2016 Mandela Washington Fellows at UW-Madison


2016 Mandela Washington Fellows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tshegofatso Susan Mmalane has over two years’ experience working with the refugee community. She currently works as an HIV/AIDS prevention and care officer for the Botswana Red Cross Society in Dukwi Refugee Camp. Her duties include information dissemination, and raising awareness on HIV issues by organizing workshops and commemorative events. As an officer she supervises a team of home-based care volunteers. She offers clients psychosocial support through counseling, and works with a support group for refugees living with HIV in terms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and the disclosure and normalization of HIV. She is skilled in supervision, community organizing, counseling, and resource mobilization. Tshegofatso holds a degree in Social Work from the University of Botswana. Upon successful completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship she wishes to engage her community in issues of empowerment as well as establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders to boost the organization she works for.

Gnenegnimin Elie Yeo has taught economics in the public vocational school system of Cote d’Ivoire since 2011. There he also heads a committee which implements the government’s pilot project to reform vocational schools, making them more relevant to local businesses. He holds positions of responsibility in two different NGOs, each involved in providing vital resources and training to empower and enrich the future generation. He organizes conferences on key themes and also gives seminars on developing an entrepreneurial culture in order to be financially autonomous. Elie has his master’s degree in Business Management. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to create a center that will train and equip young men and women to create their own businesses and impact the community. He aims to advance in local administration in order to respond to local concerns with appropriate action.

Patricia Ndagano has more than five years’ experience in NGOs working in conflict and post-conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She currently works as the senior program assistant at Management Sciences for Health, a USAID implementing partner. She provides high-level support through basic project coordination and administrative support, both to the DRC country representative’s office and to an integrated health project, which works with the Congolese government to strengthen the health system. The 26-year-old is passionate about education and has been volunteering in service clubs and youth-led associations focusing on youth leadership, coaching, and empowerment. Patricia holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology where she concentrated on the contribution of development partners in the fight against poverty in a post-conflict context. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to share and use the skills acquired to implement a program for inspiring the youth through workshops and conferences, while pursuing her career in public management.

Gebeyehu Begashaw has been working as a lecturer at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia, for seven years. His work focuses on teaching graduate and undergraduate students, conducting research projects, and rendering community services. He also currently serves as research officer at the College of Social Sciences, where he oversees research projects undertaken by the faculty and students. His research interests center on different public-health issues such as mental health, maternal health, health economics, and health systems. He advocates protecting the human rights of the mentally ill, which includes the right to appropriate mental health care, and the right to education and employment. Gebeyehu has a master’s degree in Social Psychology from Addis Ababa University and in Organizational Behavior from Paris V Descartes University. After the Fellowship, Gebeyehu plans to continue his work in the public health arena with a focus on improving the mental health care system through evidence-based decisions.

Peter Anomah-Kordieh K. has over seven years of experience in various fields in the disability development sector, and disability rights in particular. Currently, Peter K is a program officer, and human rights advocate for the African Union of the Blind, where he focuses on the ratification, implementation, and monitoring of policies and legislations for people with disabilities in Africa. During his free time, he gives inspirational talks on ‘Ability beyond disability’. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Anomah-Kordieh K plans to continue his work influencing public policies and legislations for the benefit of minorities and the marginalized in Africa. His project, Disability Employment Solutions, trains up and finds decent jobs in both the formal and informal sectors for people with disabilities in Ghana, in order to drastically reduce the high rate of unemployment among Persons with Disabilities

Lamise Atinga is an experienced community development practitioner who currently works with the local government in Ghana as a community development officer. Her passion drove her to start a village savings and loans scheme for rural communities in the Bawku municipality. She also runs an outreach and support group, which seeks to educate young girls on the importance of staying in school and encouraging girls who drop out due to pregnancies, early marriages, finance etc. to go back to school. Lamise volunteers at an annual homecoming event in her village and also teaches integrated science and elective mathematics. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science from the University for Development Studies, Ghana. Upon completion of the Fellowship, she plans to expand the communities she works in, continue to assist rural women to become economically sound, and assist young girls to pursue an education regardless of their circumstance.

