2019 UD Mandela Washington Fellowship -Civic Leadership Institute

Peace Ahadji

Country: Togo    |      Focus: Mental Health; Advocacy; NGOs

Peace Ahadji has four years of experience in various fields in the development sector, particularly in public health. Peace is currently working as a project manager at AIMES-AFRIQUE, a medical-surgical non-governmental organization. She also runs a faith-based mental health organization to help people suffering from mental illness in Togo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Economics and a master’s degree in International Health from the University of Alexandria in Egypt. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work to help people suffering from mental illness in Togo and Africa at large.

Emmanuel Angoda

Country: Uganda     |        Focus: E-Learning Technology; Education; NGOs

Emmanuel Angoda is a teacher at Lira Town College, in northern Uganda. He is a technology innovator, STEM activist, and mentor with seven years of experience in the education and ICT sectors. He involves his students in ICT activities such as Robotics, the Technovation Challenge, Africa Code Week, and essay writing competitions, from which he has won several national awards. From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Regional Ambassador for Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship program for girls and young women. Emmanuel is the founder of Walktrack Edu Platform, an educational website that provides free online open educational resources for teachers and students. He also runs the Career Assistance Program (CAP), an initiative that helps young people obtain vital career information and support after high school. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Teachers Making a Difference Award and was rewarded with an educational trip to Dublin, Ireland. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work in development education with a focus on girls’ education and eLearning resources.


Naomi Assegied

Country: Ethiopia     |      Focus: Health Systems Administration; Mental Health; Youth and Adolescent Health

Naomi Teshome has over three years of experience in the health sector and holds a medical degree from the University of Gondar and a master’s degree in Public Health from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She worked as a general practitioner in both public and private hospitals before she joined the Resource Mobilization Department within the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia. Currently, she is working as a consultant for a private consulting firm on several projects. Naomi is also the founder and board member of a charity association called Ethio-Amba, an organization that works to address the various social determinants of health. Naomi is committed to working on bridging the gap between clinical medicine and public health in her country. She also actively engages in her local church on youth mentoring and children’s ministry. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Naomi plans to continue her work in public health through private and public sector engagement, focusing on areas of adolescent and mental health issues.


Agnes Chie

Country: Liberia      |      Focus: Science & Technology; Teaching/Mentorship; Education

Agnes Gbenyenoh Chie has five years of experience working with students and holds a degree in Biology from the University of Liberia. She has organized girl’s science club in private and public schools, and mentors over twenty-five young girls currently enrolled in STEM courses at the University of Liberia. In addition to her time spent tutoring young women in STEM courses. She also serves as a trainer for high school biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics teachers. Through her work as a program officer for technology education at the Ministry of Education, she has contributed significantly to advances in the educational policy initiatives of the Liberian government. This past January Agnes and her team launched a new educational campaign, “Prioritizing Girls Education” over six counties. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to continue to build the capacity of young women through science clubs, workshops, community forums, and vocational trainings.


Pearl Chunga

Country: Zambia    |      Focus: Mental Health; Advocacy; NGOs

Pearl Phelendaba Chunga has over five years of experience in community engagement. She focuses on mental health awareness and is the founder of the Walk with Me Foundation, a mental health awareness non-profit organization. She also runs her own business as an event planner. Pearl grew up surrounded by addiction, and she suffers from anxiety and depression. Access to appropriate health services continues to be a problem in Zambia; Pearl is passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Pearl will continue to expand her work in the mental health field and envisions a Zambia where those that suffer from mental health problems are able to speak freely about their struggles.


Sènou Samson Francis Degbegni

Country: Benin    |     Focus: Sexual/Reproductive Health; Communications; Technology

Sènou Samson Francis Degbegni has over seven years of experience in community development and currently works as a Peer Educator on reproductive health. Sènou holds a bachelor’s degree in Agronomic Sciences from the Catholic University of West-Africa, and a master’s degree in Local Development and Decentralization from the African University of Cooperative Development. To address the high teenage pregnancy rates within Benin, Sènou is currently working to implement a digital education platform around sexual and reproductive health. Digital Health Services strives to provide youth with reliable, permanent, and accessible online sexual health resources. Currently, Sènou also volunteers with the National Students Association for Sexual Health and specifically focuses on sexual health for youth. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sènou wants to continue to educate youth in Benin around their sexual and reproductive health, while encouraging conversations between parents and children around sexual health through his digital platform.


