Fellows in the News: November

1. Rene Sparks Recognized as 2022 Women Voices of 2022 Winner

Rene Sparks (NVF ’21) received an award from the South African organization Quote This Woman on November 24 for her efforts going the extra mile to ensure that the voices that are the most marginalised are given a chance to be amplified through media platforms. Rene worked hard during her Fellowship year to publish many Op-Eds and has started a podcast with her 2021 fellow Fellow, Taha Sabri.

2. ElsaMarie D’Silva Recognized by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

ElsaMarie D’Silva (NVF ’15) received a shoutout from UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres on November 22 during his opening remarks at the 9th Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Fez, Morocco. “I am thinking of people like Elsa Marie D’Silva from India, who co-founded a platform that crowdsources and maps sexual violence and harassment … Her efforts are mobilising thousands of young people around the world to break the silence and end gender-based violence,” Guterres said.

3. Bernard Olayo Presents Case Study to Bill Gates

Bernard Olayo (NVF ’17) presented a case study from his organization Hewatele to Bill Gates while Bill Gates was visiting Nairobi on November 21. Bernard has been recognized by Bill Gates previously for his work eliminating hospital oxygen shortages in East Africa. Bernard says that public recognition during his Fellowship year lead to significant increases in his organization’s funding and global recognition for his work.

4. Bill Gates Attends CEMA Demonstration, a collaborative project created by three New Voices Fellows.

Shikoh Gitau (NVF ’15), Thumbi Mwangi (NVF ’16) and Loice Ombaji (NVF ’21) met at a New Voices networking event in Nairobi.  Buoyed by their New Voices connection, the computer scientist, veterinary epidemiologist, and infectious disease doctor dreamed up a project: the Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (CEMA). CEMA is the only such center in Africa. On Thursday, November 17, Bill Gates visited the University of Nairobi for a demonstration of how CEMA can track health and epidemiological trends to prevent future disease outbreaks.

5. Desmond Jumbam, 2022 New Voices Fellow, launches Global Surgical Advocacy Fellowship, modeled after the New Voices Program.

Desmond Jumbam, 2022 New Voices Fellow, left the New Voices February bootcamp inspired with an idea – to replicate the New Voices model for surgical advocates through his organization Operation Smile. Eight months later, New Voices Director Andrew Quinn spoke at the Fellowship launch on November 17 and Desmond welcomed six Fellows to the new program that will enable the Fellows to become global advocates through OpEd and advocacy trainings. The New Voices team has provided guidance to Desmond as he started this process, and we look forward to continue to support him as the Global Surgery Fellowship grows. Desmond experienced the transformative power of the New Voices program and looks forward to applying the model to surgeons and health professionals in his own network.

6. Wendo Aszed, 2019 New Voices Fellow, Announced as Bill Gates’s Latest Hero in the Field.

Wendo Aszed is a powerful storyteller and a driven activist. The New Voices team visited her organization, Dandelion Africa, in Nakuru, Kenya after Wendo and her team opened a maternity unit at their health center. So far, the maternal clinic as delivered 256 babies and Dandelion Africa has reached 82,000 people for primary healthcare delivery. We’re ecstatic that Wendo’s hard work has reached the attention of individuals like Bill Gates. Recognition on a global level such as this will help ensure Dandelion Africa’s model can continue to grow to serve more people. Bill Gates named Wendo his Hero in the Field on November 16.

7. New Voices Fellows on COP27 Stages

This year, we are proud to share that five New Voices Senior Fellows have prominent speaking roles at COP27.Vivian Maduekeh (NVF ’17) spoke on four panels during the conference related to food security. Maxwell Gomera (NVF ’18), the Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the UN, spoke at an event on November 10. Ndidi Nwuneli (NVF ’18) spoke at Devex’s sideline event on November 10.  Alice Ruhweza (NVF ’19) participated at the Forest and Climate Partnership Panel with Ministers of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Indonesia on November 8. Masego Madzwamuse spoke on a panel about climate justice and philanthropy on November 14.