The Aspen Institute Announces 2016 Class of New Voices Fellows, Including Experts in Food Security, Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, and Development Policy & Finance
“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.”
Agriculture and Food Security
Boaz Keizire- Uganda
Focusing Africa’s Agricultural Policy
Boaz Keizire is the Head of Policy and Advocacy at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). His 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. Boaz was previously a Technical Advisor to a Pan African Agricultural Reform Program, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) at the African Union Commission in Ethiopia. Prior to that, Boaz headed Agriculture and Natural Resource Planning, at the National Planning Authority in Uganda. A farmer himself, Boaz plants pineapples during his spare time.
Dr. Edward Mabaya- Zimbabwe
Improving Seed Systems and Food Supplies
Dr. Edward 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. With the introduction of improved seeds and chemical fertilizers in the early 1980s, his family experienced a rapid growth in income which allowed him to pursue his academic career at Cornell. Having experienced it himself, Edward firmly believes agriculture is the pathway out of poverty for the majority of Africa’s people. Currently, he is the Associate Director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture & Development and a Research Associate at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. In 2007, he was selected an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. His research focus has been on food marketing and distribution, seed systems and GMO crops.
Sathya Raghu- India
Boosting the Smallholder Farmer
Sathya Raghu is the Co-founder at Cosmos Green, an organization he set up in 2011 after quitting his corporate job. Cosmos Green works towards the emancipation of small and marginal farmers from poverty by using an inclusive development model of partnership with farmers. He has changed the lives of 1500 small farmers through trainings on sustainable farming and 200 farmers with market linkages which have resulted in a 40% cost reduction for farmers. He also co-founded Kheyti, an end-to-end technology and market solutions provider for small and marginal farmers. He is also a passionate teacher at Spellbound Academy who has facilitated learning for Accounting, Auditing and Finance for over 18,000 students across India. He is a 2014 Acumen India Fellow and is on the board of the Telangana Rythu Producer Company.
Vivian Maduekeh- Nigeria
Making Food Safer
Vivian realized early in her career that ensuring the food her community eats was safe, was a critical, and often ignored issue in Africa. She is the Founder and Managing Principal of Food Health Systems Advisory Africa (FHS Africa), which works towards improving food safety systems. Trained as food scientist, she worked for a time in quality control and quickly realized that there were few real protections in place for the public. She started an online resource in 2012 called the SafeFoodNigeria Initiative, which has now evolved into an advisory firm, FHS Africa. She also serves as a project director at Young Bright Minds Africa (YBM Africa). Prior to this, Vivian served as a health promotion lead at Nigeria’s premier health insurance firm Hygeia HMO, where she advised corporate clients on disease prevention. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford, UK as an ExxonMobil scholar.
Dr Folake Kio-Olayinka- Nigeria
Forging Partnerships for Vaccines
Dr. Folake Kio-Olayinka is a Senior Technical Immunization Officer at the John Snow Inc. Immunization Center. She has extensive experience with polio from her time as a Senior Immunization Advisor at COMPASS/USAID-Nigeria from 2001 to 2007. 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. During her time as a Maternal Child Health Program Manager with USAID Nigeria, she served as a member of the WHO-Immunization Practice Advisory Committee (IPAC), giving her unique insight on how the two sectors can collaborate and intersect.
Garba Abdul- Nigeria
Leveraging the Gains against Polio
Garba Abdul has decades of experience working on public health in Nigeria. He is currently the director of Vaccines and Government Relations at Clinton Health Access Initiative Nigeria, leading the country to a future without Polio. 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. He was also lead in a Nigerian policy shift from oral polio vaccine to inactivated polio by 2016. He has succeeded in convincing the Nigerian government to introduce new vaccines with high potential impact including Penta vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, and inactivated polio vaccine.
Dr. Sam Agbo- Nigeria/Angola
Promoting Childhood Vaccines for Healthier Societies
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 from his time as Chief of Health and Child Survival with UNICEF for 16 years and counting. Under UNICEF he is responsible for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI), Immunization and emergency preparedness and response (EPR) for the Nigeria country office. Prior to this, he worked as the Head of Health & HIV at Save the Children and as a Community Health Officer with WHO.
Ify Aniebo- Nigeria
Leading the Next Generation of Vaccine Development
After suffering from bouts of malaria as a child, Dr. Aniebo decided fight back by studying malaria drug resistance and its implications for vaccine work as a molecular geneticist. An Exxon Mobil and Wellcome Trust Scholar, Ify is a PhD candidate at Oxford University in Clinical Medicine and Infectious Tropic Diseases. Previously, she worked as an HIV Research Associate at Clinton Health Access Initiative. In 2010, Aniebo was crowned Scientist of the Year and Young Person of the Year at The Future Awards, one of Nigeria’s premier awards, which recognizes the contribution of young people making a difference in the country. Ify 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.
Development Policy & Finance
Carl Manlan- Ivory Coast
Leveraging African Resources to Address African Problems
Carl Manlan is an economist from Côte d’Ivoire currently serving as the Executive Secretary at Africa against Ebola Solidarity Trust (AEST), which was 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. Carl has facilitated negotiations to advance the public health goals of Benin, the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Organization, Senegal and Guinea Bissau. 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. In 2012, he earned a Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He suggests looking as development as “creating wealth, not reducing poverty”.
