As an Institute Partner for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the University of Minnesota will host 24 Fellows from 15 countries in Africa for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by CEHD (specifically the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development) in partnership with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
This summer’s cohort includes leaders with specialties in agriculture, communications, education, finance, global health, higher education administration, human rights, evaluation, government, medicine, politics, project management, public health, special education, and youth development. Countries represented include Angola, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.
Meet the 2023 Fellows
Gifty Enyonam Abiti- Ghana
Gifty Enyonam Abiti is a medical doctor who has spent the past five years working in rural and peri-urban health facilities in Ghana, attending to women and children. She also focuses on building the capacity of physician assistants and doctors during their internships. She seizes the opportunity to impart not only medical knowledge but also mentoring and shaping of work ethics. She has established communication channels between healthcare workers at some health centers and Community-based Health Planning and Services zones in her district. Gifty holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University for Development Studies. Since her days in medical school, she has volunteered her expertise at medical outreaches sponsored by religious and corporate organizations. She is passionate about maternal and child health and about achieving universal health coverage in Ghana, particularly for women and children outside big cities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Gifty plans to pursue further studies in gynecology and public health. In addition, she plans to implement her Mobile Clinics project. The project will provide primary health care and also cervical precancer and breast cancer screenings for women in hard-to reach-villages.
Sylvia Phaphali Adzitey – Ghana
Sylvia Phaphali Adzitey is a registered nurse with 13 years of experience. She is currently a senior nursing officer at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. She has advocated for the practice of kangaroo care (skin-to-skin care) for preterm babies and the early initiation of breastfeeding for babies delivered via cesarean section. Sylvia was the 2000 Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Northern Region Best Nurse and a mentor to many young nurses. She holds a Master of Public Health and a certificate in the Epidemiology of the Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Low and Middle-Income Countries. Sylvia is founder of The FANCoD International, which works to prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and to support persons living with NCDs. Sylvia aspires to minimize the burden that NCDs pose on families by promoting screening and education on risk factors such as alcohol intake, smoking, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Sylvia plans to apply her skills and knowledge to serve communities as an advocate in the prevention of NCDs through education, screening, and advocacy and to identify means of making fruits and vegetables affordable to all as a means of preventing NCDs.
Lumkisile Baku Baku – South Africa
Lumkisile Baku Baku has seven years of experience in education, training, and development. Currently, Lumkisile is running a nonprofit organization that employs unemployed youth to tutor high school children in science, technology, mathematics, and financial accounting. He also runs the Johannesburg branch of a national company based in Durban, South Africa, on an ad hoc basis. This is where he gets to hone his public management skills. Lumkisile strives to uncover ways to bridge the gap between the public sector and the private sector and help ensure a lower unemployment rate in South Africa, which is why he chose this field of interest. Lumkisile is currently enrolled in the final year of his Business Management degree. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lumkisile hopes to continue learning and partnering with fellow Africans and other youth leaders to create more value for the next generation. He wants to build conglomerates centered on ensuring adequate service delivery. He wants to be a part of a generation that creates solutions to the world’s problems, starting in his home province.
Ambalieu Barrie – Sierra Leone
Ambalieu Barrie has more than five years of experience in internal audit and internal controls. Currently, Ambalieu is an internal auditor at the Ministry of Finance in Sierra Leone. He is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Sierra Leone. He established the University Requirement Syndicate, which supports students who are writing public examinations. The Syndicate also partners with local skill-building projects to provide formal education and expertise opportunities to youth in the local and surrounding communities. Ambalieu holds a master?s degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Sierra Leone and is a student member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He is passionate about education, economic development, and leadership engagement. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ambalieu plans to work with school administrations in Sierra Leone to support the development of skills, help reform university curricula to enable youth to gain market-relevant skills, and establish a graduate institute to bridge the skill gap and help youth understand the requirements of the world of work.
Tinsaye Tamerat Delelgne – Ethiopia
Tinsaye Tamerat Delelegne has more than four years of experience in higher education institutions and research organizations in Ethiopia and overseas. Currently, Tinsaye is vice president at Bule Hora University and focuses on research and community services. He also has experience in consulting with international organizations, such as the United Nations World Food Programme and International Fund for Agriculture Development. Tinsaye holds Ph.D. in Social Work, specializing in Food Security. Tinsaye is committed to promoting education for all to build sustainable and inclusive development in Ethiopia. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Tinsaye intends to expand his work in higher education by focusing on policy advocacy of quality education for marginalized communities in conflict-prone areas of Ethiopia.
