Drake hosted a cohort of 25 young professionals from across Sub-Saharan African for the 2022 Leadership in Business Institute, June 8-July 17.
During the Institute, Fellows connected with members of the Drake and greater Des Moines communities; engaged in local community activities and volunteering; shared best practices with business leaders; and participated in a virtual Summit with Fellows participating in other Institutes across the U.S.
Lisa Videira is founder and chief executive officer of Academia Nzoji, an e-learning platform working to revolutionize education in the Southern African Development Community. Lisa is also a podcast host focusing on education promotion, a start-up mentor at Founder Institute Luanda, a blogger, and a former surfing and kitesurfing athlete. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering and Master of Science in Logistics Management. Lisa is fueled by a mission to improve the prospects of African people and their economies through education, starting with her homeland of Angola. A strong believer in achieving success while living by a clear code of ethics, she is dedicated to combining her analytical skills with the rigor of the highly competitive yet honest athlete. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lisa hopes to apply her new knowledge and networks to bring the curriculum of the best U.S. schools to Angola.
Elsa Figueiredo Tchikanha has more than 10 years of experience in the legal field and is registered with the Angolan Bar Association. Her areas of practice include corporate, private investment, and civil litigation matters, as well as employment, labor law, and labor litigation matters. Elsa regularly advises clients from different areas, such as civil aviation, construction, insurance, information technology, health, and others. Elsa writes articles on legal matters for several newspapers in Angola and was listed as a global contributor by the World Bank in its 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2020 editions of Doing Business and the 2020 and 2021 editions of Women, Business, and the Law. In 2008, Elsa was one of eight students representing Angola in the 17th Annual Moot Court Competition held in South Africa and organized by the University of Pretoria. In 2020, Elsa successfully concluded the Executive Education Women in Business at London Business School and, in 2018, graduated from Oxford Saïd Business School in Global Business. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Elsa plans to use the acquired knowledge to pursue a business management career in which her legal experience will play a significant role.
Hadja Mariam Sidibe has more than four years of experience in law. Currently, Mariam is chief executive officer at le Juriste d'à Côté, a law firm, where she focuses on advising and assisting people in legal disputes. She also manages a milk company with her mother. For five years, she was the youngest municipal councilor in her city. Mariam holds a master's degree in Business Law. She was motivated to study law to fight for women's rights. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mariam plans to expand her businesses and help more women realize their own projects.
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Mireille Kipfunga Sifa has more than nine years of professional experience in marketing and commercialization in the water sector. Currently, Mireille is executive director of Goma Maji Sarl, a social purpose company that provides a sustainable solution to the supply of potable water in the peripheries of the city of Goma through tap stands. She also volunteered at Africa Vision, a non-governmental organization in Goma that cares for orphans. Mireille holds a bachelor's degree in Development Management from the Institute of Computer Science and Management at the University of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mireille chose her profession because of the lack of potable water in her city. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mireille plans to resolve the problem of poor management in the potable water sector in regions of her country where lack of potable water continues to be a problem and can be improved through entrepreneurship.
Bitseat Debrework Zelleke has more than nine years of experience in project and business management. Currently, she is a value chain adviser at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)-Ethiopia, where she focuses on supporting smallholder farmers and small and medium enterprises in the honey sector. Bitseat has volunteered with Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity in Ethiopia and with Friendship for Integrated Development Association, a local non-governmental organization that supports destitute women and vulnerable adolescents and children. Bitseat holds a master's degree in Innovation Management from the University of Trento and the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and project management. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Bitseat plans to lead multistakeholder projects that will support businesses and their growth.
Mariama Barry has more than four years of experience in child protection and women's empowerment. Currently, Mariama is representative of the community development branch at FITIMA (La Fondation Internationale Tierno et Mariam), where she focuses on awareness-raising, training, information, and advocacy for the protection of children with disabilities. She leads women's empowerment projects, training participants in management and supporting them in setting up and developing IGAs. She has developed four institutional and international partnerships at FITIMA. These partnerships help promote children's rights and women's empowerment. Mariama holds a master's degree in Business Management. She is dedicated to supporting and encouraging women and young people in precarious situations. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mariama plans to promote the cause of special and inclusive education for Guinean children with disabilities.
Amna Abdeen has more than six years of experience in environment, water supply, and engineering management. Currently, Amna heads the waste management unit at Newtech Consulting Group in Khartoum, Sudan, which aims to enhance the environmental performance of the industrial sector and contribute to transforming the existing solid waste management system in Sudan into a more sustainable, integrated, and profitable system using eco-technologies. She has vast experience in preparing technical and financial proposals for feasibility and marketing studies, including more than 25 proposals for funding agencies and governmental sectors. Amna holds a master's degree in Environmental Science and Technology, specializing in waste-to-energy technologies, from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands. Amna is committed to achieving the mission of the waste management unit within the next two years. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Amna plans to use the obtained knowledge and network to develop bankable business opportunities and plans and profitable consultancy services related to waste management and conversion.
