The EJS Center uses a three-strand interwoven approach to address the challenge of gender inequality: leadership development; research & communications and archives. They have just recently announced the third cohort of accomplished African women – the 2023 Amujae Leaders.
The third cohort is made up of 12 women leaders from 10 countries across the African continent. They include current government ministers, members of parliament, senior government advisors, and activists engaged with issues ranging from economic development to gender equality and youth empowerment.
Chilando Chitangala is the current Mayor of Lusaka, Zambia and was recently elected the Covenant of Mayors in sub-Saharan Africa (CoMSSA) RMF Vice-chairperson. As mayor, she oversees planning and decision-making at the city level, and is passionate about improving data collection and management for planning and decision making, gender and social inclusion, climate change and environmental protection, strategic and integrated planning, slum upgrading, and the empowerment of marginalized groups. A hands-on mayor, she creates and sustains partnerships and income-generating initiatives to provide equitable services for the city, improve and upgrade the informal settlements, and fight HIV/AIDS by meeting the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS.
Chipokota Mwanawasa is the Policy Advisor to the President of Zambia, His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, and also serves as the Deputy Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit. Prior to this, she was the Legal Officer and Executive Assistant to the Vice-President of Human Capital at one of Africa’s largest integrated copper mines. In addition to her corporate and political career, she is also an agri-entrepreneur and trade retailer, having set up an innovative livestock crowd-farming venture, which she has grown into a meat retail SME.
Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah is a gender advocate, humanitarian surgeon, educationist, and philanthropist. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a Medical Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She is a double board-certified surgeon trained in general surgery, having completed a trauma and burn fellowship and trained in reconstructive surgery too. In addition to this, she holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health in International Health Management and Planning with special certification in humanitarian assistance and disaster management from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene Public Health. Dr. Ayensu-Danquah has also worked in private practice in the United States and holds licenses to practice in California, Michigan, and Maryland.
The Honourable Emma Inamutila Theofelus is a lawyer, Member of Parliament, and the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology in the Republic of Namibia. During her time in Parliament, she has made active strides toward improving the lives of women and girls. Most notably, in 2021, she successfully moved a motion in Parliament to remove tax on all sanitary products in Namibia, which is currently under implementation. In addition, she is focused on better communicating the activities and programs of the Government of the Republic of Namibia, creating a more digitally literate nation, increasing access to the internet among Namibians, and assisting in preparing the Namibian nation for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Fatou Jagne Senghore is a Gambian human rights advocate with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She founded ARTICLE 19’s West Africa office in Senegal in 2010 after joining the organization in 2002 as an Africa Programme Officer in South Africa. For more than a decade, she oversaw the organization’s work in West Africa. She led ARTICLE 19’s work with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), advocating for the adoption of a declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, and the establishment of the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa in 2004. She has contributed to legal reforms in many countries, advocated and litigated on behalf of journalists and human rights defenders. Prior to ARTICLE 19, she worked for the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and developed programmes for the judiciary and legal practitioners in the Gambia.
Her Excellency Gladys Wanga is the Governor of Homa Bay County, Kenya. In 2003, Ms. Wanga made history as the first woman Secretary-General of the Student’s Union at Kenyatta University, where she pursued her BSc and MSc in Health Management. She later served as a project manager for ten years at the Trust for African Rock Art and Liverpool VCT Health. In 2013, Ms. Wanga became the first woman representative for Homa Bay County and was re-elected unopposed in 2017. She also served as a commissioner in the Parliamentary Service Commission, becoming the first woman commissioner from the Nyanza Region. Additionally, she became the Orange Democratic Movement Party’s Chairperson for Homa Bay County, a fiercely competitive position that no woman had previously vied for.
Joanah Mamombe is currently the youngest woman Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe’s National Assembly, having been elected in 2018 under the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Party led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. Ms. Mamombe is also a parliamentary candidate in the upcoming elections scheduled for July 2023. Beyond political advocacy, Ms. Mamombe is also a molecular biologist who graduated with a master’s degree in molecular biology and genetic manipulation from the Universities of Bergen in Norway and Sussex in the United Kingdom. In 2012, Ms. Mamombe served as the first woman secretary general in the students’ representative council at Chinhoyi University of Technology. In 2013 she became the Secretary for Gender Affairs in the Zimbabwe’s foremost students’ union, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).
