Tomorrow’s leaders of Africa met all this week at the Transparency International (TI) Summer School held on the campus of Mykolas Romeris University.
Lawyer Kudakwashe Hove from Zimbabwe

Over 150 participants from about 60 countries, including Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and others, attended.
Many of the participants are leaders and well-known in their country.

Lithuania TI Project Head Karolis Granickas, said now about 10% of those attending the TI School are from Africa, but there are efforts to increase the numbers.

"We don't have any ambitions to change Africa. Our focus is on the youth and that they understand the power they hold in their community," he said. 

“The contacts I made have been great. It‘s good to network and talk with people from Afghanistan, Egypt, Lithuania and France,“ said one participant, Adanna Amaechi from Nigeria.

Having just completed her Bachelor‘s Degree in Public Health in the U.S., she plans to return to Nigeria after completing a Master‘s Degree.

And one day she may just run for public office in Nigeria.

“I want to start at the grassroots level,“ she said adding that she needs to gain the trust of Nigerians first.

Another participant is lawyer Kudakwashe Hove from Zimbabwe. He works for the NGO, Veritas, as a legal and information officer.

Hove is responsible for analyzing laws and then placing them on the website to make them more easily accessible for all to read.

“Part of the work that we do at Veritas is to help government ministres draft laws,“ he said. “We lobby for good laws to be made,“ he said.

Hove is studying towards a Master‘s Degree online in the area of cyber regulation and law.

“The reason that I am doing my Master‘s is that we don‘t have any laws that regulate Internet use,“ he said.

He plans to help develop cyber regulation in Zimbabwe in the future. Hove also plans to pursue doctoral studies in the future.

Another participant is Jackson Opio from Uganda who is Head of the Health and Psychosocial Dept of the NGO, the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET).

The NGO was founded by his twin brother, lawyer Victor Ochen. This year Ochen and the AYINET have been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

Currently Jackson is studying towards his Master‘s Degree in Social Work in Berlin. He plans to return to Uganda.

Adanna Amaechi from Nigeria and Jackson Opio from Uganda. Photo MRU
Adanna Amaechi from Nigeria and Jackson Opio from Uganda. Photo MRU

“I will go back. This is my dream,“ he said.

“My vision is to work in a setting that has a bigger impact,“ he said adding that he would like to work in an international agency that would give a platform and more opportunities to act.

Jackson‘s success can seem surprising, but is inspiring.

Coming from a large family with 9 siblings, he knew firsthand about poverty. His parents struggled to feed 10 of their children.

He spent his childhood walking barefoot. When he turned 14, he got his first pair of shoes. That‘s why now he appreciates the stylish Bugatti shoes, a present, which he wore during his time in Vilnius.

His mother died, due to lack of medical care, when he was 16 years old. He was forced to assume some of the household chores including cooking.

To earn some money, he grew maize. The proceeds from the sale were used to buy a school uniform. (All Uganda pupils are required to wear uniforms.)

Noticeable for his smile and optimistic demeanor, Jackson has not had all that much to smile about
in life.

His older brother was abducted in 2003 by the armed group, the Lord‘s Resistance Army (LRA), not far from the village of Abia-Alebtong, where he was living with his family.

“We can not confirm whether he was killed,“ Jackson said adding that neither his body nor his grave have been found.

Due to the millions of people injured, maimed and traumatized by LRA soldiers, there was a need to address victims‘ problems.

Thus came the NGO, AYINET. Which helps victims piece their lives back together through counseling and medical attention.

The victims include women, who have been raped and now suffer various illnesses and men with bullets in their bodies, which have never been removed.

“I don‘t tell the victims „you suffered.“ I say: „we suffered,“ the 33-year-old said.

He says that he himself and his whole family are victims, but he has chosen to extend a hand to
those less fortunate and help out.

“If your vision is people driven, you will always look at people – someone who is sick or poor and this will be a great driving force in your work,“ he said.

Jackson said the time spent at the TI summer School in Vilnius has been worthwhile.

The School "has been instrumental in helping understand how destructive corruption is.“ In addition, he has been finding out "what roles individuals can play to fight corruption.“

“It‘s a life-long journey,“ he said. And the work never ends.

The Transparency International Summer School was held for the 6th time this year on the campus of Mykolas Romeris University, which is Lithuania‘s 2nd largest university.

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