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2016 Fellows

Fellow Biographies

Aishat Hussain, Nigeria
Aishat Hussain is a human rights activist with over four years' experience in youth and gender advocacy, community development, and motivational speaking. Currently, she works as a company secretary and legal consultant to corporate clients and also in private practice. She is the founder of Project Dare To (Know Your Rights, Speak Out and Lead) and a talk session tagged 'BarrAishatTalks', which she employs to enlighten young people and women on their rights and how they can be empowered. She has also worked as a volunteer with various NGOs. Aishat is a lawyer from Nigeria, with a master's in Commercial and Maritime Law from the University of Hertfordshire, UK. She has a certificate in public privacy, cyber security and human rights and also in conference management and event planning. Upon completion of the Fellowship, she plans to utilize her skills to advance the cause of women and young people.

Alhasan Bah, Gambia
Alhasan Bah has been teaching for seven years and is the deputy head of Kolior Lower Basic School. Currently, he coordinates the Balal Public Library, where students are exposed to leadership skills, reading, activism, and learning through sports. He is a volunteer radio presenter at Soma FM 88.8, and hosts the ‘Civic Hour Show’ with politicians and local authorities. He is the public relations officer of the Lower River Region Youth Committee. He created a Facebook page for his town, Soma, Gambia, where current issues are discussed. He is also the president of The Association of Working Children and Youth of Soma, an organization that promotes children's rights throughout Africa. Alhasan earned a certificate in Education at Gambia College. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work as a children’s rights, girls’ rights, and youth activist through education, sports, and the media.

Bernardus Harageib, Namibia
Bernardus Harageib has more than 10 years' experience in the nonprofit sector and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. His company, Forte Belton, hosts workshops and seminars, and provides ongoing one-to-one coaching for young leaders. He currently freelances on radio and television, addressing a range of youth issues and current affairs. He co-founded a nonprofit organization in 2004, providing holistic support for learners who can not afford tertiary education. In addition to his work with LifeLine and ChildLine, he provides continuous psycho-social support to diverse vulnerable groups. He is keen to tackle gender-based violence, a major social ill in Namibia, by focusing on men, to encourage youth access to education as well as to address the leadership crisis in Africa. Since young people are the strategic avenue for changing narratives, he continuously invests in the development potential of the youth.

Busani Sibindi, Zimbabwe
Busani Sibindi is a dynamic development and human-rights activist with more than seven years' experience in NGO programming, leadership, and management, with a particular focus on marginalized communities. He is the founding director of Save Matabeleland Coalition, a member of the Together 2030 Core Group, and runs the SDG Digest. He holds a diploma in NGO Governance and Development Programming from the Center for Development Studies, Zimbabwe. He is a board member of the International Institute for Global Leadership and YOCIC (Youth for a Child in Christ), and has coordinated high-level programs locally and globally. He has also been the national coordinator of the Beyond 2015 campaign in Zimbabwe, and participated in the 2015 UN Intergovernmental Negotiations, having presented sessions in New York. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Busani plans to continue his work in sustainable development with a focus on Goal 16, which promotes peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

Catherine Nyambura, Kenya
Catherine Nyambura is a young African feminist activist with over seven years' experience in advancing gender equality, youth development, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She works in the context of sustainable development through movement building, digital and social media, policy advocacy, and capacity building for young women and adolescent girls. Catherine is deputy director at Dandelion Kenya, an organization enabling access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services to women, girls, and young people. Catherine heads communications for SDG Kenya Forum, and is in charge of facilitating outreach and managing relations with strategic development partners in the private sector and government. Catherine is a Women Deliver Young Leader and a member of Youth RISE International working group. She blogs with Girls Globe and writes her own column at Rural Reporters. Catherine plans to upscale her women’s rights work using access gained through the Fellowship.

