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- 2014 Fellows
Ali Karim Alio
Ali Alio has six years of experience working in the IT sector and is a computer science engineer specializing in software engineering. He currently serves as the CEO of Nova Technologies and is responsible for defining the prospects of the company and implementing strategies for organizational success. In addition to his work in IT, Ali is also very active in the sport of rugby and serves as General Secretary of the Niger Rugby Union, captain of the national rugby team, and Coordinator for Kid's Academy for Rugby and Development (KARD). In 2014 he launched PC for All, a social entrepreneurship project that works to reduce the digital divide in Niger through the sale of refurbished computers at affordable prices. After completing the Washington Fellowship, he plans to use acquired knowledge and skills to strengthen and enhance his projects to impact people throughout Niger.
Amina Sidibe has over 10 years of professional experience in various fields and projects including logistics, shipping, sales and marketing, and management. Amina currently serves as a Procurement, Logistics and Sub-Contracts Officer for an OTI project implemented by AECOM International Development in Mali. She is in charge of managing procurement, logistics, contracts, and training and mentoring staff. Amina is passionate about farming and owns and runs a small poultry and agriculture farm where she employs about 10 people, supplies about 20 medium retailers, and her plan is to grow and modernize the business. Amina has completed a two years Leadership and Business Management program called “LEADEM” in Cape Town, South Africa, holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management, and a degree in Information System. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Amina plans to use the knowledge gained to promote and encourage business start-ups among youth in Mali through mentoring, workshops, trainings, and networking.
Amine Issouf Ilboudo
Amine Issouf Ilboudo currently works as a research engineer conventional building materials. He is the co-founder and CEO of ICEBERG, a small at the Laboratory of Construction Eco-Materials of 2iE where he focuses on the development of new non- company that locally manufactures machines to make ice blocks and is the representative in Burkina Faso of Codbit Ghana Ltd., a software solutions provider. Amine holds a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the African University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Water and Environmental Engineering from the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering. He recently launched Chika Village Project, which engages graduate students in designing, fabricating, and distributing ceramic water filters for families in Chika. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Amine plans to apply science, technology, and business skills to solve societal problems in Burkina Faso and throughout Africa.
Candice Potgieter is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the KZN Science Centre and is passionate about improving the quality of education in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. In her role as CEO, she has been responsible for increasing the KZN Science Centre’s visitor base from 40,000 to 100,000 each year, of which over seventy percent of all visitors are sponsored and from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. She has extensive experience in scientific research, business development, financial management, marketing, communication, government relations, and fundraising activities. Academically, she holds a postgraduate degree in Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics from the University of Kwa–Zulu Natal and was a student of the National Astrophysics and Space Science program at the University of Cape Town. Upon her return from the Washington Fellowship, Candice hopes to use her acquired knowledge to uplift the communities around her using social entrepreneurship through education.
Diana Nalwoga has over six years of experience in the financial services sector. She is the co-founder and Director of Tumaini Microfinance Limited where she focuses on strategy formulation in areas of budgeting, auditing, and funding. She also facilitates training of local women and conducts women empowerment groups in business management skills in Mukono, Uganda. On completion of the Washington Fellowship, she plans to use the technical capacity built and strategic partnerships formed to expand the outreach of Tumaini Microfinance to all of Uganda and empower and transform lives by providing affordable, progressive, and sustainable financial services.
Enitan Oluwayomi Kuku
Enitan Kuku is experienced in finance and has a passion for driving social change in rural communities. She currently serves as Finance Coordinator with BAT Nigeria where she is responsble for providing transactional finance support for corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and other activities commissioned within the organization across West Africa. She is the founder of Marque Africa Initiative (MAI), providing a platform for youth in rural communities to create and exhibit their products or services and receive a profit through sales with a percentage being donated to the development of their communities. Enitan has also initiated the Drop a Book Campaign and the Mobile Library project, which focuses on sourcing donations for educational materials to primary schools in rural communities. Enitan has a Bachelor of Science in Estate Management from Obafemi Awolowo University. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, she intends to use the acquired knowledge and proficiency to expand her initiative across Nigeria; providing opportunities to more rural youth with the hopes of bridging the social and economic gap that exists between urban and rural communities.
Eric Koua has over six years of experience working in the oil and gas sectors. He has participated in deep offshore drilling and operations on land with the National Society of Oil and Gas of Ivory Coast. He is a volunteer with the Red Cross and a board member with ESMG Engineers. Eric has worked as geoscientist since 2007 and is responsible for energy data management with professional software’s such as Landmark and Halliburton applications. After completing the Washington Fellowship program, Eric plans to work with the Red Cross to set up a new social entrepreneurship project that will help his community be economically independent by growing new activities for community development. Eric received his education to become a Petroleum Engineer from the High School of Mining and Geology (ESMG), one of six schools of the National Polytechnic Institute Felix Houphouet (INP-HB) of Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast.