Ibrahima Sory Balde has over nine years of experience in various field of management. Currently, Ibrahim is an office manager in charge of government relations for a mining company called Societe des Mines de Fer de Guinee (SMFG), where he represents the company in public and private institutions based in Guinea’s capital city. He also volunteers at the International Lions Club (Kakoulima) helping orphans and disabled people in his local community. Ibrahim holds a Law degree from the University Hassan 1st, Settat, Morocco. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ibrahim plans to influence public management (specifically in education, and best practices of public fund management) in his country via local NGOs.

Sicily Mburu has over five years’ experience in public health in Kenya. She served as a medical doctor within the Ministry of Health, and participated in USAID-led capacity-building projects as part of health-systems strengthening in HIV/Aids and maternal-child care. At a global level, she worked at UNAIDS’ headquarters, assisting in completing scenario reports with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She currently serves as a public health consultant in the county government under the Ministry of Health, and is conducting research on the importance of community involvement in health interventions. She is co-founder of @AIDSnomore, where she increases visibility on HIV/Aids and latest disease trends. Sicily holds a master’s degree in Health Care Management, Economics, and Policy from SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy, specializing in Global Health and Development. After completing the Fellowship, she seeks to use increased mobile technology to assess health needs in her organization, allowing for cost-effective, high-impact interventions.

Stephen Sironga has five years’ experience in health care delivery especially in marginalized, conflict-prone areas of Northern Kenya where he has worked as both a clinician and administrator. He has a keen interest in primary health and health policy. He is currently working with the Ministry of Health at Loitoktok Sub County Hospital as a medical officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi. Stephen hopes that by participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he will be able to interact and share ideas with people from different countries and learn best practices, which could be used to achieve universal health care for all Kenyans and especially those from marginalized communities. He seeks to initiate programs that will lead to the eradication of malnutrition and waterborne diseases and reduce infant and maternal mortality in the region.

Masello Molato has four years’ experience as a professional nurse at Machabeng government hospital in Qachas’nek, Lesotho where she consults, counsels, and educates patients about HIV/Aids. Through advocacy on HIV/Aids, she encourages the reduction of stigma and discrimination on patients living with the disease in their communities. After qualifying as a midwife, she volunteered at Mamohato Memorial Hospital to provide health care to patients. In her spare time, she counsels clients over the phone referred to her by HIV/Aids patients and others needing clarification on the issues and challenges of living with the disease. Masello also works with other nurses dealing with this disease, sharing ideas on how to deal with the challenges of being an HIV/Aids-trained nurse. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship she intends to work with colleagues, nurses, and other community members on leadership skills, and in encouraging people to take the HIV/Aids test.

Julius SM Gilayeneh is a Liberian medical doctor currently working at the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia. He is a committed and dedicated public servant who works passionately to provide relief and hope for underprivileged women in Liberia. In his over two years of clinical practice, he has performed a significant number of lifesaving emergency obstetrics and general surgeries, and is enthusiastic about using his knowledge and skills to contribute to improving the quality of health care for disenfranchised populations. His experience in both clinical and public-health settings has stimulated his interest in advocating for the improvement in the quality of health-care services in Liberia. His key interests include the training of medical specialists, providing better incentives and benefits for healthcare workers, and adequately equipping health facilities to provide much-needed advanced health care that ordinary Liberians cannot afford to pay for outside of the country.

Vednidhi Mudhoo, also known as Ram, has 16 years of experience in the nursing field and assists as a respiratory therapist in neonatal units in all regional hospitals of the Republic of Mauritius. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a postgraduate degree in Critical Care Nursing leading to practitioner from the University of South Africa. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Neonatal and Pediatric Ventilation for his contribution in changing the neonatal ventilation practice in Mauritius to save the lives of critically ill babies. He is president of the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Foundation. Vednidhi’s vision is to bring all African countries together and to extend his service as he believes that all critically ill children of the world deserve safe levels of care. He offers support through education and training to help in the development of critical care services in countries with limited resources.