Adama Sillah has more than 10 years of experience in journalism. Currently, Adama is a presenter at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation and managing director of Diamond Media and Communications Consultancy. Adama is student union president of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Adama holds a Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in Mass Communications and is a final-year law student. Adama is founder and coordinator of Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment, which aims to inspire an interest in media literacy in young women and girls in Sierra Leone, mainly with backgrounds in journalism and communications, through interactive media platforms. Adama is extremely passionate about her job. As a female journalist and a women's and youth activist, she has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Sierra Leoneans, 50 most influential youth, 50 most influential Sierra Leonean women, and 100 most influential young Sierra Leoneans. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Adama plans to provide mentorship and advice on business ideas and entrepreneurship to young women and girls. Adama plans to use innovative communication platforms to reach out to young women and girls in leadership and business.
Rahma Ali is an advocate for sustainable resilient cities with more than five years of experience in sustainable urban development. Currently, Rahma is founder and managing director of EcoWaste Environmental Solutions, where she focuses on tackling urban waste management issues. She is an advocate for circular economy practices and the importance of developing an inclusive framework for small and medium enterprises in the sector. Rahma also is an associate for Carbon Think, where she is an adviser for businesses in waste management. In addition, she is the communication and public relations secretary at Sudan Urban Development Think Tank, where she focuses on urban policy topics in Sudan. Rahma has volunteered with several sustainability-driven organizations including ArcPeace-Sudan Chapter and Sudanese Solar Energy Society. She holds a bachelor's degree in Architecture from the Sudan University of Science and Technology. Rahma is motivated to enhance the practices of urban development in Sudan through entrepreneurship. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Rahma plans to continue to advocate for cities' improved green performance and promote innovation and entrepreneurship, which will drive growth, build urban economic resilience, and accelerate the transition to greener sustainable cities.
Lily Singelengele has more than seven years' experience in the agriculture and climate change sectors in Zambia. Currently, Lily is founder and chief executive officer of Green Agriculture Youth Organization, where she focuses on training farmers in sound farming techniques, youth empowerment, and climate change mitigation. She holds a diploma in Agronomy from the Zambia College of Agriculture. Lily draws her strength and motivation from the many hardships faced by rural women and youth daily. She hopes to help the communities in which her organization operates flourish sustainably. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lily plans to create a youth movement in Zambia that will lobby and advocate for leadership, gender equality, and climate change action.
Musama Chibamba has more than five years of experience in accounting and social entrepreneurship. Currently, Musama is external auditor at PwC Zambia and co-founder of ZamDrop, an entertainment hub for professionals in the arts. She thus is focusing not only on her career progression in audit, but also on the advancement and inclusion of youth in the arts and entertainment industry and on creating inclusive platforms for rising creative talent. Musama holds a bachelor's degree in Accountancy and is currently pursuing her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualification. She is committed to spreading the message of inclusivity among African youth, while helping individuals build self-love and self-confidence. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Musama plans to use the skills acquired during the Fellowship to empower youth, enabling them to create personal brands that are unique and sellable, thereby pushing the ideals of inclusivity and self-reliance.
Vongai Mercy Takuva is a student welfare officer at the Reformed Church University in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and has more than two years' experience as a community changer. Vongai is passionate about equal access for persons with disabilities to tertiary education. She believes that by fighting the exclusion of marginalized communities, she can help create a universal, accommodative, and enabling environment that embraces diversity. She volunteers as a peer educator trainer with SAYWHAT (Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team), an organization that seeks to contribute to a generation of healthy young people in Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community region by raising awareness of reproductive health issues. She believes that for today's leadership, diversity and inclusivity have become top priorities, but she is concerned that not many organizations understand the meaning of this ideology or how to correctly implement it. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Vongai plans to consider different perspectives on how to better inform decision making; how to present diversity as a competitive advantage in which individuals and groups bring unique experiences, characteristics, strengths, and viewpoints; and how to drive improved performances of organizations.
Ivan Bita Dougan has more than 10 years of experience working across communications, branding, research, business development, and marketing. He is project and programs manager at Dreams Hub Research and Innovation Center in Equatorial Guinea. Ivan designs and leads programs aimed at providing start-ups across Equatorial Guinea's fledgling ecosystem with resources to ensure sustained growth, impactful scale, and investment readiness. Ivan leads Dreams Hub's work as the designated local partner for start-upper Challenge, a competition convened by TotalEnergies, a global energy giant. Ivan is currently pursuing his Master of Business Administration in International Business Management and Innovation. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ivan plans to use the new knowledge, skills, and experience to accelerate the growth and impact of local founders and start-ups across Equatorial Guinea's technology ecosystems.
