Leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America Join Fellowship to Bring New Perspectives to International Development

February 1, 2016

Contact: Michelle Geis Wallace
+254 711 326 770 

Contact: Andrew Quinn
+1 202 736 2291


Leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America Join Fellowship to Bring New Perspectives to International Development
The Aspen Institute Announces 2016 Class of New Voices Fellows, Including Experts in Food Security, Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, and Development Policy & Finance

Washington, DC, February 1, 2016 —The Aspen Institute announced the 2016 class of the New Voices Fellowship, a groundbreaking program designed to amplify the voices of experts from the developing world in the global development discussion.  

The 21 new Fellows are leading scientists, educators, doctors, policy experts, activists and economists, and come from 13 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The full list of 2016 fellows and descriptions of their work can be found below and at: http://newvoicesfellows.aspeninstitute.org/In-The-News/Details/0333/Announcing-the-New-Voices-Class-of-2016.

“With this class of new Fellows, we’re continuing to connect journalists and policymakers with development and global health experts from developing countries. Together, their first-hand perspectives can ensure that development policies are smart, effective and sustainable for the long haul,” said New Voices Fellowship Director Andrew Quinn.  “We are excited to have our first Fellows from the Middle East and from South America, in addition to the strong representation from Africa and South Asia.”

Meet the Fellows

The 2016 fellows come from the Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, India, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines Tanzania, Yemen and Zimbabwe. These fellows will undertake a program of intensive media training and mentorship to help them reach a broader global audience through both traditional and new media, as well as speaking engagements. 

This year’s fellows include:

  • a senior Liberian doctor spearheading the development of a vaccine against Ebola;
  • a Kenyan activist championing the issue of mental health in developing countries;
  • a doctor from the Philippines studying how climate change impacts global health in poor communities;
  • a Yemeni gender rights expert now telling the stories of refugees from Syria’s conflict 

The New Voices Fellowship expanded this year to include three specialized tracks of Fellows involved in Food Security, Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, and Development Policy & Finance.

  • a Tanzanian economist working on ways to facilitate greater community involvement in major development finance decisions;
  • a Nigerian public health expert looking to build on his country’s dramatic gains against polio;
  • a Zimbabwean researcher pioneering work to strengthen Africa’s seed systems and ensure future food security for the continent  

During the program’s first three years, New Voices Fellows were featured over 1,000 times in media outlets and delivered several TED talks. Under a training partnership with the Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, New Voices Fellows have told their stories to live US audiences and through radio and podcast syndication. 

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the New Voices Fellowship was established in 2013 to bring the essential perspectives of committed development experts from Africa and other parts of the developing world into the global development conversation. Application to the fellowship is by nomination only, and nominations will open in September 2016 for the next class.

For more about the New Voices Fellowship, visit www.aspennewvoices.org or email aspennewvoices@aspeninst.org. Follow all the fellows on Twitter here and the fellowship at @aspennewvoices. 

For press materials, visit AspenNewVoices.org/Press 

A complete list of the 2016 Aspen New Voices Fellows is below.

The 2016 New Voices Fellows are:


Boaz Keizire – Uganda
Head of Policy and Advocacy, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Keizire’s advocacy work is focused on trying to turn a “government-driven policy framework” into one that is more centrally rooted in the work of farmers. He is also a research associate with the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), an Environment and Policy Research Think Tank in Uganda. A farmer himself, Boaz plants pineapples during his spare time.

Vivian Maduekeh – Nigeria
Founder, Food Health Systems Advisory Africa
Maduekeh was trained as a food scientist, and founded FHS Africa to improve food safety systems. Launched as an online resource in 2012 called the SafeFoodNigeria Initiative, FHS has now evolved into an advisory firm which consults with industry and government. Maduekeh also serves as a project director at Young Bright Minds Africa (YBM Africa) and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford as an ExxonMobil scholar.

