Abdou Khadre Diop holds a Ph.D. in international law from Laval University in Canada. He has seven years of experience in human rights education at the university level, including in legal empowerment and strategic litigation. Abdou is a lecturer in international law at the Virtual University of Senegal, the first public digital university in West Africa. He aims to initiate a legal clinic to strengthen the capacities of youth and women in the rural areas of Senegal and promote their human rights, including land access and political rights. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abdou plans to continue his community work with a focus on women and youth empowerment through training and advocacy.
Angelo Riek holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and public administration and is determined to become one of the country’s top experts in public policy analysis. He has more than three years of experience in humanitarian work and community volunteerism. Currently, Angelo is an administrative officer at Kuijoh Co. Ltd., providing administrative support and secretarial work for the company. He is also the founder and executive director of Youth Call for Action South Sudan, which focuses on increasing youth and women’s socioeconomic employment through training and mentorship. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Angelo plans to leverage his broadened networks to establish a youth educational center in his hometown of Leer County that will provide young people with access to technical and soft skills training.
Belinda Chisanga is a radio and TV host, blogger, entrepreneur, and philanthropist from Zambia. She is passionate about her work and uses it to make a difference in her community and beyond. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Belinda plans to apply her new skills and network to enhance her impact in her community, country, and continent.
Benjamin Akinkang holds a bachelor of science degree in human biology, a bachelor of medicine degree, and a bachelor of surgery degree and is pursuing his postgraduate medical training in Laboratory Medicine with the West African College of Physicians. He has more than seven years of experience as a medical officer in rural Ghana. Because Benjamin believes that every human being, irrespective of color and financial status, has the right to high-quality healthcare, he founded Team of Hope, a non-profit organization that provides free medical and surgical care to the needy in his community. Through his work with Team of Hope, Benjamin won the health category of the MTN Heroes of Change program in 2019. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Benjamin plans to use his new network and knowledge to expand the scope of his organization beyond his community.
Binart Kachule has more than five years of experience in public service. She is the principal systems analyst for the Malawi Judiciary and is enthusiastic about timely justice to court clients. Binart is responsible for managing the electronic case management system, which enhances delivery and justice to court users. She is also an information technology specialist with the Law Reporting Unit, where she consolidates and compiles judgments into electronic formats that enhance accessibility of court decisions. Binart is a member of Africa Fight Against Illiteracy, a youth charitable organization that raises awareness and supports youth in education. She also gives motivational talks and donates study materials to students. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Binart aspires to own an information and communications technology hub that will provide training to youth interested in the field. She hopes her work will help young people to start small businesses that will give them independence and improve the economy.
Chipo Zhou holds a bachelor of arts degree (with honors) in motion picture medium. She has worked in the arts industry for more than 14 years, with experience in audiovisual. Currently, she is the head of programming and curator for the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the longest-running festival in southern Africa and arguably the largest in Africa. Chipo has deliberately cultivated the development of indigenous talent and facilitated access to both audiences and aspiring filmmakers from previously marginalized communities through various initiatives. As an avid proponent of the inclusion of women in the film industry, she signed the 50/50 by 2020 pledge on behalf of DIFF, having already demonstrated her commitment to the pledge at the time of her signing. Chipo sits on the Short Film Conference board and previously sat on the board of Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe. She has also served on local and international film festival juries, as well as on project selection panels for several residency programs. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Chipo plans to develop various partnerships that will further expand women’s access to the film industry and to international co-productions throughout Africa.
Diana holds a master degree in biostatistics. A biostatistician by profession, she is in charge of disease surveillance, immunization, and refugee health at Kampala Capital City Authority. Applying epidemiology principles, she provides opportune health statistics for disease surveillance, response, and outbreak investigation to minimize the adversity of epidemics. During the January/February 2019 cholera outbreak in Kampala, she shared comprehensive situation reports daily, which guided response teams on where to trace contacts and prescribe prophylaxis among other actions. They contained the outbreak in four weeks, registering 58 cases and three deaths, which is so far the best cholera response in Kampala. She has also created online social platforms, including leaders of refugee communities for real-time communication, coordination, and response. Kampala hosts 25,167 Congolese refugees; these structures have been pivotal in Ebola surveillance amid the ongoing outbreak in DRC. She chose this work to improve the population’s health by providing insightful statistics for designing impactful disease interventions.
