Lynnet’s excellent academic performance earned her a Constituency Bursary to attend the Alliance Girls School in Kenya. As straight-A student, she was consistently ranked among the top students throughout her four years at secondary school, and sees her attendance at UBC as a symbol of hope for girls like herself, who were raised in slums and faced many barriers to education. Akech’s extra-curricular record reflects her passion for helping her community. She was a member of the Akinah organization, comprised of 20 girls, whose main focus is to collect materials from members of the community to donate to a local children’s home. She was an active member of the Kenya Red Cross Society, where she participated in educating her community on disaster management and aversion, and helped to provide shelter and clothing to people living in Kenya’s slums. Lynnet is studying Economics and pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC.
Ani has grown up in Nigeria, and believes that “there is no greater service than that to a fellow human.” As a member of Wavecrest Study Centre for Girls and an active participant in her school’s annual holiday charity projects, she visited hospital patients to assist in their daily care, and travelled to impoverished neighbourhoods to provide health products and seminars on hygiene and healthy living. She has an outstanding academic track record, and was the first student in the history of Rainbow College to score the highest possible score of A1 in English Language, as well as her other courses across Arts and Science. She served as Head Girl, and earned the title of valedictorian in 2009-10. Having gained a deeper understanding of economics as an intern at ARM Pensions in Lagos, she believes that poverty must be tackled with unprejudiced social, political, and economic policies and principles. She hopes to become an economist focused on issues of poverty and inequalities not only in Nigeria, but throughout Africa, impacting the rest of the world. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC.
Joseph is a graduate of Chizongwe Technical Secondary School in Zambia. His keen interest in forestry and agriculture comes from his experience working to improve his family’s farm yields, as well as working together with members of his village to improve safety and quality of living, especially in the face of challenges posed by heavy rains. He has worked as a Peer Educator focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention education, and organized events for the local community, including inviting doctors to lead seminars in his village. His long-term career goals are to be part of the Zambia Forest Management Board to help improve the management of precious yet limited forestry resources through sustainable development as a key to poverty reduction, enhancing prosperity, and protecting our planet. After researching UBC’s initiatives in Africa, he feels that pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at UBC will be an excellent step in achieving his goals.
Libia is a graduate of Liquidnet High School at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwanda. A self-described curious person, he possesses an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, from academics to agriculture, world-famous natural sites and human-made structures. Dedicated to sharing his love of learning, Libia volunteered in his community to teach English to primary school students. He was drawn to UBC because of its excellence in multidisciplinary research, as his own experience with subsistence farming in Rwanda has emphasized the connections between agriculture, malnutrition, economic inflation, and international relations. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC, with a particular interest in economics.
Fundamentally driven by the belief that “There is simply no greater, nobler purpose to science than the preservation of life”; Juma has been fascinated with Health sciences and research since childhood. He began conducting his own research on elementary Microbiology and Geology as a hobby. Later on at St Mary’s College Kisubi, he become involved in the Science and Technology Innovations Challenge in his home country of Uganda. Responding to needs in his own community, he designed an artificially intelligent robotics project (HYDRA 256) that focused on curbing water-borne diseases and solving other water-related issues. Academically driven, he emerged as the top student in O and A Levels while attending St Mary’s College Kisubi, and regularly wrote informative health articles for the school’s magazine. He looks forward to studying in an internationally renowned institution, stating that UBC’s outstanding facilities are only matched by his own enthusiasm for innovation, research, and overall passion for science. Juma is pursuing a Bachelor of Science, focussing on Microbiology and Immunology with the ultimate goal of one day becoming a doctor.
There is an African Proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Akua’s time at UBC has been a reminiscent of this proverb. At UBC, she has been involved in various extracurricular activities such as being the VP Finance of the Africa Awareness Initiative, a student run organization that aims to further the discourse of the African Continent on campus through discussions and conferences. She was also a student leader for UBC Reading Week Community Project, a Residence Advisor, an Assistant at the Chapman Learning Commons and a Community Animator at the Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge Resource Centre, a space where she learned, unlearned and relearned what it means a global citizen. Akua’s involvement and academic performance made her the recipient of the Faculty of Arts International Student Scholarship and International Community Achievement Award (Vancouver campus). She hopes that with a degree in Economics and Mathematics, minor Commerce, she would contribute to the growth of the continent of Africa as an Economist and create a space with after school programs where students are supported to tap into their fullest potential.