Daki Halake Dido – Kenya
Daki Dido has more than four years of experience in the public health sector. Currently, Daki is a medical doctor at Marsabit County Referral Hospital in northern Kenya and focuses on maternal and newborn health. She cares for pregnant women in her rural community during the prenatal and postnatal periods. She is also involved in educating girls on sexual and reproductive health, including safe sex practices and menstrual hygiene. Daki holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nairobi. She is motivated, committed, and passionate about women’s health and believes that most health issues related to pregnancy and delivery are preventable and that women’s lives need to be actively protected. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Daki plans to use her new skills to run the maternity unit at the public hospital, to work with her local government, and to make private sector collaborations that will save thousands of lives by providing the necessary health care resources. She also plans to expand a private hospital that will provide her community with quality health care while also creating job opportunities
Delou Marian Gonsan Zeo – Liberia
Delou Gonsan-Zeo has more than 10 years of experience in the field of global health. Delou is deputy program director at the International Rescue Committee Liberia, providing strategic leadership and technical and operational guidance for the design and implementation of a United States Agency for International Development flagship community health program aimed at strengthening the Liberian community health system. Since 2020, Delou has provided free technical guidance and fundraising for a local cause, “Help a Mother and Newborn in Liberia”. Funds raised provide the most marginalized women and girls with basic necessities at birth, plus tailored mentorship to help them achieve their goals. Delou holds a Master of Science in International Public Health. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Delou plans to establish sustainable adolescent sexual health centers in rural Liberia to mentor and provide information to adolescent girls and mothers on their sexual and reproductive health and rights so they can develop the life skills to make good decisions about their future. Delou aspires to become a health policy and system-strengthening expert, developing progressive policies for improved access to healthcare services for Liberia’s underprivileged communities.
Madeleine Ingrid Hoza Yalongo – Central African Republic
Madeleine Ingrid Hoza Yalongo has more than seven years of experience in project management for public institutions, especially in diplomacy and bilateral cooperation between states. Madeleine Ingrid is executive assistant at the Bureau of Switzerland Confederation in the Central African Republic, where she helps the bureau chief design and manage bilateral development and humanitarian programs. She oversees administrative management and advises on the strategic orientation of Switzerland’s actions in the Central African Republic. Previously, she was program coordinator with the French embassy in the Central African Republic. She also worked with the United Nations as a monitoring and evaluation analyst. In addition, she is a project training consultant and coach for young women and girls in peacebuilding, leadership, life vision, new technologies, and climate change. Madeleine Ingrid holds a master’s degree in Project and Program Analysis and Evaluation. She is committed to strengthening her capacities in public management to become a public leader by example. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Madeleine Ingrid plans to participate in the expansion of public policies oriented toward the real needs of the population and to advocate for the conditions of women and youth.
Gladness Suleiman Kampa – Tanzania
Gladness Kampa has over 7 years of experience in project management monitoring and evaluation. Currently, Gladness is a project manager monitoring and evaluation at Femme International focusing on menstrual health management, also she has been volunteering with Tanzania Evaluation Association (TanEA) as a communication officer. Gladness holds a master’s degree in monitoring and evaluation. She is passionate about empowering marginalized groups, particularly youth and women, and has a keen interest in addressing poverty and promoting sustainable development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Gladness plans to work with stakeholders to find innovative solutions to community challenges and is adept at building and maintaining relationships with community members. She is confident that by helping communities to identify and utilize their available resources, they can achieve their own development goals.
Debora Adjovi Keme – Togo
Debora Adjovi Keme has more than three years of experience in education and communications. Currently, Debora is a communications officer and English/French interpreter at HZS Biotech Togo. Previously, Debora volunteered at English Club Université de Lomé as a financial secretary. She also volunteered on the SEEDS-TOGO project Filles d’Action, or Girls in Action, which promotes the empowerment of girls and women through education. Debora holds a bachelor’s degree in English. She is committed to empowering young people. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Debora plans to expand the English-learning group in her community to give more people the opportunity to learn English.
Elly Kipchumba Kirwa – Kenya
Elly Kirwa is a veterinarian, a researcher, and a one-health aficionado with six years of experience in farm animal production and food safety. Elly currently works at a private mixed dairy and beef farm, where he uses scientific methods to influence the farm’s product quality, productivity, and policies and to ensure food safety and animal health. Elly has a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine and a master’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Nairobi. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Elly plans on continuing his mission to promote antimicrobial stewardship and food safety policies in Kenya and to build sustainable, healthy communities.
Eden Abate Lemu – Ethiopia
Eden Abate is a medical doctor who graduated from St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College. She is currently working as a project manager at a consultancy and as a clinical physician. Eden actively volunteers in projects that focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and young people. She wants to work on lobbying and advocating for better health care and work on penetrating social norms and misconceptions about sexual and reproductive health and rights by educating the youth. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she will use the training, skills, and opportunities gained to better empower her community and the Ethiopian population at large.
