Africa’s Changemakers Address Energy Challenges


  • News release about selection of UC Davis to host energy institute
  • News release about the fellows and their arrival
  • Pitched stories to news media
  • Highlighted opportunities for media to accompany fellows on site visits
  • Escorted media and arranged interviews
  • Captured video and photos
  • Promoted on social media


Adele Boadzo of South Africa knows the pain of not having electricity — her grandmother died from an accident with a gas cook stove. In sub-Saharan Africa, in fact, two out of three people lack access to electricity, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Strategic Communications told the story of how Boadzo and 24 other young African leaders attended a six-week institute at UC Davis to leverage the campus’s energy expertise and better equip themselves to tackle the enormous energy challenges on their continent.

The UC Davis institute was the first and only on energy offered through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.


Stories by Climatewire and Voice of America highlighted the energy expertise of UC Davis. Other media that reported on the energy institute included Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Alternative Energy Africa and Black Enterprise. Regional media — including The Davis Enterprise, The Daily Democrat and The Vacaville Reporter — accompanied the fellows on tours and community service projects to tell the story. The California Energy Commission highlighted the fellows’ visit in a blog post.

President Obama himself gave a shout-out to the UC Davis energy institute before 1,000 fellows gathered from the 36 host universities. UC Davis postings of that kudo generated more than 180,000 impressions and 3,000 engagements on Facebook and Twitter. The video itself had over 62,000 views.

As Adele Boadzo told Voice of America about her experience at the institute, “I’m so excited to go back to South Africa and really make a difference and use everything I’ve learned here.”

Photo: Beatrice Muthoni Mgugi of Kenya measures the rotational speed of a household fan and the correlated energy used.

Beatrice Muthoni Mgugi of Kenya, right, measures the rotational speed of a household fan and the correlated energy used as another fellow and an instructor look on. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)