Folajogun (Fola) Akinlami (Nigeria) has 13 years of experience with various media advocacy campaigns for disabled people. She runs a non-profit organization for people living with disabilities and has a television program which advocates for their inclusion and respect in society. She also organizes a training program for deaf children to teach them life skills. Fola studied English at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and is currently enrolled at the National Open University of Nigeria pursuing a master’s degree in Journalism and Communication. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fola plans to continue her work with people with disabilities across Nigeria, focusing on advocating for policies that would declassify deafness as a major disability.
Gloria Bitomwa Mwenge (DRC) has six years of experience in sustainable conservation and nature preservation, with a focus in eco-tourism. Gloria is currently working as the head of tourism at the Kahuzi Biega National Park. She has been working diligently to promote, design, and advertise eco-tourism activities, both locally and internationally. Gloria holds a degree in Business Administration from the Kenya Methodist of Nairobi. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Gloria plans to continue her work to promote and design eco-tourism activities to create sustainable development opportunities and reduce the pressures on the protected areas.
Semira Hassen Ebrahim (Ethiopia) is a medical intern at the Addis Ababa University College of Health Science. She is passionate about psychiatry and has worked diligently to both raise awareness about and provide treatment for mental health problems in her community.
Alma Nalisha Anele Cele (South Africa) has three years of experience in the public health field. She is currently completing her year of community service, after which, she will be a fully qualified medical practitioner. She is the co-founder of an acclaimed literary podcast, The Cheeky Natives, whose primary aim is the continued archiving of black literature from the continent and diaspora. In just two years, the podcast has become a hub for critical literary engagement for authors of all ages in a variety of genres. Alma Nalisha studied Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in Medicines Development at the University of Stellenbosch. She aims to enter the pharmaceutical industry and is driven by the need for compassionate, innovative research and solutions to African healthcare problems. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alma Nalisha plans to continue her work advancing women’s development through the literary and healthcare space to encourage greater collaboration between these two passions.
Patience Chungu (Zambia) is a natural resource manager with over ten years of experience in the field of aquaculture research. Currently, Patience is an aquaculture research officer at the National Aquaculture Research and Development Centre under the Department of Fisheries, Zambia. Patience focuses on developing technologies and generating information for fisheries´ development through training and research. Patience holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Aquaculture from Curtin University-Australia. Patience has a passion for equitable and sustainable utilization of natural resources and hopes to contribute to poverty and hunger alleviation one household at a time. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Patience intends to focus on policy formulation and project implementation, to create platforms for youth, girls, and women to pursue leadership roles, positions of influence in society, and science as a profession.
Awo Abdi Daher (Djibouti) has five years of experience in journalism and communication and is a correspondent with Aljazeera Arabic in Djibouti. Awo studied journalism and communication in Morocco and is interested in sharing her experience working as a reporter.
Mohammed Kromah Dunbar (Liberia) is a master’s degree candidate in Epidemiology and a research officer at the Ministry of Health with more than five years of experience. He provides regular updates on the weekly early warning bulletin and the prepared dashboards regarding the status of disease prevention and control in Liberia. Mohammed is involved in community service to educate adolescents about sexual and reproductive health rights with a primary focus on teenage pregnancy, personal hygiene, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue working in the health sector with a focus on providing support in the process of building a resilient health system in Liberia through direct engagement with the community.
Dr. Helena Fantaye (Ethiopia) has over six years of experience in the field of public health and currently serves as a Director General at the National Blood Bank Services. She is also a member of the executive committee of the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia and studied medicine at the University of Gondar. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Helena plans to leverage her knowledge and skills in public health to continue to strengthen health systems and advance women’s empowerment in Ethiopia.
Agnimel Felix Kevin Gnagne (Cote d’Ivoire) has over four years of experience working in law enforcement as it relates to the environment and sustainable development. He holds a master’s degree in International Environmental and Natural Resources Protection Law from the Ocean University of China. Currently, Kevin works at the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation as a trans-boundary law enforcement technical committee officer. At the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, he focuses on creating a collaborative exchange framework between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia and analyzes the legal and institutional framework related to natural resources and environmental management. Kevin is also a member of a legal working group that coordinates with the Ministry of Water and Forest to help them improve their institutional and legal framework. Driven by his commitment to fight climate change, Kevin works to strengthen environmental protection law by encouraging involvement by all stakeholders. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Kevin will continue his work in environmental and natural resources law enforcement with a focus on participatory stakeholder involvement.
