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Office of International Development

A Division of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs

Mandela Washington Fellows – Profiles

Ishiyaku Adamu

Ishiyaku AdamuIshiyaku Adamu has more than 10 years’ experience in disability advocacy in Nigeria. Currently, he is the national president of the Nigerian Association of the Blind (NAB), an association that was founded in 1968 and that envision a world of total inclusion for all blind and partially sighted Nigerians. He coordinates the activities of the association and also takes the responsibility of representing the interests of over 6 million blind and partially sighted Nigerians in the Joint National Association of persons with disabilities. Ishiyaku holds a master’s degree in Political Economy from the University of Manchester, UK. Upon the completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ishiyaku plans to continue with his work of advocating for the total inclusion of persons with disabilities in Nigeria, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Shohdi Al Hag

Shohdi Al HagShohdi Al Hag has over four years’ experience in the community-development sector focusing on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and women and youth empowerment. Shohdi is the founder and director of Sudanese Voices Association. His focus is to create new youth-development programs and to positively impact and empower his community by using media, arts, and technology. He is one of the young leaders in the Horn of Africa Leadership project. Through this, he creates and implements community projects that support young people to become engaged in national and local development in three pilot countries: Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. Shohdi has more than nine years’ professional experience in marketing, finance, business management, and project management. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Shohdi plans to expand his work in using media and art as tools for development regionally.

Zemdena Abebe

Zemdena AbebeA pan-Africanist, Zemdena Abebe is a visionary Political Science and International Relations graduate, activist, and budding writer engaged in women rights in particular and social justice in general. Zemdena volunteers for the African Union at the Academy of African Languages, Mali, as marketing and research assistant. She consulted for UNICEF Ethiopia for six years in their ‘Speak Africa’ initiative (youth advocacy), as well as in environmental education, hygiene, and sanitation. She chaired the Addis Ababa Girls’ Forum, which facilitates discussion on issues making girls vulnerable to HIV/Aids and lays the foundation for legislative intervention against sexual abuse. Zemdana was president of Addis Ababa Students’ Union, and was among 22 young African women writers selected for ’Writing for social change’, organized by AWDF and FEMRITE, Uganda. After completing the Fellowship, she will continue writing about social justice and aims to influence society’s behavior towards women by using multimedia platforms and research.

Lilian Banmi

Lilian BanmiLilian Banmi has over four years of experience training medical personnel in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and in the reduction of maternal mortality. Currently, Lilian is a facilitator in the PEPFAR project for the elimination of the transmission of HIV from mother to child. She also volunteers in her local community in Cameroon by doing free medical outreaches (consultations and surgeries), and giving health talks on radio, both at the national and local level. Lilian is a medical doctor, and an obstetrician/gynecologist. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work in the fight against HIV transmission and maternal mortality. Her focus will be on increasing public sensitization via her radio health talks, with a special focus on the partners of infected women.

Tinbit Daniel

Tinbit DanielTinbit Daniel is a law graduate, dedicated to contributing to the improvement of the lives of children, especially young girls. She is now the Girls Empowerment programs director, leading a new innovative project to launch the new African animation series called Tibeb Girls. This series is intended to change the way girls are seen by society and by themselves. Tinbit is also wrapping up another project on the education of girls. She is challenging herself with the hope to work on much more progressive programs on the upliftment of females. She received the Youth Champion award by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Public Health Institute. She was selected as one of 18 youth champions. This award recognized Tinbit for being a leader and doing innovative and excellent work on the empowerment of girls, such as education and sexual and reproductive health rights.

Hombé Kafechina

Hombé KafechinaWith eight years’ professional experience in child protection, human rights advocacy, democracy and governance monitoring, Hombé Kafechina graduated in law from the University of Lomé, Togo, and holds a master’s degree in International Environment Law from the University of Limoges, France. He is currently programs manager at BNCE Togo, a child-protection NGO, where he is responsible for aligning children’s rights with national and international standards and developing strategies for lobbying and advocacy with national and international institutions. Hombé consults for several organizations in the areas of child protection, human rights, and governance monitoring. He is also vice president of Alternative Leadership Group (ALG), a youth organization in which he volunteers to mobilize his peers to build their leadership capacities in relation to governance and democracy.