Eric Kweyu Shiunzi
Eric Kweyu is a Software Engineer working with Equity Bank Group. He is the head of Channel Systems and responsible for all alternative delivery channels such as ATMs, mobile, and point of sales that serve over eight million people across five East African countries. He is a certified Oracle professional with key skills in data analytics. Eric also plays a key role in the secure distribution of government funds to orphan and vulnerable children across the country. As a Washington Fellow, Eric seeks to learn from other Washington fellows in areas of civic and public management. Upon returning home to Kenya, he hopes to use the knowledge and connections obtained to build momentum that will address the problem of financial inclusion in Kenya and across the African continent. He also intends to setup a technology hub for youth, especially those living in marginalized areas.
Lerato Tshabalala has 15 years of experience working in the South African (SA) publishing industry. She has worked with newspaper and magazine outlets including Oprah SA and Marie Claire SA as a senior writer. Her first management position was as a women’s editor with Drum magazine, a South African weekly publication. Since then she has moved up the management ranks at different companies, including South Africa’s largest Sunday paper, Sunday Times, where she managed eight people as the editor of the Lifestyle section. She has also served as the editor of South African English women’s title, True Love magazine where she mentored aspiring writers and editors. In 2013 she was voted by the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa as one of the 200 Young People to watch in the Media category. Upon completing the Washington Fellowship, Lerato plans to open a media business that will initially focus on custom/trade magazines and progress to also providing digital solutions for companies
Mamadou Drame has over six years of experience serving as the Senior Finance Analyst for Catalyst Business Solutions Group, where he is responsible for finance and compliances for subsidiaries in Cameroon and Morocco. In 2008, he founded CESAG Dakar, an online social network for alumni from his university to post job opportunities and training information. He has also founded Foundation Africashool to promote ICT in education. He has partnered with leading IT companies such as Microsoft and Google to implement technology products in schools to improve education. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Mamadou plans to be a leader in ICT for education issues in Africa, share his various experiences with young Africans, and advise local governments on ICT for education policy.
Mariem Kane is a Telecommunications Engineer working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) since September 2011. She currently serves as a Presales Engineer with Mauritel, Mauritania’s largest operator company and is responsible for managing new ICT projects. Mariem is also working on a web communication project that will present Mauritanian events in a networking web platform. In addition, she is working on the creation of the first ICT incubator in Mauritania. Mariem is a member of several organizations including the Youth Chamber of Commerce of Mauritania, Mauriandroid Community, and Google Developer Group Nouakchott. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Mariem plans to create networking platforms to help young Mauritanians develop their entrepreneurship skills.
Mildred Sara Apenyo
Mildred Apenyo created a Facebook page called Fitclique256 in response to accounts of rape and molestation in Uganda’s media and the comments that leaders in Uganda were expressing about women’s bodies, sexuality, defilement, and rape. Fitclique256 empowers women and girls on both a physical and psychological level with the creation of a women’s gym. The gym provides a variety of classes including strength training, Afrikan yoga, dance, and self-defense, with self-defense being heavily discounted to draw more women to the class. When she is not running Fitclique256, Mildred is a columnist, copywriter, and writer. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship program, she intends to organize self-defense workshops for women who work in high risk areas around Kampala city as well as for those who have been victims of molestation. She also intends to implement self-love and body acceptance programs to be implemented in primary and secondary schools.
Morris Mbetsa Mwero
Morris Mbetsa is an Innovator and Entrepreneur working within the Eastern Africa region. He focuses on producing social uplifting and economic sustaining technology products for Africa. He is the kid who developed the first vehicle GPRS IMMOBILISER. He has developed a tablet to be used by students and a device to tap kinetic energy to power them at Tafaria Foundation. Morris is a self-taught Electronic and Technology engineer since the age of eight. He is constantly expanding his portfolio of simple, inexpensive technologies because his country's population continues to expand, creating new problems and deepening old ones. Morris Mbetsa is the Chairman and Founder for Innovators Society of Kenya. He is the current CEO and Founder or Mbetsa Innovations Ltd, a society which assists young innovators to turn ideas into products and services. As a Washington Fellow Morris Mbetsa seeks to use the knowledge and connections he shall obtain from the fellowship to further his entrepreneurial ventures into Techpreneur by setting up innovation and entrepreneurship centers in technical colleges and universities that will offer both software and hardware training. With the help of his other follows across the country and continent, he hopes to transform the youth and empower them into self-sustaining individuals that can make a difference in the lives of their families.
