Acumen Academy has chosen 20 West Africa Fellows for its 2023 program.
The 2023 fellows, who worked in 12 different sectors and touched over 900,000 lives in the previous year, are demonstrating new opportunities in West Africa. Some of the fellows are establishing businesses in Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria. Others are addressing learning differences, addressing climate change, and working on projects that align with Acumen Academy’s mission.
Kitovu was founded in 2017 by Emeka Nwachinemere, a 2023 West Africa Fellow, with the goal of improving the lives of African farmers through the construction and deployment of climate-smart and post-harvest infrastructure. This has assisted over 12,000 farmers in increasing their yield. Anita Nchat Kevin and her team at Amina Dyslexia Center taught school teachers, administrators, and parents about teaching approaches for children with learning disabilities between 2018 and 2021. This has improved the learning of 11,000 schoolchildren in Northern Nigeria.
2023 Fellows like Emeka and Anita will receive the training and space they need to expand their moral imagination, listen more deeply, partner more effectively, consider their sense of identity, and open their minds to understanding the layered inconsistencies and diverse perspectives of others.
At the end of the program, they will join the academy’s global network of social innovators, all of whom have touched the lives of more than 8 million people, to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to eradicate poverty and create a dignified society.
Meet the 2023 fellows and discover how they are changing the narrative in West Africa, below:
Ahmed Ayoade Oyedotun – Co-Founder and CEO of Afrimash Company Limited
Ahmed is the Co-Founder and CEO of Afrimash, a leading Nigerian agritech platform that uses e-commerce technology to streamline the farm input supply chain and make agriculture more accessible. Ahmed previously founded Woculus, a platform that assists professionals and entrepreneurs in the digital world. Ahmed, a social and digital entrepreneur, is committed to using technology and agriculture to make a positive difference in Africa. He wants to use technology to empower smallholder farmers and improve their livelihoods.
Amy Gaman – Managing Director at Nuru Nigeria Development Initiative
Nuru Nigeria Development Initiative’s Managing Director is Amy. She has over a decade of experience leading high-impact teams and programs. Her passion is for sustainability and working directly with communities to develop solutions to poverty and vulnerable people. Amy is a ONE Champion and community volunteer in addition to her role at Nuru Nigeria. She has received numerous awards for her work, including Humanitarian Ambassador of the Year and recognition from the British Council’s Northeast Hub. In addition, she has been named a Perennial Fellow.
Anita Nchat Kevin – Founder and CEO of Amina Dyslexia Center
Anita is the founder of the Amina Dyslexia Center, a social enterprise aimed at combating illiteracy caused by dyslexia, a learning difference that puts one in every five children at risk of dropping out of primary or secondary school. Anita was a teacher specializing in early years and key stage 1 before founding Amina Dyslexia Center. She has also received Dyslexia Practitioner training from the Orton-Gillingham Academy.
Anthonia Ayamga – Senior Development Planning Officer at Bono, Regional Coordinating Council
Anthonia Ayamga works as a Senior Development Planning Officer for the Bono Regional Coordinating Council. She has 11 years of experience working in development planning. She is passionate about climate change, gender equality, and activities aimed at achieving the SDGs. She has contributed her fair share to the development of her country, both within and outside the country, through various platforms.
Dieudonne Perry – Executive Director at SMART Liberia
Dieudonne is the Executive Director of SMART Liberia, a non-profit organization that connects young Liberians and youth organizations with relevant skills, resources, and information to help them drive social change in Liberia and beyond. He focuses on Education Advancement, business development, and entrepreneurship in order to bring together young leaders in a communal space and provide them with the resources and network they need to drive change in their communities and beyond. Dieudonne has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry.
Eleanor Thompson – Deputy Director for Programs at Namati Sierra Leone
Eleanor is the Deputy Director for Programmes at Namati Sierra Leone, a non-governmental organization that assists communities in understanding, implementing, and shaping laws to protect their land rights and environment. She is passionate about using her legal expertise to empower marginalized communities as a public interest lawyer and social justice innovator. Eleanor has a Bachelor’s degree in Government and African Studies from Harvard University, a Juris Doctorate from American University Washington College of Law, and a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, all with distinction.
Emeka Nwachinemere – Founder and CEO of Kitovu Technology Company
Emeka is the Founder and CEO of Kitovu Technology Company, an agritech firm that provides smallholder farmers with data to help them make informed decisions about what to grow, how to grow it, and who to sell it to, allowing them to make more money from their farms. Emeka is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has also received specialized business and entrepreneurship training from the Enterprise Development Centre at Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos.
Jefyne Togba – Founder and CEO of The Vantage Group
Jefyne is the Co-Founder of The Vantage Group, a boutique consulting firm based in Monrovia, Liberia that assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in building capacity and becoming more market competitive. She is in charge of the business development division, as well as designing and managing programs for SMEs at various stages of their entrepreneurial journeys. Prior to joining The Vantage Group, Jefyne served on the Executive Council of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, where she advocated for SMEs and women-owned businesses. She is also a founding member of the MRU Business Women’s Network. She has an MBA from Texas Southern University and is a certified Project Management Professional.
Jeph Acheampong – Co-Founder and CEO of Blossom Academy
Jeph is the Co-Founder and CEO of Blossom Academy, a non-profit dedicated to closing Africa’s tech skills gap through analytics boot camps and dedicated career support. Jeph was a founding member of Esusu Financial, a leading financial technology company that uses data solutions to empower tenants and improve property performance, prior to his current position. He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from New York University and was named a Global Innovator by Expo 2020 in 2019.