Dapo Oyewole- Nigeria
Putting Dignity at the Center of Development
With the aim of expanding perspectives on policy decisions, Dapo Oyewole founded the Policy Development Network (PDN), a think tank/ advisory body to help governments figure out how to listen to their citizens. Previously, he was a special Advisor to the Minister of State for Finance in the Federal Government of Nigeria, responsible for Policy and International Cooperation. Dapo 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. He has extensive experience working for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Centre for African Public Policy and Strategy (CAPPS) and Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD) in the UK. He is a key analyst and commentator for various media outlets like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and much more. A member of the Africa Leadership Network, Dapo is also known for his powerful TEDx talk, “Development is Dignity.”
Julia Corvalan- Paraguay
Pioneering South-South Development Cooperation
Julia Corvalan is an international development practitioner from Paraguay. Having worked in the field since 2007, Julia 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. The program took to scale the FP’s innovative secondary school model- the Financially Self-Sufficient (FSS) School. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Strategic Management and was a Global Young Leader at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in 2014.
Mujobu Moyo- Tanzania
Increasing Community Involvement in Development
Tanzania-native, Mujobu Moyo is an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) research fellow at the Center for Global Development. Her research focuses on how to manage natural resource windfalls in developing countries. Prior to joining, she worked as an economist at the World Bank in Washington. As Tanzania’s Country Economist with the International Growth Centre (IGC), Mujobu’s role was to bridge the gap between policy makers and researchers. Her work in Tanzania fed into the government’s recently launched 2025 development plan. She has also led numerous large-scale data collection over the past 9 years, and her research work has focused on showing that “average” people in Tanzania both understand the big economic issues and have definite views about economic development policy, particularly in relation to natural resources.
Oluseun Onigbinde- Nigeria
Lifting the Veil from Development Spending
In 2011. Nigerian Oluseun Onigbinde founded 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. Oluseun is also a consultant at DFID’s National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) and writes weekly columns for ScoopNG about budgets, national planning and human capital development.
Chrystelle Wedi- Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa
Improving Healthcare for Women & Children
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. In addition, she is the Secretary General of Vandelo, an NGO based in the DRC, which establishes medical facilities for women and children residing in low-income communities and a co-managing partner of Watoto Hospital & Karibuni Hospital (DRC).
Dr. Ramon “Renzo” Guinto- Philippines
Exploring the Intersection of Global Health & Climate Change
Dr. Guinto is a medical doctor turned advocate, whose current work focuses on the intersection of climate change, energy policy and human health. He is the director and co-founder of #Reimagine Global Health, a youth think-and-do-tank and a campaigner for the Healthy Energy Initiative of Health Care without Harm-Asia. He is a convener of ASEAN Youth Dialogues, which aims to raise critical awareness about ASEAN regional integration among Southeast Asian youth, as well as a co-investigator in a national study evaluating and reconfiguring primary health care in the Philippines. He is a strong proponent of greater involvement of public health experts, particularly from the developing world, in mitigating climate change and speaks clearly and thoughtfully about how governments should be assessing their way forward.
Sitawa Wafula- Kenya
Championing Mental Health in Developing Countries
Sitawa 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 is the founder and executive director of “My Mind, My Funk”, a mental health information and support hub, which ran Kenya’s first free mental health support line. She is an active blogger and a weekly online radio contributor for EAT online and South Africa’s Radio Junto. Sitawa has been recognized as a non-communicable disease champion by Kenya’s Ministry of Health, and was named among the top 40 under 40 women in Kenya.
Dr. Thumbi Mwangi- Kenya
Ensuring “One Health” for Communities and the Environment
Dr. Thumbi Mwangi is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health in Washington State. He 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 zoonotic diseases (Rabies, Ebola, MERS). He is a visiting scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kenya and a visiting lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s Wangari Maathai Institute for Environmental Studies and Peace, where he teaches and supervises graduate students.
Anjali Sarker- Bangladesh
Innovating in Low-Income Settings
Anjali Sarker is a social entrepreneur with a passion for combining business, technology and social impact. She co-founded a startup that was featured in Forbes —Toilet+, when she was twenty years old. While studying business at the University of Dhaka’s Institute of Business Administration, she won The Global Social Venture Competition Asia-Africa for her social business plans. She then joined the Bangladesh Youth leadership center Ashoka. She currently works as a deputy manager for BRAC Social Innovation Lab where she uses open-source tools to conduct countrywide projects that engage and empower rural communities in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Rasha Jarhum- Yemen
Fighting for Rights & Refugees in the Middle East crisis
Rasha Jarhum is a gender rights advocate in Yemen. She is the founder of Yemeni Youth for Humanitarian Relief (Relief Yemen) and Aden Initiative. 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 and is deeply passionate about issues of women, Yemen, governance and development across the Middle East.
Dr. Stephen Kennedy- Liberia
Heading Off the Next Ebola Pandemic
With 27 years of experience as a medical doctor, Dr. Stephen Kennedy is the co-principal investigator (Co-PI) 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. He is also the First Secretary General of Liberia College of Physicians & Surgeons (LCPS). Prior to the Ebola epidemic, Dr. Kennedy established the First Infections Disease Research Center at the University of Liberia.
Dr. Ranjitha Puskur- India/Malaysia
Giving Rural Women a Better Economic Chance
Dr. Ranjitha Puskur is the Senior Policy Advisor for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Research (CGIAR) Program on Aquatic Agriculture Systems (AAS) at WorldFish. Until 2014, she led 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.
If you are interested in reaching out to a particular Fellow, please get in touch with our team: