GS14 Speakers .

Rahiel Hagos Abraha



I was born in Tigray regional State of Ethiopia in 1987. Regarding to my Academic back ground: first I was attending my elementary and preparatory schools in Edagahamus and I earned my BSc degree in the field of Horticulture from Jimma University in 2008 and MSc. In Plant Breeding from Haramaya University in 2012. About my work experience: I have been worked in Mizan-Tepi University since September 2009 till August 2014. Then after I have been working in Mekelle University since September 2014 as lecturer, researcher and other consulentecy services. Beside to this I have been taken valuable short course training in Netherlands and I participated in International TYAN/TWAS conference which was held in Rio die Jenerio, Brazil in 2017. Now I am one of the OWSD fellowship award PhD student in Beijing China, GSCAAS (Institute of Vegetables and flowers) in the department of vegetable breeding and genetics.

Nicola Bellomo

bellomo sm

EU Coordinator for the AU-EU Summit

EU Coordinator for the AU-EU Summit. Previously:Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Swaziland (Ambassador/Head of Delegation);Delegation of the European Union to the African Union - Addis Ababa (Head of the Political/Press and Information Section); European Commission DG Development (Office of the Director General);Delegation of the European Commission to Egypt (Operations Section: Good Governance/Human Rights/Migration /Justice/Dialogue Between Cultures); Delegation of the European Commission to the United Nations – NY (Humanitarian/Political Affairs - Security Council, General Assembly);European Commission-Brussels (ECHO (Humanitarian Affairs) Office of the Director General);European Commission Brussels (Member of the Cabinet/Private Office of Commissioners Pandolfi and Vanni d'Archirafi). Education and Training: New York University;London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE);Università degli Studi di Bari.

Dr Vincent Biruta


Minister of Environment, Republic of Rwanda

Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Republic of Rwanda Vincent Biruta is the Minister of Environment for the Government of Rwanda. Prior to his appointment in August 2017, he served as Minister of Natural Resources from 2014 and Minister of Education from 2011. He also held the position of President of the Rwandan Senate from 2003 to 2011. He served as the President of the National Transition Assembly from January 2000 to August 2003, Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communication from 1999 to 2000 and Minister of Health from 1997 to 1999. Minister Biruta is a qualified physician. He furthered his studies in Planning and Management of Health Services in Developing Countries at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. He is also a holder of a post-graduate diploma in Public Health and Nutrition from the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Minister Biruta is passionate about the intersection of the environment and the economy to achieve sustainable green growth and socio-economic transformation.

Ndèye Seynabou Diouf


Scientist at the CGIAR Research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Ndèye Seynabou DIOUF is a Scientist at the CGIAR Research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), West Africa regional Program, based at ICRISAT-Bamako (Mali). She is currently Scientist M&E for USAID/CINSERE project based in Senegal. Prior to joining ICRISAT, she was a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and learning Officer at the Tostan, where she has worked since 2011. In this position, Nabou was in charge of the planning and supervision of mixed methods data collection, and the analysis of multi-level evaluation data. Before working with Tostan, Ndèye Seynabou worked in a variety of public and private agencies working in rural development (Tragsa Tec, CIRAD, SODAGRI, and ISRA). Ndèye Seynabou is an agricultural engineer with specialization in rural economy. She has a Master degree in Project Management from Centre Africain d'Etudes en Gestion (CESAG). She has successfully completed her PhD degree at the University Gaston Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal on the impact of improved rice variety production on women empowerment in rural areas in central Senegal. Ndèye Seynabou's interests are in mixed methods approaches, impact assessments, gender and social inclusion, climate change, and integrated development.

Wendy Elliott


Deputy Leader of the Wildlife Practice at WWF-International

Wendy Elliott is the Deputy Leader of the Wildlife Practice at WWF-International, working primarily on strategic design, implementation support and evaluation of WWF’s wildlife conservation portfolio, including climate adaptation and mainstreaming of WWF’s gender policies at all levels.  Wendy has worked at the intersection between science and policy for most of her career, leading targeted advocacy initiatives in many contexts, both environmental (e.g. CITES, CMS, IWC) and beyond (e.g. UN Crime Fora, UN Security Council.) Wendy is passionate about strategic campaigning, with particular experience in the fields of climate change and wildlife trade. Wendy is a published biologist with a background of field-based conservation in three continents. 