Douglas Makanga received bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degrees from Makerere University in 2012, followed by a one-year medical internship. He has more than nine years of medical practice experience. Douglas currently is a senior medical officer at Uganda’s Ministry of Health in the Public Health Emergencies Division. In this role, he participates in policy development, mentorship, support supervision, and mitigation activities for public health emergencies and has led the development of various outbreak surveillance modalities for aggregation of national surveillance data. Douglas is a founding member of the Rosary Club of Kampala. Douglas briefly worked in the private sector before taking a position with China/Uganda Friendship Hospital Naguru. There, he headed the infectious diseases isolation unit and spearheaded the opening of the first viral hemorrhagic fever treatment unit in Kampala, conducting trainings and drills to build capacity and enhance preparedness for infectious diseases. Douglas is passionate about disease prevention because his community grapples with major, yet preventable, public health problems. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Douglas plans to influence the adoption of inclusive workplace policies and to revolutionize health education for disease prevention in his community.
Endurance Lum Nji holds a master degree in international relations with a specialization in international communication and public action. She works in the field of development and humanitarian action and is dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable populations in need of relief and protection. She has served in various local, government, civil society, and international organizations in Cameroon as well as at the continental level in the African Union. Endurance is currently a public information and advocacy officer with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She works in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a challenging environment facing one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises. Endurance hopes to use the knowledge and skills she acquires from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to reinforce her work bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent and timely emergency response.
Fousy Jaar holds a degree in legal and educational sciences from the University of Turku, Finland. She is a social justice advocate, youth activist, and peer career advisor. Fousy is passionate about education and the transformational change and national development that can be obtained through it. She is the founder and director of SisuNamibia, a non-governmental organization that focuses on youth empowerment, community development, youth mentorship, and education. Previously, Fousy interned at the Masters of High Court of Namibia, focused primarily on trusts and estates. She also served as a human rights ambassador for women, girls, and refugee rights, where she conducted training sessions, awareness campaigns, and presentations on human rights issues to various communities, schools, and institutions in southern Finland. Fousy was selected as a young delegate from more than 3,000 applications to represent her country on Sustainable Development Goal 6: Quality Education at the world’s biggest United Nations youth simulation in Malaysia. Over 300 delegates convened to seek amicable solutions to global educational challenges. She was also selected to participate in civic leadership training through the Youth African Leaders Initiative Southern Africa Regional Leadership Center, working with other SADC youth leaders to seek solutions to the challenges facing developing nations. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she plans to apply her new skills and network to expand her organization’s impact.
Heriniaina Zhita Irène Andriamalala has eight years of experience in land tenure in Madagascar. As a civil servant who is passionate about rural development and gender empowerment, Heriniaina is always continuing to learn new skills and increase her knowledge of law and land tenure so that she can promote access to land property for all. She also strives to defend the property rights of the Malagasy people, working closely with the Ministry of Land Affairs. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Heriniaina plans to become a key player in land administration reform and envisions a bright future for her country through an accountable governance framework and inclusive land access.
Jackline Waiharo is a teacher with nine years of experience in the public and private sectors. As a young woman living with a disability in Kenya, she volunteers as an ambassador at a gifted community center, where she shares her ideas and creates opportunities for others to grow and learn about inclusion. Jackline also works with the Kiambu County government in the Kinoo Ward as a representative for people with disabilities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Jackline hopes to leverage her knowledge to work for and with the government to represent people with disabilities and to advocate more for inclusion.
Landry Sagbo holds a doctorate degree in medicine from Saint Christopher College of Medicine in Senegal and a master degree in public health and reproductive health sciences from Pan African University in Nigeria. He is a public health physician with more than 10 years of experience in health and nutrition programs and sexual and reproductive health programs, including maternal and newborn health and family planning. He oversees a capacity-building project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to improve primary healthcare services in the southwest states of Nigeria. Landry also founded Pan African Humanitarians, a group of pan-African consultants. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Landry plans to run an African hub of consultants to improve the health system; promote innovation; encourage international, regional, and local partnerships with local businesses; and contribute to the development of Africa.