Chinelo Uchendu, Nigeria
Chinelo Uchendu is a lawyer and social worker with over seven years' NGO experience. She has a passion for helping the less privileged and her volunteer activity in humanitarian missions has taken her to numerous African countries. She established Dei Solicitors and Legal Practitioners, a private law firm that does 80% legal-aid interventions for indigent prisoners. She created a 'Family Link project', which helps prisoners connect with their families with a view to curbing recidivism and securing speedy release for inmates suffering long delays in justice delivery. A 70% success has been recorded through her mediation of legal problems. She also volunteers as head of communications at Pro Labore Dei, an international charity caring for the poor and destitute worldwide. Upon completion of this Fellowship, she plans to apply skills gained in all future charity endeavors, so as to make the world a more humane, just and secure place.

Daniel Libati, Zambia
Daniel Libati has over 10 years' experience in civil society, during which time he has proved to be an ardent human rights activist. He currently practices law in a private law firm on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. He regularly conducts consultancy assignments (mostly research) for civil society organisations and is often called upon by a wide range of NGOs to offer his expertise, normally for free, in the area of public policy advocacy. He plans to continue working in private practice, conducting consultancy assignments where time allows, and being the reliable human rights activist he has become known to be. Daniel is working towards one day becoming state counsel at the Zambian bar of legal practitioners, and with that status sharing the attached dignity and skills with those less fortunate in his society. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree.

“YALI has taught me sensitivity. As an activist and lawyer it is important to be sensitive to peoples’ differences.”

Desmond Lungah, Botswana
Desmond Lungah, is a team leader at Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE) where he focuses on initiating, designing and implementing transformative gender interventions; recruiting expectant fathers and leading them through training that engages them in the upbringing of children; training in and out of school youth, both male and female on gender norms and life skills to create a generation of men who care and contribute to peace building and reduced gender-based violence for the benefit of themselves, women and children. Desmond completed his O Level in Zimbabwe, Luveve High School in 1998 and began his community work in 2002. He went through advanced training in lay counseling, the Gold Peer Education Program as well as monitoring and evaluation to enhance his community work. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Desmond plans to continue his work in gender equality with a focus on policy advocacy for equal opportunities.

Feri Gwata, Zimbabwe
Feri Gwata is a development economist with over five years’ experience in socio-economic research. She has a passion for the social upliftment of vulnerable population groups with a primary focus on rural livelihoods, economic policy, and sustainable development. Currently, Feri is a partnerships officer at the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development where she is the focal point for establishing and maintaining strategic partnerships with key stakeholders; she assists with research and proposal development. Feri is also the secretary of the Zimbabwe Youth Water Task Team of the SADC Youth Water Forums. Feri also tutors young women in her community in mathematics and economics and holds a master’s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work in improving the livelihoods of marginalized communities and advocating for their inclusion and participation in important decision-making processes.

“A lot of the time we want to go to a new place to see what’s there but what this program has actually made me realize is that the people in my own region have very diverse and interesting views from which I am learning. I’ve been exposed to different ways of thinking about issues that we all experience as Africans and I’m very grateful for that.”

Geofrey Mashala, Tanzania
Geofrey Mashala has five years’ experience working in the field of human rights, empowerment, and health issues of LGBTIQ, the most marginalized groups in Tanzania. He is the founder member and managing director of AMKA Empowerment Organization, a community-based nonprofit organization utilizing marginalized workers. In this position he is responsible for making sure his organization reaches and achieves its goals and objectives by making sure its managers perform their duties and responsibilities. Geofrey is a college dropout of a Bachelor of Science in Taxation. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship Geofrey plans to share with his LGBTIQ colleagues the knowledge and experiences that he has gained.

Gleadae Darling Harmon-Hoskins, Liberia
Gleadae Harmon-Hoskins has over four years of experience working in the development and natural resource sector in Liberia. Gleadae currently works at a national non-governmental organization, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in Liberia. Her work as national program assistant focuses on implementing project activities and managing program delivery in an effective and efficient manner, legal research and analysis, settlement negotiations and writing activities reports and briefs. Gleadae is the founder of a community-based organization (Secure Liberia) that focuses on the issues of gender, health and, natural resources (deforestation, global warming, logging). Gleadae has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with emphasis on sociology from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Liberia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Gleadae plans to continue working with rural communities to ensure that they benefit fairly from their natural resources and that they participate in decision-making processes around their land and natural resources.