Josephine Saidu – Founder and CEO of Teach For Sierra Leone
Josephine is the Founder and CEO of Teach For Sierra Leone, a woman-led results-oriented leadership organization that develops transformational world-class female leaders to end systemic injustices in Sierra Leone’s most deprived and marginalized communities in the education sector. Prior to establishing TFSL, she worked as a Broadcast Journalist and Communications Specialist in both the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone, covering stories that empower and elevate the voices of women. Josephine has an MBA in International Business from Cardiff Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.
Oluwafunke Adeoye – Founder and Executive Director of Hope Behind Bars Africa
Oluwafunke is the founder of Hope Behind Bars Africa, an organization that provides indigent pre-trial detainees with access to justice and economic opportunities while working to reform Nigeria’s criminal justice system. Over 7,000 incarcerated people have directly benefited from their interventions. Oluwafunke has ten years of legal experience and holds an Executive Certificate in Non-profit Leadership and Management from Lagos Business School. She is also a Fellow of Cornell University’s Makwanyane Fellowship for Capital Defenders.
Omar Danso – National Coordinator at Activista The Gambia
Omar is the National Coordinator for Activista The Gambia, a youth-led civil society network that promotes social justice by empowering marginalized groups such as youth, women, and people with disabilities. The Gambia activist focuses on governance, human rights, migration, human trafficking, and climate justice. Omar previously worked for Activista The Gambia for over 8 years as Campaign and Advocacy Coordinator, Project Coordinator, and Programs Manager. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies and a minor in Finance.
Rahmah Aderinoye – Co-Founder and CEO of Rashak Farms and Agro Allied Limited
Rahmah is the Founder and CEO of Rashak Farms & Agro Allied Limited, where she leads a team of young and vibrant people in addressing Nigeria’s food insecurity challenges creatively. She is a social impact entrepreneur who is passionate about agriculture, crop production, and the food processing value chain. Prior to founding Rashak Farms, Rahmah was passionate about empowering and financially including women, youth, and people with disabilities (PWLD) throughout her professional career in the non-profit sector and entrepreneurship.
Richard Sam – Regional Program Officer at the Sustainable Development Institute
Richard works for the Sustainable Development Institute as a Regional Program Officer. He is a seasoned environmentalist and natural resource governance and management practitioner with over 9 years of experience in managing natural resources, conducting environmental social impact assessments, community engagement, climate justice, environmental justice, and land and forest natural resource policy. He is well-versed in assessing the social and environmental impact and risks of large-scale agricultural projects, as well as developing risk-mitigation strategies through stakeholder engagement via free, prior, and informed consent.
Solomon Ifeanyi Nathaniel – Head of Organisation of Unique Foundation The Gambia
Solomon is the Founder and Director of The Gambia’s Unique Foundation, an organization that works with vulnerable people and communities. Solomon recognizes that people with little or no education are disadvantaged at all stages of life. His ambition is to see The Gambia and beyond transformed into places where every child and unschooled young adult can read and write. Solomon is also the CEO of ‘Intown Fresh Farm,’ which serves as a one-stop shop for all fresh farm produce. He is a member of the Africa Youth Commission, the Young African Leaders Initiative, the World Literacy Foundation Ambassador, and the Acumen Academy West Africa Fellowship.
Theo Boateng – Director of Operations, Expansion and Partnerships at Saha Global
Theo is the Director of Operations, Expansion, and Partnerships at Saha Global, an organization that provides clean water to the most remote communities. Theo is in charge of developing and implementing operational structures and systems to support growth. In the WASH sector, he also oversees program expansion and external relations with government agencies and civil society organizations. Theo has nearly a decade of experience assisting start-ups and early-stage for-profit and non-profit organizations in establishing the operational systems required to accelerate their growth.
Ujuaku Akukwe – Founder and Creative Director of Eastern Nigeria Film and Arts Initiative
Ujuaku is the Founder and Creative Director of the Eastern Nigeria Film & Arts Initiative, a non-profit organization that invests in film and media training, as well as entertainment in Nigeria, with a focus on Southeast Nigeria, grooming young talent to tell more authentic African stories. She is an accomplished Indigenous Storyteller and Curator who uses film to educate people. Ujuaku has previously held various leadership positions in the filmmaking industry. Her work has earned her numerous international documentary filmmaking awards, and she was honored by the California State Legislature Assembly for her use of film in community engagement. Ujuaku attended the New York Film Academy.
Wande Adams – Co-Founder and CEO of The Bulb Africa
Wande is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Bulb Africa, a tech talent incubator aimed at closing the skills gap in Africa’s job market. The organization provides job opportunities, assists start-ups in scaling, and promotes the development of young Africans into tech experts. Prior to starting The Bulb, Wande held leadership roles at Verizon and Vencore as a US government contractor. Wande is a University of Baltimore graduate with a Master’s degree in forensic accounting from the University of Maryland UC.
Yatta Sackie Wapoe – County Health Officer at Montserrado County Health Team
Yatta is the County Health Officer of the Montserrado County Health Team, a government organization in charge of managing healthcare delivery services in Liberia’s most populous county. In this capacity, Yatta advocates for and serves the most vulnerable populations, ensuring access to high-quality healthcare services and responding to diseases with epidemic potential. Prior to her current position, Yatta held a number of leadership positions in the healthcare industry. She graduated from the University of Liberia with an MD in general medicine and an MPH in Health Policy from Cuttington University.
Yawa Hansen-Quao – Founder of Leading Ladies’ Network
For over a decade, Yawa has been the founder of the Leading Ladies’ Network, a nonprofit organization that fosters female leadership and social entrepreneurship in Africa. Prior to founding this organization, Yawa held a number of leadership positions in the field of women’s empowerment. Yawa has created an ecosystem of 12,000 African women and girls with ambitious goals, strong character, and a strong desire to serve as impactful leaders in business, civil society, and government through the Leading Ladies Network.