Meet the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellows

Jump to a Fellow:


Headshot of Abdou Idris Omar

Abdou Idris Omar

With a doctorate in Building Energy and more than seven years of experience in higher education, Abdou Idris Omar is assistant professor at the University of Djibouti. Passionate about architecture and research, Abdou co-founded DiagnoBât, a state-accredited consultancy offering a wide range of technical expertise in construction and bioclimatic design. He plans to make DiagnoBât a reference in the field of energy efficiency and a major player in the energy transition initiated by the Djiboutian government’s policy. Abdou is also passionate about ecology and is a member of a movement that encourages Djiboutians to preserve their environment by becoming ecological citizens. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he will continue to work with the movement to change the private behavior of individuals, to promote the public good, and to engage in collective action to push for systemic and socially responsible change.


Headshot of Aissata Ibamie

Aissata Ibamie

Aissata Ibamie is a design engineer in renewable energy who graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique de Maroua. Passionate about scientific research and activities related to the field of renewable energy, she challenged herself with setting up the Asaab Thermal Cooker project in 2017, led by Asaab Africa Sarl. Her project earned multiple awards, including at Hub Africa, where she represented Cameroon in 2019 in Casablanca, Morocco. She also won first prize in the Cameroonian Student Genius and Talent Exhibition Show. In March 2022, her project was awarded a bronze medal at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Aissata hopes to gain the skills she needs to overcome new obstacles and improve her business.


Headshot of Babongile Ncube

Babongile Ncube

Babongile Mncedisi Ncube has more than two years of experience in civil engineering. Currently, Babongile is a civil engineer at Zimbabwe Power Company, working on the Hwange Expansion Project (HEP), which involves the construction of a 600-megawatt power plant and its electricity transmission infrastructure. In this role, Babongile has led different teams working on geotechnical investigations, design reviews, and construction of the HEP infrastructure. He has also led a relocation exercise constructing houses for communities affected by the HEP infrastructure. Babongile holds a bachelors degree (with honors) in Civil and Water Engineering from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe. Babongile is driven by his passion for the Sustainable Development Goals, which his current work supports. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Babongile plans to further use his civil engineering knowledge to address Sustainable Development Goals in Zimbabwe and beyond.


Headshot of Bill Owiti

Bill Owiti

Bill Owiti has more than seven years of experience in technology and cloud-based solutions. Currently, Bill is technical projects and Salesforce lead at the Start Network, a group of more than 50 humanitarian agencies across five continents who work to transform humanitarian action through innovation, fast funding, early action, and locally led action. Bill was previously technology and Salesforce lead at the BOMA Project, a United States- and Kenya-based organization that focuses on eradicating extreme poverty in the African drylands. In addition, Bill has volunteered and set up cloud-based monitoring systems for other non-profit organizations, such as the Africa Yoga Project, Karura ACC, and the Kenya Drylands Education Fund. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and many other certifications, including ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Prince II, and Salesforce. Through his company, Cobitech Solutions, Bill is committed to digitizing non-profits through consultancy, voluntary, and pro bono arrangements. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Bill plans to expand his digitization of non-profits by using technology that will improve their visibility, impact, and program monitoring efforts.


Headshot of Chafi Sani Laouali Addoh

Chafi Sani Laouali Addoh

Chafi Sani Laouali Addoh is a tech and innovation entrepreneur who began converting his self-taught design skills into business opportunities while still in secondary school. To address the food crisis and climate change issues that plagued his community, Chafi founded Agritech, a business that develops artificial intelligence systems to help farmers increase their incomes and improve the nutritional value and quantity of their crops. Agritech employs a digital platform that gives farmers real-time information and customized advice. Because of his commitment to social innovation and his community, Chafi was named a Pioneer of Francophone Entrepreneurship in 2021 and received a Youth Adaptation Solution Award in 2022. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Chafi plans to start a manufacturing lab in Niger that will help address problems in his community and to continue to provide solutions to farmers through Agritech.


