2017 Civic Leadership cohort
The Civic Leadership Institute is one of two cohorts of the Mandela Washington Fellowship led by the ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. The 25 Fellows in the Civic Leadership Institute are young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa who serve the public through governmental and nongovernmental organizations, community-based nonprofits or volunteerism.
They were selected for the program to hone their leadership development skills with support for professional development after they return home. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.
Afi Sonia Dzidula Amenyito
Thematic interest areas: community development/civic engagement/information communications technology
"The best way to bring change is to be the living testimony of your words. So, currently, I am taking the time to improve my comprehension and understanding of all those concepts to be the leaving reality of it."
Afi Sonia Amenyito has over six years of experience empowering youth and women in citizenship and accountability. Currently, Sonia works as a volunteer at Education Citizenship and Change (E2C). Sonia holds a bachelor's degree in Law from the University of Lome, Togo. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work on empowering youth and women on citizenship and accountability.
Barbara Birungi Mutabazi
Thematic interest areas: social entrepreneurship/information communications technology
"I believe empowering girls/women through training, creating access to information and opening doors to opportunities not only impacts and develops their lives but their communities too."
Barbara Birungi Mutabazi is a ground-breaking innovator dedicated to promoting gender equality and the economic empowerment of youth, especially girls and women, by encouraging greater youth participation in STEM fields and actively contributing to the budding STEM innovation and entrepreneurship sectors in Africa. She is a Co-Founder and Director of Hive Colab, Uganda's first technology, innovation, and business accelerator and incubator for East African startups. She is also the Founder of Women in Technology Uganda (WITU), which encourages, inspires, and trains women in STEM. Barbara has over eight years' expertise in the community development and IT sectors, focusing on business development by managing and establishing relationships among entrepreneurs, incubators, venture capitalists and angel funders from Uganda and abroad. Barbara holds a degree in Business Computing from Makerere University Kampala, a post-graduate diploma in Project Planning and Management from Uganda Management Institute, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Information Systems from University of Salford Manchester, UK. Upon completion of the fellowship, she plans on continuing her work fostering economic empowerment for women through technological innovations around education, fin-tech, agriculture, and health.
Thematic interest areas: disability rights advocacy
"I am passionate about youth development. I envision becoming a social change maker towards youth empowerment by applying different strategies through youth hubs, mentorship, community service, skills training, and advocacy."
Bethel Shembu is a Social Worker with four years of work experience in the NGO sector with skills in project planning, management, monitoring, and evaluation. She is currently engaged in promoting disability inclusion in the Ethiopian community by empowering persons with disabilities and their organizations.
Bwalya Witika Maketo
Thematic interest area: women and girls' empowerment
"Growing up I really admired my English Language teacher in High School, and the patience she had towards her students so I aspired to be like her. I too wanted to become as passionate a teacher as she was."
Bwalya Maketo is an English Language teacher, with over 5 years' experience. She is also the founder of an NGO called the Zambian Women With Skills, whose primary focus is equipping Zambian Women with the tools and resources needed to identify and harness practical skills and talents, thereby effectively translating them into sustainable streams of income. Bwalya holds a bachelor's degree in Arts with Education from the University of Zambia and is passionate about women's empowerment and entrepreneurship at various levels. She is, therefore, committed to creating a Zambia where women are given an opportunity to acquire the relevant tools needed to create sustainable streams of income. It is women that largely contribute to poverty reduction at the household level and the growth of micro-enterprises at the national level. She hopes that her efforts will combat the unemployment and stagnating income generation challenge that the majority of Zambia's population currently faces. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to widen her scope of work and reach out to more women through her platform by providing help in the form of skills training programs, entrepreneurship training activities, networking opportunities, mentorship, skills promotion, and cooperation.
United Republic of Tanzania
Thematic interest areas: civic engagement/information communications technology
"TCRO uses parliamentary style debates where people assume the position of the decision makers. This educates them of what it takes to make important decisions and gives them the power."
Dominic Mwakifulefule has two years' experience in media and the civil society sector. Currently, he doubles as a freelance writer and Executive Director of Tanzania Competitive Rhetoric Organization, an NGO that promotes critical thinking and freedom of speech by organizing debates and public speaking competitions using formats that encourage democratic and leadership ethos. Dominic is committed to developing informed and assertive youth as he believes this is the only way to ensure political and social accountability. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Dominic plans to organize bigger competitions to impact more students and influence government policy in education to use speech as a key tool in critical thinking.
