Mandela Washington BSU Fellows
Meet the 2017 BSU Fellows
Maria Rosa Celeste Segunda Dias
Areas of Interest: Prisons and education
As an employee with the Angolan prison service, Maria Rosa Celeste Segunda Dias provides inmates with educational and other assistance they need to successfully re-enter society She takes special pride in seeing former inmates working or starting a business. Maria said her work has shown her “how much others need and can benefit from our support in different ways in life.” With a goal for the next decade to become a good professional and instructor and a better leader, she said the fellowship will enable her to extend her skills, share experiences with others, and gain knowledge she can use for the benefit of others.
Karamatou Eyitayo Sanny
Areas of Interest: Law, women, human rights, education and gender-based violence
Karamatou Eyitayo Sanny teaches law at universities in Benin. She said she was drawn to the work by “my love for justice and also because I am confident that I will gain more in sharing my passion.” Karamatou belongs to associations promoting access to human rights laws and providing legal assistance in remote areas. In the future, she sees herself as a “distinguished university professor,” a defender of human rights and director of a foundation that helps schoolgirls and others who are victims of violence. Through the fellowship, she wants to learn about the “U.S. experience in defense of human rights,” which can help guide her own work.
Maria Celeste Monteiro Fortes
Country: Cape Verde
Areas of Interest: Education, research and policy
An anthropologist who teaches at universities in Cape Verde, Maria Celeste Monteiro Fortes said she believes that “that teaching and research are important ways to build a proactive and participatory society and to formulate effective public policies.” She pays special attention to advancing the education of girls, calling it one of the keys to building a “winning nation.” With a focus on researching gender issues, migration and family, Maria hopes to become increasingly engaged in helping solve her nation’s problems. She said she sees the fellowship as a unique opportunity to learn other ways to address “the challenges that our communities place in us as youth leaders.”
Laura Anyijap Njuzy epse Morfaw
Areas of Interest: Law, human rights, justice, governance and peacebuilding
A deputy state counsel in the Cameroonian justice system, Laura Anyijap Njuzy epse Morfaw said she is “involved in promoting human rights within our courts by improving access to justice and helping people, especially the marginalized, uphold their rights.” Her work has included organizing seminars that train youth in peace and democratic governance, and doing outreach work to educate women on their health and rights. Her goal is to become “a champion for gender justice in Cameroon.” Laura said the training she receives through the fellowship will give her a “broader vision” and enable her to be more effective in her work in Cameroon.
Biruh Gemeda Gage
Areas of Interest: Law, business and civic engagement
Biruh Gage is a legal professional with over 5 years of experience in business/commercial law focusing on trade competition and consumer protection issues. Currently, he is a Judge at the Federal Trade Competition and Consumers’ Protection Authority of Ethiopia where he sees cases of anti-competitive trade practices and violations of consumer rights. He is also actively engaged in legal drafting, awareness creation and research projects on different economic and social issues. Prior to this, Biruh served as the Deputy-Director of Commercial Crimes Investigation Unit at the Federal Police Commission and Coordinator of Investigation and Prosecution at TCCPA. Biruh has a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies focusing on Africa. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Biruh plans to continue his work for the realization of a modern trade sector and competitive free market that is integrated with the rest of Africa, benefits the people and promotes economic growth of Ethiopia. He also aims to actively engage in Peace Building processes through strengthening of democratic institutions.
Endris Mohammed Ahmed
Areas of Interest: Corruption and law
Endris Mohammed Ahmed is a legal trainer and researcher for a regional institute in Ethiopia. In his previous job as a prosecutor, he noticed misinterpretations of the law he believed could undermine the rights of citizens. “I have chosen my current career believing that I can contribute positively in correcting these problems by giving the necessary training of professionals of the justice system.” Endris said his goal is to establish a non-governmental organization to help with the fight “against all forms of corruption in my country.” He hopes the fellowship will assist him in that work by exposing him to “U.S. public management models and best practices.”
