Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, June 23, 2021 — Today, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) inaugurated the USADF Leslie Award to honor Chairman Jack Leslie's 20+ years of leadership and service on the USADF Board of Directors. The USADF Leslie Award is an annual recognition accompanied by up to US$20,000 for high-performing USADF grantees who have demonstrated the following six LESLIE values: Leadership, Excellence, Service, Learning, Innovation, and Execution.
In 1980, Jack Leslie worked as a young staffer for Senator Edward Kennedy, one of the principal sponsors of the legislation that established USADF. Almost 20 years later in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Leslie to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of USADF. In addition to serving USADF, Jack Leslie is the Chairman of Weber Shandwick, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former Chairman of the Board of USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and of USAID’s Advisory Committee for Voluntary Foreign Assistance (ACVFA). He serves on several other boards including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Ron Brown Scholars Foundation, and Water.org.
"I’m humbled and thrilled about these awards which are yet another way of championing Africans and their ideas and equipping them with the resources needed to effect change," said Leslie during the award ceremony. "Each of the awardees should be congratulated for their leadership and service to their communities. They are the ones charting their own paths to prosperity in Africa."
This year's USADF Leslie Awardees are:
The Awardees were selected from approximately 400 active USADF grantees through a quantitative and qualitative method and agreed upon by the full USADF Board of Directors.
In closing the inaugural Leslie Award Ceremony, USADF Acting President and CEO Liz Feleke stressed, "USADF's mission is more relevant now than ever. As Africa recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should all be thinking of the future of the continent – a future that's more inclusive and supportive of indigenous solutions and community-level investments – instead of returning to how things used to be."
USADF is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress to invest directly in African grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs. USADF's investments increase incomes, revenues, and jobs by promoting self-reliance and market-based solutions to poverty. USADF creates pathways to prosperity for marginalized populations and underserved communities in the Sahel, Great Lakes, and the Horn of Africa. To learn more, please visit www.usadf.gov.
About Naremiet Beach Management Unit (Kenya)
Naremiet Beach Management Unit is a sustainable fishing cooperative in Lake Turkana, Kenya. In 2015, USADF awarded grant funding to Naremiet BMU to modernize its infrastructure and business systems. With the success of the grant, USADF awarded a follow-on grant for Naremiet BMU to expand its operations and storage systems. To learn more, please watch this video on Naremiet BMU.
About Selma Agriculture Development Corporation (Liberia)
Selma Agricultural Development Corporation (SADC) is a leading rice processor in Lofa County, Liberia. SADC generates revenues from the sale of high-quality milled rice on the local market and to institutions such as the World Food Program, Mary's Meals, Liberian government ministries, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. In addition, SADC also generates revenue from the sale of rice bran to livestock producers. To learn more, please visit www.selma-agri.com/.
About Omia Agribusiness Development Group Ltd (Uganda)
Omia Agribusiness Development Group Ltd, based in Arua Town, North-Western Uganda, is a private agribusiness development company specializing in providing farmers with access to affordable quality inputs, extension services, and linkages to profitable and reliable markets. Established in 2018, the company has now expanded to cover the entire West Nile region. To learn more, please visit www.omiaagribusinessdg.com/.