Scotch graduated from Kisumu Girl’s High School in Kenya, where she spent much of her spare time volunteering with children at the orphanage, a place where she feels most at home. Her passion for community involvement has led her to work with the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the registration of voters during the general election process. She was highly involved with the March 2013 Kenyan Elections where she registered voters, made registration cards, delivered daily reports, and actively encouraged everyone to participate in the election process. Scotch is passionate about business and entrepreneurship, and her long-term career goals are to become a finance executive and run her own business. She acknowledges the difficulties of the environment where she grew up, and is confident that her UBC education will allow her to become an excellent entrepreneur, capable of identifying and filling market gaps while working closely with a network of business partners. Scotch is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at UBC, and is looking forward to majoring in Finance.
Retsepile won a competitive scholarship to study at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland. She has a great passion for community service, and has been actively involved in initiatives to support the people around her, including the Community Entrepreneurship Development Club, where she offered one-on-one support with a community member in order to establish a successful market. Retsepile is interested in studying Mining Engineering at UBC, as improving environmental outcomes of mining processes is one of her greatest values. She hopes to one day start her own company in Lesotho, where she can contribute to her country’s economy and improve the current standards of living. She is also committed to creating volunteering opportunities for youth in her local community, as she believes there is nothing more rewarding. Retsepile is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science at UBC.
Mercy is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from Kenya. She graduated from UBC with a Bachelor’s degree in Food Nutrition and Health. Mercy is passionate about Global Health and Nutrition and hopes to use her knowledge and experiences to improve health outcomes by informing effective, evidence based policy. Inspired by her Internship with PATH where she co-authored the very first human milk banking guidelines for Kenya, she hopes to learn more about the policy environment within global health and collaborate on health-related research projects. Mercy is looking for challenging opportunities in the health and nutrition field.
Abenezer is in his final year of Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences specializing in Power Systems and Power Electronics Engineering. He was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he successfully completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Sandford International School. Throughout his childhood, he has experienced constant power cuts and power shortage problems due to ill-maintained power distribution and transmission systems across the city. This sparked his interest to study Electrical Engineering to understand the root causes and provide solution. As part of his career development, he interned at Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya; where he did a feasibility study on various desalination technologies and recommended on how to proceed with liquid waste treatment. He also managed to build a low-cost remote monitoring device from scratch to control key parameters of a Nitrification Reactor. For his second internship, he went back to his home country to work with a team of Engineers at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology on a project that aims to design, prototype and manufacture Electric Vehicles locally. There, he thoroughly investigated technologies that are being used in modern Electric Vehicles focusing on electrical sensors and selected appropriate ones.
Abenezer plans to use his knowledge and experience acquired throughout his Undergraduate degree to help make positive impact on society. His interests include power systems, power electronics, hardware designing and troubleshooting. He is a curious and optimistic person.
Left to Right: Lynnet Akech, Ani Nkiru, Joseph Banda, Libia Niyodusenga, Juma Orach, Phanes Scotch, Nana Akua Sakyi, Ret’sepille Sello, Mercy Wanalo, Abenezer Woldehana- MCF Graduation Celebration 2018
Undergraduate Cohort 1 (2013-2017)
Bachelor in Cognitive Systems, Cognition and Brain
Faculty of Science
Tamara comes from the Maru-a-Pula (MaP) school in Botswana, where she completed her secondary education with the support of the renowned Allan Gray Orbis scholarship. Tamara’s values lie in helping her community work together to improve their quality of life. She has exhibited great leadership in school and community initiatives including the MaP recycling team’s efforts to promote a healthier campus, and the “Eduvolunteers” team to tutor students in government-assisted secondary schools. Tamara has given back to her school as a Teacher’s Aide in the Science department and has been commended for her maturity, sincerity and reliability. She believes that “Africa needs innovative and pro-active ‘change-agents’ to overcome its challenges” and seeks to study Public Health to contribute to her country. At UBC, Tamara pursued a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Systems.