Hewan Soloman Areaya
Areas of Interest: Education, youth, policy and women
Hewan Soloman Areaya is a campaign manager and lead activist for a youth initiative called “The Yellow Movement AAU,” which was launched to speak up for the rights of girls and women. “It is an unfortunate truth that many girls in my country do not attend school because of cultural and religious reasons,” she said. In 10 years, she sees herself working in the Ministry of Education “toward shaping an inclusive and gender-sensitive educational policy, which will enable every girl to attend school.”
Enoch Owusu Sekyere
Areas of Interest: Prisons, public relations and social work
Enoch Owusu Sekyere is a social worker for the Ghana Prisons Service, doubling as its western regional public relations officer. He said his work “gives me a sense of fulfillment and actuality through continued support for inmates in psychosocial counseling, public education and aftercare services.” He hopes to “bring prison to the front line of the national development agenda and make individual, governmental, and non-governmental organizations strengthen their stake in” improving prisons. Enoch said knowledge and networking opportunities offered by the fellowship would help him achieve his goal of creating a prison environment “that gives hope to the incarcerated.”
Fareeda Serwaa Brobbey
Areas of Interest: Public health, women’s reproductive health
Fareeda Serwaa Brobbey has more than six years of experience as a hospital and community pharmacist. She leads the Accident and Emergency Pharmacy unit at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, where she focuses on providing patient-centered pharmaceutical services. She also works part-time with Ginapharma Limited, the first 24/7 provider in quality pharmaceutical services in all three regions in North Ghana. Fareeda is the founder of the Endometriosis Foundation Ghana, a nonprofit organization focused on raising awareness about this debilitating condition, which affects 1 in 10 women worldwide. She and her team have participated in successful programs through radio, social media, public education and health walks to boost their awareness campaign. Fareeda holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and is enrolled at the Ghana College of Pharmacists and the University of Ghana School of Public Health, where she hopes to complete a post-graduate degree in clinical pharmacy and a Master of Public Health, respectively. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to extend her foundation and create various endometriosis support groups across Ghana to address the reproductive health needs of women.
Filinto Omar Martins Salla
Areas of Interest: Youth, policy, development and politics
As president of Guinea-Bissau’s National Youth Institute, Filinto Omar Martins Salla is responsible for coordinating and implementing the nation’s youth policies and programs. Investing in young people, he said, is one of the smartest steps a country can take to promote its sustainable development. Previously, he was a project manager for the European Development Fund and an engineer for a multinational firm. Filinto’s ambition is to head his political party and even to become the nation’s prime minister. He said he hopes his fellowship will provide him useful skills in public administration and entrepreneurship and the chance to “exchange experiences and establish partnerships with other African young leaders.”
Jimmy Langford Williams
Areas of Interest: Justice, teacher, community development and elected office
A teacher, sociologist, project manager and law enforcement officer, Jimmy Langford Williams is a supervisor of criminal investigations for Liberia’s Crime Service Department. “With my profession and passion for the police job, I can make a great change in the criminal justice system,” he said. Jimmy aspires “to become a representative at the House of Parliament for my people at the district level so that I will be able to craft good laws that will govern and foster rapid development in my community.” He said the fellowship will enhance his understanding of “how to become a successful leader” and offer him networking opportunities.
Areas of Interest: Development, communications and education
A Madagascar citizen now residing in Ethiopia, Andry Rasoanindrainy has spent 11 years working on development projects for the World Bank, United Nations, USAID, Indian Ocean Commission and, most recently, the African Union. Andry, who focuses on communications and project management, said he finds the work is meaningful because it involves “fostering the well-being of humankind, particularly the underprivileged ones.” Within 10 years, he hopes to have initiated an education-oriented project aimed at “improving the lives of five million underprivileged children and young people.” Andry said the fellowship will enable him to hone his management skills and build his professional network.
