We are excited to introduce you to 104 extraordinary leaders—the 2019 Acumen Fellows. They are builders with the skills and character who dare to embrace the difficult journey of social change.
This year’s Fellows include leaders from across East Africa, India, Pakistan, and—our two new regions—Colombia and West Africa. Our largest and most diverse cohort thus far, this group is made up of 50% women and includes extraordinary individuals from more than 13 countries and 50 cities across the world.
From promoting rural women’s economic empowerment in Ghana to using sports as a means to bring together divided communities across Latin America, the 2019 Fellows are tackling the greatest challenges facing their communities.
Over the course of the year, the Fellows will come together to learn with – and from – each other. As a deeply bonded cohort, they will engage with a curriculum that is based on practical skills and character, geared towards action and grounded in the values of moral leadership.
After they finish the first year of the Fellowship, the Fellows join our global community of more than 500 Fellows. Fellows from past cohorts have been featured in TED Talks, received prestigious social impact awards, and have made an impact on more than 8 million lives across the world.
The Acumen Fellows Program is generously supported by Andrea Soros Colombel and Eric Colombel, Brinson Foundation, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, Fundación Mario Santo Domingo, Futura Foundations, Giving Wings, JS Bank, Kathleen Chew Wai Lin & Yeoh Seok Hong, KCB Bank Group, Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, Midas Safety, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nayara Energy, Rockdale Foundation, Safaricom, The Sapling Foundation, SAP, Segelman Trust, Tata Trusts, The Three Dogs Foundation, Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and Woodcock Foundation.
Read more about the 2019 Fellows and follow along on Instagram over the coming weeks as we highlight their inspiring work.
ADELA ANDREA GONZÁLEZ PACHECO
Andrea is a social worker, industrial designer, and is the Co-Founder of Nuestro Flow, a company that designs social impact projects to promote cultural diversity and gender equality in Colombia. Her current role is as CEO of El Negro Está De Moda, one of Nuestro Flow’s projects that designs strategies to fight racial discrimination and connects mestizo people with Afro-Colombians, especially in and around Bogotá.
ANA MARGARITA VELÁSQUEZ
Ana Margarita was born in Cartagena, Colombia. She is currently Director at Fundación ROFÉ – Toca Una Vida, an organization that promotes initiatives focused on the eradication of poverty and inequality—in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals—through entrepreneurship. The organization works with youth offenders of the Juvenile Penal System, empowering individuals through career preparation training and entrepreneurship skills so they can have a dignified future. She holds a degree in industrial engineering from Universidad de Los Andes.
ANDRÉS FELIPE GONZÁLEZ
Andrés Felipe founded the Collective Prisioneros de Esperanza (Prisoners of Hope), an entity that exercises peaceful resistance to the dynamics of exclusion and marginalization through community leadership. He has demonstrated to the inhabitants of vulnerable sectors that a better world could be built if they begin to change their environment by leading social interventions with artistic and cultural activities in vulnerable communities. Andres is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in communications and marketing.
ANDRÉS UCRÓS MALDONADO
Andrés has more than a decade of experience in both the private and public sector. He began his career as a researcher at Fundación Ideas para la Paz and later became an advisor to the Colombian Agency for Reintegration. Subsequently, he worked for Prieto & Carrizosa and Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados. In 2012, he was invited by the High Commissioner for Peace to serve as an adviser to the government during the peace process. He is currently the Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and an advisor on Intuitivo, an organization that uses behavioral science to design social impact projects. Andrés has a degree in law and political science from Universidad de Los Andes, where he also specialized in foreign investment. He also holds an LL.M. from the London School of Economics.
CLARA INÉS HOYOS
Clara is the Founder of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs Cimientos del Hogar, which is 50 women strong today. Since its inception, the organization has promoted the production, processing, and marketing of dehydrated organic herbs and essential oils. Cimientos del Hogar has also had an active role in involving the mayor’s office in organizing the municipal chair position to be led by women, a role that Clara currently holds. She is an active member of the Network of Settlers of Caquetá, a region in Colombia highly affected by the armed conflict.
CRISTIAN AMADO REYES
Cristian is Founder and CEO of Juventud Unida, an organization that empowers youth organizations and vulnerable communities to effectively participate in local development, peacebuilding, and the creation of solid institutions. Cristian is a lawyer from the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia and has a degree in public contracting from the Universidad de Medellin. He is a Consultant and Analyst in Development Plans and Public Policies for Territorial Entities and is currently working as Head of the Legal Department in the Private Sector.
David is the Founder and President of Somos CaPAZes, an organization that uses technology to promote peace and leadership in Colombia and beyond. In 2017, he represented Colombia in a meeting of young leaders with the Dalai Lama in India. He has also worked as a professor at the Public Leadership Center of the Universidad de Los Andes, as Manager of Technological Development of Seguros Beta, and he also serves as a board member of Texmodas Foundation (Zara) and the Alumni association of Universidad de Los Andes.
Esteban has led Colombian children’s education, recreation, and advocacy organization Tiempo de Juego since 2011. He has helped the organization to grow from a small nonprofit that served 300 individuals across two countries to become one of the leading nonprofit organizations in Colombia — now with a presence in 10 municipalities serving more than 5,000 beneficiaries. He is also responsible for bringing in new funding sources and has helped the organization to win several national and international awards and recognition. Esteban is a lawyer with a master’s in education and child rights and has 16 years of experience in education and social development projects.
JULIAN FACUNDO RINAUDO
Julian’s work to promote peacebuilding in Latin America began during his master’s coursework in conflict transformation, which was made possible with the help of a scholarship from the Australian government. He is currently Coordinator of Red Etnósfera, a collective of 12 grassroots organizations whose mission is the transformation of reality through the cultivation of the inner-self, which entails emotional and psychological healing, developing skills for a virtuous life and incorporating human values such as forbearance, patience, and compassion into daily life. He is an anthropologist, and a specialist in local development.