Ndeye Awa Gueye
Ndeye Awa Gueye is a Senegalese computer scientist specializing in software design and development. She currently serves as the Business Operation Engineer with SENTEL GSM. Ndeye Awa is very active in initiatives related to promoting women and technology and is the cofounder of Jjiguene Tech Hub, the first training center and incubator for women in Senegal that supports women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She is also a member of the Youth Council of the U.S. Embassy. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Ndeye plans to further develop and expand JJiguene Tech Hub.
If you need to catch a flight from OR Tambo Airport and your car has a dent, or a cracked windscreen, Scratch Mobile will fix it for you while you are away. Scratch Mobile is the brainchild of Ntuthuko Shezi, whose passion for business stemmed from a desire to change his family's financial situation. He grew up in rural Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal with a single mother. These difficulties have led to Shezi's dream of being a future Ndwedwe ward councilor. Even though he did not have a clue about panel beating, his degree in Engineering from the University of Cape Town made it easier for him to de-mystify in his head a subject many see as rocket science. His history in management, alerted him to the fact that the industry was known for offering little compassion and care to customers and he wanted to change this and give customers who needed their cars fixed an option that was convenient for them and put their needs first. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, his plan is to continue work on a program to promote access to markets for African entrepreneurs.
Petrina Ndapandula Auino
Petrina Auino is a naturopath who co-founded and co-owns Nature’s Way, a business created in 2010 that specializes in offering complementary and alternative healthcare services, therapies, consultations, body scans, and products. She writes articles for local newspapers and magazines and speaks on radio and TV talk shows on healthy living, wellness, and disease prevention. Petrina is multilingual and speaks Oshiwambo, English, Afrikaans, German and Portuguese. She studied at the University of the Western Cape where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Complimentary Health Sciences (Summa Cum Laude) and a BCM in Naturopathic Medicine (Summa Cum Laude) and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Global Health: Non Communicable Diseases. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, Petrina would like to expand her business to reach rural populations, venture into innovative solutions for health problems in Africa, and give workshops on entrepreneurship and innovative business.
Rachael Wainaina is a business owner, community worker, and filmmaker. She is the CEO of Film Village of Kenya, which is expected to be the largest film city in Africa. She has also sponsored and trained over 300 underprivileged youths in practical and professional film making skills. Rachael runs a women project that has a goal to eradicate poverty in 30 rural counties and has a current membership of 2000 women. She has received various international and local awards for her impact on Kenyan society.
Rhoydah Mwenya Mutuna
Mwenya Rhoydah Mutuna has experience in computer and information systems, management, mobile application development training, and community research. Mwenya currently works for Partners Group as an Online Services Executive, where she works on developing web and desktop applications and a customer records management system. She recently developed a cervical cancer awareness mobile application called Girl Fight, which is available on educational tablets provided in Zambian schools by iSchool Zambia. She also worked on a team to conduct a baseline survey on Zambian youth (aged 12-18), further confirming her belief in the need to educate and empower Zambian youth. Mwenya is a member of the Asikana network, an association of Zambian women aimed at empowering other young women in the field of technology. She holds a degree in Computer and Information Systems, and an advanced diploma and certificate in Computer Studies. Upon completion of the Washington fellowship, Mwenya plans to start a project that will help Zambian youth identify ways to use technology to solve problems in Zambia, including community surveying in rural areas and working to bridge the rural-urban digital divide in Zambia.
Samuel Nnaoma Ekwuribe
Samuel Ekwuribe has over eight years of experience in community retail banking and providing financial services to the poor in rural Nigeria. He has worked with various banks in Nigeria leading the drive for financial inclusion by encouraging rural access to financial services through electronic banking channels. He managed the Nigerian government’s MDG/CCT social over 52,000 monthly safety net project where he recruited, trained, and deployed over 600 mobile money agents who served as ‘rural banks,’ paying cash to beneficiaries through their mobile phones. Samuel holds a Master of Business Administration in Development Finance and a degree in Accounting. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. After completing the Washington Fellowship, he plans to focus on business projects and organizational partnerships that enhance financial access and economic opportunities for youths and women in rural Nigeria though his mobile money and agent banking business model.
