The U.S. Embassy is proud to announce that twelve dynamic and experienced young Rwandans departed Kigali today to attend the fifth Young African Leadership Initiative Mandela Washington Fellowship. They will join 700 other young African leaders for a six- week program, and will be hosted by 12 prestigious U.S. universities, followed by a conference in Washington, DC.. The 12 Rwandan recipients were selected from over 800 Rwandan applicants and represent an extraordinary group of leaders already making important contributions in entrepreneurship, public administration, and civil society in their communities
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellowship will provides outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to hone their talents at a U.S. higher education institution with support for continued professional development after they return home. Institutes focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
In the past decades since the inaguaration of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the larger YALI program have become a model for exchanges in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and in Europe. There is the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) and the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI).
Since the inaugural of Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Washington Fellowship last held in 2014, there are 54 Rwandans that have been awarded to attend the prestigious Fellowship. The most recent recipients include, Angelique Ingabire, Bienvenue Muragwa, Emmanuel Tuyisenge, Frank Gakwaya Abaho, Irenee Kamanzi, Isaac Rutagwenda Rugamba, Jacqueline Tumukunde, Jean Claude Muhire, Justine Bagirisano, Kellya Uwiragiye, Patrick Dufitimana and Theoneste Ngiruwonsanga.
2018 YALI reciepients’s bios
- Angelique Ingabire
Angelique Ingabire has over three years of experience in community work for youth and young women’s development and social welfare. She focuses on training programs that provide knowledge and life skills related to agriculture, sexual and reproductive health, and leadership development. Currently, Angélique supervises a community mentorship program, through the Rwanda Girl Guides Association, which empowers adole scent girls with health, social, and economic information. Angélique founded the ‘PlayGrow’ initiative, a platform that bridges communication gaps and engages parents in discussions with adolescents to increase their life skills. She also volunteered as an African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (AU-YVC) member at Ashoka East Africa in Kenya, contributing her passion and experience in the agriculture sector. She holds a Bachelor in Agriculture, majoring in Animal Science, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Agriculture Applied Economics and Rural Development. Angélique is committed to creating platforms to promote growth and provide access to opportunities to better people’s lives. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Angélique plans to continue her work with youth and young women’s empowerment with a focus on promoting social justice and developing vulnerable rural.
Angelique will have her Civic Leadership internship program at Kansas State University.
2. Bienvenue Murangwa
Bienvenue Murangwa is a social entrepreneur with six years of experience in community development, focusing on children’s and youth education. Muragwa is the co-founder and executive director of the Root Foundation, which supports the education of street children in Rwanda. After graduating from the YALI East Africa Regional Leadership
Center, Muragwa founded Creatorz Hub, where he shares civic leadership knowledge with ten university students every month. He is driven by his vision of one day living in an Africa where youth are engaged in community issues and believe in their creative potential to solve them. Upon the completion Mandela Washington Fellowship, Muragwa plans to lead the Root Foundation through a five-year expansion plan and to continue empowering students in civic leadership.
Murangwa Bienvenue will get the opportunity to increase his social entrepreneurship skills at the University of Delaware.
3. Emmanuel Tuyisenge
With eight years of experience in entrepreneurship, Emmanuel Tuyisenge is the vice chairperson of the chamber of young entrepreneurs chapter of the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda. He is also the founder and CEO of Temaco Builders, a Rwandan low-incorporated company specializing in producing prefab concrete products, constructing affordable, improved latrines for the bottom of the pyramid households, and organizing training and conferences on concrete. Presently, Temaco employs 15 young people, mostly from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. Emmanuel is passionate about his business, and his entrepreneurial spirit has earned him several awards. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Environmental Chemistry from the College of Science and Technology at the University of Rwanda. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Emmanuel hopes to grow his company into a sustainable institution with a strong brand across East Africa, and to serve as a role model for other young entrepreneurs.
Emmanuel Tuyisenge will spend his six weeks Business and Entrepreneurship intership at the University of Nevada-Reno.
4. Frank Gakwaya Abaho
Frank Abaho is a development finance practitioner with over seven years’ of diverse experience in public relations and communications, corporate governance, and program development, implementation, and evaluation. He currently serves as a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) officer at the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), where his main role is to research, document, and communicate project- and sector-specific development impact generated from BRD’s financing interventions. These interventions are aimed at enhancing accountability, identifying challenges, and providing crucial policy recommendations in fast-tracking the bank’s contribution to socioeconomic development and poverty reduction in Rwanda. Frank holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Statistics from the National University of Rwanda and a Master of Business Administration with a focus in Project Management from the University of Kigali. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Frank plans to utilize his passion for data journalism to implement a project called ‘In4stats (R),’ a web- and mobile-based directory (in Kinyarwanda and English) that aggregates, simplifies, and uses data visualization, such as information graphics, as a storytelling tool to disseminate information in a user-friendly and easy-to-understand format. The project will focus on various national programs and statistical surveys, normally released as technical documents that are difficult to comprehend by most Rwandans, especially youth.
Frank Abaho intership program will be at Florida International University.
5. Irenee Kamanzi
Irenee Kamanzi has over five years’ experience in agribusiness, specifically in the coffee business. He is a co-founder of West Hills Company; a company focused on working with coffee farmers to produce good quality specialty coffee. Irénée holds a degree in Business and Management. He is driven by his commitment to improving the livelihoods of farmers and their communities by increasing coffee production revenue. Upon completion of Mandela Washington Fellowship, Irénée plans to strengthen his business and entrepreneurship skills to add value to coffee production. He also wants to create a culture of coffee consumption in the communities where coffee is produced.
