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Herve JoelHervé-Joël Houango, a LEAD Fellow from the Ivory Coast in Africa, has been awarded a Humphrey Fellowship by the United States' Government.

Created in 1978, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme supports ten months of academic study and related professional experiences in the US. The aim of the scheme is to allow participants to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to international problems, and Fellows are selected for their leadership ability and commitment to public service.

Hervé-Joël Houango took up his Fellowship on 1 August 2012 and is studying Environmental Management Systems in Banking and Corporate Social Responsibility at Cornell University in New York. Since 2008, he has been in charge of environmental studies at the Côte d'Ivoire National Investment Bank and prior to that he worked at the National Environment Agency for over four years.

Hervé-Joël was the first National Coordinator of LEAD Ivory Coast from 2004 to 2010, and currently manages a Youth Leadership Capacity Building programme that he initiated in 2008. The programme helps young people to develop the leadership skills needed to become advocates for change.

Assisted by a number of LEAD Fellows and external speakers, Hervé-Joël organises seminars and conferences for schools and youth organisations that focus on topics such as vision, problem-solving and decision-making. Since 2008 more than 120 young people have taken part in the programme, drawn from both local schools and institutions such as Amnesty International and Volunteers for Education and Peace.

Commenting on his Humphrey Fellowship, Hervé-Joël said: "I am really excited as it will give me the chance to learn more about Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility. I look forward to building on my LEAD training and using the skills I have learned to help create a more sustainable future for my community."