Headshot of Dagim Worku

Dagim Worku

Dagim Amare Worku has more than four years of experience in healthcare and health data analysis. Currently, Dagim is co-founder, chief executive officer, and health data analyst at Hepius Medical Innovation PLC, where he works to find innovative solutions to minimize medical errors and improve patient safety. Dagim has a doctorate in Medicine and has Data Science certifications from the American College of Technology and IBM. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Dagim will continue his efforts to bring data-driven solutions to the health sector that will improve the quality of care, bring meaningful insights, and enhance the adoption of digital technologies within the new age of healthcare professionals.


Headshot of Dawit Edo

Dawit Edo

Dawit Lemecha Edo, a medical doctor, has more than three years of experience in health informatics and telemedicine. Currently, Dawit is co-founder and operational manager at Liyana Digital Healthcare Solutions, where he focuses on telemedicine. He has led the development and launch of many digital health care apps, including Liyana Care, Pocket Doctor, and Skin Doctor. Dawit holds a doctorate in Medicine from Hawassa University’s College of Medicine and Health Science in Ethiopia. He has also completed a masters degree in Health Informatics. He is committed to providing technologies to prevent disease and promote well-being in the Ethiopian population. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Dawit plans to use his skills and knowledge from the fellowship to grow and strengthen his company and to improve the life and health of the Ethiopian people.


Headshot of Emmaculate Kipyesang

Emmaculate Kipyesang

Emmaculate Kipyasang has more than nine years of management experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. She is founder and managing director of Cossy Tours Travel and Events Planning. She is also chair of the Transnzoia chapter of the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism and a national board member of the association. In addition, she chairs Transnzoia Green Initiative, a project that brings environmental stakeholders and communities together to address and mitigate the effects of climate change. Emmaculate holds a masters degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi and a bachelors degree in Tourism Management from Moi University. She is pursuing an online certificate in Women and Leadership at European Business University. Emmaculate is a member of the International Trade Center (SheTrades Commonwealth Program) and has mentored 20 women on digital marketing. She is passionate about environmental conservation and about positioning Kenya as one of the world’s best tourist destinations. She believes that her experiences in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will help her create a healthy work/life balance and support her work to promote Kenya.


Headshot of Emmanuel Fru

Emmanuel Fru

Emmanuel Fru has more than four years of experience in digital transformation and renewable energy. He is currently co-founder and chief operating officer of Electram Engineering, a solar energy system provisioning company. He is also founder and chief executive officer of SmartSana Technologies, a digital transformation firm specializing in IT (information technology) and agricultural technology solutions. As a certified IT solutions architect, Emmanuel has worked extensively with companies in various fields, implementing sustainable digitalization solutions for those organizations. He advocates for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and dedicates time to volunteering, igniting a passion for STEM subjects in youths via the ICT University Foundation, where he is the STEM education program coordinator in Cameroon. Emmanuel holds a Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technologies. He is dedicated to leading a sustainable digital transformation revolution in Cameroon. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Emmanuel plans to be a gateway to implementing smart industry solutions in Cameroon and in preparing the next generation via STEM-centric educational programs across the nation.


Headshot of Grace Nalugwa

Grace Nalugwa

Grace Nalugwa has more than four years of experience in renewable energy. Currently, Grace is founder and chief executive officer at Gracela Ventures SMC Limited, a Uganda-based company that produces carbonized briquettes that are made from agricultural waste as an alternative cooking fuel. Grace is also founder and secretary general of New Era Women Entrepreneurs Organization, which empowers women and girls through entrepreneurship skills development in partnership with the Wakiso District Community Development Office. She is an executive board member of the Korea International Cooperation Agency Club of Uganda, an alumni association of Ugandans who have studied in South Korea, and is a leader at Nakyesanja SDA Church, where she empowers women spiritually, socially, and economically. Grace holds a diploma in Records and Information Management, and is committed to addressing the energy needs of the Ugandan people. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young Africa Leaders, Grace plans to improve the production cycle and quality of briquettes and to set up community biogas plants that will generate affordable and clean energy from 80% of the organic waste produced daily. In addition, she hopes the Fellowship will allow her to continue to empower fellow women entrepreneurs.