FELIPE ORDUZ GUTIÉRREZ
Felipe has been working in the social sector for seven years, focusing on standardizing processes, on implementing lean operations and managing finances in social sector organizations. His underlying principle is to build systems that allow social ventures to accomplish their missions and maximize their impact. He is the Director of Operations and Finance at Coschool, an education venture that seeks to transform the Colombian educational system through the development of socio-emotional skills in young students and educators. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de Los Andes.
Francisco is the Social Facilitator and Coordinator of the Sustainable Campus Program, an initiative of the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, where he communicates research, teaching practices, and social projects around sustainability. All activities and programs are guided by the principles of sustainable development and promote environmental responsibility across the region. He has participated in the design and implementation of social innovation projects at the University, as well as in social organizations such as Bibliogueto, Manos Visibles, Telar-UAV, among others. Francisco is also a business manager at the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente.
ISABEL CRISTINA RIVAS TRIANA
Isabel has 20 years experience working with vulnerable populations and has spent over a decade working with the Agencia para la Reincorporación y Normalización (ARN), a governmental organization in charge of reintegrating ex-combatants into civilian life. She works to promote personal growth in each ex-combatant and helps them to reach their full potential. With this, she has a direct impact on the peace-building initiatives across the country. Isabel is a psychologist and Social Manager of Universidad Javeriana.
JHON EDWARD ANGULO
Jhon is the founder of Asociación Colombiana de Egreso de Protección Estatal (ASCEP) and Co-Founder of Red Latinoamericana de Egreso de Protección Estatal. Both organizations work to strengthen and support teenagers and children without parental care who, like him, have grown up in boarding schools under the protection of the government. Since 2013, he began working on issues related to the transition between the government protection agency and civilian life, with young people in Colombia and Latin America. Jhon has a degree in communications from the Academia de Comunicación Jaime Echeverry Loaiza.
Kattya was born in Quibdó and is the Director of Helpline for Vulnerable Populations for the nonprofit Te Abrazo Choco. She also coordinates a program called “More Active and Visible Adults for All” that has helped more than 160 elderly Colombians. Kattya is a lawyer from Universidad Tecnológica del Choco and has taken graduate coursework at the Corporación Internacional de Lideres ONG. She is a beneficiary of the DALE program from Acumen’s partner, Manos Visibles.
Liliana started her career in the pharmaceutical industry as a Supply Chain Analyst before deciding to focus on capacity building in social sector organizations. As an Opportunities Manager with Minka-Dev, she identifies and connects high-value markets with organizations that are solving social or environmental problems, accompanying them as a hands-on consultant. She works to support social and environmental development projects. Liliana holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad del Rosario and a master’s degree in social entrepreneurship from Hult Business School.
Natalia has devoted her life to using creative platforms, like football, to promote peacebuilding and development opportunities across Latin America and around the world. She has led social impact projects in partnership with German, Spanish and Japanese governments, as well as football organization FIFA and athletic company Adidas. Natalia advises more than 50 NGOs across the world, bridging opportunities for communities with anonymous heroes and amazing stories to tell.
NAZLY CATALINA ORTIZ DAZA
Nazly is a social entrepreneur and serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Planeta Rural, an organization that empowers rural youth to lead a self-sustainable life in the rural countryside by building, designing and implementing co-created projects. She has fostered high impact projects by encouraging collaborative networks with Latin America, Africa, and Asia to foster rural youth. She studied business administration at Universidad de Cundinamarca and holds a master degree in interdisciplinary development studies from the Universidad de Los Andes.
PAULA GUTIÉRREZ GÓMEZ
Paula is Co-Founder and CEO of Impact Hub Bogotá, a knowledge and innovation center for sustainable development, which is connected to a global network with presence in over 100 cities around the world. Within this role, she has supported over 400 impact-focused initiatives in different regions across Colombia. Paula also has extensive experience as a facilitator and consultant for collaborative processes in various countries of Latin America and Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad de Los Andes.
Rocío Arango likes to call herself a “lighter of fireflies.” For seven years, she has been a social intrapreneur with Ruta N Medellín, a corporation that develops programs and services to facilitate the economic development of the city towards inclusive and sustainable business practices using science, technology, and innovation. At Ruta N, Rocío leads all projects related to social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and impact investment. She is a political scientist and holds a master’s in business administration with a specialization in project management. She also writes for El Colombiano, a major Colombian newspaper, and serves as a teacher at Icesi University.
SANDRA PAOLA IBAÑEZ QUIÑONES
Sandra is a Project Manager of the Asociación de Jóvenes del Municipio de Puerto Tejada. She is currently working on a vocational and professional orientation project for Afro-Colombian youth across Colombia that identifies new ventures and opportunities to improve their overall quality of life. She has experience in social project management and consulting with micro-entrepreneurs. Sandra is a business administrator and is completing her master’s degree in education and community development.
Santiago is a social entrepreneur focused in the area of social innovation and climate change. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of sustainable systemic solutions, both in the public and private sector. He is the founder of Brand Solutions, an organization specialized in promoting the use of reusable shopping bags, and the founder of Iluminando, a company that tackles the energy access problem across Colombia. Santiago is a government and international relations professional and has a master’s degree in Applied Imagination from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
SILFREDO FUENTES CHIQUILLO
Silfredo was born and raised in the dispersed rural area of Moñitos, Cordoba, which is located in the north of Colombia. He is the manager of the Association of Smallholder Farmers and Producers of the Community of Membrillal (APPCM), where he uses his extensive experience in entrepreneurship to help improve the lives of smallholders. APPCM empowers agricultural producers through practical and business skills development. Given his experience in rural communities in Colombia, he highly values the participatory construction and reconstruction of the community. Silfredo is currently completing his degree in business administration.
