A Look Back: New Voices Fellowship Approaches One Decade

On September 7, 2021, New Voices will begin accepting nominations for the TENTH class of New Voices Fellows.

As the Fellowship prepares to usher in one decade of Fellows, we take a look back…

The Fellowship has proudly welcomed 167 Fellows from 41 countries

Fellows from across the years have written 1,600 Op-Eds and given over 1,000 speeches and talks. These publications and public events have resulted in real change.

  • As a result of an Op-Ed publication during his New Voices Fellowship year, Sathya Raghu of India was hired by the government of Uttar Pradesh to advice the creation of a innovative start-up ecosystem initiative.
  • In 2018, 2017 Fellow Mercy Lung’aho was asked to advice the Kenyan Ministry of Health to support the development of their nutrition initiatives after officials read an article Mercy wrote in Reuters about ways to end malnutrition.In late 2020, Fellow Safura Abdool Karim was invited to join the COVID-19 African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVDA). She said, “the opportunities I have had…have emanated from the things like my Op-Eds (much to my amazement) and the various platforms [New Voices has] given me”.

Beyond the individual achievements, Fellows across the years have championed one another time and again and have teamed up to accomplish incredible things.

Showing Up for One Another

In 2016, Fellows from across the years met in New York City to support 2014 New Voices Fellows Sisonke Msimang, Jane Otai, Lindiwe Sibanda, and Kusum Thapa during a special UNGA Moth show about women and girls. Melinda Gates was there and spoke about how the uN needs to focus on gender equality and center women and girls because they can transform the world. (Read more in this TIME article.)

Forming Partnerships

2015 Fellow Shikoh Gitau met 2016 Fellow Thumbi Mwangi at a New Voices event in Nairobi, Kenya in February of 2020. In June of 2021, Shikoh, Thumbi and a 2021 New Voices Fellow Loice Ombajo launched the Centre for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis. Thumbi wrote to New Voices Director Andrew Quinn to say “thanks so much for connecting Shikoh Gitau and I – together we now have managed to set up CEMA Africa – something that will possibly outlive us and that will make a real difference in public health responses to both epidemic and endemic diseases on our continent”.

(Left to Right) Thumbi, Loice, Shikoh

Demanding Change

Senior Fellows Ngozi Erondu (NVF ’17), Ify Aniebo (NVF ’16), Janet Midega (NVF ’17), and Fredros Okumu (NVF.’19) joined forces with two other African researchers to write a letter in Nature Medicine, calling for more transparency and equity from international development funders. The letter was edited by the New Voices Community Manager. As a result of this collaboration, the Global Health Bureau at USAID plans to incorporate their suggestions in mission-focused global guides. The Fellows have received wide-spread support for the article and have spoken with USAID officials as well as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation representatives about their opinions and thoughts for future funding best practices.