Skip Sub Menu

2019 Fellows

Henock Paul-Marie Sonangba

Central African Republic

Henock Paul Marie Sonangba holds a bachelor's degree in Economic Sciences and a certificate from the Regional Leadership Center in Nairobi. Henock works in environmental protection and trash collection in the Central African Republic. Through his work, he actively seeks partnerships with similar organizations in the environmental protection industry to expand their reach. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Henock will continue working to protecting the environment, and to raise people awareness surrounding conservation. He hopes to launch an eco-tourism center in the near future.

Roland-Armel Akpouet N'Dekploman

Cote d'Ivoire

Roland N'Dekploman has ten years of experience in cartooning and graphic journalism and holds a master´s degree in Web Journalism from Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille in France and a certificate in Journalism for Development. Roland strongly believes that only a well-informed citizen can take part in the development process for a better world, and is currently launching, a non-profit media organization that covers social and development issues with cartoons and comics in order to help young citizens have a better understanding of the world they live in and hold their leaders accountable. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Roland plans to promote social changes by covering development issues through investigations, editorial cartoons and live discussion events with groups of young people. 

Ayesha Brobbey


Ayesha Adomah Brobbey has over four years of experience in the local economic development sector. Currently, she is a baker by night and a business advisor by day. She works for the National Board for Small Scale Industries, where she trains and delivers tailored business development services to grow existing businesses and start-ups. Ayesha also works to economically empower and improve the livelihoods and incomes of the rural poor and micro-entrepreneurs within her district. Passionate about improving literacy rates, she volunteers at her local library to help children with their reading. Ayesha is pursuing a Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning with a specialization in macroeconomic policy at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ayesha plans to be at the forefront of policy formulation in Ghana and to establish multi-faceted skills-training hubs to support rural entrepreneurs.

Joan Enoh Tata


Joan Enoh has over five years of experience working in the healthcare sector, and currently is the managing director at St. Therese Medical Services, a company with a mission to strengthen the healthcare industry in Cameroon. She also worked for United Vision, a local youth-led organization that equips women and girls with the knowledge, skills, and tools to understand and advocate for their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Joan is deeply committed to social justice and believes that access to affordable healthcare is a human right. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Joan plans to work with the government to help deliver universal health coverage to all citizens in Cameroon.

Isma Kayiza


Isma Kayiza is a conservationist and co-inventor of Sparky Dryer, a machine that uses biofuel to dry food. He won the Resolution Social Venture Challenge in 2017 in South Africa and is currently the CPO of Sparky Social Enterprise Limited, a company he co-founded that addresses hunger and malnutrition through the preservation of food. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Management at Makerere University and specialized in community-based conservation. During his time at Makerere, he served as president of the university’s wildlife student association and has since remained committed to utilizing natural resources sustainably, to ensure the preservation of the remaining wild flora and fauna in his country. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Isma hopes to leverage the skills and connections gained through the program to continue to create simple, accessible, and effective methods for growing and preserving food, and help tackle hunger among poor communities in Uganda. 

Yvonne Chivasa


Yvonne Chivasa holds a Master of Science in Radiography, and with thirteen years of experience, currently serves as a chief radiographer at the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe. Previous experience includes a part-time lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's College of Health Sciences, and mentoring students in medical imaging. Yvonne believes that sustainable, high-quality health systems make for a strong nation and increased productivity. Yvonne hopes to learn about global business operations through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, and form long-lasting networks for professional growth. Her goal is to contribute to rebuilding the public sector´s radiological services through sustainable strategies.

Rachel Lwantale


Rachel Lwantale has nine years of experience as an entrepreneur and has a firm insight in working within the complex markets in emerging economies and identifying future gaps and investment opportunities. Rachel specializes in agribusiness as the CEO and co-founder of Imali Limited, a social enterprise that financially empowers people through sustainable partnerships and market access. She has a bachelor's degree in guidance counseling from Kyambogo University and is certified in agribusiness from the Open Impact Institute. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Rachel plans to continue her work by using agriculture to empower women in rural communities while training women and youth on personal empowerment. 

