FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

Akili Dada’s fellowship program grows out of our belief that African women, especially those from poor communities, are best positioned to design solutions to the challenges facing those communities. The goal of the program is to build the capacity of some of the continent’s most innovative young women change makers to drive solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing African society.

The Akili Dada Fellows program awards year-long fellowships to young women leaders engaged in social change projects of their design.  The program serves as an incubator providing financial, intellectual, mentoring, and networking resources to young women as they grow their projects to scale and sustainability.

The program was created in direct response to the absence of African women among the ranks of those celebrated in existing social entrepreneurship incubators.

Fellowship Criteria

Fellowship selection is based on;

  • The strength of a candidate’s social change project,
  • Previous leadership initiative and experience,
  • Willingness to learn from peers and more experienced mentors and a willingness to share their own skills with peers and intended beneficiaries. 
  • Fellows must have deep roots in the communities they seek to transform and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Selection is not necessarily based on past academic performance, as a strategic aim to invest even in those young women who have not previously had access to formal education.

Benefits of the Fellowship program

  • A series of seminars from experts in the field and site visits to successful social change organizations.
  • Access to the Akili Dada network of funding partners and social change agents;
  • Access to Akili Dada’s office facilities.
  • Seed funding for the project

By the completion of the fellowship the Fellow is expected to be leading a strong, sustainable and accountable initiative that is bringing about measurable social change.

If you would like additional information about the fellows’ social change projects, please contact Joyce@akilidada.org.

MEET PAST FELLOWS

Christine Miloyo Ombima

My name is Christine Miloyo Ombima, from Nairobi, Kenya. I have a background in Environmental Studies and Community Development from Kenyatta University. I am passionate about creating awareness about the plight of children with mental disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. My main area of focus is the slum of Mukuru Kwa Njenga in Embakasi. The beneficiaries of my project are the children of between 4 -7 years who basically need support for daily living and basic numeracy as well as literacy skills. The main medium of communication is the use of music, art and sports to communicate these simple skills to the children. For the parents, sensitization seminars will serve a great purpose in building the confidence in their children and appreciating them for who they are. This project has a ripple effect in that the parents also will be able to mobilize their neighbors to attend these trainings. In the process, together they will be able to come up with income generating projects to support purchase of basic necessities such as food supplements and diapers for their children. The expected outcome of the project is that the children would be able to perform basic daily living skills, while the parents on the other hand, will be able to appreciate their children and play an active role in their education and upbringing. Discrimination and stigmatization of the children and their families will also reduce hence, bringing out the best in these children.

Brownkey Abdullahi

I am a Female activist and a blogger aged 24. I campaign against Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation and women empowerment. By doing so, I normally meet with the community leaders and do household visits in order to make sure this message is disseminated to the entire community Since, I have been doing this at the community level I become friendly with people from diverse cultural activities. However, it came into my attention that young children are at risk for child labor and early marriage too. Currently, I included this program as part of my campaign so as to create awareness and educate parents the importance of sending their children to school.
So many people who attended my workshops were very much impressed including Aid Agencies, Religious Leaders and the community at large though I am
still facing some challenges i.e. insecurity and abuse. Because some people think that I am exhibiting or carrying western ideology but in the real sense I’m helping my fellow female counterparts and the community.
My hope is so high and is to become a worldwide campaigner against all the above and related issues.

You can check on all what I do by checking on my blog http://brownkeyfoundation.blogspot.co.ke/