Lefika Atang is an experienced business development professional with more than seven years’ experience in the development finance industry. He currently works for Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), a leading development finance institution in Botswana with a core mandate to provide financial and technical support services to small, medium, and micro enterprises. CEDA’s objective is to promote viable and sustainable citizen-owned businesses. Lefika currently focuses on business development for both start-ups and business ventures that are scaling up, and his work involves evaluation, appraisal, implementation, and monitoring of projects. In 2017, he was selected as youth and disability mainstreaming champion; as such, his responsibilities now include scaling up youth entrepreneurship and financial inclusion for people with disabilities. He also seeks sustainable ways to eradicate poverty and financial exclusion for minorities. His passion for business development, financial inclusion, and sustainable development has led him to volunteer in disability and other community development centers. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lefika plans to ramp up financial inclusion for people who have been excluded.
Matseliso Grace Mota holds a bachelor of laws degree from the National University of Lesotho. She is a legal practitioner in human rights advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, compliance management, and legislative drafting. Matseliso currently works for the Land Administration Authority in Lesotho and participates in activities under the purview of the Internal Audit Office. She has mediated on different issues, including inheritance, encroachment, boundary, and title disputes. Working with title disputes has allowed Matseliso to help elderly widowed women who are often taken advantage of by real estate agents undertaking unregulated land transactions. When cases remain unresolved, they are referred to litigation in which claimants have to hire lawyers, placing a hefty price on access to justice. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Matseliso plans to support the introduction of a legal and regulatory framework for the real estate agent sector in Lesotho to ensure that the land rights of users, particularly elderly women, are protected, as well as to redress the legal and economic impediments the sector poses to land administration.
Patricia Nabeza Razafindrakala is an inspector of penitentiary administration in the Ministry of Justice’s Direction of Penitentiary Reform. She is also a local assistant parliamentary and an active member of various associations. She believes that good political leadership and appropriate public management are necessary for developing Madagascar. As such, she plans to apply the skills and network she gains through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to engage further in politics and become a member of parliament or a governor of her region.
Nana Venvouna Bowba Jeddou is a jurist graduate of the University of Nouakchott with a bachelor degree in business law. She has seven years of experience in Mauritanian law and nine years of experience as a civil society activist. She is co-founder and president of the Positive Impact Association and mediator for peace representing the Nouakchott capital at the International Republican Institute. Nana has been on contract with organizations including the United Nations Development Programme and the German Agency for International Cooperation as a lecturer on the seriousness of bribery inside and outside Nouakchott. An alumna of the Young African Leaders Initiative in Dakar, she is also the general manager and owner of Future Ladder, a private primary school, and mediator in the executive office of the Youth Mediators Network for Peace in Mauritania. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nana hopes to use the strength and training she gains to become one of the most influential youth in her homeland, realize her project on the ground, and help educate an entire generation that, because of poverty, is unable to educate itself.
Nazley Khan Sharif holds a postgraduate honors degree in political studies. She has 12 years’ experience in politics and five years’ experience holding public office. Currently, Nazley is a member of Parliament in the Republic of South Africa, where she focuses on gender issues (particularly gender-based violence), inclusion issues, and, as a member of the opposition, holding the executive to account. Nazley has held office in opposition and in government. She has worked with various youth and women’s organizations and stakeholders through public participation. Nazley has also held various political leadership positions in different structures of her political party and has expertise in growing and managing political structures, working in elections, and conducting policy analysis. She is committed to ensuring that South Africa cultivates a society that is inclusive, fair, and equal for all people. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nazley plans to expand her influence in the government, working with world leaders and organizations to ensure a more just society.
Niceson Karungi holds a master degree in software development from the University of Glasgow. She has more than eight years’ experience in judicial systems. She is currently an information technology (IT) business analyst and software development specialist for the judiciary of Rwanda, where she analyzes judiciary IT needs, facilitates the development of judicial systems, conducts training sessions, ensures the adoption and use of new technologies, and manages changes. She has facilitated the implementation of the Rwandan Integrated Electronic Case Management System, a law report system, and the Sobanuzainkiko System, which facilitates public access to court services online. She is currently working on a judicial performance monitoring system to track court and staff performance against set targets. Niceson is outgoing and adventurous, and enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and interacting with different cultures. She also delights in mentoring young girls in information and communication technology (ICT) careers in her volunteer work with Girls in ICT Rwanda. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Niceson plans to continue promoting access to justice for all through the use of ICTs in her community and beyond.
