Meet The Class of 2017

1/25/2017
The Aspen Institute

We are happy to announce the 2017 Class of New Voices Fellows, including experts in Food Security, Infectious Disease, Development Policy & Finance and Health & Human Rights.

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Development Finance
 

Omezzine Khelifa 
Tunisia

Omezzine is a Tunisian female activist, president and founder of “Mobdi’un – Creative Youth” association. She was born and raised in Carthage, Tunisia, in a family of English and German literature university teachers. After finishing high school, she moved to France, became an engineer and got a high-profile finance job. She did it for 5 years until the Arab uprising broke out and changed her life. She left her job in Paris in 2011 and moved back to Tunisia to participate in the transition efforts. She volunteered in a social-democrat political party, known for its long opposition to the dictatorship, ran twice for the parliament, and once her party was successful, she joined the governing coalition, advising both the finance and the tourism ministers during two transition governments. In 2013, she participated in setting up Tha’era, the Arab women network for parity and solidarity. In 2012, she was honoured with Leaders in Democracy Award from the Project on Middle East Democracy NGO and in 2014, she was nominated Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Today, she heads “Mobdi’un – Creative Youth”, a non-profit that promotes youth social inclusion and social transformation through arts, culture, sports & technology. It aims to empower and inspire young people living in marginalized communities and regions, by providing them tools and skills to stimulate their creativity as leading builders of the Tunisian democracy.

Andrew Mude 
Kenya

Andrew is a Principal Economist and Project Leader at the International Livestock Research Institute based in Nairobi, Kenya. His current portfolio deals largely with researching and identifying risk-management and development interventions to help increase resilience and enhance livelihoods amongst poor livestock-dependent households, particularly pastoral populations. Among other initiatives, Andrew leads the multiple award-winning effort to design, implement, evaluate and scale Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) products aimed at helping pastoralists better manage the significant drought-related livestock risks that they face.   For this effort, Andrew was named the 2016 recipient of the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application.

Assia Sidibe 
Mali

Assia is heading the pool of Francophone countries for the African Risk Capacity, a ground-breaking extreme weather insurance scheme designed to help African union members cope with the effects of climate change. She is leading the country engagement with African governments since 2014. In this capacity, Assia has worked very closely with African governments and with bilateral and multilateral partners, giving her a concrete experience and specific knowledge on several development issues. Prior to joining the ARC, Assia worked as an Investment Officer at the French Development Agency in South Africa, where she managed capacity building and municipal infrastructure financing programmes. She has also worked for KPMG Audit and Advisory in Paris, where she was a consultant and an auditor in the insurance department. A native of Mali, Assia holds a BSc in International Business from the Ecole Superieure du Commerce Extérieur of Paris-La Defense and a Master’s Degree in Finance and Strategy from Sciences Po Paris. Assia is a native French speaker and is fluent in English.

Narayan Adhikari 
Nepal

Narayan studied forestry, but rejected a post as a Forest Ranger when he realized the corrupt nature of the Nepalese bureaucracy. Instead, he joined a youth movement and environmental group to teach rural communities how to use renewable energy for sustainable livelihoods, and worked as the Executive Director of Youth Initiative in Nepal. After ten years in the development sector, Narayan concluded that the key to development is accountability, and he helped set up and led the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network (GYAC). For the past five years, he has led Accountability Lab's work in Nepal as the Country Representative, including an Accountability Incubator that trains young people to build innovative solutions for accountability, a national "Integrity Idol" media campaign that celebrates honest civil servants, the Mobile Citizen Helpdesks that promotes citizen voice in the earthquake response, and the OpenGov Hub co-working and community space. He has a Masters in Sociology from Tribhuvan University, and participated in the Atlas Corps Think Tank LINKS Fellowship, International Anti-Corruption Academy, and Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders.