Areas of Interest: Higher education, public administration and management
Rindraniaina Rabearivony works for the Faculty of Law, Economics, Management and Sociology Department at a public university in Madagascar. Initially involved in recruitment, human resource planning and development, she now trains staff members in computerization. Rindraniaina said she chose the work “because I want to know how to manage educational establishments as I'm planning to set up my own university in the future.” She is a member of organizations that assist street children and provide teacher training. Her goal is to establish free universities for people in the countryside. She said she hopes the fellowship will enhance her knowledge of management and enlarge her network.
Chisomo Grace Febbie Kaufulu
Areas of Interest: Law, human rights and efficiency
An attorney, Chisomo Grace Febbie Kaufulu is a regional coordinator for the Malawi Human Rights Commission, offering free legal assistance to people alleging human rights violations. “As a lawyer educated and raised in this society, I believe that I share the responsibility to ensure that every person has access to an appropriate remedy when they suffer a violation, regardless of their status,” she said. Chisomo works to educate local communities on human rights and related laws and her goal is to see more communities empowered to address human rights violations. She said she hopes the fellowship will position her to take a leadership role in her organization.
Areas of Interest: Local government, elected office and civic engagement
The chairman of the Chitipa District Council in Malawi, Isaac Mwepa said he was spurred to pursue municipal service because he perceived a lack of “transparency and accountability” from elected officials and wanted “to bridge the gap between the government and the community.” His work includes holding community meetings to hear constituent concerns and bringing those issues to relevant authorities. Looking ahead, Isaac said he hopes to ensure all resources provided by the government or donors are used correctly by educating communities “to have a sense of ownership in development programs.” He said the fellowship will provide him more ideas and knowledge to use in his work.
Temwanani Karen Phiri
Areas of Interest: Law, women, international organizations and economic development
An attorney and Malawi citizen, Temwanani Karen Phiri works with a women’s leadership and mentorship program in Botswana. She said she chose the work “to address the existing subtle gender biases and inherent stereotypes which remain imperceptible barriers for the advancement of women into leadership positions in Botswana.” Temwanani has participated in projects providing women of Botswana with soft skills, networking and mentorship. She aspires to work with international organizations that are aligned with her goals, including investing in women, and geared towards sustainable economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. She said the fellowship offers her the chance to strengthen her advocacy work through expanded networking.
Areas of Interest: Law, civic engagement, diplomacy and international organizations
A Mali citizen residing in Gao, Mali, Bady Hamma has worked for national and international organizations in areas ranging from local governance to food security and humanitarian assistance. Bady, who has a master’s degree in public law, has enhanced his skills through training in such subjects as peace and confidence building. At a time of violence in Mali, he hopes to contribute to the task of “creating a favorable environment for the rebirth and growth of youth” that can help the country achieve sustainable development. He hopes the fellowship will strengthen the skills he needs to achieve his goal of becoming a diplomat or international official.
Emmanuel Baba Aduku
Areas of Interest: Research, civic engagement and governance
Emmanuel Baba Aduku is a research associate at the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Nigeria. “I have chosen to work in public policy because of my motivation to contribute to promoting evidence-based policy making in Nigeria,” said Emmanuel, whose research focuses on government, development and political economy. He is involved in projects in his community to raise public awareness of the need to engage leaders. He hopes to found a public policy think tank, and to consult for governments and organizations. Emmanuel said the fellowship would expose him to ideas about public management and governance in a developed country, and enable him to share ideas with others.
Quina Lima Fernandes Sequeira Bragança
Country: São Tomé and Príncipe
Areas of Interest: Justice, women and gender-based violence
A lawyer, Quina Lima Fernandes Sequeira Bragança is employed by the Superior Judicial Magistrates Council in São Tomé and Príncipe. She works at the office of the Supreme Court president and board, drafting resolutions, meeting minutes and providing technical guidance. Quina teaches law and works with a non-governmental organization to defend female victims of domestic violence. Her ambition is to become a Constitutional Court judge to represent for her community – “someone that people can trust” – to resolve social conflicts. Quina said through the fellowship she will learn about challenges faced by other countries and gain new tools to pursue her goals in the justice field.