Ayi Dossavi Alipoeh

Country: Togo     |      Focus: Literature; Youth; Social Media

Ayi Renaud Dossavi Alipoeh is a Togolese writer, poet, and novelist. Having published several books, he now focuses on promoting reading, writing, and literature in Togo, especially among the younger generation. Ayi has won several writing awards including the African Development Bank’s “Africa of My Dreams” 2018 essay competition, and the World Bank’s 2019 Blog4Dev competition. In addition to being a published author, Ayi is also a journalist, specializing in economics, and the secretary general of the PEN-Togo Writers Association.


Edwige Dro

Country: Côte d’Ivoire     |      Focus: Literature; Entrepreneurship; Advocacy

Edwige Dro is a writer, literary translator and literary activist from Cote d’Ivoire. She is currently writing the fictionalized biography of Marie Kore, one of the female political activists of colonial Cote d’Ivoire through the support of a grant from the Miles Morland Foundation. She is the co-founder of Abidjan Lit, a collective of literary activists in Abidjan working on changing the “Africans don’t read” stereotype. Her short stories have been published in anthologies such as New Daughters of Africa or by publications such as Ankara Press or Bloomsbury. As an Africa39 writer in 2014, she was hailed as one of “the most promising writers under the age of 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in the development of literature from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora” by the Hay Festival. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her literary activism with a focus on nurturing the young literary voices of her country.


Zibusiso Dube

Country: Zimbabwe     |       Focus: Communications; Advocacy; Technology

Zibusiso John Dube has eight years of experience in the civil society sector, working in communications, research, and project management. Zibusiso’s interests intersect at the point between media, activism, and development. Currently, he is a program officer at the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE). At CITE, he is responsible for the design, implementation, and monitoring of innovative media and civic engagement programs that strive to improve governance and promote positive social change. He has experience leading projects that focus on the promotion of social accountability and effective public resources management at the local government level in Zimbabwe. He has also authored multiple research papers addressing water management, corruption at the local level, and participatory budgeting. He holds a master’s degree in Media Practice for Development and Social Change, and a Master of Science in Development Studies. He has a passion for democratization, development, and good governance, and believes that the media has a crucial role to play. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work in media for social change with a focus on the role of new media and e-governance in promoting positive change.


Hannah Essien

Country: Nigeria      |       Focus: The Arts; Advocacy; Autism; Mental Health

Hannah Bassey Essien is an artist and founder of Nana Arts, a social enterprise organization that uses art to engage orphaned children. Hannah uses art as a means of expression and to draw attention to the various challenges faced by her community. The goal of Nana Arts is to inspire interest, build self-esteem, and to create world-renowned artists, and entrepreneurs. Upon the completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Hannah will work to expand Nana Arts outside of Nigeria.


Christie Linonge Etombi

Country: Cameroon     |       Focus: Public Health; Communications; Technology

Christie Linonge Etombi is committed to improving cardiovascular health in Cameroon through health education and digital health technology. Currently, she is a medical doctor with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Cameroon, where she works to ensure proper referral and management of internally displaced persons in the south-west region. She is a web and media coordinator of the Health Education and Research Organization (HERO) Cameroon, a non-governmental organization that seeks to safeguard a more equitable, disease-free, and emerging Cameroon. Through HERO Cameroon, she has organized various campaigns on cardiovascular disease prevention. She is also the Project Manager of m-thypa, a digital health technology platform to aims to reduce high blood pressure in Cameroon. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to use the m-thypa platform to provide low-cost prevention of high blood pressure and heart disease to more people.


Samwel Maphie

Country: United Republic of Tanzania    |       Focus: Gender Issues; Teaching & Mentorship; Advocacy

Samwel Maphie is an advocate and social entrepreneur who has five years of experience working with pastoralists, adolescent girls, and young women in campaigning for their health, basic needs, and rights. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Dar es Salaam. He believes that violence against women and girls impedes their full participation in society, limits their access to better health, education, economic participation, and hinders efforts to achieve gender equality. With this belief, he started an organization aimed at catering for disadvantaged girls in pastoral communities in Tanzania, called the End Child Abuse and Neglect Organization. His organization has partnered with four primary schools and six secondary schools to identify over 350 peer educator champions, including 104 college students and 70 volunteers, reaching over 57,000 pastoralists He is an author of two books and a youth mentor, being nominated as the Most Positively Inspiring Youth (2017) by Positive Youth Africa, and was also a finalist in the African Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) achiever awards (youth category) in Ghana in November 2018, and the winner of Best SDGs performer of the year award in 2018 in Tanzania. Following the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work of advocating for disadvantaged girls.