Paul James

United Republic of Tanzania

Paul James has over five years of experience in the Tanzania Telecom industry, with expertise in business analysis, system analysis and design, planning and project management, product development, and change management. Paul is the co-founder and CEO of the Social Point Company Limited, founded in July 2017, where he leads the Social Point team to implement a mobile app that will be used to solve the challenge faced by blood banks across Tanzania of insufficient blood supply. The mobile app is expected to be used by millions of Tanzanians to request blood from their nearest possible donors, in case of an emergency need of blood. The app will also allow people to search for their closest blood bank when they wish to donate blood. Paul Kaiza holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the Institute of Finance and Management in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Simphiwe Mamvura

South Africa

Simphiwe Mamvura holds three bachelor's degrees in Commerce and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Business Leadership and Corporate Strategy. She is the managing director of Maponya 911 Rescue, a national emergency medical service company, and the third largest in the country, with over 120 employees. Simphiwe is a voluntary executive board member of the South African Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Association. Within this advisory and planning role, Simphiew works towards more female representation within the industry and more women emerging as leaders to make an impactful contribution to both the emergency medical services industry, and the development of other women within the industry. Simphiwe is actively involved in various women's empowerment organizations, and following the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to launch an online platform and online community that focuses on mentorship, personal development, and financial education and growth. On the platform, she intends to feature women from all backgrounds and social classes that will share their stories, experiences, knowledge, wisdom, and learn from one another, encouraging "mental wealth" within all aspects of a woman's life.

Cheurombo Pswarayi


Cheurombo Pswarayi has over eight years of experience as an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry. She is the founder and CEO of MedTours Africa, a medical value travel company that arranges international treatment patient travel. Cheurombo has been awarded various national and international awards in recognition of her entrepreneurial excellence and work in the healthcare industry. Cheurombo is motivated to foster healthcare access for all through medical tourism stemming from a personal loss in 2013. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Cheurombo wishes to increase her destination hospital portfolio to include centers of excellence on the African continent. She also wants to continue with initiatives that drive inbound medical tourism to sub-Saharan African countries through skills and technology transfer programs.

Vusumuzi Mkhwananzi


Vusumuzi Mkhwananzi is currently working towards a Master of Business Administration in Impact Entrepreneurship from the Italian University of Cattolica, and before dedicating himself full-time to entrepreneurship, he worked for various humanitarian organizations, such as Doctors without Borders. With eight years of experience, Vusumuzi has operated various start-up ventures across southern Africa and is the founder and CEO of a tech start-up called myRunner. His start-up, which has won international recognition from Seedstars, makes traveling by bus easier and safer in Africa. MyRunner has a focus on cross-border networks in Africa and aims to build a financially connected transnational network in Africa. Vusumuzi is passionate about using entrepreneurship to solve challenges faced by communities in Africa and the world, and he actively takes part in various local entrepreneurial ecosystem building initiatives in his home country, Zimbabwe. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Vusumuzi plans to use the networks built and skills learned to bring value to the start-up entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

Thelma Ahamba


Thelma Ahamba holds a bachelor's degree in Marketing from the Wisconsin University College-Ghana, where she focused on marketing and customer relationship management in the service sector. Thelma has over seven years of experience in youth empowerment and volunteering for impact, explicitly focusing on entrepreneurship, leadership, business, and education. She is a poet, entrepreneur, marketer, agribusiness adviser, and writer. Thelma is also the CEO of two fashion and marketing brands: ModestAfrik-Seth's Stitches and Themmy Advertising. Currently, Thelma is an intervention associate at GROW Liberia, an agro-focused advisory and investment program, where she focuses on planning networking events, trade fairs, coordinating an online community, information sharing, creating market linkages, and conducting market research to foster growth in the sector. Thelma is driven by her passion for empowerment and service for humanity through volunteerism, and she hopes to see an economically stable society where there is neither poverty nor hunger, and people are economically empowered to be sustainable. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Thelma plans to continue her work in agribusiness capacity building, as well as youth empowerment, to build sustainable communities.