Irenee Kamanzi will emprove his Business and Entrepreneurship skills at Clark Atlanta University.
6. Isaac Rutagwenda Rugamba
Isaac Rugamba is a Rwandan civil servant with a keen interest in international development. For the past two years, Isaac has worked on donor coordination in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning’s External Finance Division. Isaac sees his role as looking for innovative ways to finance Rwanda’s development agenda, steering Rwanda away from foreign aid and towards self-sustainability. Isaac is also a global shaper with the Kigali Hub, a community that is championing the Visa Free Africa campaign, which aligns with his Pan-African values. Isaac holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, with majors in Public Policy and International Relations, from the University of Cape Town.
Isaac Rugamba will spend his six- week entership program in Public Management at Howard University.
7. Jacqueline Tumukunde
Jacqueline Tumukunde is the founder and managing director of Jallyn Travels and has been working in the tourism sector for as long as she can remember. Early on in her professional career, Jacqueline built strong networks as an ardent travel blogger, a conference organizer, and a digital marketing executive. Her extended network and unmatched know-how of the best, most rustic, and finest scenery make her a rising star in the world of East Africa tourism.
Jacqueline Tumukunde intership will be held at Dartmouth College.
8. Jean Claude Muhire
Jean Claude Muhire is a social entrepreneur with over five years of experience in community development, particularly focusing on children’s education, peacebuilding, and advocacy. He is the founder and president of the Love the Kids Foundation (LKF), a nonprofit organization which currently cares for 153 children from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing access to quality education, promoting community acceptance, and improving childhood development. Before creating LKF, Jean Claude was a published author, filmmaker, community peer educator, and gender equality advocate. He received several recognitions for his works including the 2016 Africa Youth Awards Leader of the Year, 2015 Global Dialogues Contest International Winner, 2015 Huza Press Contest finalist, 2016 Queen’s Young Leader Highly Commended Runner-Up, 2016 Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award nominee, and 2018 World of Children Hero Award nominee. Jean Claude is an executive board member at the Rwanda Film Producers Union, alumnus of the Global Youth Connect, emerging young leader, and member of the OCP Policy Center. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to apply the experience to continue his leadership journey and positively impact lives.
Jean Claude Muhire will mentored in Civic Leadership skills at Appalachian State University.
9. Justine Bagirisano
Justine Bagirisano has over six years of professional experience in the academic sector. She is currently focused on empowering and assisting youth, especially girls. She teaches midwifery, professionalism, and advocacy. She is a registered midwife working as a tutorial assistant at the University of Rwanda. She is focused on discovering and advancing knowledge and is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence to prepare students for lives of service, leadership, and problem-solving. She holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in Midwifery and one in Public Health. Driven by her commitment to promoting maternal, neonatal, and child health, she has a personal goal of training midwives who can join her in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate. In addition, she is dedicated to promoting adolescent sexual reproductive health with the aim of preventing teen pregnancy. Upon completion of Mandela Washington Fellowship, Justine plans to empower teens to pursue education and avoid unwanted pregnancy, allowing them to live up to their ultimate potential.
Justine Bagirisano will attend a Public Management internship at the University of Minnesota.
10. Kellya Uwiragiye
Kellya Uwiragiye holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication from the University of Rwanda, and is the founder of Media for Deaf Rwanda, a non-governmental organization established in 2014, which strives for social and media inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing people in Rwanda. Kellya’s dissertation research on media access for the deaf led her to start an organization that advocates for media inclusion of deaf people. Kellya has almost four years of experience in the disability movement and currently works as a sign language interpreter. She also designed a media campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of Rwandan Sign Language. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hopes to apply her acquired skills and strong network to improve access to services and education for the deaf in Rwanda.
Kellya Uwiragiye will join other interns on Civic Leadership program at Wagner College.
11. Patrick Dufitimana
Patrick Dufitimana is a founder and managing director of Pajo Group Industries based in Kigali-Rwanda. He has over seven years of experience in woodworking, specifically the manufacturing of wooden doors, plywood board, and plywood MDF. He has created employment for 90 people and is aiming at creating more jobs and expanding his business across the East Africa region and the continent.
Patrick Dufitimana will be attending an intership program in Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin.
12. Theoneste Ngiruwonsanga
Theoneste Ngiruwonsanga has over eight years of experience in the information communication technology (ICT) and management fields. Currently, Theoneste is a senior information technology (IT) security engineer at the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), where he builds Rwanda’s cyber-security capabilities to increase the capacity of early detection, prevention, and response to computer security incidents. He is also responsible for securing Rwanda’s cyberspace and IT assets based on digital signature and certificate technology. Theoneste holds a postgraduate diploma in Leadership Development in ICT from Dublin City University and is a member of the Knowledge Society. He believes that hard work, a positive attitude, integrity, commitment, professionalism, and a willingness to learn are the six things that make a great person. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Theoneste plans to continue his work, focusing on conducting cybersecurity awareness training in the public and private sectors, as well as with general public, including youth.
Theoneste Ngiruwonsanga will be mentored in Public Management at Arizona State University.