WALTER JAVIER MANRIQUE GÓMEZ
Walter is Project Manager at Agencia para la Renovación del Territorio (ART), an entity that is currently implementing the first stages of the Peace Agreement signed between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in 2016. At ART, he develops projects to transform the countryside and the lives of rural Colombians. He has worked in building community infrastructure in municipalities affected by the armed conflict in Colombia since 2005, which puts him and his work at the heart of reducing inequality and injustice across the country. He has a business degree from Universidad Externado and holds a marketing degree from Politécnico Grancolombiano.
Arshiya is Founder of Black Baza Coffee, an organization that works to empower smallholder coffee growers to conserve biodiversity and engage in markets on their own terms. Prior to founding Black Baza Coffee, Arshiya worked at policy and advocacy organization Kalpavriksh, where her work focused on the recognition of the rights of forest-dwelling communities in India. Arshiya holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Ayushi is Co-founder of The Gender Lab, which works to build gender equality across rural and urban India by enabling school children and young people to question the gender narrative they exist in. She makes this happen by engaging them in social action in their communities, which shifts their mindsets, behaviors, and actions. She dreams of bringing this opportunity to people from across the world. Ayushi is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and has been a G(irls)20 Ambassador since 2015.
Disha heads Khabar Lahariya, India’s only all-women rural news channel, which recently went digital and video-first. Disha trains and mentors disadvantaged women from remote villages of north India to be professional journalists and produce local news in their languages, from their unique perspective. Disha enjoys travelling to far-flung locations, reporting and writing, and imagining how a small and radical media house can change the world. She has a masters degree in gender studies from the University of Warwick.
Gitanjali is Program Head (Delhi) for HAUSLA at Centre for Equity Studies and Association for Rural and Urban Needy, a project running interventions including specialized shelters, and building knowledge to support access to healthcare and other citizenship rights for and with the urban homeless community. She has previously worked as a researcher on legal justice issues. She holds a masters in Dalit and tribal social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and a bachelors in psychology from Wesleyan University.
Lakshmi is Chief Operating Officer at Hasiru Dala Innovations (HDI), a social enterprise focused on creating better livelihoods for wastepickers through inclusive businesses that have an environmental impact. As part of the core team, she works towards creating awareness and opportunities to integrate wastepickers into mainstream solid waste management. Prior to HDI, she worked in the semiconductor industry for more than 12 years. She believes that solutions are sustainable when they are people-centric, pragmatic, and are co-created with the beneficiaries.
MOHAMMAD INNUS KHAN
Mohammad Innus is Director of Deshpande Foundation’s Agriculture Initiatives, an organization that works to bring prosperity for farmers through entrepreneurship and innovation in India. His passion to work for the community and the need to co-create sustainable solutions for farming has helped to impact 70,000 farmers by increasing their income generation. A first generation graduate in his family, he holds a master’s degree in political science.
Nidhi is a second-generation entrepreneur. She recently rejoined the education division of her family’s business and now runs Munnar Catering College, a private hotel management institute that trains 1,000 students a year from middle and low-income families. Nidhi holds a master’s in business administration from Oxford University, where she focused on social enterprises. After studying at Oxford, she worked on creating sustainable vocational training models and new training pedagogies with Pratham Education Foundation in Mumbai.
Nivedita manages Gudi Mudi Khadi, the flagship project of WomenWeave Charitable Trust, an organization that aims at providing dignified livelihood to women weavers, spinners and ancillary workers. WW’s mission is to overcome vulnerability of women artisans and works towards making handloom a profitable, fulfilling, and life-improving activity. Prior to joining WomenWeave, Nivedita was pursuing her post-graduate diploma in rural management from Institute of Rural Management, Anand.
Dr. Prahalathan is Co-Founder of Bhumi, one of India’s largest youth volunteering organizations. Bhumi mobilizes citizens to work towards sustainable development goals, and its volunteers educate more than 25,000 underprivileged children to work for causes like environment, disability, and animal welfare. He strongly believes every child deserves quality education and is passionate about making volunteering a habit among young people. At Bhumi, he leads many of the organization’s events and fundraising programs.
Praveen leads the strategy office of Central Square Foundation, an organization focused on system reform in education, and is currently helping to set up new organizations focused on economic development and improving talent in the social sector with leading philanthropist Ashish Dhawan. Prior to this, Praveen was working with India’s Central Government on the implementation of key strategic projects and scaling up successful practices from NGOs and government. He is a Young India Fellow and a Teach for India Fellow.
R K PAUL
R K Paul Chawang is Founder-cum-Secretary of AMYAA NGO, an organization in the most remote part of East Arunachal Pradesh. AMYAA works in the areas of livelihood promotion, education, skills development and environmental protection for development of tribal poor with special attention towards the most vulnerable groups of the society. Paul works to redefine the lives of the rural poor through digital connection by utilizing modern technology through blended learning. Paul holds a master’s degree in social work from Loyola College, Chennai.
Ravish is Founder of SumArth, a social enterprise that helps marginal, smallholder farmers from underdeveloped regions earn a sustainable, recurring and profitable income. Farmers get end-to-end training and support to grow high-value, in-demand crops coupled with seasonal revenue through allied activities. Trained in permaculture, Ravish works on promoting sustainable farming through marketing exercises. He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati and a master’s in business administration from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Rewaj is Co-Founder and CEO of Sikkim Entrepreneurs’ Hub, creating a robust startup ecosystem in Sikkim. He is also Founder of NE Taxi and runs a coworking space in Gangtok. Rewaj is one of the few TEDx Speakers from North-East India and the first to make it to a Forbes list. He was conferred with Sikkim’s Highest Civilian Award 2018 for his exemplary contribution to Entrepreneurship in Sikkim. Rewaj graduated in Forestry from North-Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology.