Hameed Mustapha, Ghana
Mustapha Hameed is currently a lecturer at the Department of Petroleum Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and is in charge of reservoir models and development. Outside of the lecture halls, Mustapha is a youth activist with over seven years’ experience in various community-based activities in the area of education, academic assistance for schools in deprived communities, mentorship, skills development, and counseling. Mustapha recently started the Midas Center for Social Initiatives (MCSi), an organization that seeks to provide solutions to the social challenges confronting communities across Ghana. The Center focuses on girl-child development and provides guidance and numerous capacity-building initiative programs for girls in deprived communities. Mustapha is also a political activist with a focus on grassroots activism. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mustapha intends to expand his activities to reach out to more communities with a focus on girl-child and youth development.

Jhono Bennett, South Africa
Jhono Bennett is an architectural urbanist based in Johannesburg, having been trained in Durban, Cape Town. He holds a master’s degree with distinction from the University of Pretoria. He is a recently elected Ashoka Fellow for Southern Africa. Jhono has worked with Architecture for Humanity on the Football for Hope Initiative, as well as the South African Shack Dwellers International Alliance. He developed a critical stance in regard to the fluid and dynamic role of design in South Africa's development during the Slovo Park Project, a student and community research and design initiative. Jhono is currently a collaborating leader of the postgraduate design research Unit 14: Radical Negotiations at the University of Johannesburg’s groundbreaking graduate school. He manages operations at 1to1: Agency of Engagement, a nonprofit that provides a design-based collaboration between grassroots organisations, professionals, academia, and government.

Juelma Mendes, Guinea-Bissau
Juelma Mendes has over five years of experience in communication. Currently, Juelma is a public information officer for the United Nations Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau. After the death of her baby’s babysitter in 2015, she volunteered to support in communication, sensitization, and advocacy at two national NGOs that work to support the human rights of children, girls, and women. In her community, Juelma assists 56 teenage girls who ran away from early marriage, teaching them about human and children's rights, hygiene, and early pregnancy. She also fights to guarantee them health assistance in private hospitals. Juelma is also a public relations specialist at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to build a house to shelter women and girl victims of domestic violence, forced and early marriage, sexual abuse, and human rights violations, a first in Guinea-Bissau.

Komal Boodhun, Mauritius
Komal Boodhun is a full-time lecturer in Criminal Justice at the University of Mauritius. She informally provides psychological support to students who request her assistance. Since 2011, she has been a facilitator and member of the core team of the NGO Men Against Violence. Using her public speaking skills, she sensitizes youths aged 12 to 22 on the impact of gender-based violence in Mauritian society. She is also a member of the executive committee of CEDEM, which deals with vulnerable children and she uses strategic planning as well as her excellent communication skills to lobby for CEDEM's cause. Komal holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Psychology from the University of Portsmouth, UK. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Komal plans to meet stakeholders dealing with vulnerable children and empower them to provide better service to Mauritian children

Mishkat Edris, Sudan
Mishkat Edris has over seven years of experience in administration and finance in the community development sector – peace building, in particular. Currently, Ms. Edris is an administrative assistant working in United Nations Peacekeeping in Darfur, where she focuses on general administration management in order to provide services and operational support to the office of the director of mission support. She also volunteers in her local community where she teaches female students life skills and financial literacy. Ms. Edris holds a double bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance Banking from the University of Sebha, and is currently progressing her master’s degree in Business and Administration where she focuses on management and community development within the education sector and their impact on development in Darfur. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Ms. Edris plans to continue her work in community development with a focus on education for girls and advocacy for women’s rights and equal opportunities.

Nolubabalo Kwayimani, South Africa
Nolubabalo Kwayimani has over 10 years' experience working on youth development programmes with organisations focusing on peace, anti-racism, and human rights education. She has also served for more than six years, both professionally and as a volunteer, in the biodiversity sector, where she has focused on water resource management and environmental education. Nolubabalo is currently completing her master's in Water Resource Management at the University of the Western Cape. She also works for Conservation South Africa leading the One Health project, which focuses on increasing, protecting, and rehabilitating water sources (springs), enabling people to access safe water and encouraging hygienic practices. Nolubabalo recently founded TheLadder ZA, an organization that equips girls in rural South Africa to contribute to positive community development. It provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education as well as a platform for addressing social issues via an e-learning mobile bus that provides educational resources and internet access.