Joyce Chitsulo is a Member of Parliament for Malawi’s Mwanza West Constituency. In parliament, she chairs the Public Appointments Committee, the Monitoring Committee on Public Officers Declaration, and serves as the current chairperson for all chairperson committees. Ms. Chitsulo is the first woman to be elected as a member of parliament in her constituency. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development and has very strong skills and knowledge in this field, especially in project management, advocacy, proposal and report writing, HIV/AIDS, gender, and participatory methods. She has a vast knowledge of Malawi’s governance system, and has worked on various projects related to gender and human rights both in Malawi and internationally. She is skilled in working with diverse communities, including people with special needs and vulnerable populations, particularly refugees. Her teaching background provided the foundation for her to hone her ability to connect with people of different backgrounds, interests, ages, and socioeconomic statuses. These qualities are why the people of Mwanza voted for her as their first woman representative.
Moriah Kou Dwehde Yeakula is a Lawyer, Political Activist, Feminist and Administrator. She is currently the Chief of Staff to Liberian presidential candidate Mr. Alexander B. Cummings (former Coca-Cola Executive Vice President) and Junior Legal Counsel for the CIH Group Ltd. She previously worked in public service in senior administrative roles at both the municipal and national government levels. Moriah began her career in administration over a decade ago at Liberia’s National Port Authority, in the Office of the Managing Director, providing support to the Board of Directors. She later worked with the City Government of Monrovia serving as Executive Assistant to the Mayor. In 2014 she was appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Assistant Minister for Administration (Ministry of Labor. She transitioned to the private sector in 2018 and began law practice with the Heritage Partner & Associates (HPA) Law Firm, a leading law firm in Liberia. The focus of her law practice is family and public interest law and providing pro-bono legal services to indigent women and girls. She has also provided legal consultancy to several national and international women-led NGOs in Liberia with focus on creating awareness on women’s rights and access to justice.
Peggy Onkutlwile Serame is the Minister of Finance for the Republic of Botswana, a position she has held since 16th April 2021. Prior to this, she served as the Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry from November 2019 to April 2021. Ms. Serame was Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary to the President from September to November 2019. Prior to her appointment as Minister, she was Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry from January 2015 to November 2019. Ms. Serame is an Economist with a Master’s Degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics. She has served in various positions in the Public Service, including Director for Macroeconomic Policy (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development) and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Economic Diversification Drive (Ministry of Trade and Industry). From 4th January to 7th July 2007, she was placed at the World Bank in Washington DC on Special Assignment under the Voice Secondment Program.
Seregbe Keita is a former Chief of Staff, International Development and Humanitarian Expert, Public Policy Analyst, Computer Specialist, Lecturer, and Ph.D. Candidate from the Republic of Guinea.
Until recently, Ms. Keita served as the first woman Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House in Guinea (2020-2022). During her time as Chief of Staff, she led reforms and ambitious projects in Guinea’s parliament focused on the digitalization and modernization of the parliamentary administration. She also led a series of reforms in the president’s office.
Prior to this, she served as Country Director on behalf of several international non-governmental organizations, including OXFAM, Action Against Hunger, AMURT, and ALIMA in the Great Lakes region, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean. She also served as the Civil Affairs Officer on behalf of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
Sona Traore Sesay is an educational leader with a mission-driven mindset to create ethical and effective leadership in educational settings while building authentic partnerships with
Ms. Traore Sesay is currently the Executive Director of the LEAD Monrovia Football Academy, a non-profit organization that uses football as a hook to provide quality education, break down gender barriers, and prepare students to lead positive change in Liberia. She has over five years of leadership experience in organizations where she made her mark by inspiring many girls and women to occupy space and become better versions of themselves.
Prior to this role, she served as a teacher and life skills program officer at LEAD Monrovia
Football Academy and as a leader in education who demonstrated different strategies which
improved the learning performances of young people.