Kumvana Fellows arrive at Toronto International Airport

Meet our 2019 Kumvana Fellows

EWB welcomes 11 African leaders to Canada for its 2019 Kumvana Fellowship program

EWB is excited to welcome our 2019 Kumvana Fellows to Canada! These dynamic leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa, will be spending one month in Canada learning, story sharing and building rich networks across the country.

In the Chichewa dialect of Malawi, Kumvana means “unite so we may discuss and understand.” In this spirit, the Kumvana Program builds the capacities of young African professionals, while fostering rich collaborations between Canadian and African partners.

Get to know this incredible group, below!


  • Founder and CEO, Beacon Inclusive

    Allan Okoth is the Founder and CEO of Beacon Inclusive, a Kenyan social enterprise that seeks to foster inclusion of marginalized communities in society and promote access to healthcare for the deaf community and hearing-impaired individuals. Since suffering a partial hearing loss in 2017, Allan has been working on Beacon Chat, a mobile application that provides translation between sign language and text.

    Allan hopes to use his Kumvana experience to learn about Canadian best practices in legal issues and licences around technology deployment in the health sector as well as impact assessment. He would also like to connect and engage with deaf community organizations both private and government sponsored.

  • Founding Chairperson, Safety First for Girls Foundation

    Esther Mwema is a youth leader focused on gender, digital literacy, and grassroots outreach. She is the founding Chairperson of Safety First for Girls Foundation, a dynamic body of volunteers who are passionate about improving safety for girls through safety education. Esther is also the founding President of Digital Grassroots, which works to engage youth in addressing internet-related issues in their communities through digital literacy, networking and online activism.

    Additionally, Esther is a budding novelist and was selected as 2018 upcoming African female writer by Femrite for the 2018 African Women Writers Regional Residency by Karavan and Swedish Institute, as well as one of six fellows in Africa for the 2018 prestigious ‘Write the Novel’ class by Mawazo Write. Her pseudonym is Hadassah Louis.

  • Co-Founder, Fatuma’s Voice Foundation

    Onyango Otieno is the Co-Founder of Fatuma’s Voice Foundation, an African educational forum that uses art and dialogue to encourage expression, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a Mental Health Advocate, writer and poet. He authored “Touring My Mind,” an ebook collection of his quotes. His experiences growing up in a violent home and enduring Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder inspired him to create and encourage the development of safe spaces for young people to express themselves as a form of psychotherapy. Onyango is eager to learn about how to fundraise locally and visit social change and mental health organizations in Canada.

  • Operations Manager, Dove Nest Enterprises

    Isabella Asio is the Operations Manager of Dove Nest Enterprises, a sunflower oil production company in the conflict-affected region of northern Uganda. Isabella manages a team of 25 staff, 95% of whom are women. Having grown up in a refugee camp herself, Isabella is passionate about improving economic opportunities for women and other marginalized populations.

    Isabella is interested in learning communication skills specifically in public speaking, as well as connecting with agricultural engineers who are manufacturing agricultural machines. She would like to learn the workings of edible oil processing factories, especially the type of machines and processes used. She is passionate about women’s issues and is curious to learn how Canadian women are taking action to overcome their challenges.

  • Lead Customer Engagement Associate, M-Shule

    Fiona Otieno works as the Lead Customer Engagement Associate at M-Shule, the first adaptive mobile learning platform in Africa to connect primary school students with personalized education through SMS. Additionally, M-Shule is one of EWB’s ventures in Kenya.

    She leads a team of changemakers in supporting stakeholders to draw value from M-Shule. Before M-Shule, Fiona was the Volunteer Coordinator at PACEMaker International, an NGO that deploys youth to volunteer in public primary schools in the rural and slum areas of Kenya.

    Fiona hopes to learn project management tools, meet with customer engagement leads to give her insight into understanding customers better, and meet with start-up businesses.

  • Customer Care Specialist, Numida

    Ronnie Musobozi is a customer care specialist at Numida, an EWB venture in Uganda that is trying to disrupt the credit industry in East Africa.