Dr. Edward Mabaya – Zimbabwe
Associate Director, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture & Development
Dr. Mabaya is the sixth of 10 children born to a Zimbabwean smallholder family who scraped by growing maize, cabbages, potatoes and yams mainly for subsistence – and saw big gains with the introduction of improved seeds and chemical fertilizers in the early 1980s. His research work at Cornell has been focused on food marketing and distribution, seed systems and GMO crops. 

Sathya Raghu – India
Co-Founder, Cosmos Green
At Cosmos Green, Raghu works towards the emancipation of small and marginal farmers from poverty by using an inclusive development model of partnership with farmers which has thus far seen 1,500 farmers receive training and achieve dramatic cost reductions. He also co-founded Kheyti, an end-to-end technology and market solutions provider for small and marginal farmers.  Raghu was a 2014 Acumen India Fellow and is on the board of the Telangana Rythu Producer Company.


Garba Abdul – Nigeria
Director of Vaccines and Government Relations, Clinton Health Access Initiative Nigeria
Abdul has decades of experience working on public health in Nigeria. In his role at CHAI, he is spearheading the broader vaccine drive, and the effort to establish a “polio legacy” for the Nigerian healthcare system.   

Dr. Sam Agbo – Nigeria/Angola
Chief of Child Survival and Development, UNICEF Angola
Dr. Agbo has been on the front lines in the fight against polio for over 30 years. He has experience in countries around the globe, including Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Palestine and Angola. In his current role, he leads a team of the Heath, Nutrition & HIV experts to design and implement Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health strategic plans across Angola.

Ify Aniebo – Nigeria
PhD candidate, Oxford University (Clinical Medicine and Infectious Tropic Diseases)
After suffering from bouts of malaria as a child, Aniebo decided fight back by studying malaria drug resistance and its implications for vaccine work as a molecular geneticist. Previously, she worked as an HIV Research Associate at Clinton Health Access Initiative. Aniebo is also the founder and editor of African Health magazine, an online resource that aims to redefine the health of the average African. She hopes to rebuild the connection between science and the average person. 

Dr. Folake Kio-Olayinka – Nigeria
Senior Technical Immunization Officer, John Snow Inc. Immunization Center
Since before her time at John Snow Inc., Dr. Kio-Olayinka had extensive experience with polio from her time as a Senior Immunization Advisor at COMPASS/USAID-Nigeria. She finds it essential to examine the concept of partnership and to expand on it for successful eradication of polio and other vaccine preventable diseases. She also has experience with the maternal child health sector giving her unique insight on how the two sectors can collaborate and intersect.



Carl Manlan – Ivory Coast
Executive Secretary, Africa against Ebola Solidarity Trust (AEST)
Manlan currently works for a trust set up to harness African financial resources to drive the post-Ebola response particularly on health system strengthening. Prior to this, he worked as the Technical Advisor to the Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa. Over the past 10 years, he has focused on developing systems to improve public health financing, mostly at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He suggests looking at development as “creating wealth, not reducing poverty”.

Dapo Oyewole – Nigeria
Founder, Policy Development Network (PDN)
Oyewole founded PDN, a think tank/advisory body to help governments figure out how to listen to their citizens. Prior to that, he was a special Advisor to the Minister of State for Finance in the Federal Government of Nigeria, responsible for Policy and International Cooperation. Oyewole also worked for two Ministers of National Central Planning (NPC), the country’s central policy think tank that’s serves as an advisory group to the President.

Julia Corvalan – Paraguay
Tanzania country manager, Fundacion Paraguaya
Having worked as a development practitioner in Paraguay since 2007, Corvalan has expertise in a variety of areas ranging from micro-finance & micro-enterprise development, to entrepreneurial education and financial literacy. In her role as Country Manager of the Tanzania operation of the Fundacion Paraguaya (FP), she led a south-south cooperation program that is replicating social technology developed in South America, in Africa. She is currently a PhD candidate at Strathclyde Business School in the UK.