Muyambi Fortunate


Principle Officer, Innovation and Technology Development, East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO)

Mr. Muyambi Fortunate, is Principle Officer, Innovation and Technology Development, East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) an institution of the East African Community. The Development Objective of EASTECO is to promote and coordinate the development, management and application of Science and Technology to support regional integration and socio-economic development. Trained in Space Scientist in use of GIS and Remote Sensing applications in Environment and Natural Resources Management experience and with over 10 years' experience in use of earth observation data in managing environment and Natural Resources. Mr Muyambi is also skilled in Programming Foreign Assistance and Certified in project design and management. He is passionate about promoting the development and application of science, technology and innovation for socio-economic growth in the EAC Region and beyond.

Aminata A. Garba


Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

Aminata A. Garba is Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Africa and Director of the Kigali Collaborative Research Center. Her interests include ICT infrastructure, technologies and policies, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, cybersecurity, drones innovations, high data rate transmission and higher education. Aminata received the Master's and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She has previously served as Director General of the Multisector Regulatory Authority of Niger and chair of the West African Regulators' Assembly. Aminata has co-authored several publications including journal and conference articles, invention disclosures and patent applications. She is a NEF Fellow and a member of the Global Young Academy.

Dr. Marie-Christine Gasingirwa


Director General for Science, Technology and Research in the Ministry of Education

Dr. Marie-Christine GASINGIRWA- PhD holder in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences(University of Namur), MSc Degree in Agricultural Biotechnology (West Texas A&M University), BSc (Hons.)- Zoology and Biochemistry (University of Nairobi). She authored a number of scientific articles in different international journals. She is holder of a number of professional certificates in diverse domains: 'Diplôme de la Langue Française, Certificate on Conservation Education, Certificates on General Radiation Safety Training, Environmental Health and Safety.She has represented Rwanda in regional and international fora for the promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation. She serves on National Technical and Steering Committees of different Higher Learning Institutions both Public and Private; is Vice-Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO; member of the International Scientific Committee on Science and Climate Change in East and Horn of Africa Regions and the Governing Board of EASTECO.

Dr Barbara Hartung


Head of division in the Ministry of Science and Culture

Dr Barbara Hartung studied law in Bonn, Freiburg and Goettingen. After her PhD (1981) she started working as a civil servant in the government of Lower Saxony. Since 1994, she is head of division in the Ministry of Science and Culture, at present responsible for natural sciences, ethics in research and gender equality. On federal level, she is chair (elected by the "Laender") of the working group "Equal opportunities for women in science" by the Joint Science Conference. As well, she was appointed by the Federal Council (second parliamentary chamber) as member of the Standing working group "Gender in research and innovation" of the European Research Area and innovation Committee (formerly known as "Helsinki Group").

Sara Hradecky


Canadian High Commissioner Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda

Sara Hradecky (BA [International Affairs], Carleton University, 1981; MA [International Affairs], Carleton University, 1983; MSc [Aeronautical Science], Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2004) joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs in 1983 and has since served abroad in Canadian Embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Tel Aviv, Israel. She also served as Canada’s first Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At Headquarters, she has served as Director, International Financing, and as Director General, International Business Development Policy and Innovation. Ms. Hradecky was Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (2006 to 2009) and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Afghanistan Task Force in the Privy Council Office (2009 to 2011). Ms. Hradecky was Ambassador to Mexico (2011 to 2015) and was appointed Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya in September, presenting her credentials to H. E. President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 7th, 2016; to UNON’s Director General H. E. Sahle-Work Zewde on October 31, 2016, to Rwanda’s President H. E. Paul Kagame on January 23, 2017; to Somalia’s President H.E. Mohamed A. Mohamed on June 6, 2017 and to Uganda’s President H. E. Yoweri Museveni on June 13, 2017.

Claudette Irere


Director General in charge of Innovation and Business Development at the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MiTEC), Government of Rwanda

Before joining the Ministry, Ms. Claudette co-founded and setup the first Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab Rwanda), an extension wing of the knowledge lab (kLab) while diligently working for RwandaOnline Platform Ltd, a company setup to digitize Government services to citizens and businesses in Rwanda.
kLab and FabLab are the first collaborative and innovative open space facilities for tech entrepreneurs in Kigali. They are both initiatives of the ICT Chamber of the Private Sector Federation for which Claudette served as the ICT projects manager.
Ms. Claudette is also a member of Girls in ICT Rwanda, an organization of professional women in Technology that strives to empower and encourage young Girls to join STEM career paths at an early age. Each year, they organize Ms. Geek competitions that award young African women with innovative ideas.
Ms. Claudette holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Sciences from the National University of Rwanda and a Masters of Science and Engineering degree in Computer Engineering from Oklahoma Christian University.