At UBC Brian was involved in student leadership as the president of the Africa Awareness Initiative, a student run organization at UBC that promotes inclusive dialogue about Africa on campus; as well as a Community Animator at the Simon K Y Lee Global Lounge, a space on campus that facilitates dialogue and collaboration among globally minded student groups. In addition, he was the Technology Co-chair at the UBC African Business Club, another student led organization that creates a platform for industry professionals and students to discuss enterprise on the African Continent. Brian has been involved in undergraduate research and some of his notable work includes a project aiming to make assistive hearing technologies more accessible and affordable; this research has been the recipient of many awards including the UBC International Service Learning award. Brian also speaks five languages and has a keen interest in effecting social change through entrepreneurship, and using engineering solutions cultivated through his studies in Electrical Engineering and Commerce.
Teboho is a determined and highly gifted individual, and one of the top students of the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) from Lesotho. He has exhibited high levels of dedication to his academics and is a natural thinker and problem solver. Teboho has been able to apply his interest in chemistry to increase awareness of how the environment and climatic changes affect local farming. He has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture in setting up farming workshops for different communities, and is pursuing Chemical Engineering to expand on his efforts to give back to his country. Teboho believes that small contributions can have major impacts on someone’s life, and dedicates his free time to volunteering at a local orphanage.
Johnston comes from Kilifi, a coastal town north of Mombasa, Kenya. Has pursued a Bachelor of commerce, specializing in Business Technology Management and Accounting, at the UBC Sauder School of Business. During his time at UBC, he participated in the Sauder Social Entrepreneurship (SSE) Program – a four-week program aimed at imparting fundamentals of entrepreneurship to youth living in the slums of Kibera and Mathare in Kenya. He plans to utilize his background in commerce to become a serial entrepreneur and help fellow young people develop an entrepreneurial culture. He strongly believes that entrepreneurship will empower people living in disadvantaged conditions to seek out opportunities that will enable them to be financially free, hence reduce poverty in the country. This will eventually transform the economy by steering it towards more equitable growth. He has also just completed an internship at the Competition Authority of Kenya, a government body mandated to ensure market efficiency and consumer protection in the country. Outside of school, he enjoys running and playing soccer to stay fit and healthy. He has been involved with UBC Intermural and is a long time member of the Africa Awareness Chiefs soccer team.Johnston is currently working before planning to joining graduate school to pursue an MBA program.
Patrick is a motivated and hardworking individual, who, as a member of the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, completed his secondary education with courage, resilience and determination, before coming to UBC. He has been heavily involved in a number of voluntary initiatives that seek to improve the conditions of his community. In high school, he was part of a program called “TIKKUN OLAM”, Hebrew for “Heal the World,” where he helped to secure food, shelter and life insurance for the most vulnerable members of the district. Patrick has continued to support his community through initiatives such as “One Laptop per Child” that teaches children how to use laptops, and “One Acre Fund” that helps farmers increase their yield. After graduation in Bachelor of Science in Land & Food Systems, Patrick will go back to Rwanda to give back all he learned from his time at UBC to his country by working with local farmers as a way to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Four of our undergraduate scholars celebrating their graduation in April 2017.
Ransford Danny Kofi Buah
Master of Sustainable Forest Management
Faculty of Forestry
Because of the financial hardships he experienced, Kofi has developed a concern for those who live in deprived communities and do not have the privilege of education. He envisages himself as a “philanthropist to bring smiles on the faces of poor underprivileged people in Ghana and Africa.”
Kofi believes that every successful achievement requires a great amount of determination. His career goal is to become a development-oriented conservation activist, working with research-based groups in the fields of forest and biodiversity conservation, as a way of improving the economy of Ghana and Africa, while ensuring sustainability. The Master of Sustainable Forest Management Program interests him because it focuses on placing conservation attention on forest resources. Motivated by the devastating decrease in Ghana’s natural resources, he is determined to ensure that the forest resources are managed sustainably.