Dinah Kikuli

My name is Dina Kikuli from Mbeya, Tanzania. I am a co-owner and a Managing Director of a company called H.D Agribusiness that deals with rice processing and distribution. Being a graduate from Sokoine University of Agriculture where I pursued a Degree in Home Economics and Human Nutrition, I have always been concerned about the issues of food security and Nutrition. So I wanted to start a business that will help me address these issues. Fresh from school, I partnered with a fellow graduate and form a company called H.D Agribusiness
H.D provides rice milling service, storage facilities, connect small scale farmers to the market and distribute rice. I am working with small scale farmers and traders of rice and 80% of them are women. These women participate fully in the whole rice value chain, from farming to selling the rice to the final consumer and one thing they had in common is that, they lack even the basic business skills and proper farming skills that match with the changing environment. They do business as usual.
Also, despite the fact that Mbeya is so fertile and have plenty of food, the prevalence of malnutrition to children and women is high. One of the reasons for the high malnutrition prevalence is lack of nutrition knowledge among the society.
With my entrepreneurial skills and experience, Nutrition knowledge and a strong passion I have on empowering women, I have a desire to touch these women and change their lives and that’s where WOMEN IN AGRIBUSINESS EMPOWERMENT initiative comes.
WOMEN IN AGRIBUSINESS EMPOERMENT (WAE) is a project that is aiming at building capacity to women who are into agribusiness by providing them with basic business skills, nutrition knowledge and proper agricultural practices. The project will be implemented in Mbeya region targeting women who are small farmers and traders of rice to start with. Mbeya is the leading producer and exporter of rice to other regions in Tanzania but yet its people especially women are not benefiting so much from it.
By providing business skills, nutritional knowledge and proper farming practices skills, these women, their families and community at large will benefit as it is expected that, by building these capacities to these women, there will be an increased income through agribusiness as well as improved nutrition status of family members and hence a happy society.

Petrider Paul

I am an unapologetic Feminist , Passionate about ending Gender-based violence most especially Rape culture ,Child forced early marriage , female genital mutilation and domestic violences , I began my work as a girls’ rights activist at 15, when realising that many children’s, especially girls’, rights were violated in my community and started forming girls rights clubs in schools . I am a co-founder of Youth For Change Tanzania,a network of youth activist striving to end gender-based violence against young girls, especially FGM and child marriage by working in rural communities to educate young girls, traditional and religious leaders and influence policy makers and decision makers to increase a push towards the amendment of the Law of Marriage Act of 1971 to be raised to 18 years while currently the law allows a girl child to be marriage at 15 years , I also work with Children’s Dignity Forum Tanzania to assist Communications , Partnership and Advocacy work.
Social Change Project :
My social change initiative is ”Voice Out Against Gender-Based Violence ”- Paza Saut Dhidi ya Ukatili wa Kijinsia . The initiative intends to advocate for the protection of girls and women’s rights most especially in the rural communities of Tanzania through creating Champions for Change , placing a push in the amendment of the law of marriage act 1971 and empowering Gender-based violence survivors to engage in various income generating activities, women to take up leadership positions especially the political process and be part of the decision makers with delivery of activities to be more concentrated in Shinyanga where the rates of Gender-based violence is highest among all regions in Tanzania
”My goal is to work for girls’ rights until gender equality is reached. As ambitious as it may sound, gender-based violence can be ended. It may take baby steps but with collective common vision this can be achieved”.

Hellen Kyambi Kimazi

My name is HELLEN KYAMBI KIMANZI, 23 years of age from Kitui County, Mwingi Central, Nguni ward. I am a journalist with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass communication. I am the founder of HELP A WIDOW SAVE A LIFE organization, an initiative geared towards eradicating poverty by promoting economic and financial development projects among widowed women in Syunoo Village, Nguni ward Kitui County. Our mission is to implement sustainable micro-businesses to improve living conditions for widows and their families in rural communities and in particular, Syunoo village in Kitui County.
I intend to directly impact the lives of 15 widowed women to be economically and financially
independent through micro businesses and on the same time indirectly impact their children and
Families.