Sajad works with Video Volunteers, an international community media organization which trains people from marginalized communities in filmmaking and journalism. Video Volunteers, using low-budget technology, exposes corruption and highlights issues often neglected by mainstream media through hyper-localized media, and mobilizes activism to resolve issues with the help of local authorities and communities. Sajad holds a master’s in mass communication and journalism from Kashmir University and has built KashmirUnheard, an independent community news network in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sandeep is Co-Founder of Bombay Bijlee, a social enterprise based in Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, providing affordable and highly reliable access to clean energy to rural Indian households. Their product “Bijlee Boqx”— a solar energy harvester, storage and delivery device — uses a “Pay As You Go” model to reach low-income customers. Its self-diagnostic and backend software can detect faults in the system and send an automatic SMS alert to the local technician, providing proactive and prompt service to the beneficiaries.
Sanket is Senior Program Officer at Lend-A-Hand India, which focuses on improving the quality of India’s public education system at scale. Sanket provides project management support for implementation of skill education programs in more than 500 government schools from 13 states. He is also working towards creating proof points of quality vocational education program in multiple states. His decade-long experience includes nonprofits as well as corporate foundations such as Tata Power, Teach For India, and Thermax Foundation.
Satyendra is Co-Founder and Director at Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion. The organization is concerned with deepening democracy and developing our body politic by building excitement around marginalized children and young people for their social, economic and cultural (SEC) rights. Satyendra has completed his studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences with more than 12 years of working and networking experiences with Dalit human rights, especially with young people and children in India and abroad.
Shikhar is Partner/Chief Learning Officer at ConveGenius, an organization reducing the Information Poverty gap. He is equipping large nonprofits in India with contextual learning data for their students and in the future and envisions working across sectors to provide community-driven data for healthcare, jobs, and government programs. A Computer Science graduate from Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, he previously founded a nonprofit to rescue girls from trafficking and educate children in shelters.
Shruti is Program Associate at Vitamin Angels, an organization providing lifesaving vitamins to mothers and children at risk of malnutrition. As part of a five-member cross-functional team, Shruti oversees the programmatic implementation of the micronutrient grant program that reaches 12.5 million children through over 500 NGO partners and eight state governments across India. She holds a master’s degree in health policy, planning, and financing from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and London School of Economics.
Shwetambera manages TRANScend, an initiative by The Humsafar Trust aimed to enhance inclusion of transgender individuals in India through research and intervention into the socio-economic needs of the communities, capacity building of transgender community organizations, and sensitization of corporates, educational institutions, and other stakeholders. Prior to TRANScend, Shwetambera handled SAHYOG, a project aimed to address gaps in the National HIV program. She holds a master’s degree in development studies from the University of Manchester.
Vaibhav is State Programme Officer, Chhattisgarh for Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme, an initiative of Ministry of Home Affairs that works towards the overall development of districts affected by extremism. Prior to living in Chhattisgarh, Vaibhav worked for more than four years in Jammu and Kashmir advocating for the betterment of education with UNICEF support to J&K government and as Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow in Bandipore district of north Kashmir. Vaibhav holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
Vivek is Co-Founder and CEO of Kshamtalaya Foundation, an organization supporting communities to revive the spirit of learning in and outside of schools. Core to the organization’s program is a curriculum that provides space for self-directed learning, systems thinking, and mindfulness. Its learning manifesto and learning festivals aim to make education a community agenda. Vivek is also interested in using mindfulness and system thinking in theatre. He is an Engineer, a graduate of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and alumnus of the Gandhi Fellowship program.
Bernadette is Founder of Green Agri Ventures in Busia, Kenya. The organization finances informal rural entrepreneurs and trains them on financial literacy. She is an award-winning social entrepreneur and social justice advocate dedicated to promoting human dignity through an integrated development approach. She has a multi-disciplinary training background encompassing bachelor’s degrees in nursing and in guidance and counseling and a master’s degree in development studies. She has 13 years of work experience in Kenya and internationally.
CHARLOTTE DE RIDDER
Charlotte is Co-Founder/Managing Director of Yusudi, a social enterprise that supports youth in their journey to reach economic sustainability through employment or entrepreneurship. She is a passionate educator that gets her energy from helping others grow into their most authentic selves. She is also an avid, driven entrepreneur creating highly innovative, culturally attractive companies that fuel economic growth. She entered the youth sector eight years ago working with AIESEC in the UK, Mexico, and Kenya.
Dave is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about sustainable agribusiness and food systems. He is the Managing Director of Rio Fish Ltd. and Chairman of Cage Fish Farmers Association of Kenya. Dave uses his knowledge and experience to empower small-scale fish farmers. He developed a mobile app that allows farmers to access high-quality fish feed, manage their farms and gain market access for their product from the comfort of their mobile phones.
Diana is Senior Program Manager and Gender Lead at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Tanzania, where she leads a youth-led movement of daring social innovators, community leaders, and digital champions. She leads Tanzania’s largest Youth Leadership and Social Innovators program, dubbed Dare to Change Tanzania. To date, DOT’s change agents have impacted over 17,000 youth and women with business, IT, financial literacy and livelihood skills. Diana is also a storyteller and staff writer with DreamLink Africa.
Geraldine is the Founder of ZawadiMama working with mothers and youth around topics of maternal health care, family planning, menstrual health, and empowerment. She is passionate about gender equality, socio-economic empowerment and leadership. Her maternity journey was a turning point when she discovered the importance of a mother’s well-being in reducing maternal and infant deaths and underscored the key role that mothers play in nation building. Geraldine is a graduate in Economics and Sociology and Royal Commonwealth Associate Fellow.
Irene is the Founder and Director of Nainyoie Samburu a local NGO, working with pastoralist communities of Samburu with a special focus on women and children who are among the most marginalized groups. Irene started community work in 2006 out of a passion to help the less fortunate in society and pursued her BSc in community development later on. She believes in a continuous learning process in order to have a greater impact in her community.