Abia is very passionate about helping communities through the provision of solutions using his engineering and interpersonal skills. After completing his undergraduate degree, Abia was recruited as a research assistant at Makerere University to work at Smallholder Fortunes & Thermogenn on a project which helps to understand the market milk value chain in Uganda and also develops milk preservation technologies for smallholder farmers. Working as a research and development engineer, his team developed a unique innovation branded “EvaKuula”, allowing farmers to preserve their milk for longer periods and as a result, doubling their incomes from milk sales. Through interactions with the EvaKuula adopting community, Abia realized that a successful solution is a solution which transforms people’s lives.
Abia loves his country and communities; he is driven by his desire to help people who need solutions for the problems they are experiencing. After his journey through Northern Uganda, Abia realized that the region is always struck by long and recurrent drought periods due to climate change, without any adaptation strategies put in place to overcome the impacts. Abia plans to pursue a Masters of Land and Water Systems in order to enable him to bring new innovations to this region and aid in the well-being of both people and livestock in this area.
Nkem’s passion for giving back has always been one of her strengths. For volunteer work, she served on a records team that took the information of children in slums who were not in school. These records served as a database for the Slum to School project team in order to seek sponsorships for these children. She also volunteered as a part time accountant at the Irede Foundation, an NGO which provides prostheses for children born with disabilities or who had to have their limbs amputated. From 2013 to date, as part of her personal give back to the community, she assisted small business owners with their everyday business needs for free, specifically in the areas of accounting and finance, marketing and sales, ICT and customer care. Most recently, Nkem worked as an accountant with GTI Microfinance Bank where she linked small business owners to micro and medium term loans. For Nkem, her professional and personal achievements are intertwined.
Nkem is excited about the opportunity to learn in an environment that not only teaches entrepreneurship and leadership but goes further to link this on a global level. She plans on using her degree to pursue a career as a SME consultant, one who would use this knowledge gained in forming a consultancy for those who need professional business advice and services at an affordable fee. Nkem full heartedly believes in the possibility of Nigeria rising up to be recognized for its industrial, economic, political and socio-cultural activities in the world. She plans to be part of this change in her country and is excited to have the MasterCard Foundation as her ally.
Monicah’s determination to conquer the world can be proven by her continuous academic excellence as an Equity Group Foundation Scholar in Kenya. The most important thing to her is changing the world and for Africa to become a better place for mankind in food security and safety. Monicah is interested in agricultural research, food safety, quality assurance and risk analysis.
In December 2012, Monicah realized there was a need for action to mitigate the rate of school drop outs and co-founded a youth group by the name MAKE (Mithanduku-ini Aspiration for Knowledge Empowerment). Through her work with MAKE, Monicah realized her passion for academics and has since mentored students in her home village, offered career guidance and acted as a motivational speaker.
Monicah is pursuing a Masters in Food Science at UBC in order to be in the forefront of academia as a career and to train other Kenyans on the dangers of food poisoning. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and is looking forward to venturing into the Kenyan food industry to ensure food quality is never compromised. She plans to partner her degree with giving back to the community through conducting feeding programs to increase food security during times of drought and famine.
Olivier comes from a small family farm in the Gatsibo district in Rwanda. Olivier has always been passionate about community development and making positive changes in his society. During his studies at university, Olivier co-founded the National University of Rwanda Agribusiness Association (NURAAS) and as President, created the “After University Program” linking students of agriculture with organizations and government institutions for internships opportunities and career development. In 2013, through joining the Rwanda Organization for Agribusiness Promotion (ROAP), Olivier mentored 25 agricultural cooperatives on farmer entrepreneurship, effective farming practices, and environmental education. In 2015, Olivier came to the realization that rural areas were filled with untapped opportunities and as a result, equipped youth with the tools to help them unlock their opportunities.
Olivier is excited about the opportunity to come to UBC to get a chance to interact with students from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds. He has experienced firsthand that effort does not always equal return in subsistence farming. Olivier plans to pursue a degree in Master of Food Resource Economics in order to establish an entrepreneurship hub in Rwanda where he will empower and equip local and youth entrepreneurs with business skills and link them to potential investors and financial institutions.