Jonas Bensah has more than five years of experience working for non-governmental organizations in Ghana. Currently, Jonas is field facilitator and district coordinator at Right to Play, where he focuses on educating and empowering children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict, and disease. Jonas is currently coaching more than 100 teachers to use play-based learning in lesson delivery and to promote a positive learning environment in their schools. He also volunteers with Freedom Aid Ghana, where he educates and conducts health screenings for people in deprived communities. In addition, Jonas is the chief executive officer of iQui Wears and Delivery, an organization that supplies smocks, kente cloth, and courier services. Jonas holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and Philosophy. He is committed to community development and has wide-ranging skills in project management, organization, training, community mobilization, presentation, monitoring and evaluation, communication, and interpersonal relationships. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Jonas plans to mentor final-year students in his local senior high school on entrepreneurship, and to establish a community agriculture project that will train youth interested in pursuing agriculture as a sustainable livelihood.
Michael Ongaro has more than seven years of experience in community development. Currently, Michael is founder and director at Femcorner Industries, focusing on mass production of reusable, affordable, sustainable, easy-to-wash, comfortable, and stain-resistant sanitary towels. Michael holds a diploma in Community Health Nursing. Michael is passionate about working with teenage mothers through the sewing of reusable sanitary ware and solving period poverty and unemployment in low-income communities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Michael plans to continue his work in empowering teenage mothers as he strives to end period poverty in his community and advocate for healthy sexual and reproductive health and rights with the Kenyan government and non-governmental organizations.
Bronson Imbai Eran'ogwa has more than six years of experience in agritech. Currently, Bronson is managing director at Africa Apiculture Consortium, where he focuses on food traceability in the honey value chain, bee health, honey production, and enhancement of the honey value chain through technology. He has also volunteered with the U.S. embassy in Kenya under Integrated Initiatives for Community Empowerment. Bronson holds a bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science. His focus is on using networking, exploration, and scientific refinement solutions to solve food security and climate-change problems and to ensure agricultural sustainability. Recognized for his collaborative leadership style and active approach, he has a vast network in the agricultural technology industry. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Bronson plans to bridge the gap between different disciplines, advocate for humanitarian assistance, develop strategies to help marginalized groups, and promote sustainable development that is fully owned by local communities.
Claude Moïse Mbaye has more than seven years of experience in Agriculture Entrepreneurship. Currently, Claude is chief executive officer of Produits de l'Agricuture et de l'Elvage, where he focuses on promoting agriculture. He works on his farm and provides veterinary services and agricultural business coaching. He is a member of RAPEA (African Network for the Promotion of Agricultural Entrepreneurship), a youth organization. He supports and promotes sustainable development in his community. As an Alumnus of the Young African Leadership Initiative in Dakar, he advises, trains, and connects women and young people. Claude has a degree in Farm Business Management and holds a Superior diploma in agricultural management and a veterinary technician diploma. Passionate about nature, Claude is convinced that sustainable development in Africa can be achieved only through agriculture and education. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Claude plans to continue using his business and entrepreneurship skills to create innovative solutions, with the principal goal of establishing an educational farm.
Mark Sabwami is a literacy advocate for the blind. He is founder and director of Jipange Special Needs Center (Jipange), a non-governmental organization located in rural Kitale, a small town in Kenya. At Jipange, Mark's short-term goal is to eliminate the gap between blind learners and assistive devices, ensuring that each blind learner has access to a braille assistive device including adaptive computer technology. He believes that literacy is vital for quality of life in today's world. Mark is driven by his conviction that discrimination against the disabled, specifically the blind or visually impaired, must end. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mark plans to use the skills and knowledge gained to liberate blind and visually impaired individuals from emotional turmoil and economic dependency caused by their disability. He plans to market Jipange, to further collaborate with other non-governmental agencies and with government agencies, and to use the Fellowship to take Jipange to the next level to expand its reach not just throughout Kenya but to all of Africa.
United Republic of Tanzania
Osidai Saning'o has close to 10 years of experience in social entrepreneurship and community development. Currently, Osidai is managing director of Orkonerei Dairy Farming, a social enterprise that helps women gain financial inclusion through a market-based approach in which Maasai women (who traditionally own the milk while men own the cattle) earn an income by supplying raw milk to the enterprise for processing into dairy products. The women spend their income to send their children to school, feed their families, build houses, and start small businesses to counter the seasonality of raw milk availability. Previously, Osidai worked as an accountant, project manager, and director of programs for a social enterprise and a non-governmental organization in northern Tanzania. Osidai is pursuing a Master of Business Administration, researching the factors influencing the sustainability of social enterprises in Tanzania. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Osidai plans to work toward improving the social and economic lives of his community through social entrepreneurship.