Jackline is the Founder and CEO at MyAfya. MyAfya is a social enterprise that works with people who have hypertension to help them manage their condition by delivering innovative hypertension diagnostic solutions. She has also championed various initiatives that inspires and empowers young girls in rural areas. Her vision is to inspire and empower youth, especially girls, in rural areas to believe in their abilities and believe that their dreams are indeed valid.
Jackline serves as the founder and director for Beyond the Vision Initiative (BEVI) in Kenya. BEVI targets children and women at the grassroots level in rural Machakos and Tassia slums in Nairobi. The organization uses education and economic empowerment as tools for social change. From a young age, Jackline was concerned about the economic inequality in her country and has dedicated her life to changing lives and communities. She is also a member of Rotary Club.
JARED OUNDA OKELLO
Jared is the lead Pastor at Crossroads Fellowship Ministries (CFM) Kisumu branch and the chairman of Fadhili Dada Initiative (FDI). FDI is a humanitarian arm of CFM Kisumu, with a vision to achieve strong advocacy for social protection and economic empowerment for adolescent and young women. Jared is also a lecturer at Hands on Africa theological seminary, where he educates and empowers rural pastors to attain skills on public administration and leadership. He holds a master’s degree in theology from Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary in Florida, USA.
Jennifer is the founder of Child Mothers Initiative, a Ugandan-based organization that economically empowers rural teenage mothers. Skilled in policy analysis and advocacy and budget monitoring, Jennifer is a member of the National Youth Budget Advocacy, a Fellow of the National Leadership Academy, and a member of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. She has a master’s in transformative and civic leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jennifer believes that when women are empowered, families and nations thrive.
Joseph is the Founder and CEO of Itetero Iwacu Organization, a Rwandan-based social enterprise that provides high-quality education, fights child stunting through effective nutrition, and advocates for children living with noncommunicable diseases. Joseph served as a teacher before joining Southern New Hampshire University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications. With a focus on vulnerable children, he is committed to improving quality of education and nurturing children with skills and ethics that will inspire them to become accountable citizens.
Joseph is the Founder and CEO of Agro Supply, a company solving critical problems that rural smallholder farmers face such as access to markets and access to finance. Agro Supply has developed the first mobile layaway system in East Africa to help farmers build savings and buy seeds and fertilizer. Since 2017, Agro Supply has worked with more than 5,000 farmers in Uganda through their bankless savings program. Joseph is an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, the Young African Leaders Initiative, and a 2018 Swedish Institute Management Programme Africa Fellow.
KHALILA SANDRAH MBOWE
Khalila is CEO and Founder of Unleashed Africa Social Ventures in Tanzania. Through Unleashed Africa, Khalila is dedicated to exploring, innovating, and contributing to sustainable solutions for African Development, with a focus on youth development in areas of art, gender and social enterprise development. Her life purpose lies in passionately and aggressively pioneering and contributing to new ventures that tackle Africa’s booming youth unemployment challenges in innovation, digital and creative economy and in social enterprise sectors.
Margaret is the Founder and Executive Director of SoarAway, an organization committed to addressing the leadership crisis by unleashing youth as character-strong, capable and engaged changemakers for sustainable community transformation. SoarAway provides innovative in-school and out-of-school solutions for both students and educators. She is a passionate learner, speaker, edu-preneur, Afro-optimist and organizational consultant who lives to create a world where youth find the opportunities and support to maximize their potential and offer their best service to their communities.
NASSER FEREJ DESTA
Nasser is passionate about social entrepreneurship. He co-founded Beautiful Minds Ethiopia, a social enterprise committed to safeguarding children’s health and well-being. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Health, he has built extensive experience in WASH and public health programs. He is an award winner of Reach for Change and Finland Embassy’s Grants of hand-washing through soap recycling and production. Nasser is also Senior Behavior Change Coordinator at Splash International, targeting school children. He envisions innovating in entrepreneurship to create a healthier community.
SADATH AHMADA MWAMSEMA
Sadath is Founder and Executive Secretary of Community Development Watch (CODEWA) in Tanzania, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children find their path to dream of a better future through mentorship, education, and health support. He is also a field manager of Seeds for Kids Project, a UK-based social entrepreneurship project targeting to fight malnutrition in Tanzania by using Moringa tree products. Sadath believes in helping children at an early stage learn to become future adults that can adapt to hardships while becoming models and leaders for their community.
Sheila is the Country Director of Sawa World Uganda, a nonprofit organization that provides large-scale access to low-cost, easy-to-start and locally created skill-based solutions that can allow unemployed youth living in poverty to learn and start small-scale businesses. With her guidance and leadership, her team of young professionals has transformed the lives of over 70,000 vulnerable youth since 2012. Together, they aim to impact one billion youth by 2030 with the use of homegrown innovations.
Dr. Bosire is the founder of Stellah Bosire Fund and has extensive experience in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV, TB, LGBTQ rights, and Global/Public Health with Gender being a crosscutting theme. She is the former CEO of Kenya Medical Association, Chair of Board of the National Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Vice Chair of the HIV/AIDS Tribunal of Kenya and Board Member of Carolina For Kibera. She holds a bachelor’s in medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi and a master’s in business administration from Strathmore Business School. She is also the nominated County Minister of Health for the Nairobi County Government.
Tsedale Kinfu is Founder and General Manager of New Bright Community Development Center. The organization focuses on transforming the lives of unprivileged children and youth through education and skill enhancement, creating a safe environment and protecting them from unhealthy practices. Her journey working with her local community began 10 years ago as a social worker with a strong desire to contribute to poverty reduction. She received her MA from Addis Ababa University.