Lineo Matlakala

Country: Lesotho     |       Focus: Sexual/Reproductive Health; The Arts; Entrepreneurship

Makhosi Exinia “Lineo Matlakala” Ntsalong works full time as the director of an agricultural organization in Leribe, which provides agri-business management skills to youth. She is the founder of the Barali Foundation, an organization that advocates for the rights of women and girls in rural Lesotho.


Eta Matsinhe

Country: Mozambique    |       Focus: Public Health; Social Media; NGOs

Eta Matsinhe has four years of experience in digital marketing management and journalism multimedia. Currently, she works as a social media department coordinator. She has one year of experience as the leader of the Olá Vida, a social movement to promote cancer-fighting and disseminate information to improve the quality of life of cancer patients in Mozambique. To reach more people, she disseminates the information using social media and organizes workshops in partnership with the oncology department from the main public hospital. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences from Universidade Politécnica in Maputo. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hopes to acquire tools that will allow her to increase the impact of Olá Vida’s activities in her community.


Abdallah Mohamed Bourhan

Country: Djibouti       |       Focus: Sexual/Reproductive Health; Advocacy; Gender Issues

Abdallah Mohamed Bourhan holds a master’s degree in International Trade from Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion d’Agadir and is fluent in four languages. Abdallah works for the Bank of Africa Mer Rouge, the Djiboutian branch of the multinational Pan-African bank conglomerate, as the head of the organization department. Driven by his commitment to social inclusion, He has served as the Executive Director of the Djiboutian Association for Family Planning (ADEPF) since 2018. The ADEPF is a member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation RAB region and aims to promote sexual and reproductive health rights. His work at the ADEPF focuses on projects related to youth access to comprehensive sex education, the eradication of female genital mutilation, and advocacy. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Abdallah will work to strengthen access to quality sexual and reproductive health services in Djibouti for local and migrant populations while continuing work to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Portia Ncwane

Country: South Africa     |       Focus: The Arts; Youth; Gender Issues

Portia Nokwazi Ncwane is a philanthropist with over ten years of experience in the entertainment industry as an actress, dance choreographer, and events host. Her participation in dance and music cultural exchange festivals has allowed her to travel internationally as a representative of South Africa. She is the founder and executive director of the Portia Ncwane Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on female empowerment, youth development, sports recreation, art, and the promotion of cultural heritage to disadvantaged communities. She has also donated school uniforms to over 300 students at the Oxbridge Academy. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Portia plans to use her newly acquired skills to implement projects that encourage youth development capacity building through dance and music programs.


Guerson Neuyambe

Country: Chad      |     Focus: Education; Science; Youth

Guerson Neuyambe has over five years of experience serving as a senior statistician at the National Agency for the Employment in Chad and holds a bachelor’s degree in Statistics. He is the founder of PROMO-SCIENCE, a platform that encourages secondary students to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and also serves as a program manager at the Participatory Development and Technology Agency, a local NGO that works to advance the health and well-being of poor children and young mothers. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he hopes to grow the PROMO-SCIENCE platform and help his organization continue to encourage a generation of young people to pursue a career in STEM.


Adeboro Odunlami

Country: Nigeria    |      Focus: Technology; Law/Policy; Gender Issues

Adeboro Pelumi Odunlami is a lawyer with over two years of experience in policy drafting that respects the rights of citizens in the use, development, and deployment of technology in Africa. She is currently the program assistant and legal officer for the Pan-African Organization, Paradigm Initiative, where she works on digital rights advocacy strategies for anglophone West Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Lagos, and a practicing certificate from the Nigerian Law School. She is fueled by her desire to see technology used for social good, and for African laws to foster technological development while protecting citizens from intrusion, biases, and other unchecked consequences of algorithms. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue working on influencing public and company policy in favor of human rights, in addition to launching a technology club for teenage girls in underserved regions of Nigeria.


Camara Oulematou

Country: Senegal       |        Focus: Education; Teaching & Mentorship; Youth

Oulematou Camara is currently working in the logistics and purchasing directorate of a company in the telecommunications sector. Specializing in supply chain management, she holds a master’s degree in Business Administration. She has extensive experience in administration, operations, process development, and project management in private companies, public organizations, and international institutions. She volunteers with a variety of organizations focused on children and education. She strongly believes that poverty should not be a barrier to education, and currently organizes different knowledge sharing activities while helping to build a school for disadvantaged children. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she is expecting to be even more committed to developing her community.