Brenda Kawala (Uganda) is a medical doctor at Kakira Sugar Limited hospital in Jinja, Uganda where she serves a community of over 30,000 people. Brenda completed her medical training at Mbarara University, and currently works as the Deputy Secretary General of the Uganda Medical Association (U.M.A.). U.M.A brings together over 7,000 medical doctors from Uganda and the Diaspora communities to advocate for a better Ugandan healthcare system. Brenda is also the secretary of public affairs for the Association of Uganda Women Medical Doctors, which advances maternal, child, adolescent, and elderly healthcare initiatives. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Brenda hopes to continue to advance her career and hold positions of leadership within the Ugandan healthcare system.
Olivia Nzisa Liku (Kenya) has over five years of experience in the public health sector, with a focus on technology for health. Nzisa currently works as a technical implementation and clinical innovation lead at AccessMobile Health, where she is responsible for providing data analytics and insights to drive patient engagement through mobile communication. A medical doctor with a master’s degree in Public Health from Edinburgh University, she is passionate about using data to inform decisions and works to generate reliable information to anchor individual and population health policies. She also volunteers with an organization to offer training and mentorship to recent high school graduates on career choices, computer skills, and financial literacy. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Nzisa plans to continue supporting youth to maximize their potential and using technology to influence health-related decisions.
Ass Momar Lo (Senegal) is a Senegalese journalist, fact-checker, and radio broadcaster trained at the Centre d’Études des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information in Dakar. To combat fake news, Ass Momar checks information daily to refute inaccurate stories. He also works to widen the positive impact of community development programs within Senegal. Currently, he is piloting a youth association called Africa Up, which seeks to enhance the educational opportunities afforded to young Africans, and to helps efforts around community development.
Fati Mahmoud Wattigi (Ghana) has eight years of experience working at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, where she cares for individuals with mental illness. Fati holds a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health Nursing from the University of Cape Coast. She is the queen mother of the Ga-Dangbe Muslim community in Darkuman, a suburb of Ghana’s Greater Accra Region, and is also the founder of the Innah Community Foundation where she supplies underprivileged school pupils with educational materials. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fati will continue with the mission of her non-governmental organization, as well as continuing to work as a mental health nurse and queen mother.
Lusubilo Malakbungu (Tanzania) has over six years of work experience in laboratory medicine, health research, and control of infectious diseases. He currently works as a laboratory adviser at the Management and Development for Health in Tanzania. He works in a consortium titled USAID Boresha Afya, a project which aims at controlling the HIV epidemic and integrating quality health services in the areas of family planning, malaria care, and tuberculosis. Lusubilo obtained his bachelor’s degree of Medical Laboratory Sciences from Muhimbili University in Tanzania. Lusubilo holds a master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. He pursued his master’s degree after being an awardee of the Foreign and Common Wealth Office-Chevening Scholarship in 2015. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lusubilo will continue with his current role while making use on his network, knowledge, and experience acquired in the United States to advance health research opportunities while growing local laboratories in Tanzania to match the advanced laboratories in the United States.
Juliana Temitope Mustapha (Niger) has two years of experience working in the community health sector on maternal and children’s health. She has a Master of Science degree in Reproductive Health from the Pan African University hosted by the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and funded by the African Union. Juliana is a nutritionist by profession and received her bachelor’s degree in Food Biotechnology from the University of Constantine in Algeria, and an additional master’s degree in Health and Nutrition from the University of Tlemcen in Algeria. She is a committed public health advocate and hopes to improve the well-being of mothers and children under five years of age and promote a healthy sexual and reproductive life for young adolescents in her community. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Juliana plans to continue her work in reproductive health with a focus on advocating for the reproductive rights of young people.
Zaida Ibrahim (South Sudan) has over six years of experience in finance system implementation for development projects in South Sudan. She is the founder of the Okay Africa Foundation project Keep the Girl Child in School and the head of the Nadafa le Beledna (Cleanliness for our Country) project. Zaida holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Makerere University. Driven by her passion for the well-being of young girls and women in South Sudan, Zaida hopes to see a South Sudan where young girls have equal access to education. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Zaida plans to continue to educate communities on the benefits of educating girls, and environmental cleanliness.
Silas Njacheun Ngahane (Cameroon) has over six years of experience in sustainable community development practices, and project design and management. His previous work includes programs on environmental economics, youth in leadership, urban planning governance, smart cities, and public policy analysis. Silas holds a degree in Public Policy and Sustainable Development from the Energy and Resource Institute in New Delhi. He is the current program associate for the United States Agency for International Development at the African Union Commission in Ethiopia.
Alfred Akrofi Ocansey (Ghana) is a journalist and campaigner with over ten years of experience in leading public sector reform. He holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Professional Studies in Accra, Ghana. Currently, Alfred works at TV3 Network Limited as the lead prime time news anchor and business desk head. He focuses on initiating, planning and executing thought leadership forums, as well as business town hall meetings to discuss policy decisions. Alfred is committed to using the power of the media to contribute to policy formation and to represent the views of society’s most vulnerable. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alfred plans to continue his policy engagement programs and to set up skills transfer centers that aim to equip the less privileged in the Ghanaian society with vocational skills.