UMULKHER HARUN MOHAMMED
Umulkher is Founder and Director of Kesho Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for quality education for girls in Garissa, Kenya. The organization pioneered student-to-student sponsorship (s2s), providing financial aid and mentorship to students in need. The goal of s2s is to offer bursaries for girls from low-income families, instilling a sense of responsibility among the youth. Umulkher is the Eisenhower Youth Leader of 2018 and a student at the United States International University-Africa. Kesho Alliance won the Zuri award in 2018.
Victor is the Founder and Executive Director of the Garden of Hope Foundation (GoHF). GoHF is a nonprofit that works with youth from urban slums and rural communities in Kenya to equip individuals with leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Since its inception, GoHF has impacted the lives of over 5,000 youth across five counties. Victor is a One Young World Ambassador and a runner-up for the Queens Young Leader’s Award.
Abdal is the Project and Communications Manager at British Council’s ILMPOSSIBLE: Take A Child to School program. ILMPOSSIBLE focuses on enrolling out-of-school children in government primary schools and ensures their retention through the primary school cycle. Abdal also works as an education consultant with the World Bank, where he focuses on evaluating teaching methodologies and is the Founder and Creative Director of Paperplane, a digital marketing firm that focuses primarily on developing and executing communication campaigns for nonprofit organizations.
Ajay is Founder of ek nuqta, an educational consultancy working on a project-based learning initiative in government schools in Sindh in collaboration with Aga Khan University Examination Board. Ek nuqta enhances the capacity of teachers and students to connect learning, both across subjects and with their immediate environment. Simultaneously, Ajay also leads a language-driven research project with The Citizens Foundation, which studies the benefits of multilingualism and speaking the mother tongue in a child’s educational journey. Ajay holds a master’s in social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India.
ALI ASAD RASHID
Ali is a Project Manager at the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan for Precision Agriculture for Development. His project is geared towards providing fertilizer recommendations in the form of Soil Health Cards to 5.2 million smallholder farmers in Punjab, helping them to achieve optimal yield using minimal resources. Previously, Ali worked in financial inclusion, mobile money, and financial relief programs as a Consultant at Inov8 Limited and as a Research Analyst at Oscar Excel. Ali holds a bachelor’s in accounting and finance from the University of London with distinctions in microeconomics and mathematics.
Arooj is a Co-Founder of Gharpar Tech Private Limited, an online marketplace that connects beauticians to clients seeking high-end beauty services at home. Gharpar aims to solve the labor exploitation inherent within the beauty industry in Pakistan by increasing the average income of beauticians. Previously, Arooj was the Marketing Manager at the British Council and spearheaded the launch of the British Council Libraries. She is a graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, with a bachelor’s in social anthropology and master’s in anthropology of development.
Atika is the Managing Editor of Dawn.com, the website of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, where she oversees digital editorial content, strategy, partnerships, and special projects. She works with a team of producers to develop timely news stories and informed commentary for a vast online audience of 1.4 million daily readers. Atika believes that an independent media is essential for any democratic system. She has previously worked at The Express Tribune as a senior editor and has eight years of experience as a journalist.
Chander is the Founder of Progressive Human Foundation, which focuses on the economic empowerment of women from marginalized communities in rural areas of Sindh. The foundation provides sewing machines to widowed women from these areas so that they can generate an income to sustain themselves and provide an education for their children. Chander is also an activist for human rights and has raised his voice for human rights violations through several case studies and publications in many national and international newspapers. He holds a master’s in business administration from Mohammad Ali Jinnah University in Karachi.
Ghazanfar is Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at AutoSahulat, which connects drivers needing vehicle repair services with nearby mechanics. AutoSahulat empowers mechanics to advertise their services freely using an online platform, thereby increasing their customer base and extending revenue streams. AutoSahulat was incubated in Telenor’s intrapreneurship program ‘Ignite’, and has recently raised $100,000 in seed funding from Antler in Singapore. Ghazanfar has 12 years of corporate sector experience, is a mentor for startups at the National Incubation Center in Islamabad, and is Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Takhleeq Business Incubator in Lahore and Antler in Singapore.
HAFIZ AWAIS AFZAL
Hafiz is the Founder and COO of Rahnumai. Rahnumai aims to increase higher education enrollment in Pakistan by removing barriers of mobility for students through an online portal. The organization also provides consultancies and connects students with opportunities for higher education locally. Previously, Hafiz has worked with LUMS and LoopsNLogic as a software engineer, and with Social Innovation Lab as a Community Manager. Hafiz has been appointed by the US Embassy as an Exchange Ambassador for US-funded programs in Lahore.
HUSNAIN HABIB MALIK
Husnain is a Co-founder of FindMyAdventure, Pakistan’s first online tourism marketplace which aims to enable the socio-economic status of communities through tourism initiatives. Husnain leads FindMyAdventure’s Guide Network, where he trains local guides to provide customers with competitive travel packages to amplifying income streams for guides across the country. Prior to starting FindMyAdventure, Husnain worked for three years with Habib Bank Limited. He holds a bachelor’s in politics and economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
JAHAN ARA SALEEM
Jahan Ara works as Assistant Manager, Training at Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, where she is the lead for the Women Dump Truck Driving Program (WDDP). WDDP is an initiative creating employment opportunities for the local Thari women through trainings and facilitating their induction as professional dump truck drivers, which is one of the most demanded skills at the mines of Thar. Jahan Ara completed her BBA with a major in entrepreneurship from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Muhammad is the Senior Manager of Product Digitization in the Innovation and Financial Inclusion department at Habib Bank Limited, Pakistan’s premier bank. At HBL, Muhammad is using technology to provide services that improve the lives of the un-banked masses of Pakistan through branchless banking and the open banking concept by enabling third-party developers to build applications and services around the financial institution. Prior to HBL, Muhammad founded Solenergi Private Limited, a startup providing micro-solar solutions to suburban and rural residential communities. Muhammad is a Fulbright scholar, holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Advance Studies Certificate in Sustainable Enterprise from Syracuse University.