Peter N. Dolo has more than five years of development work experience and more than four years of experience as a broadcast journalist. Peter is founder and executive director of Community Solutions Aid, a Liberian non-profit organization that focuses on alleviating poverty and social inequality through thematic programs, such as civic engagement, agriculture and entrepreneurship, education, and health and livelihoods sustainability. He is passionate about community development work and wants to become an architect of vibrant and resilient communities that have zero tolerance for poverty and social inequality. He is an Africa Future Leader Fellow at Studenthubgh, a G20 Young Global Changer with the Global Solutions Initiative, and a Global Goodwill Ambassador with the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation. He holds a bachelor's degree in Development Studies from CEPRES International University in Liberia. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Peter plans to continue his work with Community Solutions Aid and help it become a more sustainable organization. He intends to launch a resource mobilization arm that will reduce its dependency on donor support, which can be scarce during crises such as COVID-19 and other humanitarian disasters.
Henry Ssekigozi has more than seven years' experience in agronomy and horticultural science. Currently, Henry is company agronomist at MTK Uganda Limited, where he advises and transforms the lives of Ugandan farmers by discussing better and more profitable farming techniques through his weekly radio program. Because farmers in Uganda lacked access to markets during the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry founded Fresh Leaf Uganda, a company that links farmers to markets in urban centers. Henry holds a bachelor's degree in Horticulture. His passion for agronomy began with his mother, who grew and sold vegetables to buy necessities and pay for her children's schooling. He favors better, simpler farming methods, which he believes will attract more Ugandan youth to the profession. Henry plans to use the knowledge and connections acquired from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to establish advisory centers for farmers in rural and urban communities. The centers will help lift farmers out of poverty by making their agribusinesses sustainable. He will also spread what he learns to his faithful radio listeners, who are always ready to add to their farming knowledge.
Callixte Ikuzwe has more than six years of experience in disability inclusion and independent living services. Currently, Callixte is program manager at Seeing Hands Rwanda. He focuses on inclusive community center program coordination and on developing barrier-free communities for children and persons with disabilities, using technology and activities carried out by persons with disabilities themselves. In 2017, Callixte initiated an independent living center for the blind. The project produced 50 graduates, who now advocate for other persons with disabilities. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Callixte led a team that produced e-Mbaza, a software application that provides information on vaccination status, infection rates, and other COVID-19-related topics. Callixte holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and is pursuing a master's degree in Project Management. Callixte is motivated to make communities more inclusive through the creation of community centers that accommodate persons with disabilities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Callixte plans to engage more community members in helping make their communities safe places for persons with disabilities. More persons with disabilities will be trained inclusively on activities that boost their economic participation and development to reach economic equality.
Amadou Mansour Ndiaye has more than four years of experience in community development and nutritional agriculture training. Currently, Amadou is chief executive officer of Tolou Eleug (Youth Sustainable Farming) and national coordinator of Mercy Ships' youth agroecology training program, Food for Life. He is focused on training youth as an agroecology trainer and agripreneur. He spent a year volunteering with CorpsAfrica, a Peace Corps model for Africans. During this one-year experience, he trained 38 women in agroecological best practices and helped establish a groundnut oil processing unit. Amadou holds a degree in Community Development from the National School of Applied Economics in Dakar, Senegal. Amadou is committed to eradicating the many diseases related to poor nutrition and to contributing to food security in Africa. He intends to train youth and women in producing healthy foods and to create a network of organic producers. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Amadou plans to share the knowledge he has gained with his community by training youth and by making his network available to help other collaborations.
Awilo Alfred has more than six years of experience in business and social entrepreneurship. Currently, Alwilo is founder and executive director at Youth Camp Africa/Eden Farmers Enterprise, where he focuses on selling motorcycle spare parts and on training young women in life and soft skills, such as bike maintenance and repair, tailoring, baking, hairdressing, and peacebuilding. He has volunteered in his community as a child protection caseworker with Save the Children and as a member of an emergency action team with the South Sudan Red Cross and the Sudanese Red Crescent, as well as with other international humanitarian aid organizations. Awilo holds a diploma in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Studies. He envisions a community where young people are at the forefront of alleviating poverty, discouraging idleness, and mitigating conflicts through business and life skills. He wants to enable youth to establish reliable and sustainable businesses that generate income to meet their household needs. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Awilo plans to establish multi-purpose self-sustaining centers in numerous districts throughout South Sudan, where youth and women can learn skills and services.