Clarisse Iribagiza


 CEO and Co-founder of HeHelabs (now DMM.HeHe)

Clarisse Iribagiza is the CEO and Co-founder of HeHelabs (now DMM.HeHe), a leading technology company that develops innovative technologies that enable businesses to optimize their operations and reach more customers anywhere and on the go. DMM.HeHe serves over 2 million users across Africa, enabling business to offer their products and services on-demand and guaranteeing great customer experience to the last-mile. She founded her business in 2010 at the age of 22 as a junior at University of Rwanda’s College of Science where she was pursuing a BSC in Computer Engineering. This was after a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) incubation program where she was able to connect the dots between what she was learning in school and how she could immediately apply it in the real world. Clarisse is also a member of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group at the African Development Bank and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Africa Leadership University.

Dr. Paulina Jaramillo


Professor at Carnegie Mellon University

Originally from Medellin - Colombia, Dr. Paulina Jaramillo has a bachelor's in civil and environmental engineering from Florida International University (2003), as well as a master's and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering with an emphasis in green design from Carnegie Mellon University (2004 and 2007, respectively). She has been in the EPP faculty since 2010, was the executive director of the RenewElec project between 2010 and 2014, as in now the co-director of the Green Design Institute. Her past research focused on life cycle assessment of energy systems with an emphasis on climate change impacts and mitigation research. As a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, she is currently involved in multi-disciplinary research projects related to energy access and development. Her interest in these matters stems from her firm belief that what happens in developing countries as they try to provide universal energy access will have profound implications in global environmental systems. There is an opportunity, however, to build innovative modern energy systems that benefit from decades of technological development and experience elsewhere. Through her research, Dr. Jaramillo aims to create the knowledge that will be required to meet global energy needs.

Mahawa Kaba-Wheeler


Director for the Department of Women, Gender and Development at the African Union Commission

Mrs Mahawa Kaba-Wheeler is the Director for the Department of Women, Gender and Development at the African Union Commission. Reporting to the Chairperson on all matters related to gender equality and women’s empowerment, Mrs. Kaba-Wheeler’s vision is to concretize the African Union’s commitments to this critical continental priority area and considers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics an essential lever towards its realization. Prior to joining the AU, Mrs. Kaba-Wheeler served in Advisory and Programme Management positions at the UN and International Development and Humanitarian Organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. Mrs. Kaba-Wheeler holds a Master in Law from the University of Gamal Abdel Nasser in her native Republic of Guinea and a Master’s of Science in Project Management from the  George Washington University in the USA.

Dr Kathy Kantengwa


FAWE Rwanda National Coordinator

Dr Kathy Kantengwa is very passionate about empowering girls through education for development, she is one of the founding and active members of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE-Rwanda chapter), and is also a founding member of the Maranyundo initiative Board that supports the Maranyundo girls school in Bugesera. Dr Kathy currently serves as FAWE Rwanda National Coordinator where she is leading initiatives to advance disadvantaged girls access to STEM education and improve use of digital content in classrooms. For much of her career, Dr Kathy held senior-level technical and management positions as a professional health planner and manager for public health programs for more than 25 years. Her work has focused in areas of health systems strengthening for the delivery of a high-quality package of basic health services. A Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kinshasa, DRC, she earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Beth Kaplin


Professor in Ecology and Conservation Science and Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management at University of Rwanda

Beth Kaplin is a Professor in Ecology and Conservation Science and Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management at University of Rwanda. She is affiliated to the Environmental Studies Dept. at Antioch University New England, USA. Biodiversity is her passion, and her research interests include forest ecological processes and restoration, primate ecology and conservation, protected areas conservation and management, human-wildlife interactions, ecosystem services and agricultural biodiversity. She has focused her career on building capacity for biodiversity conservation, research and natural resource management in Africa. She is always on the lookout for collaborative research opportunities that bring together scientists and practitioners for evidence-based management of natural resources. Her current projects involve buffer zones and biodiversity conservation, chimpanzee ecology and conservation, and mobilizing biodiversity data for effective policy-making and climate change adaptation.

Prof. Dr. Gisele Mophou Loudjom


Head of the German Research Chair in A.I.M.S Cameroon

Prof. Dr. Gisele Mophou Loudjom is a native of Cameroon. She is the head of the German Research Chair in A.I.M.S Cameroon. She received a Ph. D. in numerical Analysis in 2000 from the Université des Antilles et de Guyane (French Guiana and French west indies University). Her doctoral work deals with the study of numerical schemes of non conservative systems using the method of fractional steps. In 2001 her research interests shifted to optimal control of singular problems and controllability of partial differential equations with incomplete data and fractional differential equations. This was the beginning of an outstanding career that leads her to the Full Professorship in 2013.