MUHAMMAD ALI KHAN
Muhammad Ali is Director of Khpal Kor Foundation, an organization he established in 1996 to serve children affected by years of conflict in Swat. The foundation is an orphanage that initially supported just five orphans and now provides free education, accommodation, and welfare to more than 534 destitute orphaned children in the area. The orphans are studying together with more than 1,000 other students from the community who pay a monthly nominal fee, which cross-subsidizes the education of the orphans and ensures the sustainability of the organization. KKF has also established the District Child Assembly Swat to provide a unique opportunity for young people to voice their concerns about children’s rights issues.
MUHAMMAD TAHA TAHIR
Taha is the Project Manager for the Young Athletes Program (YAP) at Special Olympics Pakistan. YAP is an early childhood sports initiative designed to bring together children with and without intellectual disabilities. During the past two years, Taha has introduced this program to more than 7,000 children across Pakistan through the generous support of IKEA Foundation. Simultaneously, Taha is also providing supervisory support to Learner’s Valley, an educational initiative led by his mother that provides informal education, medical help to underserved children, and counseling for parents regarding health, hygiene and domestic issues. Taha holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST).
MUHAMMAD ZUHAIB SHAIKH
Zuhaib is currently Head of Impact Intervention at The Citizens Foundation, an organization committed to providing quality education to the underprivileged children of Pakistan, and to help them become agents of positive change for their communities. Under Impact Intervention, Zuhaib oversees country-wide curricula and teacher training in government and low-cost private schools. Previously, he was heading TCF’s first ever intermediate college and has worked with the Aman Foundation. Zuhaib holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.
Rafia Saleem is Head of Risk and Compliance at National Rural Support Programme Microfinance Bank, a social enterprise with the mission to provide financial services to poor and marginalized clients, with an emphasis on smallholder and landless farmers. At NRSP Bank, Rafia is responsible for enterprise-wide risk management and compliance. Prior to NRSP, Rafia has worked with the International Organization for Migration as an Area Coordinator during the 2010 floods in Pakistan. She is also a writer, researcher, and environmental activist, and is qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
Sara is a cultural manager focused on achieving impact and sustainability through the arts. She is currently engaged as the Manager of Arts and Production at Salt Arts, where her work is centered on designing systems that uplift cultural landscapes by engaging artists and developing audiences. She has previously worked with PeaceNiche/T2F, a nonprofit promoting democratic discourse and conflict resolution through cultural engagement. She was also the founding curatorial member for the Women of the World Festival, Karachi, a festival celebrating the power and potential of women. Sara holds a bachelor’s in Design from Karachi University.
Taha’s focus is on preventive medicine, disaster response and healthcare delivery to underserved communities. He currently works as the Co-founder of Taskeen, a nonprofit that aims to change people’s attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions towards health and well-being in Pakistan. He also leads a School Health Program and conducts mental health support groups at the Recovery House. A Fulbright scholar, Taha got his MBBS from the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, and an MPH from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Zahra is the founder of Namyr, an ethical fashion enterprise working with and promoting the textile cultural heritage of the Kalasha community in Pakistan. Namyr encourages the recognition of the cultural intellectual property rights of the Kalasha craftspeople by enabling them to develop and sell their organic handmade products in the global market. Zahra is an ambassador for the Cultural Intellectual Rights Initiative, an international advocacy platform for cultural sustainability, which supports fashion as a form of education. She has studied Fashion and Design from Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design.
Avril is the National Project Officer for the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Micro and Small Medium Enterprise development project in Sierra Leone. She works to enhance small enterprise development, financial inclusion, and employment-intensive infrastructure aimed at creating jobs. Outside of her work at ILO, Avril provides training and coaching to small businesses. She is a community development enthusiast who is passionate to help businesses across Africa grow. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Buffy Okeke-Ojiudu is Founder and CEO of Zebra Agro-Industries, an organization that works with communities and state governments to develop and execute agri-business solutions geared job creation, overall economic development, and income generation for smallholder farmers.
Buffy has been featured on the True Africa 100 List of Innovators and Game-Changers Shaping the Africa of Today. He possesses a degree in Law from the University of Sheffield (UK) and a master’s from Harvard University.
Christine is Acting Country Director for Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a global health organization committed to strengthening integrated health systems in the developing world. She is also the founder of Africa’s Moneypreneur, a financial education platform, and a co-founder of Freetown Business School. She is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone (FCA). Christine holds a bachelor’s in accounting and finance and a master’s in finance.
Crystal Chigbu is the Executive Director of The Irede Foundation. Through education, support groups, and empowerment, Irede provides hope to children amputees. She started her work with Irede after giving birth to a child with congenital limb deformity who was forced to be amputated. Aside from her work with Irede, Crystal leads a disability awareness walk called “Out on a Limb,” which is held in over 20 locations around the world. Her dream is a society where limb loss will not be a limitation in anyone. She brings 12 years of sales and marketing experience from Procter and Gamble into the social innovation sector.
DOMINIC ANDREW BOIMA
Dominic works as the Technical Adviser on Women’s Empowerment and Advocacy for Trocaire Sierra Leone, an international NGO working to advance a just and peaceful world where people’s dignity is ensured and rights are respected. Women make up 52 percent of Sierra Leone’s population, yet occupy less than 20 percent of elected positions in government. In 2018, Dominic helped 24 women to win electoral office across the local councils. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Project Planning and Management from Cambridge International College and Certificates in Community Development Studies and Supply Chain Management from the University of Makeni.
Ebo is a Learning and Development Manager at PEG Africa, a West Africa based social enterprise that delivers Pay-As-You-Go asset-based financing to consumers who lack access to electricity and banking services. Also a founder of a leadership academy, Ebo is working to groom young leaders through development trainings in schools. Ebo is passionate about adaptive leadership and driving change through principles of leadership. He holds a certificate in Management and Leadership from Chartered Management Institute, UK.