Charles Lipenga

Charles LipengaCharles Lipenga has over five years’ experience in social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He is chairman of the award-winning Maestros Leadership Company, in the business of engaging people in mind-transforming training for a brighter and more successful future in their organizations. Charles is also the national youth ambassador of Building Bridges, where he works with African and European youth ambassadors, Dutch Embassies and UN entities in fostering youth employment in African countries. He is the 2014 Future Africa Leaders award winner and the 2013 award winning architect from the University of Malawi. Charles is also trained in advocating employment, human rights, leadership and education. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to build a voice for Africa’s economic, social and political revolution. For the empowerment of Africa, he aims to bring like-minded maestros together to harness Africa’s full potential.

Mamadou Sy

Mamadou SyMamadou Sy is a physician and has over five years’ experience in community health. He has traveled through the rural areas of Senegal, holding positions of chairman and chief physician in rural medical centers. He has led several humanitarian missions in rural areas, which earned him distinctions in 2011 and 2015. Currently, he works as assistant professor at Saint Christopher Iba Mar Diop Medical School in Dakar. He is the president of the association Docteur Nakamou, specializing in the conception of a community health program and gender awareness. Through writing, sport, and intergenerational meetings, Mamadou tries to innovate by implementing health programs that take culture into account. He is also engaged in reducing the disparities between genders. He is pursuing a master in Project Management and plans to set up a mobile school for preventing illness and improving knowledge on health matters in women and the youth.

Kama Sandra Matondo

Kama Sandra MatondoKama Sandra Matondo has over 10 years of experience in the community development sector. She is very passionate about community issues, health, and cultural activities in particular. Last year, Kama was the creator and coordinator of a socio-sanitary project named Fair of Goodwill. It involved collaboration between a medical school, the Provincial Health Department, and provincial government in Lubango/Huila, Angola. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to keep working with the community with an emphasis on preventative health promotion.

Janet Manoni

Janet ManoniJanet Manoni, a political analyst and children’s health activist, has 15 years’ experience in sales and marketing, media and communication, human resources, leadership, management of vulnerable children, and advocacy work for childhood cancer and other birth defects. Janet is the executive director and founder of Friends of Children with Cancer Tanzania, a local registered NGO that supports poor and vulnerable children with cancer and birth defects in Tanzania. The NGO helps children to access quality medical treatment, care and support. Janet is currently taking her master’s degree in International Cooperation and Development at the University of Pesoa, Portugal, hosted by Open University of Tanzania. On completion of the Mandela Washington fellowship, Janet will continue advocating for equal access to quality clinical and non-clinical medical services for all children in Tanzania.

Sandrine Mengue M’Efoue

Sandrine Mengue M’EfoueSince 2014, Sandrine Mengue M’Efoue has been involved in addressing the issue of teenage unwanted pregnancy and female empowerment. She is the vice-president of AMR (Association pour la maternité responsible), where she develops programs to empower young women, using mentorship and training as her main strategies. She is active in promoting female entrepreneurship in Gabon through her role as communication delegate at AWEP Gabon (African Women Entrepreneurship Program). Sandrine is trained in project management and communication strategies and skilled in advanced planning and implementation. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. After returning from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to develop a female mentoring program that will allow her NGO to become self-sustainable, to create job opportunities for untrained young women, and to encourage other women to take on mentoring roles.

Terry Muchoki

Terry MuchokiTerry Muchoki is a health, advocacy, and behavior change communication specialist with 10 years’ experience in public health, social marketing, and media. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and is in the process of completing an executive MBA. Terry has extensive hands-on experience in program design and management in public health, developing, designing, and evaluating behavior change communications, working with government, developing proposals, managing donor budgets, and integrating evidence-based practices in program management. She is currently providing technical assistance to NGOs, governments, and the private sector in the areas of advocacy, social behavior-change communication, and program design and implementation. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Terry plans to continue her work in health policy formulation and strategy planning role in international development.

Karen Mukwasi

Karen MukwasiKaren Mukwasi has over five years’ experience working in the area of women’s rights. She is currently the program coordinator for Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe, where she coordinates the International Images Film Festival for Women in five African countries, namely Zimbabwe, Uganda, Somalia, Malawi, and Kenya. She is also a founding member of Women on the Frontline, an organization that works to increase the participation of women in both politics and the economy. As a software engineer, she is currently working on developing a platform that will enable women to fully express themselves using technology. She is also a published author. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she will continue her work in women’s rights.