Yvonne Mburu


Founder of Med In Africa

Yvonne is a scientist, consultant, and founder of Med In Africa, a platform connecting the global community of African scientists and health professionals, whose mission is to facilitate knowledge transfer and collaborations across regions, sectors and disciplines with African professionals all over the world. Yvonne is an Africa-France Foundation Young Leader and an UNLEASH Global Talent working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She is also a member of the Presidential Council for Africa for the French President Emmanuel Macron, a consultative body helping transform Africa-France relations.

Dr. Naya Mondo


CEO/Founder of Elerai Global Services LLC

Dr. Naya Mondo is CEO/Founder of Elerai Global Services LLC a social enterprise women owned sustainable energy company that is currently working in Kenya & Rwanda in rural communities to provide solar home solutions and clean cooking energy. Dr. Mondo is an innovator of a SolarWifiTM which is a plug and play cloud based solution especially conceived and innovated for rural communities in Africa. The SolarWifiTM solution helps provide transformational data informed solutions for the communities we serve. In September 2017 Women Economic Forum and All Women League awarded Dr. Mondo the Iconic Women Creating A Better World for All & Exceptional Women of Excellence for her work in sustainable energy. Dr. Naya Mondo earned her Doctorate in Organizational Learning and Leadership from Columbia University . Her research interest is Sustainable Energy, Entrepreneurship, Collaborative Inquiry and Women and Leadership.

Sylvie Mucyo


Lecturer in Environmental Sciences and Deputy overall coordinator and Student Manager of the UR-Sweden Programme for Research, Higher Education and Institutional Advancement at the University of Rwanda

Her main field of research focuses on Biowaste Management and Biowaste to Energy Development and teaching fields include Environmental Management Systems/Technical and Human aspects of Environmental Management. She has been involved in various projects tapping into Biowaste Management, Climate Change Resilience, Sustainability Appraisal and Public Consultation, Environmental auditing, Environmental Policy and Practice. She is a member of both Rwanda Environment Management Authority and Rwanda Meteorological Agency’s Board of Directors.

Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana


Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, RWANDA

Dr. Gerardine MUKESHIMANA is the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of the Republic of Rwanda. As a Minister she is responsible for oversight of all agricultural and livestock related activities in the Country, charged with new policy formulation, oversight of implementation of existing policies, work with other ministries and development partners on issues that affect the agricultural sector especially land use and land management, trade, commerce, infrastructure, gender and youth employment. Prior to that, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana worked at International Livestock Institute, MINAGRI, and the National University of Rwanda. She holds both PhD and Masters in Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology from Michigan State University.

Ivy Mwai


Senior Program Manager Scholars Program MasterCard Foundation

Ivy successfully oversaw the management of over 6000 scholars under the $128M Wings to Fly secondary school scholarship program implemented by Equity Group Foundation for three years before joining The MasterCard Foundation's Scholars Program. She has been involved with youth and education having been instrumental in the recruitment of over 3000 applicants for the African Leadership Academy in South Africa as the Director of Admissions for four years before joining Equity Group Foundation. She also published the first East African children's magazine, Maneno Magazine, and oversaw various social responsibility programmes with corporates in schools. Ivy was in the communications industry for over 10 years as an Advertising Executive with McCann Erickson Advertising Agency in Kenya and South Africa.

Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta

Ndong Jatta

Director for Multi-Sectoral Office in Nairobi for East Africa (Kenya) and UNESCO Representative to Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

Ms. Ndong-Jatta joined UNESCO in September 2004 as Director (D-1) of the Division of Basic Education in the Education Sector at Headquarters where she was responsible for policy development, research and convening of experts on basic education related issues, literacy and early childhood development. In July 2008, Ms. Ndong-Jatta was appointed with promotion to the post of Director (D-2) of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Africa (BREDA) in Dakar Senegal), which in November 2013 was transformed to the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel)within the context of the reform of the field network in Africa, and UNESCO Representative to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Niger.

Novella Nikwigize



Novella Nikwigize works for UN Women in Communication and on Women in STEM/ICT Projects. She also works in the media as a news anchor and a host of "Image de l'Afrique", a weekly show discussing with key experts on issues pertaining to the African development. She is the co-founder and Board Member of a New-York based NGO working on peace and prosperity across continents. And has worked in academia as a lecturer and researcher as well as a gender analyst, looking at challenges hindering women empowerment and gender equality. She holds a Masters in Gender from Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and is a firm believer of an African-led development and a gender advocate. As a journalist she has moderated high level events across Africa and has hosted and interviewed key personalities, including President Paul Kagame (Rwanda), President Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN Women Executive Director) among others.