Elizabeth is a social entrepreneur and Founder of Paworo Ghana, an organization that focuses on women’s economic empowerment in Ghana through the cultivation of innovative and sustainable livelihood opportunities. As an enterprise development consultant, she develops sustainable enterprises matched to local community needs and strengthens low-income rural markets within a value chain framework to enhance resilience among poor households. She holds an MSc accounting and is a 2018 UN SDG Talent.
Fatou is the national coordinator for Buzz Gambia. Prior to this, she worked as the Regional Manager of a microfinance company, providing loans to rural women in the country. Her responsibility included supervising the work of credit officers and supervisors providing loans to women. She has also worked with the Ministry of Youth and Sports as a Youth Coordinator, coordinating the recruitment and training of young people to acquire entrepreneurial skills to enable them to create their own enterprises.
Habiba is the Managing Director of Sosai Renewable Energies Company, currently leading the organization in developing renewable energy solutions for communities in Nigeria, building a sales force of female entrepreneurs. A Ph.D. candidate in energy finance, she has trainings from Harvard Management Mentor, Energy and Environment at Lund University Sweden, Gender in Energy Management University of Twente, Netherlands, Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, Enterprise Development Center and other business trainings. Amongst her awards is the UNSDG WeEmpower Challenge.
Isata is Founder of AFRiLOSOPHY Training and Manufacturing center, a social impact enterprise which provides girls and women with skills that enable them to start their own businesses. Prior to this, Isata was Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, a Minister of State Foreign Affairs and a member of Pan African and Sierra Leone’s Parliament. Isata holds a master’s in business administration in social entrepreneurship from the University of Milan.
Kelvin is CEO of Clean Team Ghana (CTG). CTG is a social business, delivering household sanitation services to low income homes to save households money. Prior to CTG, Kelvin ran Future First Global, a charity leveraging alumni for systems change in global education. Kelvin has also worked at Unilever, developing social businesses for low income households in developing markets across WaSH, healthcare and clean energy.
Kwabena is Founder and CEO of EMFED, a labor service organization which provides full farm management services to cocoa farmers who cannot pay the upfront cost of labor. EMFED signs contracts with farmers and takes over the management of farm activities, including pre-planting, planting and harvesting to increase the income of the smallholder farmer. Kwabena has also worked with Conservation Alliance International as ICS manager and has taught as General Agriculture teacher in Ghana. Kwabena holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
Maryam is an advocate for education and committed to developing children. She is currently Director of Daawah an NGO based out of Nigeria. Daawah targets Orphans and Widows and focuses on the educationally disadvantaged. In 2012, Maryam founded Noble Hall Leadership Academy for Girls in Northern Nigeria, which bridges the gender education gap that has limited young girls within the region. In 2007, she joined her sisters to establish Oakland and Zaytuna Madarasa Schools. She has a bachelor of science in Economics, a master’s in business administration.
Mohamed is a Private Sector Development Manager at Cordaid, a Dutch NGO that supports and promotes entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. He manages Cordaid’s flagship Resilient Business Development Services accelerator programme which provides high-potential businesses with access to knowledge, networks, and the capital necessary to grow. Mohamed has international work experience in Africa, Europe and North America with focus within leadership and delivery in the public and private sectors. He holds a master’s degree in International Business from Henley Business School.
Niniola is the Managing Director of DRASA (Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh) Health Trust, a public health organization keeping people healthy and safe by improving hygiene and sanitation, advancing infection prevention and control, and promoting outbreak preparedness. Prior to DRASA, Niniola worked with Management Sciences for Health on key public health challenges including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Niniola holds a bachelor’s in cognitive science/neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and a certificate in Social Sector Management from Pan-Atlantic University.
Prince Agbata is a co-founder of Coliba, a plastic recycling company with operations in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Coliba, commonly known as the “Uber of Recycling,” leverages mobile and web technology and incentives to innovate and reuse natural resources. He holds a degree in IT and post graduate in Global Environmental Studies. He plays the violin in his free time.
Queen is a Manager at Adam Smith International where she oversees Nigerian inclusive economic growth projects ranging from investment to business environment and innovative health. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, serving as Director for the Employability and Entrepreneurship Programme in Abuja, where she trains youth in entry-level skills and mentors emerging entrepreneurs. Queen has a master’s of public administration in Public and Economic Policy from London School of Economics and a certificate in Impact Investing from University of Oxford.
Tsema is a lawyer who began her career protecting women who were victims of sexual and domestic violence. She later joined Global Rights Nigeria, a human rights capacity-building organization focused on protecting vulnerable persons and grassroots communities. Tsema is the co-owner of Dynamone Consults, a consulting firm that focuses on providing solutions to Nigeria’s development problems through research and the creation of advocacy tools to support grassroots communities. Her project on creating energy solutions to primary health centres in Nigeria has created a report which will be used as an advocacy tool to create awareness for pimary health centres. Tsema currently works as a full-time consultant at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Uche Uzoebo is Group Head, Agency & Merchant Services, Financial Inclusion at Diamond Bank Nigeria, where she has been a problem solver in the financial services industry for 15 years. She is currently focused on developing structures, strategic partnerships, and providing solutions that grant, improve or expand access to financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises and the underbanked. Working with her team, Diamond Bank has won numerous awards for innovative solutions that have brought millions of previously excluded individuals into the financial system.
Wole Odetayo is co-founder and CEO of Opacus Technologies Limited, a subsidiary of the LoftyInc Group, which operates Wennovation Hub, Nigeria’s first technology incubator. OpacusTech’s product ProNoV has a mission to alleviate poverty by improving the profitability of pharmacies that serves poor communities through a platform that fuses smart inventory management, bulk breaking, and financial services to the underbanked, ensuring positive economic and health outcomes.