Bamidele is a “tireless teacher and generous with his kindness, working hard to engender a sense of pragmatic stewardship in rural peoples.” After founding an NGO in 2011, Bamidele became a state coordinator for the Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria and a regional representative of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance. Through this experience, he has developed strong communication and collaboration skills working in partnership with international nonprofits including Plant for the Planet in Germany, Viola in Russia and locally with the Walter Carrington Youth Fellowship Program of the United States Consulate in Nigeria.
In April 2016, Bamidele coordinated the Step–up Green Initiative, to inform young students across major secondary schools of the impacts of climate change and ecosmart technologies. The goal was to empower youth to be focal points of change within their schools and respective homes while setting an example of how their choices and lifestyles can make a long-term difference. This project allowed Bamidele to create a platform that brought together youth, non-profit institutions, academics and policy makers in ensuring a landmark achievement in eco-sustainable practices.
Bamidele has been building himself a career path molded by international perspectives on forestry and environment. He plans to pursue a Masters in International Forestry in order to improve his scope on international forest policies, governance and especially in the area of diplomacy and negotiation engagements.
Growing up in an immediate family of five in the remote and quiet town of Ilaro, Nigeria, Debbie learned the virtues of humanitarianism and leadership from her parents. These virtues ignited a desire to be in a role that allowed her to assist people and empower people towards a path of self-worth and self-sufficiency. Throughout her life, she states that she has had multiple experiences that have taught her “life is like a boomerang, our actions today always catch up with us in the future and a good turn deserves another”. Debbie’s major drive for her personal goals is the need to empower people for sustainability.
Most recently, she was a member and facilitator for the Agro-allied community development service (CDS) group of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program. She organized sensitization sessions for students and establishes young farmers’ clubs in secondary schools in her community through educating farmers in seminars and practical sessions.
The Master of Food Resource and Economics program interests Debbie due to its broad based professional approach. She hopes to gain knowledge, skills and experience that are necessary for solving real problems in the food and resource sectors. She plans to use her degree to help her develop an ability to make the right economic decisions, review various approaches that engender food security, and understand the dynamics of food and resource markets.
Fulu was a strong innovator throughout his high school years and had a knack for applying academic theories to complex problems. Fulu scored particularly well in Science and Mathematics which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the National University of Lesotho. Fulu excelled in his undergraduate studies and received several awards, including best third year and best graduating student awards in his department.
Following his undergraduate studies, Fulu developed a passion for leadership and management programmes as he recognized the potential impact strong leaders can have on the development of his country. Fulu notes that there is a shortage of business leadership and management expertise in Lesotho and believes the Master of Business Administration at UBC will be instrumental in helping him achieve his goal of establishing a business consultancy firm. His aim is to provide African citizens with business management and leadership skills at an affordable cost with the hopes that this will make a substantial impact on the economic growth and development in Lesotho.
Outside of his studies, Fulu currently volunteers as an event coordinator of a local soccer tournament in his community that aims to unite and strengthen relationships between residents and to keep youth engaged and off the streets.
Oladimeji has always had a passion for learning and took his academic work very seriously. Throughout his teenage years in high school in Nigeria, Oladimeji was particularly strong in organic chemistry and biology. Oladimeji took his love for teaching and science to the Federal University of Technology where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and graduated in the top 1% of his class. His final year research project found that the level of antioxidant potential of mango wine improved with the seed and leaves of the Moringa Oleifera.
Outside of academics Oladimeji is involved in a local community project around food security. As an active member of Agro-Allied Community Development Service Group (a voluntary and non-profit body), Oladimeji was appointed as the assistant project coordinator for this project.
Oladimeji is excited to start his Master of Food Science as the program is a key step for him in achieving his long term career and personal goals. Oladimeji plans to use his MFS training to improve the nutritional value of cassava, to combat the issue of nutrition deficiency. Upon his return to home to Nigeria, Oladimeji plans to find work as graduate research assistant working in food security.