Cheryl Eugenia Sembie
Country: Sierra Leone
Areas of Interest: Law, justice and advocacy
Attorney Cheryl Eugenia Sembie is senior defense counsel for the Legal Aid Board in Sierra Leone, which provides pro bono representation to indigent people. She also volunteers for an organization that provides legal advice and referrals to women who have been abused or marginalized by society. In both capacities, she travels the country, “sensitizing people on their rights and our services.” Cheryl’s goal is to become a manager at the Legal Aid Board and a leading advocate in the nation “for access to justice and the upholding of human rights.” She looks forward to “learning from the shared knowledge and experience” of other fellowship participants.”
Country: South Africa
Areas of Interest: Justice, empowerment, women and human rights
Loyiso Makapela is a former junior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State in South Africa. She is studying for a PhD, aided by a scholarship from South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Last year, Loyiso launched a lifestyle and empowerment platform for professional women. “I am on the shortlist to be the Senior Law Researcher at the Supreme Court of Appeal,” said Loyiso, who aspires to become a commissioner or CEO of the Human Rights Commission of South Africa. She said she has seen how the fellowship has “elevated the drive and ambition” of past participants and hopes it will do the same for her.
Tshepo Alfred Mahlare
Country: South Africa
Areas of Interest: Law, corruption, public service and youth
An attorney, Tshepo Alfred Mahlare heads the legal unit of South Africa’s sixth largest public entity. He formerly worked for the country’s public defender system and as a legal officer at the Bureau of Standards. “My career has been all about ensuring guarantee of rights, and ensuring public business efficiency, as well as finding solutions to the challenges presented by living in South Africa,” he said. Tshepo wants to help “drive down the social, educational and economic gap that prevails in my society” through mentoring other professionals to empower young people. He said he hopes the fellowship will equip him with skills to “influence the institutions that control public-private funding.”
Areas of Interest: Water, public works, government and policy
Jacquiline Amongin is a member of the Parliament of Uganda and one of the nation’s representatives to the Pan-African Parliament. Jacquiline, who has a degree in environmental management, played a leading role in creating a parliamentary forum on water sanitation and hygiene, and in spurring Uganda to develop a climate change policy. She also started a foundation that advocates for expanding enrollment of girls in her region’s schools. Jacquiline aspires “to be one of the topmost decision makers in the country.” She said the fellowship will enable her to widen her network inside and outside Africa and to “build capacity in addressing concerns affecting the people.”
Kalule Flavia Nabagabe
Areas of Interest: Women, politic and social activism
A teacher, human and gender rights advocate and politician, Kalule Flavia Nabagabe has worked for the past five years with Forum for Women in Democracy, a national women’s rights organization in Uganda. Her work includes strengthening the ability of female lawmakers to engage effectively in legislation, and conducting civic education meetings on women’s political rights. Kalule takes pride in having finished second in a four-way race for a Parliament seat last year. Her goals include becoming a “great politician,” and starting a non-governmental organization advocating for women’s rights. She said the fellowship will build her confidence as a leader “to effectively promote a women/youthempowered and driven society.”
Areas of Interest: Corruption, finance, education and governance
Tikhaale Ngwale is an investigations officer in Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission. She also delivers corruption prevention programs in the community. Tikhaale said she chose the work because “it gives me a platform to protect public resources from being plundered” by those who take or receive bribes. She previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Zambia’s Electoral Commission. Tikhaale said she hopes to create a nationwide awareness program to educate underprivileged women about economic empowerment and their rights to own land. She said the fellowship will offer her insights into how other undeveloped nations are addressing poverty, knowledge that will be helpful to her own work.
2016 BSU Fellows