their ideas.

"I applied through MSU and was selected to attend the meeting with my idea," Muhwezi said. "CGI U then selects the best 50 projects to present at the event, and my idea was chosen for that as well."

Muhwezi is a 2017 graduate, receiving a master's degree in community sustainability from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. With his drive to give back to African communities, Muhwezi is part of various organizations seeking to transform Africa through education and finance.

His newest organization, Bunifu, strives to empower young people to create job opportunities in their communities while also gaining employability skills. The charity organization was created to curb the high poverty and youth unemployment rates in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Muhwezi is preparing to launch Bunifu in January 2018.

"I began Bunifu because there is a large need for employment in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Muhwezi said. "Bunifu will empower the young people wondering how they can start initiatives to create jobs for themselves and others."

At the CGI U event, Muhwezi conducted a poster presentation that detailed his work with Bunifu and his preparations for the launch. Held at Northeastern University in Boston, MA from October 13-15, the meeting provided Muhwezi with networking opportunities and insight from mentors that motivated him to continue his work.

"Many issues arose when designing the programs for Bunifu and I felt that I could learn from the experiences of the people attending the CGI U meeting," Muhwezi said. "I was inspired to continue doing what I'm doing after meeting with people who have gone through similar experiences, and have still managed to succeed with their initiatives."

Inspiration may have motivated Muhwezi, but his new connections have proved extremely beneficial to his new organization.

"I had the opportunity to meet with global executives that are interested in connecting me to others working on the ground in Africa," Muhwezi said. "We plan to connect with more foundations once our model is solidified, but the connections we've made thus far have aided the development of our program through mentorship and guidance."

As Muhwezi fundraises for his organization's launch, he also continues to develop the actual programs that will begin in early 2018.

"Bunifu will offer many programs like one-week "boot camps" for students to develop ideas for initiatives. We have mentors trained to deliver skill-based courses in entrepreneurship, in which the students can develop their communication, teamwork, and English-speaking skills," Muhwezi said. "Our programs are not just about trainings, but also about connecting these young people and their initiatives to funders, investors, and mentors. The skills learned will make the students more employable, and their connections will help them establish job-creating initiatives."

It is clear that the Mastercard Foundation Scholars from MSU are ready to make large-scale impacts and commitments, even so soon after graduation.

 

For more information on CGI U, visit: www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative/meetings/cgi-university

To learn more about Bunifu, visit: www.bunifu.org/

To read more about MSU's connection to CGI U, visit: msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/14-spartans-to-attend-clinton-global-initiative-university-meeting/