Ako Eyo Oku (Nigeria) has over seven years of experience in the public sector, with a specific focus on media and community development. Currently, Ako is a senior broadcast engineer at the Nigerian Television Authority where she serves four regions of Nigeria and reaches over 200 communities through her TV broadcasts. Ako is a United Nations online volunteer and assists Women for Development, Armenia to produce instructional videos. Ako is also a partner at Strategy and Innovation for Development, a non-governmental organization that empowers community leaders for positive social change, and the founder of Interest Match Concepts, a hub that engages young people to find innovative solutions to societal issues. She is a member of multiple professional associations including African Changemakers, World Pulse Ambassadors, and Skilled GirlForce Champions. She holds a degree in Computer Engineering, a diploma in Social Work, and a professional certificate in Mentoring. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ako intends to continue producing media programs for social good and to broadcast a documentary program focused on the work of young change-makers across Africa.
Idris Ola (Nigeria) has six years of experience working in the health sector, focusing on the prevention and control of cancer. Idris is the co-founder and executive director of the Women’s Cancer Prevention and Support for African Society in Nigeria. He initiates, designs, implements, and coordinates cancer management programs, and works with policymakers to understand how they can support this issue. Idris also works as a medical doctor for the Lagos State Health Service Commission and has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Idris plans to expand his medical and advocacy work to other African countries and gain the requisite knowledge and skills to further his research and help prevent cancer.
Chimba Sanga (Zambia) is a medical doctor with close to three years of experience in the health sector. Currently, Chimba is a registrar at Chipata Central Hospital in the general and orthopedic surgery department where he addresses the surgical burden of community diseases. He is also the author of a book entitled “A Guide to Common Medical Myths in Zambia,” which he published to expose and clarify medical myths that impede the provision of quality health care in Zambia. Chimba is also a co-founder of the non-profit organization Medical Myth-Busters Outreach, which focuses on health promotion through community education. Chimba is committed to promoting and enhancing primary health care to achieve universal access to quality health care and coverage. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he intends to continue working in the public health space to contribute to the achievement of universal health coverage.
Mpho Seipubi (South Africa) has over six years of experience in the rural development sector, specifically focusing on youth and women empowerment. Currently, Mpho is an editor of a free publication distributed in over 50 villages focusing on empowering rural communities and creating platforms in which different communities can access various opportunities. She has also worked with the government and continues to work on several government projects. For example, she is currently working with the Northern Cape Department of Treasury on a project which aims to improve revenue. Mpho is a University of South Africa Alumni and is committed to integrating rural communities into the global economy through entrepreneurship and community empowerment initiatives. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mpho plans to continue her work in rural development.
Ricky Simasiku (Namibia) has over six years of experience in the education sector and works for Namibia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation. Ricky teaches Geography at a technical and vocational training institute (a Namibian and Congolese institution) in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Ricky holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of South Africa, a diploma in Education, an advanced certificate in Geography Education, and a higher certificate in Management. Ricky has career interests in humanitarian work and political conflict resolution and is currently pursuing an honor´s degree in International Politics. Ricky hopes the Mandela Washington Fellowship experience will improve his leadership and management skills and provide a platform of interaction at an international level so that he may apply what he learns back in Namibia upon return.
Gaoussou Sylla (Mali) has over six years of experience in the development sector focused on private sector development and the supervision of multilateral development institutions. Currently, he is an advisor to the executive director of the African Development Group (AfDB). As a member of the board of directors, Gaoussou supervises the day to day activities of the institution. Gaoussou holds a master’s degree in Economics from the Université Grenoble Alpes in France, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines. Gaoussou is driven by his commitment to the development of the African continent. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Gaoussou plans to continue his work in development and hopes to spread the knowledge he gains on the program to his community of seven villages in Mali.
Christina Van Hooreweghe Ngoy (DRC) is a journalist who works to highlight gender and sexual-based violence in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She currently works with a thematic radio station Mama Radio where she is a journalist, chief redactor, and trainer. Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a professional training certificate in Communication and Conflict Resolution. Christina is also an active member of the Congolese Women Media Association, and volunteer at Future Hope Africa, where she is involved in youth empowerment, and environmental preservation programming. In 2017, Christina, along with other youth from the African Great Lakes region, founded a non-governmental organization which she currently leads as president. The organization ComChaMa (Let’s Start the Change Now) is committed to the defense of human rights, and the promotion of democratic values and entrepreneurship among vulnerable people. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Christina plans to enhance the capacities of her colleagues and partners to more effectively promote human rights, democratic values, and entrepreneurship among vulnerable people such as young and women in the African Great Lakes region.