Freeblessing Murahwa

Freeblessing MurahwaFreeblessing Murahwa has over six years’ experience working in promoting health access in marginalized communities. He is a firm believer in equitable health delivery. He has organized medical outreach missions with two local NGOs that have offered free health care to over 15,000 people in rural Zimbabwe. Freeblessing organizes and facilitates Jewish Voice Ministries International (JVMI), and Global Outreach and Dentaid (UK), an international team that gives free health care in five rural districts throughout Zimbabwe. Currently, he is the national executive chairperson of the Christian Medical Fellowship Zimbabwe, overseeing a network of over 200 multidisciplinary health professionals who promote dedicated and committed services in health-care delivery. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Freeblessing aims to continue his work in promoting health equity, focusing on the building capacity of rural health centers for improved quality of health care delivery. He is professionally trained as a dentist and works in private practice.

Mohammed Nimir

Mohammed NimirMohammed Nimir serves his community in the field of education. He is currently working as the secretary general of Soba Center for Audit and Research (SCAR) where he teaches soft skills to students and new graduates. He also organizes and conducts health-related research. He was the director of publications and new technologies at the standing committee on public health. He is a cancer researcher and educator at the Africa City of Technology in Sudan and has a diploma in Research Methodology and Biostatistics, and a certificate in learning and education. Upon his return to Sudan, he plans to establish an NGO that focuses on providing youth with the necessary skills to survive and thrive during their undergraduate years, and in the job market. He has a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery, an MSc in Molecular Medicine, and is certified in basic and advanced life support.

Zuki Nzo

Zuki NzoAfter completing her BCom (Hons) degree in Economics, Zuki Nzo was involved in a hijacking and left paralyzed. After eight months in hospital, she experienced the barriers restricting the participation of persons with impairments, and realized the need for change. Her professional experience includes research, projects and event management, fundraising, and business development. She’s an advocate for disability inclusion and her work is guided by article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She was one of the first women to train in corporate governance for female board members with the Department of Trade and Industry. She was on the South African Disability Development Trust board, and received disability equality training from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. She’s an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, aimed at finding a cure for spinal cord injury. She’s a lifetime student committed to inclusion and diversity.

Cedric Ouanekpone

Cedric OuanekponeCedric Ouanekpone is a general physician and a social-medical activist. He has over 10 years of experience volunteering for local organizations focusing on children, youth, gender issues and peace building. Through his association Youth and Women for Development and Human Rights (YWDHR) he works with and empowers disadvantaged youths including street children, school dropouts, unemployed youth, and young people involved in drugs. He also provides training in leadership, health, first aid, gender-related violence, social entrepreneurship and self-management. Currently, he leads a program called ‘Noyau de Paix’ (nucleus of peace) in each district of Bangui to promote social cohesion and peace among the different communities. Cedric holds a medical doctorate from the University of Bangui and a certificate in Emergency Medicine from Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, South Korea. After the Fellowship, he plans to use his medical and leadership skills to be a bridge-builder among the young people.

Juliana Owolabi

Juliana OwolabJuliana Owolabi is a public school teacher with seven years’ experience. She has a passion for entrepreneurial skills, and her zeal propelled her into making her community and country ‘greener’. She volunteers with her students to recycle waste paper into tissue paper, exercise books, serviettes, and Braille books for blind students. She also encourages and advocates her community to embrace the habit of recycling by organizing campaigns with her students. Juliana holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and is currently studying for her master’s in Education Administration and Planning at the Nassarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Juliana plans to introduce more entrepreneurial skills into her community, and especially to empower young vulnerable girls who are out of school.

Sophie Ranaivoharisoa

Sophie RanaivoharisoaSophie Ranaivoharisoa followed her husband to his appointment as pastor in a rural community of Madagascar three years ago. There she developed a strong interest in social development, especially in youth education and women’s empowerment. She has volunteered teaching foreign languages and tutoring lessons, and has been involved in the local network for children’s protection as counselor of the board. In her church community, she teaches Sunday school and promotes women’s skills. Sophie holds a master’s degree in Business Law from the University of Antananarivo, and will pursue on a PhD in order to be a Law professor. She practiced for a year as the health department manager of an insurance brokerage company. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington fellowship, Sophie plans to create her own NGO dedicated to the improvement of education and capacity building.