Sekou Amadou Cissoko
Amadou "Chico" Cissoko is the founder of Making Africa a Continent of Innovators (MACI) and Director of the Dare to Innovate Movement. He is an expert in human development, agro tourism, and agricultural marketing. He has served as the Director of Marketing and Commercialization for the integrated farm Fabik, the leading commercial farm in Guinea. Amadou is also founder of the first agro tourist site in Guinea called the Vathaba. After completing the Washington Fellowship, he plans to collaborate with the YALI Network to initiate a mass innovation initiative in Africa with a vision to create a culture and environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence in African societies; thus making every African an everyday innovator.
Sharleen Mabisa Moyo
Sharleen Mabisa Moyo has over eight years of experience in youth development in Africa. She currently works with UNICEF Zimbabwe and serves as the Project Manager for a Technology for Development (T4D) initiative called UReport, an SMS based platform that encourages youth participation. She previously worked for Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) as a Regional Associate and currently sits on the international executive committee. Sharleen is also the founder of The Brand Group, a company that provides brand management, business development, and technical assistance for startups. She graduated with an honors degree in English and Communication from Midlands State University where she focused on strategic communication for business, market research, and media studies. After the Washington Fellowship, Sharleen will venture into taking technology to grassroots communities through IndigeCode, which teaches coding as a second language. She also plans on expanding the Brand Group’s operations in southern Africa.
Takunda Ralph Michael
Takunda Chingonzo is a tech savvy, inspirational leader who loves working on cutting edge technology and discovering ways to monetize such technology in emerging economies. Takunda is the co-founder of Neolab Technology P/L, a multi award winning start-up that is currently working on bringing free Internet access to the public. He is also the co-founder of NeoEffect, a social start-up working towards the empowerment of underprivileged youth through IT Literacy in southern Zimbabwe. Takunda is passionate about entrepreneurship and has successfully rolled out initiatives such as the MX project and BOOT Africa that strive to promote student start-ups in tertiary institutions. Takunda is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying and is also working towards CISCO certification in Network Security. Upon the completion of the Washington Fellowship, he plans to roll out services over WiFi on the “free WiFi” network called Saisai that is being developed by Neolab. He also intends on expanding his social initiatives to other tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe and southern Africa.
Vilma de Carmen Nhambi
Vilma de Carmen Nhambi began her career in community development as a women’s advocate in 2009 with the Mozambican Association for Woman Empowerment (AMODEM). While working with AMODEM, she served as the Community Development Coordinator of Bio Óleos de Maxixe (BOM) and later became the Regional Sales Manager. She currently serves as an independent consultant providing workshops on small business management in marginalized areas of Mozambique with an aim to encourage and help women to develop businesses. Vilma was recently elected to serve as the President of Girls in Development: Education and Health (REDES), a program developed by Peace Corps in Mozambique. She is responsible for facilitating support groups for young girls that promote women's rights, increase self- confidence, improve knowledge of sexual health, and develop income generating projects. Upon completing the Washington Fellowship program, she plans to expand her business by providing consultancy and training on the management of small businesses, conduct market research in the urban areas of Mozambique, and work in partnership with schools to provide workshops to encourage young people to pursue their dreams.
Williams Kwarah has over 10 years of experience working in mobile health, public health, and medical research. Currently, Williams is the Assistant Implementation Manager at Grameen Foundation working on the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) project, an innovative mobile health product developed and implemented in partnership with Columbia University for the Ghana Health Service. His major roles involve liaising with software developers to ensure full system functionality in the field, troubleshooting, leading field implementations, supporting monitoring and evaluation to assess program impact, and leading capacity building activities and trainings. Williams has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology from the University for Development Studies in Ghana, a certificate in Mobile Phones for Public Health from the Institute for Social and Technology Change (TechChange), and a master's degree in Public Health from the University of Ghana. Upon return from the Washington Fellowship, Williams hopes to start a business enterprise focusing on non-communicable diseases prevention and control, leveraging on the unparalleled potentials of mobile health technology in underserved districts in northern Ghana.
Yassah Nupolu Lavelah
Yassah Lavelah has over seven years of experience as a social entrepreneur with a specific focus on the role of maternal health in community development. She currently serves as the Nursing Supervisor at the ELWA Hospital and the Grace D. Wallace Memorial Clinic. She has a longstanding passion for maternal health and its role in community development and partnered with her mother to create the Ma V. Maternity Clinic in 2008 as a social enterprise. Yassah volunteers with Youth Crime Watch of Liberia providing training to young women as it relates to personal hygiene, maternal health and responsible sexual lives. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Nursing from Cuttington University. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship program, Yassah plans to work on the development of the first community based midwifery center in Liberia. The center will provide a platform for traditional and formally trained midwives to engage the community in direct response to the alarming rate of infant mortality in Liberia.