Josephine was determined to study as school was the one place she found the most happiness and a sense of belonging. Josephine was admitted into one of Ghana’s top universities, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and completed a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources Technology. Driven by her passion for meaningful community service, Josephine served as an interviewer for a household survey component of a study that was designed to assess the economic value of key ecosystem services, notably water provided by the Atewa Forest in Ghana. The outcomes of this project would contribute to the decision making process, and improve protection of the Atewa forest while working towards a government led process to change the protection status of the Forest Reserve into a National Park.
The decision to study the Master of Sustainable Forest Management at the University of British Columbia underlines her desire to be a part of an education system that has a long standing tradition of comprehensive research-based teaching and learning. The MSFM program will offer Josephine the ideal platform to specialize in knowledge-specific forestry practices. Josephine’s career aspiration after the course is to work with research based groups in forestry and nature conservation, to improve research and enhance environmental sustainability to protect and empower the poor. Josephine has a passion to give back to society and her priority is to honour all the support and help she has received so far by becoming a renowned researcher and conservation activist as well as to start a non-profit organization that will offer support to young girls.
In 2017, Charles graduated from the Master of Land and Water System at the University of British Columbia and holds BSc in Civil Engineering. Throughout his studies, Charles has always thrived for excellence; he believed that it was not only a choice but also a key and a must for great opportunities such as a life changing UBC MCF Scholarship.
After completing his BSc degree, Charles worked as a district engineer for Gasabo district; one of the districts in Kigali City, the capital City of the country of thousand hills in the heart of Africa (Rwanda). Since 2015, Charles has been actively engaged in youth empowerment and advocating for youth participation in decision making through SOS Children’s Village International -2030 Youth Coalition which is made up with youth from different countries. In 2016, Charles was elected to be the spokesperson of the Coalition.
Now, that Charles has accrued sufficient knowledge from a world class University, he is determined to contribute his skills wholeheartedly to address the emerging environmental issues regarding climate change, land and water resources management. Charles’s biggest dream is to contribute his skills to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), because he believes that access to safe water and affordable sanitation are essential for human health, healthy ecosystems and sustainable development.
From a young age, Grace was known for planting trees around her home. She developed a passion for environmental issues because the local river and forest area in her village was being depleted to make way for agriculture development. Her desire to see the environment in her community maintained led her down an academic path of general science throughout her secondary education. Grace’s passion for the environment led her to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management. Some of Grace’s work during her undergraduate degree focused on wildfire management and included a week-long wildfire education project in Tepa Abonsuaso, a forest fringe community where she has spent the early part of her childhood. The goal of the project was to inform people about the causes, effects, dangers as well as possible remedies of wildfires.
Grace has noted that the urgency to curtail the negative backlashes of natural resource depletion has depended on professionals who have the knowledge and experience to sensitize and educate the general public on sustainable natural resources management. Grace believes that the Master of International Forestry program will provide her with the knowledge and skills to tackle two important environmental issues she is passionate about – nature conservation in city environments as well as the increasing risk of wildfires in Ghana.
Alfred Baafi Acheampong is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, Environmental Systems professional, and an Entrepreneur. Alfred holds a Master’s degree in Land and Water Systems from the University of British Columbia, Canada as well as a Bsc. Forestry with Land Reclamation and Rehabilitation specialty from KNUST, Ghana. His areas of specialty encompass Land Reclamation, Ecological Restoration, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Watershed Management, Forestry, Youth leadership and Capacity Building. Alfred’s Passion for Environmental Sustainability has been expressed on public speaking platforms such as Walrus Talks, International Development Week of Canada and the Global Scholars Network, Canada. As the Co Founder of LaRECS, He aims to create an ecosystem of young professionals who leverages the coordination between academia, industries and local communities to address emerging environmental challenges. Alfred currently serves on the board of Green Impact International- an eco-smart NGO which aims to create awareness and build the capacity youths to address emerging climate change problems. Much more importantly, He loves to spend quality time with kids!