Headshot of Hamidu Ssonko

Hamidu Ssonko

Hamidu Ssonko is an award-winning innovator and environmental entrepreneur with a passion for green building and renewable energy. Hamidu has six years of experience in solid waste management. He is founder and chief executive officer at Biha Eco Venture. Access to decent shelter and electricity was a daily struggle for Hamidu’s family and their rural community when he was young. This challenge inspired him to seek solutions that promote access to renewable energies and sustainable housing solutions among vulnerable communities through waste management systems and women’s empowerment. Hamidu pioneered Eco Solarbag for last-mile children to power rural education, addressing the difficulty of studying at night because of unreliable lighting sources. He also co-founded Solar Medibag, which will give remote health facilities a low-cost and lifesaving solar electric system that provides efficient medical lighting. Hamidu is zealous about bringing Silicon Valley innovation to rural communities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to revolutionize the housing sector in Africa through access to affordable plastic solar roof tiles for sustainable housing and clean energy provision.


Headshot of James Kpaka

James Kpaka

James Maada Kpaka has more than five years of experience as a corporate lawyer in Sierra Leone. James is currently a legal adviser to the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority in Sierra Leone, where he heads the legal department in drafting and reviewing power purchase agreements and other contracts and in providing legal and policy advice to the organization. James is also founder and practice leader of Fides LLP, a business and corporate law firm that focuses on corporate environmental liability and environmental regulations. He holds a Master of Laws in Energy and Environmental Law from the University of Aberdeen. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, James aims to create businesses, help other companies grow, and further his law career.


Headshot of John Jairo

John Jairo

John Jairo has more than three years of experience in the design and construction of large water infrastructure projects. Currently, John is a project manager at Design Master Plan Civil Engineering Consultants, supervising the construction of the Makamini Dam, a project designed to provide safe drinking water to 40,000 households in Kenya’s Kwale County. John also gives back to his community through his initiative O'learn, which bridges the education inequality gap by providing educational resources, leadership development, entrepreneurship training, and mentorship to high school and university students in Kenya. He holds a bachelor's degree in Civil and Structural Engineering and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Business Administration. John is committed to ensuring that rural communities can access affordable housing and green energy, adequate sanitation facilities, and safe drinking water. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, John plans to launch his start-up, Spalla, to provide financing for affordable and sustainable housing, as well as support systems that keep waste and pollution out of residential homes and provide affordable green energy.


Josephine Ndeze

Josephine Ndeze Uwase has more than three years of experience as an entrepreneur interested in computer science. Currently, Josephine is co-founder and chief operational officer at UpToDate Developers, a company that designs and develops computer applications. Josephine holds a bachelors degree in Computer Sciences. She is fascinated by the power of technology to change people’s lives. She was recognized as Miss Geek 2019 for her project to reduce maternal mortality rates in rural areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo using cell phone technologies. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Josephine plans to use the experience gained to contribute to the evolution of her company.


Headshot of Lidia Yigazu

Lidia Yigazu

Lidia Yigazu has more than five years of experience in the field of medicine. Currently, she is founder and chief executive officer of Anna Digital Health Solutions, which focuses on the digital health sector. Lidia has vast experience in medicine and public health, having worked in both urban and rural areas of Ethiopia. She is committed to introducing and amplifying digital health for the Ethiopian healthcare system and the African community at large. Lidia holds a Doctor of Medicine from St. Paul’s Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa and has received a postgraduate diploma in Diabetes from the University of South Wales. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lidia plans to advance her existing projects and initiate new collaborations with other digital health and technology companies through the networks gained from the Fellowship.