Cecilia Njenga


Head of the UN Environment Office in South Africa

Cecilia Njenga, Head of the UN Environment Office in South Africa, is an Economist/Urban and Regional Planner with over twenty five years of progressive work experience in urban environmental management, policy development, analysis and implementation of which 20 years have been at the international level. During the last nineteen years, Cecilia been working with United Nations, leading regional and global programmes on climate change, sustainable development and promoting partnership building and inter-agency cooperation. She played a coordinating role for programmes such as the Gender and Environment, Urban Management Programme, Sustainable Cities Programme and the Lake Victoria City Development Strategies. In the last six years she has been tasked with establishing the strategic presence for UN Environment in the Southern Africa region. Her role has entailed political and policy analysis and assessing environmental trends in the Southern Africa region to generate knowledge, information and early warning for policy and decision making and incorporate them into policy and programme development.

Dr Jemimah Njuki


Senior Program Specialist at Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Dr Jemimah Njuki is a Senior Program Specialist at Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) where she oversees a portfolio of agriculture and food security projects focused on reducing post-harvest losses, improving nutrition and engaging women and youth in agribusiness, as well as overseeing gender integration and women's empowerment in agriculture projects in IDRC's Agriculture and Food Security Program. For the last 15 years she has carried out gender research and managed women's economic empowerment programs in Africa and Asia. She has published widely on gender and women's economic empowerment specifically in the areas of gender and technology, women and markets, and women and livestock. She has recently co-edited two books; one on 'Women and livestock in Eastern and Southern Africa', and the other on 'Transforming Gender and Food Systems in the Global South'. She is the founder and editor in chief of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. Prior to joining IDRC, she started and led the Women in Agriculture Program (Pathways to empowerment) at CARE USA, working in 6 countries in Africa and Asia and headed the Gender and Impact Program at the International Livestock Research Institute. She is an Aspen New Voices 2017 Fellow and currently chairs the advisory committee of the African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) and in the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification.

Lilian Nkengla-Asi


Visiting Scientist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Mali

Lilian Nkengla-Asi is a Visiting Scientist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Mali. Her work focuses on the integration of gender into Sorghum and Cowpea breeding programs in West and Central Africa. She participates in the development of gender protocols and gender-responsive management for data collection and qualitative research. Prior to her appointment at ICRISAT-Mali, Lilian worked as a Gender Specialist on several projects at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Cameroon. Lilian studied Women and Gender Studies as an undergraduate and holds a PhD in Gender and Natural Resource Management from Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany. She was a Visiting Fellow at IFPRI, Washington DC, 2017. She is a fellow and Sub Saharan Gender Specialist with Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) with Universities of Cornell, USA and Makerere, Uganda. She is a member of the GREAT Community of Practice Advisory Board.

Gaelle Nsengiyumva


Software Engineer & Network Expert REG / EUCL

Ms. Nsengiyumva is an embedded software engineer by training, currently working with the Rwanda Energy Group. She is involved in various system implementation projects aimed at making the utility company more effective in serving its customers. Prior to that, she worked with Wi-Tronix (Chicago, IL) and GE Transportation (Erie, PA) in developing monitoring and communication systems for the railway industry. She is passionate about empowering fellow women through education and technology.

Dr Brigitte Nyirambangutse


Lecturer in Biology at the University of Rwanda and Deputy Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management

Dr Brigitte Nyirambangutse is a Lecturer in Biology at the University of Rwanda and Deputy Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management. She received her Master of Research degree in Environmental Biology at the University of St- Andrews in Scotland. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Gothenburg, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. She served as Coordinator of the Network of Researchers and Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift. Brigitte has interest in forest ecosystems, forest and landscape restoration and environmental sciences. Her PhD research focused on Nyungwe forest, and the role that montane forests of Africa have in the global carbon cycle. Dr Brigitte is a member of several organizations including the Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network, an international effort to measure and understand forest ecosystem functions, and how these respond to climate change.

Ms. Alice Auma Ochanda


Programme Officer at the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ms. Ochanda holds a B.Ed (Honours) Degree in Education, (French and Literature) from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya; an M.A in International Studies from the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies of the University of Nairobi, Kenya; and a PhD in Anthropology with research focus on Gender and Development from the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies (IAGAS), of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is currently responsible for ensuring the mainstreaming of gender in science programmes at the regional office. Ms. Ochanda is also the Gender Focal Point for the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and Chair of the UN Gender Working Group for Kenya. She coordinates UNESCO's STEM mentorship programme that aims to unlock the potential of girls. She also coordinates UNESCO's STEM education activities in Africa for the Regional Office. Ms. Ochanda has implemented many programmes on gender Equality and women's empowerment and continues to support Governments in policy development for a more focused approached to ensuring gender equality and women's empowerment, particularly in the education sector.