 

Food Security
 

Boaz Keizire
Kenya

Boaz is the Head of Policy and Advocacy at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was formally a Head of Division of Agriculture and Food Security and Team Leader of a Pan African Agricultural Reform Program, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) at the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Boaz has been instrumental and using country specific models and examples to change the quality of leadership of CAADP at the African Union.  He holds an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Makerere University, Uganda, a BSc in Economics from the same university and a Diploma in Fisheries Policy, Planning and Management from United Nations University, Iceland.

Moses Ariong
Uganda

Having studied in the rural schools of Eastern and Northern Uganda, Moses narrowly missed being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in 2000 when his high school was raided. He successfully obtained a Uganda government scholarship to study Agriculture, a profession that he passionately practices due to its potential to alleviate poverty in Africa. Moses is a Project Specialist with OneAcreFund Uganda where he leads on-field research to obtain location based solutions to challenges affecting small holder farmers. He is currently conducting trials against the notorious striga weed that causes 80-100% yield losses in cereals across Africa. He previously worked as a Livelihoods Program Officer with ChildFund International where he helped improve on food security needs among 10,000 households with orphans and vulnerable children in Eastern Uganda. He is an Alumni of the Global Health Corps fellowship (Class of 2012-2013) and a recipient of a Tullow Oil Scholarship (2014) to study MSc pollution and Environment control at the University of Manchester UK.

Mojisola Ojebode
Nigeria

Mojisola, a trained biochemist, is the founder of Moepelorse Bio Resources, a start-up venture for the production, sale and distribution of environment-friendly organic pesticide made from medicinal plants. She is involved in the development of bio-pesticides and the coordination of capacity building programs for legume and cereal crop farmers in South West Nigeria. She holds a Master's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Mojisola is a Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) awardee, an alumna of Mandela Washington fellowship and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

Jemimah Njuki
Kenya

Jemimah is a Senior Program Specialist at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) where she oversees a portfolio of agriculture and food security projects focused on reducing post-harvest losses, improving nutrition and engaging women and youth in agribusiness, as well as overseeing gender integration and a focus on women in IDRC’s Agriculture and Food Security Program. For the last 15 years she has carried out gender research and managed women’s economic empowerment programs in Africa and Asia. Jemimah holds a Phd in Development Studies (Gender and Farming Systems) from Sokoine University. She has published widely on gender and women’s economic empowerment specifically in the areas of gender and technology, women and markets, and women and livestock. She has recently co-edited two books; one on ‘Women and livestock in Eastern and Southern Africa’, and the other on ‘Transforming Gender and Food Systems in the Global South’. She is the Editor of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. She has played an instrumental role in building capacity for gender analysis and gender programming in Africa and Asia.

 

Infectious Disease
 

Minda Dentler
USA/ India

Minda was born in India and contracted polio as an infant which left her legs paralyzed. When she was three, Minda was adopted by an American family. She earned her MBA from Baruch College in New York, after earning a BA from the University of Washington. Minda is a Director of Operations at AIG, a large multinational insurance company. Prior to coming to AIG, Minda worked in program management at the New York City Department of Education and was a consultant at Accenture. In 2013, she became the first female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. This accomplishment led her to be an ESPN ESPY Award Nominee. Minda is a speaker and has written articles for Time and Huffington Post on the importance of global immunization efforts and polio eradication. She has also served as a global advocate for Rotary International and the UN Foundation Shot at Life campaign.   

Ngozi Erondu
USA/Nigeria

Ngozi is an Assistant professor at London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine and co-founder of the Global bridge Group, LLC. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist and global health policy expert. Her work combatting polio in Kenya in 2011 inspired her to become an operational researcher. Her research focuses on providing data to guide decision-making for health policies and programmes and improve resource allocation to front-line health workers. She has worked with WHO and governments across sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia to strengthen their health and disease surveillance systems and build technical capacity in disease preparedness. In addition to her public work, in 2015 she co-founded a global health consultancy, the Global Bridge Group, which provides services to inform and improve global health initiatives. It also serves as an incubator to enable scientific entrepreneurship. Other notable accomplishments include a CDC Fellowship and a Recognition Award for efforts in convening a global response effort to H1N1 in Saudi Arabia. She was also lauded for her efforts as a CDC field epidemiologist during the 2016 Ebola Response in Guinea. She recently completed her PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in epidemiology and global health development.