Précieux Guénolé Rajaofera

Country: Madagascar     |       Focus: Literacy; Politics; Humanitarian & Food Distribution; Education

Précieux Guénolé Rajaofera is a dynamic young scout of the Scout Association of the Lutheran Church of Toliara and has two years of experience in the volunteering and community service sector, mainly focused on the fight against adult illiteracy. To honor his scout obligation of service, Précieux offers free courses in reading and writing to the illiterate adult community of many rural villages in Toliara, Madagascar. Précieux holds a bachelor’s degree in Private Law from CNTEMAD (National Distance Education Center of Madagascar) and hopes to enroll in a master´s program in 2020. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Précieux plans to use his new skills and contacts to create a non-profit organization that will focus on fighting hunger, illiteracy, and clean water shortages in Madagascar.


Kobozo Renee-Gracella

Country: Central African Republic       |       Focus: Education; Sexual Health; Gender Issues; Female Social Entrepreneurship; Environment

Renee-Gracella Kobozo Yakongbo works for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in the Central African Republic. She teaches 6-12 years old girls critical life skills and works to help advance their personal development. As a member of the Peace Volunteer Network, she also promotes peace, dialogue, and social cohesion within her community. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Ecology and Health Biology, with a specialization in Parasitology. She is passionate about her work and believes that educating a girl is educating a whole nation.


Samantha Sibanda

Country: Zimbabwe      |       Focus: Disability Advocacy; Communications; Technology

Samantha Sibanda is a human rights defender who has been working in the area of disability rights for eight years. Samantha is the founder of Signs of Hope Trust, Zimbabwe, an organization that empowers and advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities. Her organization facilitates scholarships, helps schools establish libraries for children with disabilities, and lobbies and raises awareness on disability issues to ensure that people with disabilities are empowered for self-representation and can understand and contribute to policy. Additionally, she leads the Hope Magazine Zimbabwe Initiative, an inclusive online news magazine bringing together disabled people’s organizations, academics in disability, persons with disabilities, and mainstream media, to reframe disability issues and tell untold stories in communities. Samantha is currently studying towards a degree in Special Education with the support of the Wells Mountain Initiative. Following the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Samantha hopes to contribute to inclusive education for children with disabilities, to eradicate discrimination, and to advocate for awareness of disability issues in schools.


Patrick Stephenson

Country: Ghana      |      Focus: Communications; Advocacy; Technology; Community Engagement

Patrick Stephenson has seven years of experience in public policy analysis and advocacy. Currently, Patrick is the Head of Research at the Imani Centre for Policy and Education, where he leads a team of policy analysts in projects on gas and energy, government spending, commodity management, and national procurement policies. Patrick volunteers as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper with the Accra Hub and leads youth discussions around government accountability and active citizenship. He also currently works on nCLUDED, a participatory planning and development platform aimed at improving voter experiences and participation in public policy creation. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Patrick will continue to work with nCLUDED on advocacy strategies.


Silindile Xulu

Country: South Africa     |        Focus: Communications; Youth; Gender Issues; Human Rights

Silindile Penelope Buthelezi has over five years of experience in government, working on international and government relations programs. In addition to her local government work, she also has extensive experience in media relations and corporate communications. She has worked for programs at the University of South Africa, AmaZulu Football Club, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. She holds a national diploma in Public Relations Management from the University of South Africa and is currently in her final academic year of her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, also at the University of South Africa. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Silindile plans to continue sharing her experiences, passions, and knowledge with young graduates through her self-designed mentorship program and looks forward to its expansion in 2019.


Robert Zulu

Country: Zambia     |       Focus: Public Health; NGOs; Communications; Cervical Cancer Awareness

Robert Zulu is a results-driven and dedicated person that works to address global social challenges. After losing his wife to cervical cancer in 2015, he decided to launch a cervical cancer education program in Zambia. He is the founder and executive director of Rakellz Dream Initiative, a non-governmental organization with a team of 50 youth working to raise awareness around cervical cancer through outreach activities and informational films. The long-term vision of the Rakellz Dream Initiative is to help increase cervical cancer knowledge across Zambia to mitigate and prevent terminal diagnoses. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Robert will continue to raise awareness of cervical cancer in the rural communities of Zambia’s Northern Province by the year 2021.



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