Dr Akanimo Odon



Dr. Akanimo Odon is the CEO of Envirofly Consulting UK Limited and Africa Strategy Adviser of Lancaster Environment Centre of Lancaster University UK. He is also a Strategy Adviser to different UK Universities including University of London, Aberystwyth University, London School of Business and Finance, University of Strathclyde and have developed strategic partnerships with over 40 UK Universities. He is an Africa sustainable-business and education strategy expert whose links, liaisons, consultancy and support networks covers over 30 African countries. He has been a consultant to and advised several international and African bodies including British Council, African Development Bank, BG Group, Office of the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Nigerian Government, Trust Africa Senegal, African Technology Policy Studies Network Kenya, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, Copperbelt University Zambia to mention but a few. He is an expert in innovations and internationalization of higher education in Africa and an SDG implementation professional who has advised several organisations, African government agencies and private corporations on aligning their activities and operations with the remits and objectives of the SDGs.

Dr. Unoma Okorafor


Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation

Dr. Unoma Okorafor is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation. Her industry experience includes founder and CEO of several companies including Herbal Papaya a health and wellness company based in Dallas Texas. She has also served a Technical lead at Texas Instruments, and  worked at Intel, HP and IBM research labs. Dr. Okorafor is a recipient of the Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the AAUW Engineering Dissertation Fellowship and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship for promoting STEM education. She is a visiting professor at the African University of Science & Technology (AUST) Abuja Nigeria.She has been a speaker & thought leader at several events including SXSW, WISE Conference and Womens Forum. She is the recipient of the 2013 Anita Borg Social Change Agent Award and the 2016 winner of the GEM Tech Awards from ITU and UN Women.

Grace Oloukoi Ph.D


Associate Professor Department of Environmental Management & Toxicology Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria

An urban planner and environmental scientist by training, Grace’s research interests center on problems of environmental policies focusing on effects and challenges of global environmental change on water resources and the society. Her current research collaborations and consulting activities address water stewardship, gender and climate adaptation and the use of scientific evidence for co-production of knowledge. Dr. Oloukoi is a fellow of the African Climate Change Fellowship Programme (ACCFP) and the Earth Governance System. She belongs to relevant networks including Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria, Gender for Water Alliance. Other relevance connections to practice of environmental governance and gender advocacy is with Water for Life Support Foundation where she serves as the founding director, also based in Nigeria. Dr. Oloukoi continues to contribute to international debates on environmental issues through her participation in international conferences and publication of scientific papers.

Luicer Anne Ingasia Olubayo


Molecular Virologist Doctoral and Research Fellow at the Hepatitis Virus Diversity Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa

Luicer Anne Ingasia Olubayo is a Molecular Virologist Doctoral and Research Fellow at the Hepatitis Virus Diversity Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She is currently working on Characterizing Genotype E of the Hepatitis B virus replication-competent plasmids with endogenous promoters. She holds a Master's of Science in Molecular Medicine from Kenya and previously worked with the US Army Medical Research Directorate as a Research Officer. Ms. Olubayo is an Organization of Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) fellow and a 2016 recipient of the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science award. She was amongst the Geneticists that convened in Germany summer last year to assess the security implications of genome editing technology and develop policies to govern the CRISPR technology. She has an impeccable publication record of 13 in high impact peer reviewed journals.

Nadine Otsobogo


Director and founder of the Masuku Environment and Film festival

Nadine Otsobogo was born in Gabon where she grew to love the 87% tropical rainforest cover and the 20 protected waterways of her country. She is the director and founder of the Masuku Environment and Film festival. This festival highlights through film, global environmental challenges and opportunities with the intent to raise African awareness on climate change and sustainable development. The festival has been travelling from Franceville at the University of Science and Technology to Libreville, Gabon’s capital annually since 2013. A particular emphasis on youth education and engagement is highlighted by the annual selection of student videos. The 2017 edition of the film festival showcased 26 films from around the world and awarded the documentary The Voice of the Forest highlighting Mundiya Kepanga, the leader of Papua New Guinea's Huli tribe’s quest to save his rainforest, its audience award. In 2010 she created DJOBUSY Productions, an audiovisual production company.