Elhadji Ahm Demba ba Gahn
Thematic interest areas: entrepreneurship/civic engagement/youth
"I am an actor in my community, not a spectator."
Elhadji has over seven years of experience in the development sector, especially in leadership and entrepreneurship with youth. Currently, Elhadji is a Program Manager at the Synapse Center Network NGO, where he manages a training program for 600 young people in entrepreneurship in Senegal. Moreover, he is a trainer in the leadership and life skills component. Elhadji holds a bachelor's degree in Organizational Management with a focus on Social Marketing from the African Higher Institute of Training. He is also the founder of the Citizen Union for Development (UCD), which has gathered 14 community-based civil society organizations to work toward a mission of promoting citizen actions. Elhadji plans to continue their work in civic education for making an impact on the development of Senegal.
Thematic interest areas: information communications technology/women and girls' empowerment
"I see myself directly influencing Information communication technology policy in Zimbabwe."
Faith Samera is the co-founder of ZimGirlsCode, an organization that works with young girls by introducing and exposing them to technology in an effort to broaden and empower them with tools for the modern world. Faith's passion for technology stems from her current work experience of six years with the largest telecommunications company in Zimbabwe, Econet Wireless. She is also a mentor for the Technovation Challenge, an initiative that offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Faith is committed to working with young girls from all spheres of life to ensure that they have access to much-needed information and opportunities that will see them contribute meaningfully to society. Faith believes that technology is not only a social tool but an empowerment tool and it can be the distinction between two applicants. Minimal time on social media and more time for coding is what she would like to see. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Faith plans on collaborating with fellows of the same mind and continue to influence women in technology through her initiative, YALI Tech Girls.
Habiba Hussein Ali
Thematic interest areas: women's rights advocacy/female genital mutilation
"The young people involved in activism work today have the opportunity to discuss virtually issues affecting us like high unemployment, early marriage, FGM, the importance of education and the dangers of illegal migration."
Habiba Hussein has been working as a Women's Rights Advocate for more than 6 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in Procurement and Logistics Management (BPLM), as well as an MBA. Habiba is an agent of social change and advocates for women and girls. She pursues her passion for advocating for women's rights, campaigning against harmful practices such as gender inequality, gender-based violence, girls dropping out of school, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM). Working to empower women in education and entrepreneurship, Habiba volunteers as a tutor for women and youth at public universities and secondary schools. Habiba works to empower women and girls so that they can create peace, prosperity and a more sustainable world.
IK Chidiebere Anyadike
Thematic interest areas: youth training/education
"The fellowship will contribute strategically towards equipping me further with relevant skills needed to build my technical capacity in leadership, which would enable me to run the DISCOVERY HUB sustainably. It will also allow me to meet, interact and network with like-minded individuals and open the opportunity for collaboration."
Ikenna Anyadike has over four years of practical experience in teen development work. Currently, Ikenna is the Chief Executive of Connoisseur Consults, as well as the creator of #LiveOutLoud; an initiative focused on instilling a strong mindset of responsibility, entrepreneurship and social innovation in high school teenagers. His initiative uses education add-on resources and tools such as Project D3-X, a special workbook that helps teenage students explore and identify suitable career paths using their personality assets. Ikenna holds a Bachelor.s degree in Government and Public Administration from Imo State University, Nigeria. Ikenna is driven by his passion for providing innovative support programs and resources for disadvantaged teenagers. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ikenna plans to expand his work by providing safe spaces designed for teenage capacity development, a project he calls Discovery Hubs.
Thematic interest area: terrorism/peace-building
"In the next 10 years, I see myself as one of the top peacebuilders in Nigeria. I will have many initiatives to promote peace and tolerance."
Imrana Buba is the founder/coordinator of the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism (YOCAT). His work is centered on weakening the appeal of violent extremism in north-eastern Nigeria through counter-radicalization peace education programs in schools and villages. He lives in Yobe state, one of the hotbeds of Boko Haram insurgency. YOCAT is a volunteer-based youth-led organization that unites youth against violent extremism and promotes a culture of peace and tolerance. He also works to raise awareness that terrorism is not a real part of their precious cultural and religious heritage. One of his proudest accomplishments is the Peace Education and Mentorship for Students (PEMS) program that aims to provide peace education to 200 students in four schools that experienced Boko Haram attacks in Yobe state. Through the PEMS program (that involves trauma healing, peace education, and the establishment of Peace Clubs), the students learn how to respect one another and to embrace the values of peace in their everyday living.
Thematic interest area: information communications technology
"I want to work more with youth and to inspire and work more with youth on the concept of active citizenship. I also want to continue to make strides in development work at the community levels."