Bakary Sidibe
Cote D’Ivoire

Bakary is Last Mile Health’s Country Director. Bakary brings more than 20 years of experience in international development and program management. He has managed complex global health, livelihood, and emergency programs, providing technical leadership and strategic direction in Liberia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, South Africa, and Guyana. He has demonstrated deep leadership and program management skills through his experience, ranging from his work to establish Palestine’s national HIV/AIDS strategy with UNFPA to his management of the International Rescue Committee’s health program in South Kivu, DRC. Prior to joining Last Mile Health, he served as the Chief of Party for Project Concern International in Liberia where he managed two projects totaling $7 million for Ebola response. His passion for community-based work was sparked by his time spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in East Timor, where he provided technical support to the Ministry of Health. He holds a Masters in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute and a Bachelors Degree in Medical Technology from New York Institute of Technology.

Janet Midega
Kenya

Janet is a Scientist at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya and currently holds a joint Post-doctoral Research Associate position between KWTRP and the University of Oxford, Centre for Genomics and Global Health. The focus of her research is on the population genomics of Anopheles mosquito populations.  Her current interest is the use next generation sequencing approaches to understand the evolution of vector populations during a period of remarkable progress in malaria control and optimism towards malaria elimination.  Her other interests are in community education and engagement in vector borne disease control interventions.  Apart from her work as a medical entomologist, Janet also enjoys charity work based on health and education along the Kenyan coast.

 

General


Koketso Moeti
South Africa

Koketso has over the years worked and consulted for various local and international organisations, with most of her work being around local governance, civic engagement, digital communications and security, as well as, the intersections between tech and social change. She currently serves as the founder and Executive Director of amandla.mobi, a community of over 100, 000 people working to ensure that those most affected by injustice can take action on issues affecting our lives, irrespective of location and language, by turning every cell phone into a democracy-building tool. She is also the National Coordinator of Local Government Action, a loose alliance of South African organisations working to promote democracy, accountability and delivery at local government level. Koketso has a long background in civic activism and has over the years worked at the intersection of governance, communication and citizen action. Power is central to all the work she does, which she describes as fundamentally being about challenging power and the ways in which it is distributed.

Bernard Olayo
Kenya

Bernard is a public health specialist and an entrepreneur from Kenya. He is the founder of the Center for Public Health and Development, a non-profit which has designed and developed two successful social enterprises – MediQuip Global (biomedical equipment repair and maintenance solutions) and Hewa Tele (a public-private venture delivering affordable oxygen in remote areas). He has over 14 years of experience in managing complex public health programs in resource-limited settings in 15 countries across the globe. He is also a technical team member of several World Bank projects - a role as a technical advisor to a number of ministries of health.

Neo Tapela
Botswana

Neo is a global health practitioner with experience in health systems strengthening and effective service delivery for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), particularly in resource limited areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. She trained at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health and has worked in several countries including Lesotho, South Africa, and Rwanda where, as Director of the NCDs Program at Partners In Health, she spearheaded establishment of a model public cancer center of excellence that to date has served over 4,000 patients. Neo now leads the National NCD Program at Ministry of Health and Wellness in her home country Botswana, where she oversees development of strategies to prevent and control NCDs leveraging the primary care platform and the HIV experience. She is also engaged in implementation research as an avenue to generate evidence that is vital to informed and innovative public health decision-making.