Dr. Denis Rugege


Chairman and Managing Director of Green Economy Advisory and Research (GEAR) Ltd

Dr. Denis Rugege Chairman and Managing Director of Green Economy Advisory and Research (GEAR) Ltd. - Rwanda. He is lead expert on the Green Economy approach, anchored around resource efficient, low-carbon and climate resilient economic activity and livelihoods. His experience includes technical capacity strengthening support in the elaboration of green growth strategic frameworks into implementation programmes at national and local levels. His current activities include performance evaluations of policy and programme effectiveness for environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

Rose Rwabuhihi


Head of the Gender Monitoring Office

Currently I am the head of the Gender Monitoring Office, a government institution entrusted to contribute to ensure accountability of public, private institutions in implementing Gender Equality in Rwanda. Before Joining the Government of Rwanda since May 2013, I have worked for more than 15 years with the UN in several countries in Africa and the United States of America. I have also extensive working experience with Research institutions, and NGO.  The main focus of my work has been to promote Gender equality, Women’s Rights in development with specific focus on Governance, Peace and security and Violence against Women

Ylann Schemm


Director of the Elsevier Foundation

Ylann Schemm drives the Elsevier Foundation’s programmatic focus on advancing diversity in science, building research capacity in developing countries, global health and embedding technology for development across the portfolio. For over a decade, Ylann ran the Foundation’s New Scholars program which supports projects to help early- to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and addressed the attrition rate of talented women scientists.  She currently also serves as Director of External Partnerships within Elsevier's Global Communications group, developing in depth corporate collaborations focusing on technology and the SDGs and co-chairs the communications group for Research4Life, a UN-pan publisher access program working to bridge the digital divide.  Ylann is both American and Dutch and holds an MA in Film & Television Studies from the University of Amsterdam and a BA, magna cum laude in English from Amherst College.

Anja Kangli Schubert


German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Anja K Schubert is working at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research where she is responsible for policy issues in international development cooperation and migration, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and cooperation with South Africa, the Gulf States, Syria and Lebanon. Ms Schubert completed her First and Second Legal State Examination in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a focus on international law and international environmental law. After studying Law at the University of Cologne and Universidade de Lisboa, Ms Schubert worked as a legal assistant at the European Parliament (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), the German Consulate General in Hong Kong and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Victoria Sekitoleko


Chairperson of the governing board of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance

Chairperson of the governing board of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance whose main purpose is to provide agribusinesses with a coordinated unified voice while transforming agriculture in Uganda into an interconnected, business-oriented industry in order to drive a growing and modern economy, reduce poverty, ensure food and nutrition security, protect the environment and return a profit at every link in the value chain. Chairperson of the panel of Judges for the "Best Farmer Competition" at the New Vision Group.
Founder and Managing Director of the Uganda Culture Community Centre through which she promotes reading by establishing and supporting both urban and rural community libraries. Training people in public speaking at the Speakers' Forum. Rotarian and Agriculture Activist

Barbara Atogho Tiedeu


Deputy Head of the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine and Metabolism at the Biotechnology Center of UYI

Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Barbara ATOGHO TIEDEU holds a "Doctorat de Troisieme Cycle" (1997) and "Doctorat d'Etat" (2006) from the University of Yaounde I (UYI), Cameroon; with a postgraduate internship at Imperial College, London, UK (1994-1995). Lecturing at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, she does research as Deputy Head of the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine and Metabolism at the Biotechnology Center of UYI, with 30 publications and 2 book chapters. A consultant and assessor/auditor in Quality Assurance and Good Laboratory Practice for, and trained by, the WHO, CDC Atlanta and Ministry of Public Health, she is also a seasoned bioethicist and an EU National Contact Point (NCP). She is focal point of COACh Cameroon (advancement of women in the Sciences) and member of the Higher Institute for Growth in Health Research for Women (HIGHER) Consortium.

Dr. Eliane Ubalijoro


Executive director of C.L.E.A.R. International Development Inc

Eliane Ubalijoro is the executive director of C.L.E.A.R. International Development Inc. She is a Professor of Practice at McGill University, a member of Rwanda's National Science and Technology Council, a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and a Board member of the International Leadership Association. Eliane is a member of Rwanda's Presidential Advisory Council. A former scientific director in a biotechnology company, she has co-lead Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Exploration grants related to neglected tropical disease drug discovery and innovative participatory feedback from female smallholder farmers. Eliane has facilitated the leadership experiences module in the Emerging Leaders for Sustainable Community Development program co-lead by The Duke of Edinburgh's Emerging Leaders' Dialogues, McGill and Vancouver Island University. She has consulted in Haiti and Africa in economic green growth pathways. Eliane gave a TEDx talk on Reimaging the World from Scarcity to Prosperity.

