Department of State’s Young African Leaders Initiative recognizes 2016 UW-Madison Mandela Washington Fellow

When Juliana Lamise Atinga first arrived in Madison for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hoped to learn strategies to improve the lives of rural women in her home country of Ghana.

She did not expect to find an answer in a bottle of hair product.

Atinga is a community development officer in the Bawku Municipal Assembly in Ghana. She completed the public management track of the Mandela Washington Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the summer of 2016.

While in Madison, Atinga realized the disparity between the high price of shea butter products in the U.S. and the meager profits made by rural Ghanaian suppliers. Upon her return, she launched a cooperative that allows rural women to control the price and demand for shea butter and other locally-produced beauty products.

The U.S. Department of State’s Young African Leaders Initiative recently recognized Atinga in a Stories of Change video.