Introducing our first cohort of young women leaders

UNDP Africa
8 min readDec 19, 2019


The United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) and the African Union Commission(AUC) are jointly implementing the first African Young Women Leaders (AYWL) Fellowship Programme to develop the next generation of young African women leaders and experts to serve Africa and the world.

The African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme will equip young African women with leadership skills and experience required to advance the SDGs and contribute effectively to national, regional and global development policies and programmes.

First 20 Fellows from African Young Women Leadership Programme

In November 2019, 20 young African Women Fellows from 20 countries started their one-year fellowship with the United Nations in 15 locations around the world. They will gain experience working with diverse teams in UNDP country, regional and headquarters offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, and CIS, to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Temilola Adeoye

Temilola Adeoye from Nigeria is based in New York, with UNDP’s Global Policy Network.

“I am super excited to be working with the New York Gender team. I have previously worked with children, refugees, and in the education domain.”

Falmata Mahamat Kana Bady

Falmata Mahamat Kana Bady is from Chad and is based in UNDP’s Madagascar Country Office for her one-year fellowship.

“I am honored to be selected and would like to improve my leadership skills and help other people to struggle against poverty. I would like to be motivation for African young women and for other girls in the world.”

Amadou Mounirah Mariam Bissiri

Amadou Mounirah Mariam Bissiri, who is from Burkina Faso, has been deployed to UNDP Chad Country office.

“What thrills me about this fellowship programme is that I will be able to broaden and to deepen my knowledge on the SDGs, especially in the energy sector in Africa. I wish to contribute to devising solutions to transform our continent.”

Marie Claire Nishimwe

Marie Claire Nishimwe comes from Rwanda and she is working at UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa.

“I am so excited to work with UNDP because it is my chance to sharpen and help other youth because I am so interested in youth and unemployment issues. After finishing my fellowship, I want to create an e-platform that helps young entrepreneurs to save, raise money and become interdependent.”

Achievement Dhlakama

Achievement Dhlakama is from Zimbabwe and she is going to serve in Beijing, China Country Office during her fellowship.

“I am excited about this opportunity because it will allow me to use my experience and to learn from my new environment in China and my peers in this programme from across Africa. My hope for the future is be a better development practitioner and to assist development in my country and my continent.”

Zenanile Zoe Dlamini

Zenanile Zoe Dlamini comes from Swaziland and she is working at UNDP headquarters-New York, Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific.

“I want to serve as an inspiration to others so they know that the world is full of possibilities and that we just need to go out there and get them. I am excited to learn a lot from the people that have done great things in our region and in the world.”

Marina Imanishimwe

Marina Imanishimwe comes from Burundi and she will be working at Togo Country Office.

“I believe that I will be able to have an impact on young girls to have bigger dreams and visions instead of traditions that keep them behind.”

Chaltu Kalbessa

Chaltu Kalbessa is from Ethiopia and she is working with Regional Bureau for Africa at UNDP headquarters in New York.

“I am so excited for this opportunity because it is a dream coming true, my dream is to become a development expert. I want young people especially young women to know that they can be anything they want, it is all about believing in yourself and seizing the opportunities.”

Gloria Kembabazi

Gloria Kembabazi is from Uganda and is working in UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa.

“I am very excited and honored to be part of the first group of fellows contributing to UNDP’s work building on my background in law and investment banking. In the future, this experience will help me to open more doors.”

Arielle Guiadem Kouemegne

Arielle Guiadem Kouemegne is from Cameroon, and her duty station is UNDP Sao Tome Country Office.

“I am very happy to have been selected a fellow and look forward to using my skills and expertise in project management. I look forward to gaining networks advancing sustainable development in collaboration with other fellows across Africa and the world.”

Camilla Malakasuka

Camilla Malakasuka comes from Tanzania and is working in UNDP’s Istanbul Regional Hub.

“I am excited about this programme that takes young African women and moves them so they can go back to their communities and the world in general and bring change. I hope that one day, people will be able to look at our group of 20 amazing, motivated, talented and innovative women and say: “That group of girls is bringing change in the world.”

Fiona Mhone

Fiona Mhone is from Malawi and she will work with Bangkok Regional Hub (Regional Bureau for the Asia Pacific).

“This is a completely new territory for me, I have never been to Asia before. I wish to learn from the steps Asia is taking to eradicate poverty and to transfer whatever I have learned back to Malawi.”

Mathabo M. Mohwaduba

Mathabo M. Mohwaduba comes from South Africa is working with the Regional Bureau for Africa Headquarters in New York.

“I think this fellowship will contribute a lot to the development of Africa because we know that the development of women is the development of the communities and themselves.”

Marina Sénami Monkoun

Marina Sénami Monkoun is from Benin and her duty station will be Burkina Faso Country Office (RBA).

“I am excited about this programme because it will allow me to participate in implementing the SDGs and to know how international organisations work at country level. . I look forward to being a global leader and to guide young people to have better lives.”

Pezu C. Mukwakwa

Pezu C. Mukwakwa is from Zambia and she is working at UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa.

“Coming from a background of peace and security I hope to underscore the nexus between peace and security and development.”

Aminata Ndiaye

Aminata Ndiaye is from Senegal. She is working with Guinea-Bissau Country Office (RBA).

“I am excited to be involved in SDG accelerator labs and to learn from wonderful young women serving Africa and the world. After this fascinating experience, I would like to pursue a career as an international diplomat and promote protection of the environment.”

Julia Negumbo

Julia Negumbo comes from Namibia and she is working in Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific, Headquarters, New York.

“I have a vision and a dream for my country, I want to start a foundation in Namibia that will hopefully help different young people in having a more active role in decision making and development of the country because currently they do not have these opportunities.”

Rawan Taha

Rawan Taha comes from Egypt. She will start her fellowship at Zambia Country Office(RBA).

“I aim to serve Africa in the world in designing and implementing programmes in the context of the SDGs in the African Union Agenda 2063. As I represent the North African Region as part of the wonderful cohort of 20 girls, I hope that I can create a more peaceful and prosperous Africa.”

Julia Ojiambo

Julia Ojiambo is from Kenya and she is going to Liberia Country Office during her one-year fellowship(RBA).

“For me this programme is evidence that we have partners on the ground taking steps to ensure that young women and girls are the top of the agenda when it comes to implementing the global development goals. I look forward being able to play a part in offering my own solutions to youth and gender development.”

Amanda Yahaya

Amanda Yahaya is from Ghana and her duty station will be Rwanda Country Office (RBA).

“I think this programme will help me advance my vision for my life which is to be a global change agent, someone who has an impact in life, someone who is out there making a difference.”

All photos © Anna Moghilda/UNDP RSCA



UNDP Africa

Advancing sustainable human development in 46 Sub-Saharan African countries.