    Since joining Numida, Ronnie has grown his responsibilities and leadership and is an all-round champion at Numida. Most recently, Ronnie took the leadership of the company’s anti-sexual harassment committee and is working to implement policies and procedures that ensure a safe environment for all employees.

    Ronnie is interested in engaging with organizations, policymakers, HR departments and community groups that are at the forefront of battling sexual harassment as well as learning skills on how to set up and sustain a working environment that is suitable for all cultures. Furthermore, he would be interested in visiting a call centre to observe their customer service practices

  • Co-Founder, Spotless Africa

    Mwansa Chalo is the Co-Founder of Spotless Africa, a Zambian cleaning company that specializes in Window and Kitchen Extraction Cleaning. The company currently employs a total of 12 youths from underprivileged communities. The aim of the business is to rethink, reimagine and reshape the services industry in Africa.

    He is also co-founder of The Piggy Bank Campaign, a social initiative that helps improve access to education for underprivileged learners in community schools through voluntary teaching, mentorship, scholarships and infrastructure development.

    Chalo studied Economics at The Copperbelt University. He is passionate about development issues in Africa and how to create sustainable change. He would like to learn more about business development and strategy and how tech companies in the service industry work.

  • Founder, Community Women's Enterprise Network

    Hadijah Nankanja has eight years of community development experience working with various community development initiatives in Uganda. Hadijah strongly believes that the root of most problems impacting women in Africa can be traced back to a lack of economic empowerment. In January of 2012 Hadijah founded Community Women’s Enterprise Network. The Network is a not for profit organization mainly working on micro finance, health insurance, social research and social impact measurement. Prior to starting the Network, Hadijah was Head of Operations at Business Garden, a business incubator set up to help revitalize a slum neighbourhood of Kamwokya in Kampala.

    Hadijah also served as Business Development Trainer and Consultant for Women of Kireka, a community-based organization as Business Development Trainer and consultant. Hadijah also volunteers with United Deaf Women’s Organization mentoring deaf female entrepreneurs on building their own income generating projects.

  • Founder, Bolgatanga Baskets

    Isaac Adogbase is the Founder of Bolgatanga Baskets in Ghana. The company sells beautiful handmade baskets from villages surrounding Bolgatanga in Upper East Ghana. The company employs a family-based approach and aims to improve the working and living conditions of basket-weaving families in the region.

    Isaac is eager to learn business management, leadership and marketing skills and sustainable food initiatives. He is also interested in connecting with local Canadian business owners, farmers and artists and hopes to visit a local crafts fair.

  • Founder, Digital Cartography

    Kouakou Alexandre Duffi is the Founder of Digital Cartography, a startup using drones to map and monitor, and Co-Founder of the Club for Education for Environment and Sustainable Development. Kouakou is francophone and EWB’s first Kumvana Fellow from Côte D’Ivoire. Kouakou is a PhD student in Coastal Engineering and Environment. He is passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals, preserving the environment, and promoting eco-citizenship.

    Professionally, Kouakou is interested in environmental sustainability, specifically learning about Canada’s strategy in managing its natural resources. He wants to develop his cartography skills and connect with professionals and advocates in the environmental field. Kouakou is also looking forward to improving his English skills!

  • Investment Officer, Mango Fund

    Lucy Pinyoloya is an investment officer with Mango Fund, an Impact Investment Fund and partner of EWB in Uganda. Responsible for the Northern Uganda region, Lucy’s day-to-day role is to source investment leads, offer technical
    assistance where necessary, and work with the investment analysts to make investment cases to Mango Fund’s Investment Board.

    Lucy is a survivor of the 20+ year conflict of Northern Uganda, and that experience gave her the zeal and ambition to create change for the rural women of Northern Uganda through agribusiness, which employees about 60% of rural women.

    While in Canada Lucy wants to engage with organizations working in manufacturing industries, particularly agro-processors that deal in agricultural products. Additionally, she would like to connect with small business entrepreneurs and successful women leaders.


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