Obinna Ebirim has over four years’ experience in public health, clinical health, political technical assistance, social media health advocacy, youth development and leadership. He is currently a senior program officer for International Vaccine Access Center projects in Nigeria, which includes strengthening programmatic support to the government for immunization and primary health care systems. He also volunteers as a medical doctor in his church’s free sickbay for poor parishioners. Obinna is founder of the Impact Driven Young Leaders Initiative, a member of All Progress Youth Forum, and content developer for YALI Network Abuja. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Port Harcourt, where he served as an elected executive for the Student Union Government and admin secretary for ‘Catalyst – the Rebirth Initiative’. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Obinna will continue his work on youth development using his IDYL Initiative and organizational memberships.

Babafemi Adebola is a physician providing health care services to underserved populations, especially children of low-income earners and young people. He combines his medical practice with over five years’ experience in sensitization and outreach programs to bridge the gap in access to satisfactory health care delivery. Currently, he works at Lagos University Teaching Hospital as an emergency care medical officer and consults for an online medical platform, HiDoctor. In his community, he coordinates a young people’s health advocacy group, BeAware, focusing mainly on reproductive health and challenges. Babafemi holds bachelor’s degrees in Medicine and Surgery from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he served as president of the medical students’ association. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Babafemi plans to focus on health policymaking, proffering pragmatic solutions and ideas that would enable improved equity and equality of access to health care in yeo. He also plans to expand his advocacy group.

Nafissatou Tine has worked as a lawyer for almost five years. She has also been involved in the activities of the Women Association Lingeer, which she co-founded and which promotes African women through arts and culture. In 2014, she created Sunulex.sn, a website designed to act as a reference guide for Senegalese law practitioners and service providers. Sunulex also aims to compile national and Ohada legislation, case law and doctrine. In 2015, she launched Les Dimanches Littéraires Dakarois, a project aimed at increasing a taste for reading by sharing texts and providing monthly meetings with writers. The same year, Nafissatou joined the Pan-African Institute for Strategy as researcher on the issues of peace and security in Africa. Upon returning from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Nafissatou plans to implement public management practices that are suitable for Senegal and beyond.

Abdihamid Ibrahim, a 32-year-old from Somalia, is a medical doctor and health systems management specialist. For the last four years, he has been working with the Ministry of Health, Somalia, as director of policy, planning, and strategic development. Mainly his responsibilities include the development of sector policies, strategies, and plans. It also includes health information management systems and health sector research and monitoring. He has good skills in public health programming, management, coordination, and communication. Abdihamid’s short-term plans after returning home include managing the country’s public health sector programs more effectively and efficiently and transferring the acquired skills and knowledge to workmates and other stakeholders in the sector. While he’s engaged in youth mobilization for peacemaking and democracy, he is also aiming to play a bigger leadership role in the country. He always dreams of a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.

Bena Mark is a psychologist who specialized in health and counseling psychology in Ahfad University for Women in Sudan. She has eight years’ experience and is currently head of the Department of Psychology at Juba University, South Sudan. Her role involves lecturing and mentoring students to fulfill their dream of becoming quality leaders in South Sudan. Bena devotes her time to transforming the youth into charismatic young leaders. Managing a public institution has improved her communication and language skills, and has helped her to utilize the media as a communication channel advocating for peacebuilding and respect for human rights. She has two plans after she returns from the Mandela Washington Fellowship. One is to invest in girl-child education, which is soon to be implemented. The other is to develop a TV program for the youth towards transformative leadership, which will be viewed over South Sudan TV live from Juba City.

Irene Gwitaba has been working at a regional hospital in Tanzania administrator since 2009. She spent two years studying for her master’s in Public Health/Health management. Her main duties have been related to coordinating and supporting the performance of all departments in the health services. She takes part in the management of personnel, finances, and the other resources necessary for delivering care to patients. She also translates government circulars, health policy, and guidelines for proper care practice. She has seven years’ experience in managing staff and services at the hospital, and also has monitoring and evaluation experience for health service plans and activities. After completion of the Fellowship, she plans to set up a local NGO that aims to support women and children under the age of five in the areas of nutrition, reproductive and child health, and economic empowerment.

