CODE’s Pearl Utuk Emerges Mandela Washington Fellow out of 9,000 applicants

Pearl Utuk leads and supports a range of CODE’s thematic focus in the grassroots communities.

For a decade, Africa’s leading civil society organization Connected Development (CODE) has invested not just on the empowerment of marginalized grassroots communities, but also, in the personal and professional growth of its young, talented and vibrant workforce.

Out of 9,000 applicants, Pearl Utuk who works as a Programme Officer with CODE emerged as one of the 56 carefully selected winners of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for the 2022 cohort.

“Since joining CODE, Utuk has led several projects and campaigns for FollowTheMoney, the social accountability initiative of CODE. She is presently supporting the implementation of COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) which is designed as an intervention to tackle COVID-19 vaccine distribution equity and health sector accountability in 9 African countries”.

“Utuk also leads several projects in the education space targeted at improving both literacy and access to quality and timely education for children from low-income earning families, especially girls’. Her experience with CODE will enable her to maximize the opportunity afforded by the fellowship”

The program which will officially kick off in June 2022 will allow the Fellows travel to the United States of America to participate in six-week Leadership Institutes studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges and universities.  At the conclusion of the Leadership Institutes, the Fellows will attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where Fellows, U.S. government officials, and representatives from businesses and organizations with interest in Africa engage in high-level sessions and workshops.

Commenting on the significance of the Fellowship, Ambassador Leonard stated, “The United States is dedicated to investing in the next generation of young Nigerian leaders reinforcing the strong partnership between both nations.  The vision, courage, and drive to innovate of Mandela Washington Fellows will help shape the future of Nigeria for many generations to come.”

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship exchange program of the U.S. government-sponsored Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) created to further the United States’ commitment to investing in the future of Africa.  Each year, U.S. Missions across Sub-Saharan Africa select accomplished leaders, who have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their countries. 

Since 2014, over 5,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the MWF with 456 Fellows hailing from Nigeria.


Hamzat Lawal

Founder/Chief Executive, Connected Development [CODE]

Media Info: Seun Durojaiye Contact: O8178121247 or

Connected Development is an initiative that is passionate about empowering marginalised communities.

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