Profiles of 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows at Wagner College

Profiles of 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows at Wagner College

Juby Peacock, Botswana

Juby Peacock has twelve years of youth leading experience and community development pioneering. She is passionate about poverty alleviation, pediatric HIV/Aids and youth empowerment. Juby is currently working as a clinical social worker at Scottish Livingstone Hospital. She volunteers at Poetavango Spoken Word Poetry as their public relations officer where she focuses on planning, event evaluation, implementing programs, and interacting with the community to promote social justice. She holds a degree in Social Work that includes advocacy for policy change, social planning and supervisory. Juby is also pursuing her master’s degree in Project Management that encompasses decision support, project risk, and quality management. Upon returning from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to expand the Poetavango NGO through fundraising, networking, and community development. She also plans to advocate for the grassroots development of artists in vulnerable communities including the mentally ill, the disabled, and those from indigenous tribes.

Savadogo Mariam, Burkina Faso

Savadogo Mariam has been working for eight years on improving education in her community, especially focusing on the capacity of girls succeeding in their lives and school careers. Currently a teacher, she mentors groups of young girls, helping them carry on their education and lives in a more meaningful way by overcoming barriers like early pregnancy, HIV/Aids, STDs, and female circumcision. To do so, she uses dance, singing, performance of the girls' real-life stories, and role play. Mariam has also volunteered in community associations like Association Monde Rural working for the well-being of people in rural areas, where she was in charge of tutoring young people. Mariam holds a license from the University of Ouagadougou from the English department where she studied American Literature. Once she is back home, Mariam would like to strengthen and widen her school exchange groups, to make more girls conscious of the issues that decelerate their education, and to teach them solutions and prevention.

Elvis Ndansi Nukam, Cameroon

Elvis Ndansi has been working in the domain of community health for over eight years, and has a key interest in providing basic health care to underserved communities in Cameroon. Elvis is the founder and president of Unite for Health Foundation, a local NGO that assists Cameroonians to access health care through its micro-clinic project. He is also an active politician and national youth president of his party.   Elvis holds a master’s degrees in both Nursing and Public Health, and is presently a PhD candidate in Health Economic Policy and Management, with a special interest in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Elvis hopes to expand the activities of Unite for Health Foundation by opening micro-clinics in many more underserved communities in Cameroon in order to provide basic health care and reduce maternal mortality.

Ornella Nsoki, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ornella Nsoki has over three years  of experience in education and youth development. She's currently the country coordinator for a World Bank information and communication technology feedback project within the Ministry of Education, where she leads, manages, and implements mobile-based training to improve the quality of education in the DRC. Ornella is also the founder and coordinator of Nzolanini, a volunteer-led youth development NGO in Kinshasa. She's highly involved in topics related to youth community engagement, practical civic education, and education reforms and policies. She volunteers as a mentor and motivational speaker at local schools and girls’ orphanages. Ornella is presently enrolled for a Political Science and International Relations degree at the University of London, to be completed in 2018. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work in education and youth development by promoting youth civic participation in community development through volunteering and service learning.

Lucas Nguema Escalada, Equatorial Guinea

Lucas Nguema Escalada is a renowned fashion designer from Equatorial Guinea. He has run various fashion shows and organized beauty pageants for the benefit of women and the youth, while showcasing his fashion collections. His love for charity and the arts inspired him to be a fashion designer: by combining the two, Lucas found he was able to do what he loved, while expressing his creativity, and giving back to the community. He studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Houston. He currently works at the Ministry of Finance as a technical officer for the deputy minister of finance. In addition to his full-time job, he uses his art to support other artist and develops projects with a positive impact. He is currently working on a project known as Ideal Woman for women's empowerment and recognition.

Mehret Amsalu Dubale, Ethiopia

Mehret Amsalu has over five years of experience leading multiple maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) projects. Currently, Mehret is a PhD candidate in Public Health and Water at Addis Ababa University, where she is researching feasible solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene-related public health challenges among Ethiopian mothers and children. Mehret collaborates with international volunteers to end preventable maternal and child death in Ethiopia. She is focused on initiating, designing and implementing cost-effective MNCH units in her role as a project manager for Voluntary-Service-Overseas. She is also a volunteer mentor in a girls’ public school. Mehret holds a master’s degree in Public Health from University of Gondar, where she focused on public health challenges and their impact on development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mehret plans to continue her work in public health with an emphasis on access to quality health services for pregnant women, mothers, and children.