Alimatou Diagne


Alimatou Zadya Diagne is a statistical engineer from the National School of Statistics and Economic Analysis. She worked for two and a half years in collecting, processing, and analyzing data before deciding to change careers and devote herself to her community development. She began her entrepreneurial journey in 2012, and since then worked in multilevel marketing, sold poultry, and launched Carvi Writer, an organization that aims to promote self-publishing young authors. She also created City Announces Group, an advertisement platform that currently has more than 20,000 members, Carvi Food, the first Senegalese beef jerky company, and Imacom, an audiovisual production and digital marketing company.

Helen Chonjo

United Republic of Tanzania

Helen-Lukundo Chonjo has over eight years of experience working in the insurance and risk management business. Currently, Helen is the founder and managing partner of Macho Adjusters, a firm providing insurable risk, loss aversion, and claims management services. She helps the most underserved populations in Tanzania resolve their insurance problems by offering affordable solutions. Helen assists and represents victims of accidents, and other insurable loses, impacted by poverty, illiteracy or lack of education, to ensure they have a fair chance at seeking compensation for their damages. She holds a Master of Science in Finance and Investment from Coventry University in England, an advanced diploma in Information Technology, and a certification in insurance, from the Institute of Finance Management in Tanzania. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Helen will leverage her insurance and business acumen to build an incubator that will help startups and small businesses grow by offering affordable business solutions, opportunities to develop their capacity, and access to relevant networks that help bring them to scale.

Awa Diallo


Awa Yely Diallo has four years of experience in quality, safety, and environment management. Currently, Awa Yely is a consultant at AMC and supports Senegalese companies in setting up management systems for international certifications. She also volunteers to collect funds, offer school supplies, and to build libraries and computer labs for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Awa Yely is the founder of Conte et Comptine, a company specializing in creating personalized children books designed to awaken an interest in reading. Awa Yely holds two master's degrees in Risk Analysis in Agricultural Industries and Management of Quality, Sanitation, Safety and the Environment from the University of Creteil in Paris. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Awa Yely plans to continue her work on children's education with a focus on African culture. 

Evan Gichuche


Evan Gichuche has five years of experience in solar energy and energy management systems. Evan has worked on domestic, commercial, industrial and utility scale solar systems in different capacities from a casual worker, technician, lead engineer, project manager, entrepreneur as well as a technical trainer. Evan aims at enabling low-income people to improve their production efficiency and quality of they produce and services by offering them affordable financed solar energy solutions to power their businesses. He has studied telecommunications and information engineering as well as electrical and electronic engineering at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Kenya. Upon completing of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Evan plans to continue with his work on renewable energy in Kenya and hopes to expand to the larger Sub-Sahara Africa within the next three years.

Rachel Geras

United Republic of Tanzania

Rachel Raphael Geras has five years of experience in the microfinance and security services industries. She holds a bachelors’ degree in International Business from the London Metropolitan University. Currently, she works with local government officials to reduce growing crime rates, and youth unemployment through her security guard training program. Her security company has over 50 clients and employs over 275 youth around the country. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Rachel plans to engage further with local stakeholders and youth-based institutions to works towards a zero-crime rate by employing young men and women in her community. 

Blandine Umuziranenge


Blandine Umuziranenge is the founder and CEO of Kosmotive, a social enterprise that focuses on improving maternal and child health in Rwanda. Early on in her career, Blandine worked at the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency and Contact FM Radio. Blandine holds a postgraduate degree in Social Innovation Management, a bachelor's degree in Business Information and Communication Technology, and an advanced diploma in Information Technology. Her nine years of experience combine information technology, leadership development, social entrepreneurship, digital security, photojournalism, and filmmaking. She is a scriptwriter, World Pulse-featured storyteller, and fashion designer. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Blandine wants to build Kosmotive as a brand ecosystem about maternal and child health in Rwanda and throughout Africa.