Dixon Chibanda
Zimbabwe

Dixon is a Wellcome researcher and DELTAS Africa awardee at the University of Zimbabwe. Dixon’s current interests include community mental health with a focus on task shifting and integration of mental health in existing public health programmes such as the PMTCT, immunisation and HIV/AIDS programmes. Developing, testing and validating alternative interventions based on neuroplasticity such as neurofeedback and Balavisx and the use of these alternative interventions to address mental, neurological and substance use disorders. His most recent achievement include the development of the "Friendship Bench" Programme, a community based mental health intervention that has been scaled up to over 70 primary care clinics in Zimbabwe.

Gulrez Shah Azhar
India

Gulrez is a researcher passionate about health, environment and development. He along with other partners helped develop India’s first heat preparedness plan in Ahmedabad, India. He currently works as an Assistant Policy Analyst at the non-profit RAND Corporation and is also a Public Policy doctoral student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Here his work focuses on heat waves. Previously he was an Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, part of the Public Health Foundation of India where he worked on issues of environmental health, climate change, and infectious diseases, focusing on surveillance and early-warning systems.

Robert Hakiza
Uganda

Robert is a refugee from the democratic Republic of Congo, now working and permanently residing in Uganda. He holds a degree in Agriculture from the Catholic University of Bukavu (DRC) in 2007. He is co- founder and the Executive Director of the Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID). YARID unites urban refugees through avenues like sports, English classes, and vocational skills training in order to address social issues like ethnic conflicts, unemployment, public health, and lack of access to education. Refugees that YARID serves mainly come from the Great Lakes Region: Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. He is a Refugee Activist and Community Development worker. He is best known for the bottom-up community-led approach to refugee assistance. He and his colleagues have developed a range of projects that are empowering thousands of refugees to help themselves. In 2013 he worked as an Assistant Researcher in Uganda with The Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) of the University of Oxford. In July 2015 he attended a three weeks International Summer Course on Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies of Oxford University. He has a big experience working with urban refugees and also works to educate others about obstacles refugees face.

 

Human Rights
 

Jamila Headley
Barbados

Jamila is the Managing Director of the Health Global Access Project (or Health GAP)--an advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring global access to affordable life-sustaining medicines for all people living with HIV. Before joining Health GAP, Jamila served as a Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, where she steered the development of new grant-making focused on strengthening civil society engagement in the development, implementation, and monitoring of national and donor governments’ health policy-making and budgets. Jamila has a PhD in Public Health and a Masters in Global Health from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has conducted research on the development of the HIV response in the Caribbean, the politics of priority-setting in the health sector, the impact of trade agreements on health policy and access to medicines, and the role of North-South civil society partnerships in influencing powerful global health institutions.

Phyllis Omido
Kenya

Phyllis is a Kenyan grassroots social Justice activist with a bias for environmental/Health activism, she has also received recognition for her involvement in gender rights activism. She has been vocal in advocating for the right to a clean and healthy environment for the Owino Uhuru community and Magarini community in coast of Mombasa. She is a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. After learning her own breast milk was making her baby sick and realizing her child wasn’t the only one suffering from lead poisoning Phyllis galvanized the community in Mombasa to shut down the smelter that was exposing people to dangerous chemicals. She has since launched an NGO dedicated to empowering communities affected by extractive industries. Her campaign last year dubbed "media as a tool for environmental Justice and socioeconomic rights in Kenya" saw a national outcry that necessitated the government to form a parliamentary task force to address the Issues of pollution in Owino Uhuru and other parts of Kenya. This lead to the massive shut down of smelters located in dangerous proximity to humans in the whole country. CJGEA has instituted a class action ligation suit to challenge the responsibility of state and non-state actors towards the rights to a clean and healthy environment and other socioeconomic rights. She is now passionately pursuing Issues of procedural right's (Access to information, public participation and access to effective remedy) to environmental Justice for the communities around extractive Industries.

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If you are interested in reaching out to a particular Fellow, please get in touch with our team:

Andrew Quinn
(o) +1-202-736-2291
(m) +1-202-441-7891
andrew.quinn@aspeninst.org

Rachael Strecher
(o) +1-202-721-2335
(m) +1-202-413-9524
rachael.strecher@aspeninst.org