Akosua Osei-Appaw, Ghana

Akosua Afriyie is a photographer by passion and a regional development planner by profession. She is a project manager at the Power Station, a marketing and communications agency specializing in meaningful marketing.   She mentors children and the youth in her community and beyond to cultivate their passion and talents into a desired career. She also encourages the youth to read African literature by forming reading clubs and donating African-authored books to basic schools in Ghana through her organization Dare To Dream Ghana. She volunteers with local organizations who specialize in providing leadership skills to the youth. She has two master’s degrees in Population Studies and Regional Development Planning and Management, and has over two years' experience as a development planner. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, it is Akosua’s dream to engage more children and the youth to cultivate and develop their passions into meaningful careers.

Dahabo Bagajo, Kenya

Dahabo Abagaro is a nurse by profession with over eight years of experience in the nursing field. Currently, Dahabo is working with the Kenya Red Cross Society in Dadaab Refugee Operation, where she is a focal person in reproductive health, mainly focusing on maternal and child health both at the hospital level and community level (CAMP).   Dahabo is the founder of BIFTU, a community-based organization focused on transformation through community education and awareness for girl children and women on matters of reproductive health. She also volunteers in her local community's secondary schools, providing information to adolescents concerning health problems in order to encourage responsible decision-making. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Dahabo plans to continue her work in mentoring girl child and women at both community and national level.

Josphat Namtenda, Kenya

Josphat Keya is a filmmaker by profession, having graduated from Kibera Film School in 2010 with a Foundation in Filmmaking certificate. Later, he joined Hot Sun Foundation, a Nairobi-based nonprofit organization offering training in filmmaking to the youth in Kibera, where he worked as the program manager. In 2011, he co-founded the Slum Film Festival. The idea behind Slum Film Festival was to create a platform that recognized the stories and filmmakers from slums, connecting them to the international film-festival circuit. In 2014, Josphat joined What's Good Studios as post-production producer. Josphat is passionate about arts and youth from slums, and has formed platforms that engage these youths. Currently, he is working on a proposal to form a center that supports arts in slums. With the Fellowship, he hopes to interact, network, and partner with like-minded parties to see this project become a reality.

Evelyn Kpadeh, Liberia

Evelyn T Kpadeh is a three-time award-winning Liberian journalist. As a successful female journalist, she has broken into the ranks of professional journalism in Liberia’s male-dominated media environment. In 2014 she won two awards from her country’s press union as both Human Rights and Developmental Reporter of the year, and in 2013 she won her first award from UN Women Liberia for her report on violence against women. She believes that there are no news assignments that are particularly suited to woman journalists, and that women journalists are as capable of covering any news assignments as their male counterparts.  Evelyn has produced a series of radio documentaries, two of which deal with teenage prostitution in Liberia, and child rape. As a result of her investigative documentary on teenage prostitution, Evelyn embarked on a self-help initiative in 2015, helping young prostitutes to leave the streets and become empowered.

Virginia Khunguni, Malawi

Virginia Khunguni has five years of experience as a journalist and communication expert. She currently works for Population Services International, where she is the brand ambassador for the Youth Alert Project, which works to increase sexual reproductive health services and information among young people in order to reduce teenage pregnancy and HIV. She also runs a personal initiative called ‘Girls Arise’, which works to combat child marriages, rape, and child prostitution, which is on the rise in Malawi. Virginia is currently studying a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Upon her completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship she would like to establish support centers in the remote areas of Malawi, which will provide support to victims of gender-based violence, and provide computer and small-business management training to girls who cannot afford tertiary education.

Elhadji Maki Amadou, Niger

Aicha Maki has over 10 years of experience in the field of community development, particularly in peacebuilding. She currently works as a volunteer in the USAID project, PDEV II, where she has already overseen more than 200 youths in mobile cinema facilitation techniques in favor of peace. At the same time, she has directed documentary films on taboo issues, questioning women’s status within Nigerien society, and giving a wider perspective on female and motherhood issues. After gaining her master's degree in Sociology at the University of Niamey, she obtained another master's in Creative Documentary Directing at the Université Gaston Berger in Senegal. After her return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Aicha plans to open a youth training firm focusing on social mediation techniques for peace through film.

Chidinma Mbanasor, Nigeria

Chidinma is a midwife and reproductive health provider with over three years of experience in community development work. She initiated an occupational rehabilitation and economic empowerment project for vesicovaginal fistula patients who are trained on skill acquisition and entrepreneurship, hygiene, and reproductive health. They are also empowered with free start-off packages in their chosen area of interest. She also volunteers with African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) where she works on strengthening civil society networks and public institutions responsible for preventing child sexual abuse, violence, and neglect to support the implementation of the Child Rights Act in Nigeria. Chidinma holds a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Sciences and is currently completing her master’s degree in Nursing Sciences. Upon completion of the Fellowship, she plans to extend her economic empowerment project to other states in Nigeria, while continuing her work in women and children’s rights advocacy.