John Stephen Agbenyo has over nine years' working experience in the social development sector, specifically focusing on ICT's for development, quality education, and sexual reproductive health and rights. Currently, John is the Founder and Executive Director for Savana Signatures, a non-profit NGO based in Ghana, where he focuses on the strategic direction, growth, and management of the organization. He is involved in people management and funds management and has led to the development and implementation of social development programs and projects. John is the immediate past National President of the Junior Chamber International, Ghana, an organization of voluntary young active citizens age 18 to 40, who are engaged and committed to creating sustainable impact in their communities. Additionally, he is the author of the leadership book "A Year to Lead A Sweet Burden of Life?". John holds a first degree in Basic Education from the University of Education, Winneba and a master's in Development Communication from the University for Development Studies in Ghana. John plans to continue his work with Savana Signatures by focusing primarily on organizational strengthening, growth, and institutional fundraising to ensure the sustainability of the organization.
Ka Yan Leung
Thematic interest areas: human rights and advocacy/migration/law/inclusion
"I am aiming to play an integral role in policy creation and law-making on a national, regional and international level in line with integrity and ethical leadership and common oneness. I hope to progress from protection to empowerment of rights."
Kayan Leung is an attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights. Over the years, she has been involved in a number of strategic litigation cases in advancing refugee protection, in particular, on issues of access to health and education predominantly impacting women and children. Kayan led the development of a novel ICT project that will extend the advice and assistance of her organization to thousands of asylum seekers and migrant workers that can't afford to travel to or access law clinics from across South Africa. She aspires to build stronger networks within the region to develop bilateral and regional migration policies that are pro-human rights and development. Kayan currently heads the Detention Monitoring Unit, which focuses on litigation and advocacy against unlawful immigration detention and improving detention conditions. She also serves as an advisory member of the International Detention Coalition for Southern Africa. An avid believer of servant leadership and social justice, Kayan spends her free time serving as a youth mentor and develops community projects in bridging the gap between the law and realizing the bill of rights.
Manuel Joao Cardoso Jr.
Thematic interest areas: energy/climate change
"I want to inspire other people to believe that nothing is impossible if you work hard and follow your dream. I want to help my community to address climate change and to build a space where youth can express their feeling and ideas."
Manuel Joao Cardoso Junior is 28 years old and has graduated with a degree in Geography from Eduardo Mondlane University. Manuel works for Livaningo as the Manager of Clean Energies and Climatic Changes Project. In his daily work, he likes to stay connected with his community to observe and learn the realities on the ground, especially for women and youth. After participating in the fellowship, Manuel's main objective and goal are to start an environmental journal and the Youth Environmental Association, which will serve as a space to give young people the opportunity to express themselves and put their skills into practice.
Thematic interest areas: land management/community development
"I am on a journey, and I am looking forward to achieving many more amazing feats. I only hope that my journey shall encompass amazing experiences such as the one this fellowship offers. and that my greatest 'accomplishment' will be that I have kept my child-like curiosity alive and thereby remained 'teachable.'"
Mercy Ikuri is on a quest to make her country more eco-conscious. For five years, she has been part of a youth network in Kenya that sensitizes communities on climate change and green businesses. Currently, Mercy is part of a leadership training program that seeks to cultivate more eco-warriors and inculcate positive values in youth. Mercy is also multilingual. An avid writer of haiku and essays, she has won awards such as the 2012 Amkeni Wakenya (meaning "Rise Up Kenyans") Youth Innovation Award for an essay she wrote on the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. She also won the 2011 East African Essay Contest on Monetary Union with an essay written in French and emerged second in the 2015 Justice Project International Essay Contest on the link between social injustice and drug addiction. Her interest in social action is also evident in her past participation in the Annual Amnesty Intervarsity Human Rights Debates. Mercy holds a bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. She is passionate about a greener future and the sustainable use of resources. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mercy plans on pursuing a Master's in Sustainability and Urban Studies.
Thematic interest areas: women and girls' empowerment/economic empowerment
"I want to play the role of women leader, training other women on civic education and their rights. I want them to be economically and socially empowered members in the community."
Nancy Bomett has 10 years of experience in the community development sector. Her focus is on the social and economic empowerment of women. Currently, Nancy is a Field Supervisor for the Savings and Internal Lending Communities program (SILC), under the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya in partnership with Catholic Relief Services. Nancy supervises over 40 field agents where she initiates livelihood savings groups and promotes proper banking practices. Nancy holds a Diploma in Community-based Development and Project Management from the PREMISE Africa Development Institute in Kenya. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Nancy plans to continue empowering women through the formation of more savings groups. She is also interested in providing capacity building to the field agents so that they can provide quality services within their community.