Solange Uwituze


Program Manager for Partnerships and Business Management at the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)

Solange Uwituze is a Rwandan with a PhD in Animal Sciences. She is currently the Program Manager for Partnerships and Business Management at the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). She previously served as the RUFORUM Program Manager for Training and Quality assurance. She was a Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Rwanda (UR). She has 10-year experience in leadership and management of various multilateral Capacity Building projects. She served as the Project Director of Women Leadership Program in Agriculture under USAID/HED. She worked as the Director of NICHE project under NUFFIC to develop a gender-sensitive Agroforestry/Forestry/ Agriculture Extension Center at UR. Dr. Uwituze is a Founding Fellow of the Rwanda Academy for Science where she heads the Agricultural & Environmental Sciences section. She is a member of the Scientific Programme Committee of Next Einstein Forum, an initiative of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).

Professor Heidi van Rooyen


Executive Director of the Human and Social Development Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa

Professor Heidi van Rooyen is the Executive Director of the Human and Social Development Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa. This multidisciplinary programme explores complex questions about society and groups of people living in adversity over the life course. Heidi is a social scientist with a PhD in psychology with a professorship from the University of the Witwatersrand. For more than two decades her work has addressed HIV risks and vulnerability as well as the broader contexts and inequalities that shape this risk. She is the principle investigator (PI) or co-PI on several studies ranging from 2-5 years: (1) a study exploring a family-based approach to HIV; (2) a study addressing the relationship and how these impact HIV prevention and treatment among male-male partners in South Africa and Namibia; (3) the Do-ART study which looks at community-based strategies for delivering ART, and (4) the Lotto to Link and Zakwala Ndoda studies which test novel ways of engaging men in testing and treatment.

Dr Miyoko O. Watanabe


Deputy Executive Director at Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Vice-President of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) and a Member of Specialist Committee on Formulating the Fourth Basic Plan for Gender Equality in the Council for Gender Equality of the Cabinet Office of Japan; Chair, Gender Summit 10 Asia-Pacific

Miyoko O. Watanabe is Deputy Executive Director at Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Vice-President of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) and a Member of Specialist Committee on Formulating the Fourth Basic Plan for Gender Equality in the Council for Gender Equality of the Cabinet Office of Japan. She also serves as Director of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at JST. She has a long experience of research in semiconductor physics at Toshiba R&D Center in Japan. She conducted her physics research as Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University, Canada as well as Visiting Researcher at Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory, The University of Birmingham, U.K. She served in various roles including Senior Research Scientist, Chief Specialist at Audit Division, and Executive Quality Leader at Innovation Division of Toshiba Headquarters.

Beate Wilhelm


International Collaboration – DFG

Beate is a sociologist, educated in research in economics and politics in developing countries. She received her doctorate in medical sociology. Beate works at DFG, the German Research Foundation for fundamental research of any scientific area in Germany. Her special task in the International Affairs department of DFG is the facilitation und support of research cooperation between African and German researchers, as DFG wants to connect the German researchers with the best researchers worldwide. So connects people who can do research together, through workshops together with the AIMS centres and through calls in cooperation with TWAS or with the African Science Granting Councils. Thus DFG has to rely on partnerships with academic organisations on the African continent, always trying to involve an equal proportion of female researchers. As a funder of basic research we face the challenge to connect fundamental research with the impact that is needed for economic and social development.

Boubakar Yougbare


African Union International Center for Girls and Women Education (AU/CIEFFA) in Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO

Boubakar YOUGBARE is working with the African Union International Center for Girls and Women Education (AU/CIEFFA) in Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO; in charge of advocating for the named agenda at the continental level. His work focuses on reinforcing the Legal and Institutional Framework for Girls and Women education in Africa, encouraging a conducive Teaching and Learning Environment, and supporting Girls in Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET). Boubakar collaborates closely with Member states to push the girls and women education agenda forward at continental level; he also ensures to mainstream gender Equality in Education Systems. He is a graduate in Law and International Affairs from the University of Ouagadougou and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and has been working with the African Union Commission for the past five years. His range of expertize include Youth Empowerment, TVET as well as of Strategic Partnerships.

Espérance Zossou


Lecturer-Scientist at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin

Espérance ZOSSOU is working as a Lecturer-Scientist at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. She majored in September 2013 with a PhD in agricultural extension, learning and innovation systems, from Liege University, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, in Belgium. Before joining the university in 2016, she worked in international and national Research and Development Institutes, especially Africa Rice Center, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, and some divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture in Benin. Through these various positions, she has gained strong experiences and skills in conducting Research-Action on (i) Agricultural innovation system approaches to boost technological and institutional changes at the farm level but also, policy and system-wide changes at higher levels across agricultural value chains; (ii) Gender analysis approaches to improve farmers sustainable livelihood; (iii) Agri-business; and Experimental Economy. She won in 2010 the third-place trophy for the African Women Competition in Science.