Therese Sagno

Therese SagnoTherese Sagno has over 15 years of experience in various fields in the community development sector, and children and youth in particular. Therese is currently working as finance manager for ChildFund International, with a focus on the training and mentoring of Finance staff, budget management and administration, local partners’ capacity-building activities, grant management, assurance and compliance, and building relationships with key stakeholders. She also volunteers in her local community, providing children and young women with Christian and civic education. Therese holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a focus on Management from Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry. She has developed several financial-management tools and manuals, and set up internal controls systems. In her free time, she likes playing the keyboard and singing. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Therese plans to engage more with the community, helping develop grant proposals and raising necessary funds.

Sylvester SedeSylvester Sede

Sylvester Sede is a media professional with over eight years’ experience in creative innovation, media production, and programming in community development. He has worked extensively with over 300 youths and women in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Sylvester is currently the MD of a media firm, Sylverflame Media Ltd, and president of the Creative Arts for Peace Initiative, a youth NGO. With his skills in media/communications Sylvester has been able to build synergy between these two organizations, thereby creating platforms where youths are engaged and inspired to make an impact in their communities. He uses the media and arts to discover youths with potential, setting them on innovative paths. Sylvester’s weekly radio show, ‘Inspire me’, has created a spotlight for individuals and organizations whose works are poised to bring about desired change in society. After completing the Fellowship, he plans to launch a youth-development project in 12 communities in his home state.

Thamsanqa Sibandze

Thamsanqa SibandzeThamsanqa Sibandze is a recording and performing artist who goes by the name ‘KrTC of Hip Hop’. He is a notable social commentator with a knack for edutainment, particularly in positive social behavior change. He also produces and presents youth radio and TV programs. Thamsanqa is currently an ambassador for the Bushfire Schools Festival, which seeks to introduce education and entertainment in public schools around Swaziland, and the Safeguard Young People program, which highlights pertinent sexual and reproductive health issues around the Southern Africa region. Thamsanqa holds a diploma in Marketing and Communication from the Citec Business College. Upon his return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Thamsanqa will continue his advocacy for a formal arts curriculum in public schools, and more effective and youth-friendly sexual-health facilities and information in Swaziland and the Southern Africa region.

Sandiso Sibisi

Sandiso SibisiSandiso Sibisi is a management consultant at Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a global practice within Accenture. ADP employs an innovative business model to help make Accenture’s business- and technology-consulting services accessible and sustainable to organizations serving the international development sector. Sandiso is passionate about the development of Africa, and in 2013 founded the Born to Succeed Program to curb unemployment for young women through mentorship, life skills, behavioral change, and employment seeking. She has over five years’ experience in the development sector, primarily in youth development and recently in energy and agriculture in her role at ADP, where she has leveraged her expertise in business strategy, and supply chain and information management. Sandiso holds a BCom (Hons) in Information Systems from Wits University. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to grow Born to Succeed in South Africa, impacting more young women and making it more accessible in peri-urban areas.

Sheila Van Degraaph

Sheila Van DegraaphSheila has nine years’ work experience in civic engagement both at national and regional leadership level. She’s a certified monitoring and evaluation specialist and has extensive experience in project management, gender development, and policy advocacy and development. She is currently doing her master’s in Gender and Development. She is the founder and CEO of Youth and Success Association (YASA), a national organization that engages youths in entrepreneurship and employability, environmental management, information, education and communication, leadership, democracy, and governance. She is a member of the editorial team of Youth and Success magazine that has over 400,000 readers. Sheila served as the African regional coordinator of Youth for Road Safety and won a global award – Embrace Life. She has helped in the establishment of gender-based violence (GBV) rescue centers and worked extensively on HIV/Aids and the behavior change among youths. She will continue working with youths to link their potentials with opportunities.

Landry Guehi

Omer Jose Landry GuehiLandry Guehi is a young, passionate, and eclectic leader. After obtaining several degrees and certificates in different areas of knowledge and with his passion for change, he decided to make a commitment to becoming a social activist. He is now involved with several projects and programs for young people. Very fast, his leadership was recognized on a national level and since 2012, he has led the Network of Associations for Voluntary Service in Cote d’Ivoire. This network includes more than 50 organizations and works with the government and UN agencies to set up a national program of voluntary service. Landry Guehi is also behind the Tomorrow magazine project. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship his ambition is to give to the youth of his country a voice and present their initiatives. He would ideally like to open a radio station especially dedicated to the youth.