“I realized that I was thinking in a narrow way. But in the past few weeks, I found the linkages amongst our scope of work. I now know how to integrate all spheres of life in order to achieve sustainable development.”

Ntombikayise ‘Kayise’ Nyoni, Swaziland
Ntombikayise Nyoni is a qualified lawyer. She holds a Law degree from the University of Swaziland and a certificate in International Human Rights Training from Equitas, Canada. For the past five years she has worked in the area of access to justice for women and children, with a focus on advocacy for law and policy review as well as working with clients to access justice. She has conducted campaigns and training for legal professionals and policymakers, community leaders and many other stakeholders. Ntombikayise is passionate about women's empowerment and currently directs the Women Working Together Initiative, a company she founded. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hopes to return home and continue working with communities as well as women in general. She hopes to grow her company and reach more women.

Philip Kpakiwa, Sierra Leone
Philip Kpakiwa is an expert in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, with over five years’ experience with MasterPeace. Since 2011 he has been the country coordinator of MasterPeace Guinea, working on peacebuilding, mediation, peace education, and actively training young people in creativity and leadership skills. He is a man with a deep passion for vulnerable children. He has served as the representative director of Care for Children Guinea, providing a decent life for vulnerable children and developing their talents. Founder of Conquerors for Christ Ministry Guinea, Philip holds a diploma in Theology from the New Family Bible Training Center, a diploma in Peace and Conflict Management from IBMG University, and certificates in Communication, Leadership, Project Management, Fundraising, and Conflict Intervention from Cairo and the Netherlands. After completing the Fellowship, Philip plans to continue his work in peacebuilding, leadership, and empowering young people with creativity, social reconciliation programs, and school peace.

Raabia Abdul Kadir Hawa, Kenya
Raabia Hawa has over 10 years of experience working in the field of wildlife conservation in East Africa. She has successfully launched the Ulinzi Africa Foundation, East Africa’s first nonprofit organization focused on ranger empowerment, welfare, and facilitation. As the executive director she has also initiated the 'Walk with Rangers' program and has worked closely with the authorities in enhancing collaboration within the sector. Having developed a keen interest in safeguarding Africa’s natural resources, Raabia has been a notable contributor to the legislative amendments in the historic Wildlife Act in Kenya, which has seen phenomenal commitment to preserving the country’s ecology. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Raabia plans to continue her work in conservation with a focus on improved wildlife and environmental law enforcement to ensure that Africa’s wildlife is protected for generations to come.

Rabiatou Ahmadou, Cameroon
Rabiatou Ahmadou has over four years' experience working with nonprofits. She promotes Mbororo women and girls' rights through community and civic engagements such as mentoring, adult literacy, and enterprise development. She uses entrepreneurship to empower Mbororo women, especially widows and divorced or single mothers, and liberate them from dependency and economic inactivity. She currently serves as a foreign affairs officer in the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon. Rabiatou holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. She has experience in proposing, coordinating, facilitating, and implementing grassroots development projects. She intends to use her acquired skills and knowledge to boost her work and identify more creative ideas to improve the status of Cameroonian women globally and Mbororo women in particular.

Samreen Abuidris, Sudan
Samreen Abuidris has four years of experience in various fields of human rights issues and peacebuilding. Currently, Samreen is a program officer and co-founder of the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative (SHRI), where she initiates and implements projects that focus on coexistence, accountability, and improving the human rights situation in her country. She also engages in national and international advocacy and volunteers to mentor the youth in her community. Samreen is a candidate for a master’s degree in Gender, Migration, and Multicultural studies from Ahfad University for Women, where she has focused on gender and migration flows and issues around the world. She aims to do her master's thesis on the 'Freedom of belief and worship for internally displaced persons in Sudan'. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Samreen plans to continue her work in human rights through national and international advocacy, law reform, accountability, and working for minority rights.

“YALI has taught me that the difference between a leader and a boss is the collective work and representation.”

