Meet the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows

Who are the Mandela fellows? Learn all about them here. You will discover Appalachian’s cohort is affecting innovation and positive change and their ambitions for the future are as big and diverse as the continent of Africa.

Benjamin Gomez


Position: Founder of I AM ABLE Africa, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to ensure people with disabilities enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms

Goal: To become an international advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities

Carlos Ernesto Cuinica


Position: Provincial delegate of Coalizao, an organization that teaches life, communications and leadership skills to youth

Goal: To empower girls; to stop child marriage and teen pregnancies; to strengthen leadership skills of youth; and to involve young people in socio-economic development

Chikezie Ebubechukwu Ozuzu


Position: Head teacher, Rivers of Knowledge Academy, co-educational secondary institution

Goal: To make quality education in Nigeria truly free and accessible to all children regardless of social and financial status

Elodie Mariette Kuhoua Appia

Côte D’Ivoire

Position: Program officer, UTZ, coffee and cocoa certification program

Goal: To promote good-governance practices by empowering citizens to monitor the implementation of pro-poor interventions in her country

Elshadai Hailu Asmir


Position: Internships with several organizations, including United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR), the Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court, and Human Right Council-Ethiopia (EHRCO)

Goal: To pursue a career in human rights

Umaru Sheriff


Position: National executive director, 4-H Liberia

Goal: To build partnerships that create sustainable development

Henry Chibutu


Position: Ministry of Agriculture position that helps farmers attain sustainable livelihoods; co-founder and director of organization that develops young entrepreneurs

Goal: To understand how NGOs can grow and function in a sustainable way

Hodan Adam Ali


Position: Program coordinator, ActionAid International Somaliland, a collaborative program to eradicate poverty and injustice;

Goal: To stand for the rights and freedoms of the oppressed; to empower women with assets such as conflict-resolution and leadership skills

Janvier Manirakiza


Position: Communications officer, Village Health Works, provider of community-driven medical care

Goal: To start a nonprofit aimed at highlighting innovative solutions for Africa’s problems

Joaquina Andre Raimundo Capitia


Position: Works in communications department of Mediateca do Lubango, a library

Goal: To advance My Choice, a program she started for mentoring youth in life skills

Michael Arome Usman


Position: Co-founder, project manager of John Paul Inspire Foundation, which works to protect human rights, particularly those of women and children

Goal: To build on his work in human rights, peace advocacy and promoting youth development through entrepreneurship

Narindra Mathieu Rabarinirina


Position: Resource mobilization manager for Youth First, a young women leadership program

Goal: To grow the capacity of youth development agencies in peripheral communities

Natacha Hakskeen


Position: 2016 Namibia Youth Award Winner, in the category of “Outstanding Young Woman”

Goal: To expand opportunities for youth

Natalie Tatenda Foti


Position: Food security and climate change officer, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Zimbabwe

Goal: To promote sustainable farming practices for food security and economic empowerment

Patience Mbah Atim


Position: Project coordinator, Green Farmlands, her project designed to improve small scale farmers yield

Goal: To make agriculture sustainable for small-scale farmers

Reguli Damas Marandu


Position: Leader of Meru TZ Slow Food Convivium, an organization that works around the world to guarantee good, clean and fair food for everyone

Goal: To advocate for indigenous food producers’ rights and the protection of agro-biodiversity

Roland Cassinga Amani

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Position: Technical director, FCPDEAM, the French-language acronym for the Congolese Federation for the Promotion and Development of Artisanal Mining

Goal: To help artisanal miners by influencing government policies related to artisanal mining, transparency and traceability of minerals

Sandrine Elodie Alla

Côte D’Ivoire

Position: Grants manager, Health Alliance International, an organization that promotes policies and support programs that strengthen government primary health care

Goal: To open an incubator training center in building trades for young single mothers

Segun David Fatudimu


Position: Director, Sozo Network, an organization that provides leadership to disadvantaged teenagers in underserved communities and extends impacts of the Young African Leaders Initiative

Goal: To advance and expand Sozo

Shiela Chikulo


Position: Senior research fellow, Ruzivo Trust, a think tank focused on improving farming and rural areas

Goal: To impart knowledge and skills that strengthen the capacity of farmers to produce sustainably

Siviwe Dlukwana

South Africa

Position: Founder and Director, Ikamva Labantwana Bethu (ILB), an educational program that enables children from Crossroads Township to have access to high quality education and job opportunities

Goal: To build on ILB’s success

Snothando Nosipho Mzobe

South Africa

Position: Works with PROTEC, an organization that helps prepare disadvantaged youth in South Africa for careers in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields

Goal: To expand the reach and effectiveness of the PROTEC program

Splendour Rita Atsango


Position: Fourth-year student at Kibabii University; provides computer training for children ages 5 to 14

Goal: To expand scope of training she offers children

Stanley Juma Baraza


Position: Business Administration student, University of Nairobi

Goal: To reduce illiteracy at all age levels of society

Susan Tusabe


Position: Literacy advocate; youth mentor; founder of Art of a Child-Uganda, which teaches children literacy and arts skills in addition to deepening connections to their heritage; partnership coordinator for HerStory Campaign in Uganda, in which girls are taught literacy skills through the telling of their stories

Goal: To build literacy and art centers and to provide resources for educational achievement