Kumvana Fellow Ursula Banda / Photo by Aaron Wolf / EWB

The Kumvana Fellowship

Developing and supporting a sustainable community of leaders in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Kumvana Fellowship program provides African innovators with a platform to network, develop skills, and collaborate with like-minded leaders: both from their local communities and from the wider EWB ecosystem.

View the Kumvana Fellowship site

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The word Kumvana refers to the mutual exchange of knowledge for shared community benefit.

In the Chichewa dialect of Malawi, Kumvana means to ‘unite so we may discuss and understand’.

Similarly, the Kumvana program is designed to spark local innovation, promote sustainability and contribute to a global community of EWB change-makers through knowledge transfer and connection. The Kumvana Fellowship creates a movement empowered to:


The program provides Kumvana Fellows with opportunities to network and foster collaboration. Throughout the program, Fellows connect with Canadian professionals and leaders from other African countries to create diverse and interconnected networks for thought leadership. These networks offer the support and insight required to bring innovations to fruition.

Each year, the Kumvana program brings together 10 to 15 dynamic African professionals from a range of industry sectors for:

  • Leadership development.
  • Tailored training programs.
  • Professional workshops.
  • Knowledge sharing.

‘If we put our minds together and share all of this information, we will have so many solutions to so many problems.’
– Caroline Kahamutima, Kumvana fellow 2016.


In the spirit of the original Chichewa term, the Kumvana Fellowship is designed to facilitate mutual benefit through detailed and ongoing exchange. Like any meaningful dialogue, the program is designed around a reciprocal back-and-forth: the Fellowship encompasses activity in both Africa and Canada.

This includes:

  • An eight-week online learning course, and one week of leadership training at our office in Toronto.
  • A Kumvana retreat held in West, East or Southern Africa featuring support and the opportunity to establish connections with other EWB Fellows and staff.
  • A one-month intensive Canadian experience, where Fellows attend the EWB National Conference and participate in two weeks of organizational placements to learn from professional networks. Participants have the opportunity for immersive cultural experiences and spend time living with Canadian host families.


The ultimate outcomes of the Kumvana program are powerfully reciprocal. The Fellowship creates increased understanding for Africans and Canadians alike.

Kumvana Fellows gain skills, establish contacts, and develop the necessary toolkit required to create scalable, sector-wide impact.

Canadian professionals and EWB affiliates glean a more detailed understanding of Sub-Saharan Africa’s developmental realities, an improved perspective of the complexities and roadblocks involved in achieving global development, and access to the African leaders who are capable of eliminating them.

‘Participating in Kumvana is a great deal for any individual who is trying to move forward in a career path and in personal development: in creating a change in the environment he or she lives in.’
– Kofi Yeboah, Kumvana Fellow, 2016.

  • Meet some of our past Kumvana Fellows

    Africa Agriculture Development Corporation (AgDevCo)

    • Works in the Agricultural Development Sector, researching investment appraisals for agribusiness projects in order to increase economic opportunity for smallholder farmers and drive community development.
    • Dedicated to improving the lives of women and youth. Mulenga visits women in prisons, brings them food and water, and works with disadvantaged youths, mentoring them and supporting their ongoing education.
    • Passionate about instilling an entrepreneurial spirit in young people and supporting local mentorship programs as they bring education, opportunity and shared knowledge to a network of people.
  • Meet some of our past Kumvana Fellows

    MK Engineers & Processors LTD

    • Works as an entrepreneur with involvement in advocating for change leadership in agribusiness.
    • Working as a subcontractor with Business Development Services Africa, Sedem has contributed to the development of small business diagnostic methodology, improving the impact and effectiveness of consulting.
    • Plans to develop an Agribusiness Association in order to give women a louder voice to actively influence the government policies that affect them.
  • Meet some of our past Kumvana Fellows

    Regional Irrigation and Water Development Officer – Southern Region, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development

    • Coordinates and improves communication between district, regional, and national governments, and ensures programs are effectively planned to perform to the needs of beneficiaries.
    • Currently runs a foundation to support impoverished youth to attend school.
    • Passionate about sanitation practices and processes and the opportunity to take learnings from Canada and apply them in Malawi.
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