Kumvana Fellow Ursula Banda / Photo by Aaron Wolf / EWB

The Kumvana Fellowship

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

Each year, the Kumvana Fellowship program provides 10 to 15 African innovators and leaders both regional and global opportunities to develop business and social skills and collaborate with like-minded leaders for improved social and economic impact.

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Kumvana comes from the Chichewa dialect in Malawi. It refers to the mutual exchange of knowledge for shared community benefit. It means to ‘unite so we may discuss and understand’.

The Kumvana program is designed to enable and support local innovations that lead to greater social and economic inclusion and sustainability. Kumvana Fellows contribute to a global community of EWB changemakers. Their exposure and interaction with Canadian entrepreneurs and innovation champions allow for knowledge transfer and connection.

How Does it Work? 

Throughout the program, African entrepreneurs and business leaders connect with Canadian entrepreneurs and social innovation leaders to create diverse and interconnected networks for thought leadership.

The Kumvana Fellowship is designed to facilitate a deliberate and ongoing exchange of ideas and solutions to systemic social and economic problems. This includes:

  • An eight-week online learning course, and one week of leadership training in Toronto.
  • A leadership retreat held in East or West Africa to establish connections with other EWB Fellows and staff.
  • A month-long road show across Canada to connect with aspiring young leaders part of EWB’s student network and learn from business leaders across industries, including energy, healthcare. finance and agriculture.

‘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.

The Big Picture

For high-potential African leaders and innovators to gain the valuable skills, connections and business tools to create a scalable, sector-wide impact in their regions and the world.

The Kumvana Program is a powerful part of EWB’s programming and theory of change. Investing in African talent and creating a conducive environment to learn from them, EWB also helps Canadians and other international development organizations gain perspective to deliver programs and services that respect the cultural climate and historical experience of the regions we wish to support.

‘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

    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.

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