Nomenzile Mamba holds a bachelor degree in nursing science from the University of Swaziland, where she majored in community health nursing science and community mental health nursing science. Currently, she is pursuing a master of science degree in applied infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London. Nomenzile has more than 10 years of experience in the planning, design, and implementation of HIV testing service programs; the provision of HIV and tuberculosis clinical care; and systems strengthening mentorship. Before she began the master’s program, she was a tuberculosis/HIV senior nurse adviser and HIV testing services adviser at the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Program in Eswatini. Nomenzile is passionate about promoting and delivering transformative, cost-effective, and culturally acceptable solutions to health issues. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and her master degree studies, Nomenzile intends to pursue a career in epidemiological research, focusing on infectious diseases. She also plans to collaborate with other health professionals to find and implement solutions to the health issues that affect Africa.
Ojooluwa Ibiloye holds a bachelor degree in political science and a master degree in political economy and development studies. He has more than six years of experience in public policy management. Currently, Ojooluwa is a policy analyst at Cerebral Hub, where he develops and communicates public policies with simplified analysis, thereby transforming complex policy information into easy-to-understand and relatable content. Ojooluwa is the convener of #WriteTheFuture, an initiative that promotes equal opportunities in education for children from low-income families in Nigeria. He also leads ManifesTrack, an accountability project that tracks the Nigerian government’s commitment to the president’s election campaign promises. He is committed to analyzing public policy objectives clearly and persuasively so citizens can understand government actions and amplify their voices to shape decisions that affect them. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ojooluwa plans to continue to advocate for grassroots engagement and participation in the public policy process.
Oluwatosin Wuraola Akande holds a bachelor degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Ilorin and a master degree in public health from the University of Liverpool. She is also a member of the West African College of Physicians. She has more than eight years of experience in public health and community medicine. Currently, Oluwatosin is a senior registrar at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, where she works on improving community development and public advocacy, especially among underserved subpopulations. She has worked with national and international organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating the effects of public health programs across various communities in Nigeria. She also conducts research activities in global health. Oluwatosin is dedicated to seeing every Nigerian have equitable access to quality healthcare. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Oluwatosin plans to strengthen her influence in the public sector by leading the effort to meet Nigeria’s healthcare, collaborating with goal-oriented stakeholders, and setting up sustainable grassroots projects, with the ultimate goal of moving Nigeria toward universal health coverage.
Stanley Nyabuti Ratemo holds a bachelor degree in pharmacy, a master degree in project planning and management, and a master degree in tropical and infectious diseases. He received a Fellowship from the University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases and holds certificates from the University of Nairobi, University of Washington, United Nations University, and Monash University. Stanley has more than 10 years of experience in pharmacy practice and five years’ experience in clinical research. Currently, he is a clinical research consultant at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and research coordinator at the Kisii County Government Health Department. His clinical research focuses on tropical and infectious diseases, public health epidemiology, operational research in health systems, and medical therapeutics. Stanley also volunteers in free medical camps organized by religious and political groups, provides health talks to various groups, and mentors young researchers and works with them on projects that affect the rural poor. As a Mandela Washington Fellow, Stanley hopes to learn how to manage public resources, mobilize resources, and apply best leadership ethos. On completing the Fellowship, Stanley hopes to better the lives of the rural poor and, through his research findings, change health policies in Kigali and in Kenya.
Sylvain Lihinag Li Meng has a master degree in field epidemiology and aspires to become a better public service manager and a role model in his field. He is a medical professional with nine years of experience as a medical doctor in Cameroon. Currently, he works with the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health on the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response and other local disease outbreaks. He has rehabilitated an abandoned health center to be fully functional and offers primary health services, including vaccinations for children. He plans to refine his skills so he has the tools and strategies to expand his medical work. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Sylvain plans to become an epidemiological surveillance focal point officer in a non-governmental organization to curb the negative impact of epidemic outbreaks.