Rashida Nakabuga is a social scientist by training with a master’s in Development Studies majoring in Governance, Policy, and Political Economy from ISS Erasmus University in the Netherlands. She previously worked for NUCAFE, a coffee-farmer organization, and currently assumes the role of country representative for UTZ. Her main role is to develop initiatives and programs to tackle issues affecting farmers, such as boosting their market access. Rashida has 10 years’ experience implementing projects on gender, trade, advocacy, and climate change, among others throughout Uganda. Her interest is in transforming societies through contributing to improved livelihoods. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Rashida will continue to serve communities with a special focus on promoting women and youths to participate equitably and enhance their access to opportunities.

Cooper Chibomba has over nine years of experience in the fields of spatial planning, fundraising, and community engagement. Currently, Cooper is the president for Zambia Institute of Planners, a professional institute. He works in Solwezi as senior planner in the Department of Physical Planning and Housing, where he focuses on local area planning, integrated development planning, development control and conflict resolution. He founded Youth First Development in 2010, a nonprofit that is putting young people in the forefront of the development of their communities in Chibombo District. Cooper is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Lusaka. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work at Youth First Development, with a focus on empowering young people with the skills to demand accountability from policy and decision makers, access to information, and justice for children with special needs.

Abigail Nedziwe has over five years’ experience in child development and women’s empowerment. She is currently a child development officer in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Child Development in Choma, Southern Province, Zambia. She works with children who drop out of schools and are forced into early marriages, rehabilitates children living on the streets, and empowers women through skills training and business entrepreneurship. Outside her professional work, she mentors girls who dropped out of school due to early pregnancy, mobilizes youths from her church to help clean the children’s ward at her local general hospital, and teaches traditional games at a local play park whenever her schedule allows. Abigail has a degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Zambia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue advocating for the rights of women and children and the empowerment of vulnerable women.

Mwanja Mwale is a passionate social worker with eight year of experience in her practice. She has been implementing programs aimed at improving livelihoods among society’s vulnerable groups. She currently works with the Department of Social Welfare, where she runs Zambia’s only residential rehabilitation center for female juvenile offenders as well as other children in need of care. Mwanja is involved with coordinating the development and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation of rehabilitation programs at the center. She promotes juvenile justice and ensures positive behavior modification. In addition, she manages the national institution’s financial and human resources. Mwanja hopes to set up strategic community-support services in the best interests of the country’s juveniles. She harmonizes her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Zambia with a Master of Science degree in Urban Management and Development from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Joseph Damba is a physician and engineer on environmental and health issues. He has two years’ experience of volunteer activities in community development, environmental and health areas in particular. Currently, Joseph is an intern in urology at Hôpital Général De Grand Yoff (‘Hoggy’ hospital center) in Dakar, Senegal. His main tasks are to ensure the diagnosis and management of patients with urological diseases such as prostate or bladder cancer. With his free time, Joseph has been pursuing volunteer activities in Senegal. Joseph has a doctorate in Medicine and a master’s degree from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Joseph plans to build health clinics in remote areas to improve community health.

Apolmida Tsammani has over five years’ experience as a lawyer and has worked to redress cases of human rights violations, most especially of persons with disabilities. She is currently working as a state counsel with the Federal Ministry of Justice in Nigeria, where she represents the Attorney-General in court, gives legal advice, and attend meetings on his behalf. She volunteers for a number of organizations, especially disabled people’s organizations, which advocate for the passing of the disability bill into law in Nigeria. She is currently involved in developing a policy framework for sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria. After completion of M

andela Washington Fellowship, she intends to use her position as a lawyer to continue advocating for the passing of the disability bill into law.

Ailly Namupala has over five years of experience in Public Relations with an interest in community development issues. Currently, Ailly works as a Communications Officer at the Namibian Uranium Association. She has been involved in mentoring high school learners in career guidance within the mining industry with a focus on initiating, designing and implementing outreach programs and engaging youth to better understand the Uranium Industry. Additionally, she volunteers in community projects like the Swakopmunder Musikwoche and the Mascato Youth Choir. These projects give her the opportunity and platform to engage, mentor and organize youth development programs. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ailly hopes to study toward a Degree in Local Government and Community Development. Her dream is to empower young Namibians to become great leaders within their chosen professions. She hopes to use her experience as a stepping stone to more community development-focused projects and implementation of her own ventures.