Davis, California - UC Davis hosted 25 Young African Leaders as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in July as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.

For two of these young leaders, the trip to California also included a visit with CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI).

Fatima Ademoh from Nigeria and James Kakeeto from Uganda visited CDFA on July 27 to learn about our Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) and State Water Efficiency Enhancement Program (SWEEP). These programs were presented in the context of California’s overall vision for Climate Smart Agriculture. The fellows expressed an interest in various aspects of energy in the agricultural sector, such as achieving zero-net energy, renewables and biogas.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

Our staff stressed the importance in both programs of collaboration with farmers and a variety of other stakeholders such as industry and researchers, as well as public engagement. The visiting leaders were also interested in California’s ongoing drought, dairy manure management and biogas plants and soil carbon sequestration.

Beyond their scientific and agricultural curiosity, the fellows expressed genuine interest in the potential to transfer the knowledge and experience from California’s projects to their own home communities.