Trokon Wrepue is a professional journalist and member of the Press Union of Liberia. He has more than six years of experience in news reporting and newscasting, production, investigation, and fact checking. Trokon is currently a co-partner and editor at The Stage Media, the only fact-checking media platform in Liberia. He ensures that information placed on the company’s website for audience consumption is real, is factual, and meets all ethical journalistic standards. Before joining The Stage Media, he served as editor of news for Prime Communications, one of Monrovia’s premier radio stations. While at the radio station, Trokon reported on human rights, gender rights, and sexual and gender-based violence. He has helped Liberia fight Ebola by establishing a non-profit community engagement group in Grand Bassa County that created awareness about the danger of the virus and ways to prevent it. Trokon is pursuing a degree in public administration from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Trokon plans to establish a youth action group to advocate for the rights of women and girls, who are often victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Wesen Alemu Tekletsadik holds a bachelor of laws and a master degree in human rights law. He is a public prosecutor working to bring meaningful change to the rights of persons with disabilities. He is the president of the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, a board member of the Federation of Ethiopian National Associations of Persons with Disabilities, and a founding board member of Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association. He is also Ethiopian delegate to the African Union of the Blind and World Blind Union. Wesen is passionate about helping those in his community who have no means to defend their rights. He provides legal service and advances the rights of people with disabilities. He has initiated strategic litigation with others to reverse the longstanding discriminatory practice of prohibiting blind lawyers from becoming judges. Wesen has also helped ratify the Marrakesh Treaty in Ethiopia to facilitate published works for people who are blind, partially sighted, or otherwise print disabled. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Wesen plans to continue to fight for the rights of people with disabilities.
William Marandu holds a bachelor degree in law. He has more than five years’ experience in the fields of refugee resettlement and renewable energy, and more than six years’ experience as a volunteer with the Red Cross Society. Currently, William is a field processing supervisor at Church World Service, focused on providing durable solutions to refugees fleeing persecution through resettlement to the United States. In that position, he has helped resettle more than 10,000 refugees from Tanzania to the United States in search of a better life. He is driven by the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that “every person . . . is a human being and has the right to be treated as such.” William co-founded a legal aid clinic that provides pro bono legal assistance and education to refugees. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to advocate for refugee-friendly policies, create a platform to provide free legal education and assistance to refugees, and create a network of survivors who will champion each other’s rights.
Wubrest Tesfaye Bekele is a medical doctor, health educator, board member of charitable organizations, and winner of the 2020 Celebrating Women in Medicine Award from the Ethiopian Medical Women Association. She has worked for public and private hospitals, non-governmental organizations, and the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health’s national COVID-19 task force. Serving as quality improvement head, Wubrest led a newly built rural hospital to reach a milestone of better patient care and more efficient operations. Wubrest co-founded a health-focused media station that comprises 24-hour satellite TV, 24-hour radio, a call center, and online media. She helped create more than 200 hours of educational content about COVID-19 that was broadcast on national TV and radio, reaching about 50 million people. Currently, she is working toward a master of laws in medical law. She is part of a technical working group drafting a national health proclamation and also works in the health education and resource mobilization division of a childhood cancer clinic. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Wubrest aspires to have a broad but well-designed knowledge of the parameters regarding public management.
Youssaou Koanda has four years of experience in financial inclusion and impact evaluation as a development economist and policy analyst in Burkina Faso. He works on World Bank-funded projects through conception, implementation, and evaluation. His work aims to make credit and digital financial services accessible to vulnerable target groups, such as women and farmers; educate populations about financing; strengthen financial regulations and supervision; and help firms recover from financial shocks, such as COVID-19. Youssaou is passionate about finding evidence so policymakers can design sound policies to address issues in disadvantaged communities. He has worked for Innovations for Poverty Action, Massachusetts Institute of Technology labs, the World Bank, and others. Youssaou is a co-founder of the African Youth Initiative for Public Policy and Governance, a civil society organization dedicated to independently analyzing and evaluating policies. He has a background in economics and public policy and recently finished his Ph.D. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Youssaou plans to implement the lessons and network acquired to expand the staff of his non-governmental organization so it can better analyze and evaluate transnational policies.