Mujobu Moyo – Tanzania
Research fellow, International Development Research Centre/ Center for Global Development
Moyo’s research focuses on how to manage natural resource windfalls in developing countries. Prior to that, she worked as an economist at the World Bank in Washington. As Tanzania’s Country Economist with the International Growth Centre (IGC), Moyo’s role was to bridge the gap between policy makers and researchers and her work in Tanzania fed into the government’s recently launched 2025 development plan.

Oluseun Onigbinde – Nigeria
Founder, BudgIT
In 2011, Onigbinde founded a public data visualization platform called BudgIT, which allows anyone to access information about the Nigerian government’s budget and expenditures. BudgIT as a tool aims to redefine participatory governance. It allows all Nigerians to understand complex public data sets through infographics, interactive websites, and games



Dr. Chrystelle Wedi – Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa
Co-Founder, Ono Mtoto Wako (See Your Baby)
Dr. Wedi was born in the DRC and moved to South Africa when she was 7 years old. She is a medical doctor and Rhodes Scholar currently enrolled for a DPhil in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Oxford University, where she investigates the effects of maternal HIV-infection and antiretroviral therapy on birth outcomes. She is the co-founder of the Ono Mtoto Wako (See your baby) social initiative designed to offer free ultrasonography services through a mobile clinic.

Dr. Ramon “Renzo” Guinto – Philippines
Co-Founder and Director, #Reimagine Global Health
Dr. Guinto is a medical doctor turned advocate, whose current work focuses on the intersection of climate change, energy policy and human health. He founded #Reimagine Global Health, a youth think-and-do-tank and a campaigner for the Healthy Energy Initiative of Health Care without Harm-Asia.

Sitawa Wafula – Kenya
Founder and executive director, “My Mind, My Funk”
Wafula is a mental health crusader who uses her journey as a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar disorder to provide people in Africa with the necessary information and support to deal with everyday life and manage mental health conditions. She founded “My Mind, My Funk”, a mental health information and support hub, which ran Kenya’s first free mental health support line.

Dr. Thumbi Mwangi – Kenya
Clinical Assistant Professor, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health
Dr. Mwangi is a big proponent of the “One Health” movement, which emphasizes that human population health is inextricably linked to the health of animals and the environment. As a veterinary epidemiologist, he tracks human/animal interactions and can speak with authority on zoogenic diseases such as Ebola and MERS.

Anjali Sarker – Bangladesh
Deputy Manager, BRAC Social Innovation Lab
Sarker co-founded a startup that was featured in Forbes —Toilet+, when she was twenty years old and won The Global Social Venture Competition Asia-Africa for her social business plans. She then joined the Bangladesh Youth leadership center Ashoka. Currently with BRAC, she uses open-source tools to conduct countrywide projects that engage and empower rural communities in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Rasha Jarhum – Yemen
Jarhum is a gender rights advocate in Yemen. She is the founder of Yemeni Youth for Humanitarian Relief (Relief Yemen) and Aden Relief. As the Regional Media and Advocacy Officer of Oxfam in Beirut, she’s been working on the Syria crisis and refugee policy, including amplifying the voices of refugees themselves. She is a member of the Yemeni Women Pact for Peace and Security.

Dr. Stephen Kennedy – Liberia
Co-principal investigator, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Vaccine Trial
With 27 years of experience as a medical doctor, Dr. Kennedy is the co-principal investigator of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Vaccine Trial as well as a coordinator for EVD research programs. He has been intimately involved in Liberia’s Ebola response, and in the effort to develop and deliver a vaccine. Prior to the Ebola epidemic, Dr. Kennedy established the first Infections Disease Research Center at the University of Liberia.

Dr. Ranjitha Puskur – India/Malaysia
Senior Policy Advisor, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Research (CGIAR) Program on Aquatic Agriculture Systems (AAS) at WorldFish
Before her newest position, Dr. Puskur led CGIAR-AAS’ gender strategy. She has been part of the CGIAR since 2002, working at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and then moving to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) where she led the research team working on ‘Innovation in livestock systems’. Her work focuses on generating knowledge, learning and evidence that can translate into technical and institutional innovation and lead to more equitable outcomes for women in development.


The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit: www.aspeninstitute.org.


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