to Host Fellow from President Obama’s Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is pleased to announce that it will host Al Kags, a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow from Kenya participating in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in August and September 2014. He was recognized as a New Generation African Leader (2013).

Mr. Kags is the founder of the Open Institute, an organization based in Nairobi, Kenya that works with governments and civil society organizations to promote Open Government and Citizen Participation. Al primarily works across sub-saharan Africa but contributes to global open government movements. He is currently also a member of the Global Open Data Working Group and the Global Open Data Initiative. He is a co-chair of the Kenya OGP Working Group and was the chair of the Kenya Open Data Taskforce and the Kenya Open Government Initiative. He has worked with the government to develop and implement ICT Policy for the country and has worked with the government at the Kenya ICT Board; he was responsible for the Kenya Content development strategy (Tandaa) and the citizen access programs.

For more than ten years has helped coordinate efforts to make the federal government more open and accountable. The organization acts as the glue for the more than 80 coalition partner and other open government allies. Since the September 2011 announcement of the launch and US participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to increase transparency, has worked to make sure the US’ commitments are strong and that the government delivers on its promises. In 2013, issued an unprecedented evaluation of the US’ efforts to fulfill its first round of commitments, and launched an effort to make sure the US’ second round of commitments reflected input from civil society organizations. During his time at, Mr. Kags will research how other civil society organizations are using the OGP to make their own governments more open and accountable, and how can integrate these other methods into its work.

The Washington Fellowship is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. For the first time this summer, the Fellowship brought 500 young African professionals, ages 25-35, to the US for academic study, leadership training, a Presidential Summit in Washington. 100 of these Fellows were selected to complete eight week follow-on internships. The Fellows are a very diverse group and represent some of the brightest young leaders in the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the nearly 50,000 applications, only 500 were selected to participate this year.

The Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. government and supported in its implementation by IREX, an international NGO with more than 45 years’ experience delivering exceptional education and training programs. To learn more about the Washington Fellowship, please visit