Zahra Logday – South Africa
Zahra Logday has more than three years of experience in medicine. Currently, Zahra is a medical doctor at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, and focuses on obstetrics and gynecology. She has pioneered a practical medical education program in obstetric emergencies for junior doctors in Limpopo, South Africa. Zahra holds a master’s degree in Global Surgery Research and a Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery. Zahra is passionate about revolutionizing medical education for junior doctors in rural South Africa. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Zahra plans to continue building the foundation for medical education in South Africa.
Itumeleng Mafatshe – South Africa
Itumeleng Mafatshe has more than eight years of experience in governance and politics. Currently, Itumeleng is a researcher in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. There, her work focuses on providing research support to the African National Congress Caucus on health and social development. In service to the community, she cofounded two organizations that deal with gender and its intersections with climate change, food security, and education. Itumeleng holds two master’s degrees: one in Political Studies and the other in Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security. She is committed to using public policy and governance to contribute to youth and women’s development. She anticipates that the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will equip her for more strategic and senior roles in governance, politics, and international organizations.
Keith Maraka – Uganda
Keith Maraka has more than seven years of experience working to enable vulnerable girls to have better and safer lives. Currently, Keith is managing director at Maraka Foundation for Development, where he focuses on sensitizing girls about their human rights, advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women in Uganda, and providing free legal services to disadvantaged girls. Keith holds a Master of Laws degree. He is committed to improving the livelihoods of economically disadvantaged girls in his community. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Keith plans to reduce the incidence of early marriages in his community. He will provide the poorest families in his community with income-generating projects, such as poultry farms and piggeries, to make them financially stable; this will reduce their motivation to marry off their young daughters in exchange for gifts and money. Other actions that he will take include sensitization and community policing to curb early marriages in his community.
Gcebile Fortunate Mavuso – South Africa
Gcebile Mavuso has more than five years of experience in the medical and public health fields. She is a medical doctor at Witbank Provincial Hospital in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. There, she focuses on managing patients in the internal medicine department and on supervising and teaching interns and junior doctors. She is the Mpumalanga Province Treasurer for the South African Medical Association Trade Union, an organization that advocates for the rights of healthcare practitioners, empowers them, and actively participates in and influences policy-making processes. Gcebile holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics. She is motivated by her passion for learning and teaching others. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she plans to use her new leadership skills and knowledge to facilitate affordable continuous professional development opportunities for public health sector doctors so that they better the communities that depend on them. She also plans to start a support group for mental health-related illnesses that occur as a result of working in the healthcare sector, focusing on women and junior doctors.
Marieme Soda Ndiaye – Senegal
Marieme Soda Ndiaye has more than 10 years of experience in civic engagement and youth policy. Currently, Marieme is executive director of REVOCAP (Réseau des Volontaires Communautaires en Appui au Personnel de Santé), which was established in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. REVOCAP is a community of 400 volunteers working and focusing on public health in Senegal. Marieme was the youngest member of the Senegalese Parliament and served from 2019 to 2022. She is a geographer and specialist in health, environment, and sustainable development. As a sixth-year student at the British Senegalese Institute, she is a volunteer and fervent social justice activist and fights with her peers to build active citizenship against all forms of injustice and social inequality in Senegal. She is also committed to promoting democratic, transparent, and accountable governance of Senegal’s public resources and encouraging the participation of young people in decision-making bodies. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Marieme plans to promote volunteerism and community engagement for public health in Senegal and better participation of youth in decision-making bodies.umber of girls in tertiary education taking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses.
Uyiosa David Obasohan – Nigeria
Uyiosa David Obasohan has more than six years of experience in optometry and more than eight years of experience in organizing free medical and vision care outreach programs across Nigeria. Uyiosa organizes health talks and seminars in secondary and tertiary institutions on the danger of drug abuse and illegal migration. He is the principal optometrist at Edo State University Teaching Hospital and coordinates the day-to-day activities of the eye clinic with other staff members to ensure patient satisfaction. Uyiosa has collaborated with nongovernmental organizations, such as DAGOMO Foundation, Rotary Club District 9149, and the Emmanuel Osemota Foundation. He is a Nigerian youth ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goal and the inaugural cohort president of the Africa Youth Leadership Program organized by the Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa. Uyiosa holds a doctorate in Optometry. He is passionate about improving the vision care needs of the elderly and less privileged by organizing free medical outreach programs where reading glasses and drugs are given to those in need. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Uyiosa plans on expanding medical and vision care outreach programs to ensure more people in rural areas gain access to quality medical care.is agenda is female participation in leadership and politics, bridging the gap to ensure that more young female leaders get their spaces in leadership and governance at large.