Immaculate Amoit

I am Immaculate Amoit, I founded Western Twaweza Empowerment Campaign, a Community Based Organization with the support of friends due to the rising cases of teen pregnancy and the growing need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education and adolescent friendly health services in Western Kenya. I initiated this out of my own struggles as a young person growing up with limited access to information coupled with my experience as a community development officer which was an eye opener to the challenges facing adolescents. I realised there was a huge gap in Sexual Reproductive Health as we had a lot of cases involving child support and custody of adolescents’ children. I decided to initiate a mentorship program in schools in 2013 which grew to a vibrant program which later expanded as a registered community based organization. By working closely with a group of nurses and peer educators, the campaign targets adolescent girls through holistic education in life skills, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and technical skills like weaving mats, sewing bags, crocheting and beading jewellery. With these skills, teenage pregnancy is reduced through behaviour change and lifetime opportunities are created for the girls; allowing them to thrive and positively contribute to their communities and society at large.

Evelyne Kemunto

My name is Evelyne Kemunto and I am a lawyer by profession. I hold a Bachelors degree in Law (LL.B) from Kenyatta University, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from The Kenya School of Law. I am very passionate about policy and legislative advocacy, child rights advocacy, and human rights in general as a tool to improve the living conditions of children in my community.

In 2012, I founded a mentorship program for teenage girls from underprivileged backgrounds. The project is based in Kawangware. Our main goal is to educate these girls. We invest ourselves in their training in diverse life skills, connecting them to mentors in the process. And, to the extent that our ability allows, we provide their school-related needs such as tuition fees, stationery, and sanitary towels. We also provide legal aid to girls who undergo various abuses such as battery, defilement, forced labour, etc.

I believe that girls from underprivileged backgrounds should be granted every opportunity to achieve their maximum potential. They add value to society in direct proportion to the opportunities that they are availed. An education is never wasted

Jovia Nampiina

I am Jovia Nampiina and I work with an organization called Dignified formerly Help the Street Girl Uganda an organization that was formed to restore the dignity of women that have found themselves in commercial sex work and sexual exploitation in Kampala, Uganda.
Having lost my parents at a tender age and being raised by a woman (My aunt) I was able to see the capabilities of a woman especially if given an education and skills and my heart bleed for the women who had not had the opportunities and whose futures had been changed by their actions and there I developed a passion towards empowering them so that they are able to cater for the needs of their families and especially their children.

Qabale Duba

My name is Qabale Duba the founder of Qabale Duba Foundation (QDF), am a nurse by profession and former Miss Tourism Marsabit County and Miss Tourism Peace and Investment Kenya 2013/2014. Am also a Mandela Washington fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellow 2016.
QDF is a non-governmental organization that is championing for the rights of girls/women in
northern Kenya. The aim of the foundation is to promote the development of pastoralist’s
communities through facilitating their access to education, health, social services and economic empowerment in Marsabit County.
My project is called PAPA (Pads and Panties) PROJECT, The intervention of PAPA project was meant to initiate measures that will equip girls with sanitary towels and panties, to enable them
concentrate on their studies. The girls will receive a year’s supply of the pads and avoid skipping lessons monthly to attend to their physical demands. Pads are as important to school girls as pens,
they can’t stay without them. When girls are able to access pads, they tend to get empowered,
which then enhances their dreams, and eventually helps in economic development. Their poor
parents could not provide for pads and panties since even food is a huge challenge to the families.
Due to the high cost of sanitary towels, girls from poor families from nomadic backgrounds continue
to use unhygienic sponges, mattresses, tissue paper and even leaves. Therefore most of them
avoided school altogether during their menstrual period to avoid the shame of soiling themselves in
classes where they will be with boys and teachers. The study indicated that, a girl absent from school
due to menses for four days in a month of 28 days loses 288 lessons in a calendar year – that is 192
hours of missed learning due to absence from school. As a pastoralist girl I also faced the same
problem when I was in primary school and these gave me motivation to help the girls with this basic
necessities and make them remain in schools through PAPA PROJECT.
Our plan is to locally make reusable period panties in Marsabit and supply them to remote village
girls’ schools in Marsabit County. Our target is to reach to 100 girls every month and 1200 girls by
the end of the year. On the other hand we do trainings on sexual and reproductive health in schools
not forgetting menstrual health in the society through local radio stations.
To see more on what the organization does visit our website: www.qabale.org

FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM STORIES

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