Nomsa Lusanda Mbuli
Thematic interest areas: women and girls' empowerment
"My aim is to, through my work, support young women, campaign for change and give them a voice by participating in advocacy to ensure that together as young women we can create change."
Nomsa Mbuli has over two years of experience in community development and women's rights advocacy. Currently, Nomsa is a Program Assistant for Young Women Empowerment for the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative project where she empowers young women financially and socially. She is a weekly columnist where she writes about topical issues from a feminist perspective. She is also a co-director at Kabambe Investments where she provides menstrual cups to young women. Nomsa holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Management from The University of Swaziland. She is passionate about women's rights, and she hopes to cultivate an environment where women contribute towards sustainable development. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Nomsa plans to use the skills and experience gained to engage more women in community development, as well as grow her business brand and help keep girls in school.
Thematic interest areas: information communications technology/education
"I plan to further my education in digital technology and its application in improving education quality and access. This step is key to realizing my goal to develop a mobile learning kit that is accessible to children in very remote place/conflict zones across Africa."
Olatunde is the founder of REEL Initiative, a community-based nonprofit that seeks to help children improve their overall learning and reading skills and leveraging info tech tools. Agbado E-Learning Hub began operations in July 2014 as the flagship learning hub of the organization. Olatunde is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel (CIPM), Nigeria. She graduated with a Higher National Diploma (HND) distinction from Lagos State Polytechnic and is working on her MBA. She plans to replicate this model in at least five underserved communities across Nigeria in the next two years.
Olebogeng Tefo Sentsho
Thematic interest areas: solar energy/environment
"I believe that community development is the responsibility of all commercially viable businesses."
Olebogeng Sentsho has over five years of experience in the mining industry. She is currently the Head of Operations at Yeabo Mining (Pty) Ltd, where she focuses on mining entrepreneurship and funding with a specific focus on finance, business modeling, mining engineering, corporate governance, and corporate social investment alignment. Olebogeng holds an LLB degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and is currently pursuing her MBA. Her short-term career objectives are to catalyze the tertiary mining industry in South Africa that sees benefaction forming a significant role in the GDP. Her long-term goal is to collaborate with other industrialists who share similar goals of radical mining transformation. Mrs. Sentsho is the recipient of the inaugural "Outstanding Woman in Mining" Award from the 2016 Youth in Mining Business Awards for her work as a mining services entrepreneur. Following the Nelson Mandela Fellowship, Olebogeng aims to use what she has learned to participate in the drafting and amendment of policies in the mining industry so that the legislation can address the challenges of youth entrepreneurs more effectively.
Thematic interest areas: law/women and girls' empowerment
"I aim to be a community activist championing provision of educational support for girls in impoverished communities at a large scale."
Sharon is an attorney with ten years' experience and is currently a partner with the Zimbabwean firm, MawereSibanda Commercial Lawyers, where she advises financial institutions and corporates in their commercial transactions. Sharon initiates and participates in programs aimed at advancing the causes of women and girls. Since she was a law student, Sharon has volunteered with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), a not-for-profit organization that champions the rights of indigent women and girls. Sharon now sits on the ZWLA board of trustees and chairs the board of an education trust whose main objectives include promoting the education of girls in rural areas. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sharon intends to apply the lessons, experiences, insights, and connections from the Fellowship towards effective programs that will contribute towards the mental and societal emancipation of women and girls.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Thematic interest areas: education/disability inclusion
"Education is the right way to make a better world, especially for young ones that are the future world."
Shukuru Kubaburhanzi Debby has twelve years' experience in the development and human rights field, with a focus on advocating for deaf people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Currently, Debby is the Executive Director of a deaf association in North Kivu and is the Professional Training and Technical Promotion Manager at the Ephphatha Center for the Deaf in Goma. Debby holds a master's degree in Development Sciences from the Great Lakes Superior Institute of Rural Development (ISDR-GL) in Goma town, DR Congo, where he focused on the social and community organization track. Debby has a deep commitment to advocating for the social and economic development of people living with deafness in his country and all over Africa. He hopes that Africa will become an inclusive society with socioeconomic development and advancement for persons living with deafness. His goal includes high-quality education and vocational training, and provision of job opportunities through entrepreneurship. He advocates for deaf community building and social inclusion.
