I was astonished to meet Obama, Zambian Youth

Former United States president Barack Obama has reiterated his commitment to supporting resilient and determined young people from across Africa.

According to a statement issued by WWF Zambia Communications and Marketing Head Eneya Phiri, Obama was speaking when he held an exclusive meeting with Brighton Kaoma, who is one of the Mandela Washington fellows from Zambia, Obama hailed young who are using their innovation and initiative to create sustainable solutions to challenges their communities were faced with.

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends- honesty and hard-work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism- these things are old,” said Obama.

Obama also announced his intentions to partner with young African leaders like Kaoma as part of his planned activities under the Obama foundation.

Obama congratulated Kaoma on being the 2016 recipient of the prestigious WWF International President’s award which was bestowed on him by the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in June 2016.

The award, presented by WWF International President Yolanda Kakabadse aims to recognise young people who are active in conserving the natural environment, achieving significant success and/or innovative approaches, and whose efforts are influencing and inspiring others.

And Kaoma described his interaction with the first African American president as “astonishing and a true reflection of the saying that nothing is impossible”.

“Being the only young African to meet President Obama from a pool of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows of 2017 was a huge honour and a great learning curve,” said Kaoma.

He said he narrated to President Obama his journey in radio and environmental advocacy which he began at only 14 years old when the Children’s Radio Foundation visited his community and trained him in radio broadcasting and production.

Meanwhile, WWF Zambia Acting Country Director Dr Seif Hamisi said Kaoma represented the best of the Zambian and indeed African youth potential for change that would drive Zambia and Africa’s 21st century push for prosperity alongside social, cultural and environmental renaissance.

“We in WWF take a lot of pride in what Brighton does and continues to do for the youth of Zambia and the continent,” said Dr Hamisi.

         

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