Samuel Wadzai, Zimbabwe
Samuel Wadzai has over seven years’ experience in the fields of human capital development, human rights, community mobilization and, institution building. Samuel is the founding director of National Vendors Union, Zimbabwe and the founder and current executive director of Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), globally responsible for developing programs and translating the organization’s vision, mission, and policies into actionable deliverables. Samuel’s past experiences as the president of the Student Executive Council at the Midlands State University, treasurer general of Zimbabwe Students’ Union, and the networks coordinator of Elections Resource Center have fundamentally shaped his conviction that ‘change engenders development’. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Samuel plans to continue playing an innovative, critical and influential leadership role in research, management, lobby and advocacy for the promotion of socio-economic rights, good governance, and electoral democracy. He holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Great Zimbabwe University.

Temitope Okupe, Nigeria
Temitope holds a master's degree in Human Resources Management with over four years' experience in community services. Temitope has worked as a volunteer with Modupe Cole Childcare & Treatment Center for mentally and physically challenged children in Lagos State, Nigeria. He has also worked at the Cambridge ethnic community forum in the UK as an advocate dealing with disability rights and racial discrimination. He is currently working as a project manager with Development Impact for Nigeria, in association with Ipaja Community Link in Lagos, where he is supervising a skill-acquisition program for children living with disabilities. He also advocates for people living with disabilities. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Temtiope plans to continue his work empowering children with disabilities, with a focus on advocating for effective disability laws and policy reforms that will enable equal opportunities amoung able and disabled people in Nigeria.

Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, Botswana
Tshepo Ricki Kgositau is a graduate of International Relations and Criminology with years of experience in the NGO sector. She has worked as an advocacy officer with a transgender NGO in Botswana called the Rainbow Identity Association, and then held the position of regional programs coordinator (2014-2016). Her role focused specifically on Southern Africa, along with another transgender-focused NGO called Gender DynamiX, based in Cape Town. She has coordinated regional research on transgender populations in Africa and transgender human rights by monitoring and reporting to regional and international human-rights mechanisms. Tshepo recently began her new role as the executive director of Gender DynamiX, and sits on the steering committee of the SATF as secretary, where she is responsible for all communication. She is passionate about developing upcoming transgender rights activists through various capacity-enhancement initiatives, which she aims to champion upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

“My activism has been refined through YALI. If I look at the way in which I packaged the issues, the concepts, and the struggles, particularly those I thought were unique to the trans community, I come out of the program with a clearer understanding of what I call an intersectionality of struggles.”

Global Programs Summer Fellows

Akol Kuan is a Civil and Environmental engineering student at UC Berkeley with an intended minor in Public Policy. Among the myriad of topics that interest him are transformative leadership, socio-economic inequality, globalization, world politics, development and social policies. Akol is additionally interested and excited by positive trends in the world especially social, economic and political growths in his country of origin, the new nation of South Sudan. He enjoys playing soccer, listening to music, travelling and a cold drink of peanut smoothie. Akol is excited to be interning with YALI and is hopeful that this valuable experience will test his leadership capabilities and more importantly, expose him to renowned leaders of diverse backgrounds from his continent of Africa.

Taylor Price is a sophomore at New York University. As an NYU Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar, Taylor is committed to civic responsibility and leadership to advance human rights objectives. She is majoring in International Human Rights, NGOs, and Public Policy on a Pre-Law track. She is interested in social justice, global and urban education, and sustainability. In High School, Taylor founded Education Is the Cure, an organization that funds the education of children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and she wants to continue to work in education and begin to work in policy and international development. As an aspiring human rights lawyer, Taylor hopes to defend, evaluate, and create policies that address the challenges faced by domestic and global public today.

Amelia Galbraith is a rising senior at Berkeley High school in Berkeley, CA in the International Baccalaureate program. At school she mentors incoming students through a leadership program, she is the outreach coordinator for her school's Amnesty International club, she’s a member of the Fair Trade club, and on the leadership team for her small school. Amelia is interested in studying international relations, international development, and economics when she goes to college. She enjoys traveling and being immersed in different cultures. Amelia am enthusiastic to be interning with YALI this summer and looks forward to learning from all the amazing leaders participating in the program.