Thematic interest areas: energy/climate change/refugee advocacy
"My purpose is engraved in empathy and social transformation as a gateway to prosperity and economic transformation."
Simon Marot Touloung has over three years' experience in peacebuilding, community volunteerism, and mobilization. Currently, Marot is co-founder and Program Manager at African Youth Action Network (AYAN). This organization focuses on advocacy for quality education and healthy living, and youth empowerment and peacebuilding among refugee settlements in Uganda and in South Sudan. AYAN uses the interfaith exchange to bridge the gaps between the conflicting tribes in South Sudan. He holds a bachelor's degree in Petroleum Geoscience and Production from Makerere University. Marot grew up in a refugee settlement in Uganda and had a dream for an Africa and a world where everyone has a place to sleep and food to eat, free of violence and conflicts. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Marot plans to mentor and empower other young South Sudanese and engage civil societies and religious leaders in dialogues so that sustainable peace can be achieved in South Sudan.
Thematic interest area: youth empowerment
"I want to be a huge resource from which great ideas shall be converted to action. I am gaining the right skills through my job, formal studies, and involvement in a youth network."
Tendai Banda has over five years of experience in research, youth engagement, mentorship, and project management. Currently, Tendai is the Outreach Transition Program Coordinator for Baylor Children's Foundation, where she supports adolescents living with HIV properly transition to adulthood. Tendai holds a master's degree in development studies from the University of Malawi. Tendai is driven by her passion for work that improves the lives of others, especially young people, and inspires change and service leadership. To this end, she has volunteered at World University Service of Canada-Malawi on various capacity building mandates, most recently at the National Youth Council of Malawi as a Youth Engagement and Entrepreneurship Advisor. Tendai is also an active member of a youth network called Youth to Youth Empowerment, which provides mentorship and career guidance to young people in secondary schools. Additionally, she mentors youth in her community who approached her for professional guidance and those under Maphunziro265 scholarships. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Tendai plans to share the leadership and networking skills gained to the young people she works with or mentors and also to use her established networks to strengthen her mentorship cause with a focus on young girls.
Thierry Matabishi Musole
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Thematic interest areas: conflict resolution/land mitigation
"My passion is to improve people capacities, as I am convinced that I contribute in a small way to their mission of serving the needs of marginalized communities in eastern Congo."
Thierry Matabishi Musole trains staff at the International Rescue Committee in the DRC. Before joining the ICRC team in 2012, he was the CEO of Aid and Action for Peace, a local nonprofit based in Goma eastern Congo that promotes peaceful coexistence among grassroots communities through the management of land-related conflicts. A native of the Kivus, he says he has witnessed many waves of armed conflicts since 1996 that caused massive movements of populations. He says that the conflicts are so recurrent that they affect social harmony among different ethnic communities and impede the overall development of the region. He helped pilot a program that brought together a system of 'two heads' giving equal representation, and ultimately a successful model for resolution. He is a practicing lawyer who volunteers legal counseling to settle conflicts. He hopes to ultimately lead a law firm specializing in natural resources, environmental and civil law with an emphasis on widowers and female orphans.
Thematic interest areas: information communications technology/education
"After returning from the Fellowship, I will be able to influence policymakers to make sustainable laws about environmental issues and to make my organization in mindfully functional."
Thejane Malakane has more than 12 years of experience in the field of primary education, particularly in the technology and ICT sector. Thejane is an ICT Lead and Coordinator at Toloane Primary School where he focuses on developing ICT instructional material and facilitating day to day learning. Thejane is an avid conservationist and environmentalist. He mobilizes his students in various environmental exercises and activities. He plans annual and seasonal activities like Earth Day, Tree Planting Day as well as landfilling exercises around the school periphery. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Thejane plans to establish an environmental organization that focuses on advocacy for environmental sustainability.
Thematic interest areas: education/information communications technology/media
"My goal is to reach a point of success where I can effectively contribute to the development of Zambia."
Zacharia Kafuko has been the Creator and Producer of an award-winning radio-based educative science program called "Science Bench," which focuses on topics in science and mathematics, for over five years. With a bachelor's degree in science from the University of Zambia, Zacharia is currently the Regional Secretary General for Jets, a national association that promotes interest in science among young people through hands-on participation. In addition to working as a provincial trainer of trainers in ICT, he volunteers in conducting in-service teacher-training activities in computer studies within his local community. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Zacharia plans to use the knowledge, skills, and connections gained to set up computer hubs in strategic locations to be used by pupils from surrounding rural schools and communities in the hope of promoting the use of technology in education.