Jonathan has been dedicated to natural resources management since he was a child. Hard working and forward-thinking, he went above and beyond to finish high school and develop a strong foundation for his academic career. To fund his post-secondary education, he worked in the informal timber sector of Ghana – an experience that sparked his strong passion for stopping illegal timber trade in Ghana. Jonathan continued to successfully master two highly complex duties: striving for outstanding outcomes within his undergraduate studies while working to support himself and dependent family members. His efforts paid off and he excelled academically. In 2012 he earned his BSc in Natural Resource Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. His outstanding undergraduate thesis was awarded with the Tropenbos International Scholarship. Jonathan is constantly working on increasing his knowledge and the professional skills that will enable him to effectively contribute to natural resources management and policy formulation with a strong focus on forestry in his home country. His experience working as a researcher and project officer for Tropenbos International, his work as an assistant technical officer at the forestry commission branch office in Accra, and his experience working for mining companies in Ghana in combination with graduate studies and his passion for the forest form the perfect basis for his long-term success. Currently, Jonathan is enrolled in a Master of Sustainable Forest Management at UBC and jointly owns a data analysis consult (JONABI data analysis) with his friend back in Ghana.
Priscilla was born and raised in the Southern part of Ghana and is a proud recipient of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship. She discovered her passion for women empowerment, poverty alleviation and other food security related issues while studying her Masters degree at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Priscilla had an opportunity to explore more into the field of food security when she had an internship with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy and volunteered with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada.
Priscilla is currently a PhD. Student at McGill University, Canada and will be exploring ways of integrating the concept of food self-reliance into training models for effective entrepreneurial development among adolescent girls and women in Ghana. Among other interests, she is also concerned with providing better livelihood options for women and the youth, improving food security, and building healthy food systems. Her aim is to combine the knowledge, skills and experience gained from the program to build a career in pursuit of transforming the lives of women and youth found in rural communities globally, in addition to transforming their food systems. Priscilla believes that there is so much potential in women and the youth to change our food systems (and the world as a whole) and she is determined to unlock that potential.
Maureen is a Senior Consultant at Dalberg. She advises companies, governments, foundations and NGOs on strategies that accelerate development for developing economies. She advises clients on a range of strategic areas, including program design, market entry, organisational reform, human-centred design, and impact investing. She has worked across a range of sectors including Global Health, ICT, Financial Inclusion, Gender, Agriculture, Energy, and Education to Employment.
Isaac Jonas is a Ph.D. student at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Isaac holds a Master of Food and Resources Economics (MFRE) degree from UBC where he graduated as a valedictorian and a Mastercard Foundation Scholarship holder in 2015. He also holds a Bsc honors degree from the University of Zimbabwe. Isaac Co-Founded Impact Africa Trust (www.impactafricatrust.org), a Not-for Profit organization that is registered in Zimbabwe, to give back to his community. As a Co-Founder, he also serves as the executive director to the Trust. On his spare time if any is left, he writes and has published his first book, “The Serendipity of a Great Network”. In the book, he traces back his journey from Zimbabwe to Canada where he currently resides with a goal to inspire the next generation.
A global citizen, Isaac has spoken at various local and international forums such as the Skoll World Forum at the Said Business School, Oxford University, England, The University of British Columbia African Business Forum, Canada and the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Group sponsored African Youth Forum in Cote d’Ivoire.
Patrice holds a professional Masters degree in Forest Sciences with a specialization in Auditing and Forest Certification from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. He has worked as a Program Director in a non-profit organization called APECAM focused on forest and environmental programs and projects. He has also worked with Cameroon Red Cross for ten years where he was a first-aid trainer and Secretary General of a sub-divisional committee in Yaoundé.Between 2010 and 2013, he did consultations in Central Africa on policies and institutional evolution in the forest and environment sector, on forest management, forest and climate change adaptation, and reduction of GHG emission from all land use with international forestry organizations such as CIFOR and ICRAF. Most recently, Patrice has been working assessing a community’s vulnerability and their capacities to reduce disaster risk. Patrice is fluent in both English and French, and travelled to Switzerland in 2011 as a Cameroon Red Cross delegate to participate in the International Youth Workshop on Asylum, Exclusion, and Immigration. He has also been supported by the NEPAD Agency and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for scientific communication on climate change in South Africa and Senegal. He is presently a MasterCard Foundation Graduate Scholar in the Faculty of Forestry’s Masters of Sustainable Forest Management at the University of British Columbia where he is acquiring high level training on Sustainable Forest Management.