Headshot of Mathan Matheri

Mathan Matheri

Mathan Matheri is a geologist and entrepreneur with more than six years of experience working with various start-ups in Kenya in industries such as tourism, cosmetics, and education, where he champions design thinking as the core of business development and scaling strategies. Mathan believes that indigenous entrepreneurs are shaping and will continue to shape economic prosperity in Africa. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he intends to spearhead a project that seeks to mainstream after-school competitive sports programs for millions of school-going children across East Africa.


Headshot of Mhlelusizo Ncube

Mhlelusizo Ncube

Mhlelusizo Ncube is a Zimbabwean artisan chef and food entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Currently, she is founder and chief executive officer of Stir-Up African Chefs, where she focuses on empowering women and youth by emphasizing health-oriented culinary skills and the use of indigenous ingredients. Through Stir-Up African Chefs, more than 100 women have been empowered and more than 25 have ventured into food entrepreneurship. Mhlelusizo is also a culinary consultant, a strong advocate for African cuisine and rural tourism, and a board member of two non-governmental organizations. Previously, she created platforms for girls and women (such as the Girls Deliver conference, Survival Skills symposiums, and the Ubuntu Cultural Festival) to motivate them in networking, navigating, and pursuing future-oriented skills for a decent living. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mhlelusizo plans to develop culinary schools across South Africa through a strategic collaborative approach that will teach more than 500 women and youth how to grow food, craft creative recipes, and promote healthy living. In addition, she plans to establish agritourism destinations that will attract local and domestic tourists to generate revenue for self-sustaining communities.


Headshot of Mohamed  Abdoulkader

Mohamed Abdoulkader

Mohamed Ali Abdoulkader, an electrical and energy engineer and social entrepreneur, has more than four years of experience in entrepreneurship and innovation. Mohamed is founder of DjibEnergy Services, a company that makes buildings energy efficient. Mohamed’s mission is to help customers transition to green and sustainable energy, thereby reducing their electricity bills. Mohamed is also in charge of the FabLab at the Université de Djibouti in the African Center of Excellence for Logistics and Transport. Financed by the World Bank, the FabLab adheres to the vision of an international learning network within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. It encourages entrepreneurship by offering participants an innovative and collaborative environment in which to develop their ideas. Mohamed has completed training in entrepreneurship, innovation, and energy. He has participated in several national and international competitions. Concerned about the energy problems facing his community, he seeks to participate in the development of Djibouti and to help his community find solutions to the socioeconomic problems it faces. He plans to leverage the opportunities offered by the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to become a true source of motivation and support in his community.


Headshot of Moise Izabiriza

Moise Izabiriza

Moise Izabiriza has more than 10 years of experience in visual art. Currently, Moise is the co-founder and director of Kuuru Art Space, promoting the arts industry in Rwanda by recruiting and training young Rwandan artists. His recent work "Art, Human, and Universe" is about experimentation with soil protection in Rwanda, and taught young artists how to use art to protect the environment. Moise’s prior work has included organizing a 2020 virtual exhibition “Mind and Space” that united artists across Rwanda via social media platforms, and working with the University of Global Health Equity to help people with mental health challenges through art. He holds a degree from the University of Rwanda in Human Resource Management. Moise is passionate about expanding his knowledge and network to benefit his work with Kuuru Art Space, and plans to use the skills acquired through the Mandela Washington Fellowship to improve the organization’s growth and management.


Headshot of Mugisho Mugaruka Josue

Mugisho Mugaruka Josue

Mugisho Mugaruka Josue is an electrical engineer with more than three years of experience in the maintenance of electrical machines and research on renewable energy. He is currently design team leader and co-founder of the Green Community Expertise Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he works to improve access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy. Mugisho holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a master’s degree in Electrical Railway Engineering with a specialization in traction and train control. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mugisho plans to use his new skills to expand the Green Community Expertise Office by collaborating with international energy and climate change companies.