Ibrahim Sawab, Nigeria

Ibrahim Sawab is an innovative journalist with four years of experience. He currently works with Daily Trust Newspapers, where he writes articles to promote democracy, good governance, education, community development, youth employment, and the rights of women and children. He also writes on HIV/Aids advocacy, civil society organizations, and human rights, including girls' and disabled persons' rights.  Ibrahim has been involved in community development for eight years, particularly in counseling on self-discovery, self-improvement, and leadership skills. He gives speeches inspiring the youth to equip themselves with new skills so that they can increase their productivity, and maximize and actualize their potential. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ibrahim plans to continue with his motivational speaking to transform the youth and equip them with leadership skills.

Tomy Badiane, Senegal

Tomy Lorenzo Badiane has been working as an independent translator for several NGOs for seven years. His professional interests are in document translation and interpreting, inclusive education, children’s rights and protection, communication, advocacy and peacebuilding, humanitarian demining, community development, and environmental management as well as urban culture activism. His current projects include coordinating and facilitating the Caz’Art Urban Festival. Tomy holds an MA in African Literature and Civilization from the English Department of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. He volunteers as communication officer for Casa Cult Urb, an association of urban artists from Ziguinchor, Casamance. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Tomy plans to create an urban art cultural complex in Ziguinchor, his home city, where English classes will be given to youths through social programs.

Papa Mamadou Camara, Senegal

Raised in Guédiawaye, Dakar, Senegal, Pape Mamadou Camara observed youth delinquency in his suburban area and its negative effects on the future of the youth. He saw how underserved youth lacked the opportunity to develop a mode of self-expression and have a positive impact in the community. In 2010, Pape’s passion for arts and hip-hop culture motivated him to start a venture call G Hip Hop (Guediawaye Hip Hop) with a group of artists and activists. G Hip Hop is a training center that focuses on using urban and hip-hop culture to promote positive behavioral change, with a varied training program centered on arts, citizenship, economic empowerment, and environment. Its vision is to unify the Guediawaye neighborhood through the hip-hop community. He is responsible for the planning and monitoring of activities, recording of financial and technical accounts, fundraising, developing the organization’s network locally and internationally, advertising, and organizing events.

Abdul Kabia, Sierra Leone

Abdul Karim Kabia, popularly known as Fonti, has over a decade's experience in the field of mainstream journalism. He is currently the head of communications and public relations at the Africa Young Voices (AYV) media empire. Fonti has served as editor for five leading newspapers in Sierra Leone.  He is also, foremost, a children's rights activist. He is founder and executive director of the Fontricia Children’s Foundation, which seeks welfare for poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged children, especially young girls. In addition to giving out educational scholarships, Fonti has led a couple of campaigns to restore the rights of disadvantaged children, including the unprecedented campaign against the decision of the national exams office to illegally seize the college entrance results of some 2000 pupils (mostly girls) in 2015. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Fonti plans to intensify children's rights crusades, focusing on the health and education of the girl child.

Sibongile Khumalo, South Africa

For nine years, Sibongile worked with a high-school scholarship program, where she focused on providing support to underprivileged children who were awarded scholarships to attend affluent schools. Sibongile believes that all young people can have access to quality education if local community members organize themselves and build partnerships to supplement what is offered at the country’s ill-resourced public schools. Sibongile holds a Master of Science degree and currently heads operations at an education systems change organization. As part of her community work, she has started libraries, tutored primary-school children, and now voluntarily manages a Saturday school program. When she returns from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sibongile intends to secure funding to start an afternoon academy.

Mauot Louis Alier Anyang, South Sudan

Since 2011, Mauot Louis Alier Anyang has been a disability rights advocate and secretary of education for the South Sudan Association of the Visually Impaired, where he supervises a music-and-drama group known as ‘Hidden ability melody’. His role is to advocate and lobby for persons with disabilities, especially access to education for the blind. He also mentors students, and initiates and supervises the implementation of policies and guidelines developed by the association. He is a co-founder of the South Sudan Union of Persons with Disabilities. Mauot possesses skills in administration, legal issues, and the media, which he acquired as a third-year Law student and through work experience. Upon returning from the Fellowship, he intends to use the skills he has acquired to reform his organization, to contribute to promoting education of the blind, and to establish a magazine as well as student advocacy groups in secondary schools across South Sudan.