Mike Mpoyi

Democractic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Mike Mpoyi is a medical doctor with six years of experience. For many years, he has held positions such as the area physician manager and country manager. Mike is currently the CEO of a non-profit organization that specializes in medical insurance. He established a clinic to provide access to health care to the impoverished community and is investing in solutions to increase the medical coverage for the Democratic Republic of the Congo population. He also volunteers with an organization that advocates for women's access to sexual and reproductive health services. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mike is planning to enhance the financial accessibility to health care services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Abinet Hagos


Abinet Tekle Hagos is a Ph.D. fellow with more than 12 years of experience in nutritional science, public health advocacy, and media communications. Currently, Abinet is the co-founder and director of NEED Nutritional Products and Services PLC, which provides guidance, counseling, and mass media commutation services to improve public health outcomes. He also co-founded the first newspaper dedicated to providing information on nutrition in Ethiopia and worked as a columnist and contributor for several newspapers and magazines. Abinet hosts weekly radio shows that discuss nutrition and works as executive committee member and public relations officer for the Food and Nutrition Society of Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Abinet hopes to expand his reach and establish a television and radio station that will engage a greater audience across Sub-Saharan Africa and continue to raise awareness about nutrition.

Nedio de Lordes V Dos Santos


Nédio De Lordes Nahi dos Santos has four years of experience in community development, mainly in leading financial literacy trainings. Currently, Nédio is creating an academic journal and finance magazine. He also volunteers in public and private schools where speak out of money can be your friend and trains people to improve their relationship with money. Nédio studied Finance and Credit in the Voronezh State University in Russia.

Bahati Chauma


Bahati Grace Chauma has six years of work experience in human rights, education, and community development. Currently, Bahati works as a quality auditor with the Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) Authority. Her job entails promoting and regulating the sustainable provision of TEVET for the Malawian workforce through registration and accreditation of TEVET institutions, programs, and awarding bodies. Bahati is also a social entrepreneur and owns a clothing line called ‘We-Stitch' which provides free training opportunities to vulnerable youth to economically empower them. Bahati holds a bachelor's degree in Social Science from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Being in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, Bahati appreciates that information sharing is one of the significant challenges faced by SMEs in Malawi. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she intends to mobilize SMEs and create a digital platform where entrepreneurs can exchange ideas on opportunities and business strategies. In addition, the acquired knowledge will be utilized when developing the new National TEVET curriculum, which incorporates entrepreneurship in the training programs. 

Sara Elfadil


Sarra Elfadil is a nutrition and dietetics candidate, and as the founder of Health and Nutrition Sudan, has a vision for greater accessibility and knowledge through engineered and tailored health solutions. She has also introduced and organized essential events, such as TEDx, to engender new ideas and innovations, and has recently been selected to complete a health and nutrition documentary in the Darfur region. Apart from the health field, event management, and documentaries, Sarra has diverse interests, including basketball and poetry. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sarra plans to work towards her vision of transforming health and nutrition in Sudan. 

Olawunmi Ogunde


Olawunmi Motunrayo Ogunde has over seven years of experience in the plastic manufacturing industry, with a focus on recycling. Currently, Olawunmi is the CEO and co-founder of Ecoprune Africa, a social enterprise firm tackling waste pollution through recycling. She is a member of the Recycling Association of Nigeria along with the Women Impacting Nigeria Initiative, where she works to promote gender equality. Olawunmi is also a volunteer mentor to young men and women through the INVENT Leadership program. Olawunmi holds a bachelor’s degree in Automatic Control Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield, and a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Warwick. Olawunmi is motivated by her commitment to help Nigerians begin to adopt eco-friendly options. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work in the environment and recycling sector with a focus of building a sustainable city. 

University Calendar 
University News