Judith Atieno Oyoo – Kenya
Judith Oyoo has more than three years of experience in leadership. Currently, Judith is a banker at SMEP Microfinance Bank, where she is a relationship officer. She instructs clients daily about their saving and loan performance. Judith holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and International Business Management. She did her diploma attachment at the county ministry of trade and her degree attachment at Kenya Ports Authority in Nairobi. She has also worked with a community self-help group in a Nairobi slum, where she empowered girls to pursue an education and develop their skills. A strong believer in community development, Judith is passionate about encouraging leadership in herself and others. Having a positive impact in her community is her key goal. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Judith plans to work with nongovernmental organizations or the Kenyan embassy on community development.
Silumesi Siyanga – Zambia
Silumesi Siyanga has experience in multisectoral coordination and community management of HIV/AIDS and in socioeconomic planning. Currently, Silumesi is mainstreaming planner at the Zambian Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Stationed at Chirundu Town Council, he provides policy guidance on national decentralized multisectoral responses, with a focus on multisectoral coordination. Silumesi pioneered revamping the Local Government Association of Zambia’s Nakonde Declaration of 2013, which provides access to HIV/AIDS and gender funding, and he assisted five districts in meeting the Declaration’s goals. He is also a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) advocate with expertise in adolescent health and the Join-in Circuit (JIC) methodology. Silumesi has implemented the Biometric Referral app at two wellness centers in Zambia and Zimbabwe and has provided JIC and peer education training to more than 300 youth. Silumesi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Zambia Catholic University and a certificate in Public Management from the University of South Africa. He is committed to empowering youth with a comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS and SRH services. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Silumesi plans to support adolescent-friendly spaces in government facilities and integrate SRH and HIV services as a system-strengthening approach.
Fatou Sy – Senegal
Fatou Sy has more than nine years of experience in medicine. Currently, Fatou is a hospital resident at the Ministry of Health and Social Action in Senegal, focusing on pediatric surgery. She is deputy president of the scientific committee of the association of residents and former residents of Senegal and a member of the medical association of Parcelles Assainies of Dakar. She has participated in the women’s empowerment program of Give1Project in Senegal. Fatou holds a doctorate in medicine. She aspires to become the best pediatric surgeon and to improve children’s care in the surgical field in Senegal and throughout Africa. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Fatou plans to create a children’s care network that will gather different actors in children’s health and well-being. She also wants to become a professor of pediatric surgery to help share knowledge and improve specialized training.
Roandrianasolo Marcellin Tsihoboto – Madagascar
Marcellin Tsihoboto has more than seven years of experience in fishery administration. Currently, Marcellin is chief officer of fishery and aquaculture at the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy of Madagascar focusing on the coordination of fishery- and aquaculture-related activity; resolution of conflicts between actors (nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, fishers, etc.); updating of legislation; and fishery and aquaculture development projects. He also teaches aquaculture technology and development to young students. Marcellin holds a Professional Engineer degree in Fishery Management and a Master of Science in Sustainable Aquaculture. Marcellin is driven to become a high-level expert in fishery and aquaculture administration. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Marcellin plans to develop skills and knowledge that will guide the fishery administration decision-making process; to ensure that all the projects developed or invested in by the government benefit the local community and contribute to poverty alleviation and food security; and to strengthen collaboration between actors operating in the field of fishery and aquaculture.
Abubakar Umar – Nigeria
Abubakar Umar has more than four years of experience in education and the rights of persons with special needs. Abubakar is senior education officer at Jigawa State School for the Hearing Impaired, Hadejia, Jigawa State, Nigeria, focusing on educating the Deaf, designing curricula, and counseling students. Abubakar also volunteered at Special Education School, Kuka Bulukiyya, Kano State, for two months in 2018, and he served as a community service officer at Special Education School, Tudun Maliki, Kano State, for one year from 2020 to 2021. Abubakar holds various positions in organizations related to persons with disabilities. For example, Abubakar is currently secretary general of Jigawa State Association of Persons with Disabilities. Abubakar holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and Geography. Abubakar is committed to making the world an inclusive place. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abubakar plans to work on reshaping the special education system and disability rights advocacy in Nigeria and beyond to provide equal education and end inequality and injustice.
Antonio Victorino – Angola
António Victorino has more than five years of experience in education. Currently, António is an English teacher at the Instituto Técnico de Saúde Sol Nascente and Rei David. He also works as a volunteer at Colégio Comandante Dangereux and is committed to helping the institution regarding English-language needs. António holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Language Teaching. He is passionate about teaching English because he feels it brings connection to different people. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, António plans to influence his and other communities through English by implementing different projects. He aims to spread the philanthropic Never Give Up on You, an English project that aims to teach police officers and the military in Angola. He also hopes to encourage youth and women to take part in different projects.