Matida Komma, The Gambia

Matida Komma has almost six years of experience in the nonprofit and voluntary sector. She co-founded a young women-led organization, The Girls’ Agenda, where she campaigns for the rights of girls and young women in her community. She focuses her campaign on harmful cultural practices, advocating against the continuity of female genital mutilation, and arranged and forced marriages, and promoting sexual and reproductive health education for girls. This allows her to conduct capacity-building programs on comprehensive sexuality education, life skills, and leadership development for adolescent girls.  Matida holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies with a minor in Economics from the University of The Gambia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Matida plans to continue her work in engaging her communities to build healthier lives for women and girls by demanding investment in their education and reproductive health. Currently, Matida is an administrative assistant at the University of The Gambia.

Deo Sekandi, Uganda

Deo Sekandi has five years of experience working to empower vulnerable people with disabilities. Deo had an accident when he was 13 years of age. Throughout his life he didn’t know what was affecting his speech and mobility until he won a university scholarship and learned that he had brain damage leading to cerebral palsy. He is a Queens Young Leaders award winner 2015, a member of the Youth board of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda, and the founding executive director of Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy.   He has managed to mobilize over 800 people with cerebral palsy, and trained them in life skills, independent living, and income-generating activities. Upon returning from the Fellowship, Deo plans to carry out advocacy campaigns that ensure all people with disabilities enjoy their rights and have equal access to and benefit from social, economic, political, and cultural development programs.

Mark Kaweesi, Uganda

Kaweesi Mark is a social artist who uses his skills to empower and uplift communities. He has eight years’ experience in working with children, youth, and adults across a broad spectrum of arenas, including community centers, orphanages, prisons (juvenile and adult), drug rehabilitation centers, ghettos/slums, and on the streets, and also in local and international schools and colleges. His tools include dance, creative facilitation, interactive/participatory discussions, leadership training, organizing community events and exchange programs, beat-boxing (vocal percussion), and integrating other art forms. Mark is involved with the Breakdance Project Uganda and is a founding chairman of Break-Fast Jam, an annual break-dance event. The Mandela Washington Fellowship will help to advance Mark's leadership and entrepreneurship skills and to expand his network. He believes that it will build his capacity and multiply his impact in many more communities and organizations.

Lumbiwe Limbikani, Zambia

Lumbiwe Lulu Limbikani has over seven years of experience in the education sphere, particularly in integrating technology in the classroom and changing the way teaching is done to foster inquiry-based, lifelong learning. Lulu has been working in gender and women empowerment for the last three years. She is currently the executive director and lead consultant on education and technology at Cumacatu, an organization she founded to support and advocate for children’s right to education and the empowerment of women and girls through mentorship and financial literacy in Zambia.   Lulu is an Alchemy Women in Leadership mentor and a Competent Leader under the Toastmasters program. She volunteers for her community through the local Junior Chambers International and Ladies Circle clubs. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lulu will continue her work in education to ensure more children have access to schooling and to support the empowerment of women and girls.

Trymore Tiara Gendi, Zimbabwe

Trymore Tiara Gendi has over three years of experience in the fields of human rights and trans diverse community building. Tiara is currently a volunteer data capturer at GALZ (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe), documenting the services attained by members of the organization and the LGBTI community, as well as coordinating the transgender and intersex group within the organization. Tiara also does voluntary work with TREAT (Transgender, Research, Education, Advocacy and Training) as a baseline survey assistant, documenting the experiences of trans diverse individuals in accessing sexual reproductive health and rights; and documenting human rights violations reported by community members. As part of her work in the trans community, she does personal home visits as a way of making sure that community members are in a good space and are taking care of themselves.

Butholezwe Nyathi, Zimbabwe

Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi has over eight years of experience in creative entrepreneurship, community cultural-heritage preservation and promotion, and social-movement building. Currently, Butholezwe is programs manager at Amagugu Heritage Trust in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. At the organization’s cultural enterprise, Amagugu International Heritage Centre, he coordinates a range of participatory cultural activities such as basket weaving, wood carving, leather tanning, nature walks, traditional games, dance, and music.  Butholezwe holds a Master of Science degree in Development Studies from the National University of Science and Technology. He is passionate about using information technology and new media for cultural heritage documentation and promotion. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Butholezwe hopes to continue developing participatory cultural activities and programs at Amagugu International Heritage Centre, and also to establish platforms for the expression of indigenous cultural heritage.