As a child, Monica was fascinated by nature and understood the fact that forests play a crucial role in the earth’s survival and existence; as a result, it became Monica’s dream to engage in forestry conservation in Uganda. Her undergraduate research project was on the population dynamics of the invasive paper mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera, in Uganda’s largest forest reserve, Budongo Forest. Together with her colleagues, she organized charity collections for communities living around the Budongo Forest. Monica also conducted conservation education in the communities around Budongo Forest encouraging the masses not to kill the wild animals, including chimpanzees when they raid farmers’ crops. She will apply her knowledge and understanding of the tropical forests, as well as their conservation and sustainable utilization, without forgetting forest-dependent communities. Monica is interested in learning more about sustainable forest management, and hopes that her graduate degree in MSFM at UBC helps her to realize this goal.
Alesia is a highly motivated, committed and enthusiastic young lady from Ghana. Being a firm believer in giving back to her society, Alesia devoted herself to community service by joining the Jesse-Rhodes Foundation in creating awareness on hygiene and sanitation, teenage pregnancies, family planning and HIV/AIDS in rural communities in Ghana after completing High School. The program had a profound impact on her as she continues to remain a lifelong mentor to young girls in these communities. During her undergraduate degree at KNUST, she was the President of the Women in Conservation, a group of young women committed to Resource Conservation in Ghana. With the opportunity to study to study Forestry in Finland during her student exchange period, Alesia realized the importance and potential of forest fringe communities in achieving sustainable forest management in developing countries. Her ultimate career goal is to work in academia as a Professor and a Professional Forester on successful completion of her MSFM degree at UBC. For her PHD studies, she hopes to pursue an interdisciplinary research in Natural Resources Management. Alesia has a soft spot for acting and theater works and also loves to write and blog in her free time.icula ut id elit.
Ally is the youngest of three brothers and one sister, and has overcome many challenges in his life, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide, to be here. Ally holds a BSc (with honours) in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from the National University of Rwanda. In 2010, Ally founded the Rwanda Agricultural University Students Union (RWAUSU) with more than 1000 members countrywide. One of the Union’s core activities is to educate farmers about how to practice market-oriented farming and crop production. Now that he has completed his MFRE degree he intends on returning to Rwanda. His interests focus broadly in agribusiness and smallholder farmers. Ally has a particular interest in value chain analysis for improved farmer incomes, employment opportunities and food security. Ally aspires to contribute to the development of his country by creating a platform that will empower and engage youth to utilize Agri-preneurship (mixture of entrepreneurship and agriculture) which will subsequently tackle rural poverty and youth unemployment issues in Rwanda. He is fluent in English, French and intermediate Turkish and beginner Arabic.
Blooming is a MasterCard Scholarship recipient and a full time MBA student at the University of British Columbia – Sauder School of Business. She is the Founder of Africa Blooms Co., an online retail store that merchandises products proudly made in Africa locally and globally (www.africablooms.com). Blooming believes that with hard work, persistence and the right partners, investors, and team, together we can positively change the story of the African continent locally and internationally…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to believe in and celebrate Africa. Blooming is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a dual degree in Economics & Accounting. Prior to starting her MBA program she worked at MFM – Nigeria as an Internal Auditor and at CNA Insurance, headquartered in Chicago as an Accounting Rotational Business Associate with primary focus on General & Financial Reporting, Accounting Control & Support and Reinsurance. During her undergraduate program she interned at Ernst & Young – Chicago and Midway AG Company – Chicago. As an undergraduate, she excelled academically, and in 2011 she founded the Global Instrument of Change Initiative, a non-profit organization that assists immigrants with finding education and employment opportunities. She organized a conference for over 100 attendees from the US and UK, where students had the opportunity to learn firsthand from their peers as well as business executives. In addition to her formal education, Blooming reads extensively about other leaders working to change the world, and has travelled across the US to attend events and conferences that continue to motivate and inspire her. Her long term goal is to positively change the African conversation through her group of companies on the African continents.