Headshot of Nyachoul Gai Boung

Nyachoul Gai Boung

Nyachuol Boung has more than three years experience in social entrepreneurship. Currently, Nyachuol is internal auditor at Nile Petroleum Corporation, where she focuses on studying accounting records, preparing compliance reports and supervising the company’s workflow, evaluating financial documents for accuracy and compliance with legal regulations, and assisting with the development of budgets and financial report forms. In addition, Nyachuol volunteers at She Leads South Sudan, which is a non-profit organization that promotes the education of girls, ending child marriage, and the empowerment of women through education. Nyachuol holds a bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nyachuol plans to establish a social entrepreneurship business that will support South Sudanese girls in school and help more than 100 additional girls to enroll in the next five years.


Headshot of Olajumoke Adedeji

Olajumoke Adedeji

Olajumoke Esther Adedeji has more than five years of experience in the construction and interior decoration industry in West Africa. She is currently founder of Adej Construction and Interior, which specializes in quantity survey, space design, and decoration. Leveraging her position as a young woman thriving in a male-dominated industry, she has worked to help women and youth in her community acquire expertise in paint production and painting, tilling, and floor epoxy design. She is an advocate for Sustainable Developmental Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) in Ekiti, Nigeria, her state of origin. Olajumoke holds a higher national diploma in Quantity Surveying. She inspires both literate and illiterate women who believe that they can make more of themselves through hard work, grit, and dedication. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Olajumoke will continue to build her start-up with the aim of achieving full and productive employment and decent work for more than 100 youth, especially women. She will also continue to train and mentor youth through Adej Academy, where she hopes to empower more than 500 youths to earn a sustainable living.


Headshot of Palloma Matusse

Palloma Matusse

Palloma Matusse has more than 10 years of volunteer experience. Currently, she is a psychosocial support official for IsraAID, where she trains activists and communities in mental health matters so they can help restore the mental stability and resilience of people affected by the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. Palloma previously worked as a mentorship coordinator, primarily focusing on the internal and external development of girls and young women. She has also founded an association that promotes good mental health practices in Mozambique by disseminating crucial information and providing emotional and psychosocial support. Palloma holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations, and is passionate about restoring the mental and emotional stability of people who have experienced emergencies. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Palloma plans to ensure that mental and emotional support is a huge part of the investment made in humanitarian aid to people in need. She also intends to change the way mental health is perceived and handled in African countries, particularly in Mozambique.


Headshot of Priscillar Banda

Priscillar Banda

Priscillar Banda Simon has more than nine years of experience in business and entrepreneurship, focusing on public health, education, and retail. Currently, she is co-founding director and chief executive officer at ZamStores, which improves agricultural and manufacturing product supply chains in Zambia through an e-commerce business ecosystem. Priscillar was a technical adviser for the Southern African Global Fund and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s strategy framework for key populations in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in Zambia. Priscillar co-founded the Centre for Research, Consultancy, and Advocacy on Gender-Based Violence, a non-profit organization that focuses on the recovery and empowerment of victims. She also created Kumwezi Pads, a line of reusable menstrual pads for underserved communities. Priscillar holds a bachelor's degree in Special Needs Education, a master's degree in Public Health, and a postgraduate diploma in Business Strategy and Diplomacy. Priscillar is committed to growing her business and wants to establish a complete e-commerce experience for her customers. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Priscillar plans to launch an accelerator program for women entrepreneurs to increase capacity in the management of their businesses and to improve their access to financing.


Headshot of Tigist Gebresilassie

Tigist Gebresilassie

Tigist Solomon Gebresilassie has been working as a manager and strategist for more than seven years at Dream Light, a solid waste cleaning and recycling company that she founded with friends 13 years ago. She has been working as an adviser for more than seven years in entrepreneurship development centers. Tigist holds a masters degree in Business Administration. She is driven to learn more about effective leadership systems and to help youth in her community develop an entrepreneurial mindset and start and grow their businesses. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Tigist plans to accelerate her work on waste recycling, entrepreneurship training, and business development and to help youth succeed in life. She pledges to play a role in creating a better future for her community.