About Us

We must reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We must step up as women and girls and take the lead.

Our story officially began on
2 December 2020.

The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI) is a women and youth led non-profit organization that empowers women and girls, fosters inclusivity in leadership roles, provides mentorship, education and capacity development to alleviate gender inequality and address gender gaps in line with aspiration 6 of the African Union Agenda 2063 and goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

The Board of Directors

Crystal Ikanih-Musa

Crystal Ikanih-Musa

Board chairperson

Crystal Ikanih-Musa is currently the Regional Advocacy Manager Africa region for Malala Fund, and previously served as the Nigeria Country Representative. Crystal began her professional career with a focus on human rights because of her desire to see the most marginalized groups actualize and enjoy their rights.

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Achieng Akena

Board member

Achieng Akena is currently the Executive Director for International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) based in Kampala, Uganda.  Achieng is a Kenyan lawyer and human rights and democracy practitioner with 22 years of experience in varied regions and contexts, from Botswana to Afghanistan.

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Nonhlanhla Mokwena

Board member

Nonhlanhla Mokwena is the former Executive Director of People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) and served in this position for 10 years. Nonhlanhla Mokwena has a BA (Social Work) HONS and a Development and Training Practitioner Certificate with UNISA. In 2015 completed her Master’s in Philosophy focusing on Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa at the University of Pretoria.

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Mary Izobo

Board member

Mary Izobo is the Founder and Executive Director of the Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI). Ms Izobo is an international human rights lawyer, gender equality advocate, and governance specialist. Prior to that, Ms Izobo was the Legal Advisor of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an organ of the African Union, and has worked for the United Nations, Pan-African Parliament,Institute for Strategic Litigation in Africa, and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.

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Karen Ann Widess

Board member

Karen Ann Widess is a Lecturer at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) School of Law and teaches in the LL.M. and MLS Legal Analysis, Writing and Research Programs and supervises research for Masters students.

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Yase Godlo

Yase Godlo

Board member

Yase Godlo currently holds the position of CEO at The Beast Foundation and is also a Board Member of Amazon Leadership Initiative an African Young Women organisation. Yase has worked in different areas of social change and social justice and is driven by sustainable development approaches and strategic engagements.

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Team Members

Mary Izobo

Founder & Executive Director

Ms Izobo is an International Human Rights Lawyer, Gender Equality Advocate and Governance Expert. Driven by her passion to achieve democratic equal rights for all within her lifetime, she established and pioneered the legal unit and was the Legal Advisor of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an organ of the African Union (AU), and has worked for the United Nations (UN), the African Union Commission (AUC), the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the Institute for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

nurat

Nurat Wamaya

Social Media and
Engagement Associate

Ms Wamaya is a Gender and Human Rights Activist who is passionate about girl empowerment. She has a degree in Gender and Development Studies and over the years she has been engaged in several activities that are geared towards empowering and voicing the plight of the African girls.

Exildah Bwalya Mubanga

Programs Associate

Ms Mubanga holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with Demography from the University of Zambia. She is passionate about working with young people and helping them realise their full potential. She is passionate about issues to do with gender and human rights, persons with disabilities particularly children, civic participation, climate change, socio-economic issues relating to young people and financial literacy.

Leena Shidhika

Funding & Partnerships Associate

Ms Shidhika is a fearless Namibian and confident youth leader, banker, motivational speaker and Law student. She is a champion for girl empowerment, girl leadership and a mental health advocate. She has been involved in a number of charities and community building projects. Ms Shidhika also holds a honours degree in Marketing and Communication.

Prisca Mwamba Mambwe

Finance Associate

Ms Mambwe is a second year Public Administration student at the Information and Communications University, Zambia. Ms Mambwe’s goal is to grow SMEs and do community work to help vulnerable women and girls in her country achieve their goals by empowering them with skills that will help them become financially independent

Aminat Lawal

Research Associate

Ms Lawal is a law graduate from the University of Ibadan (UI). While at the university, she was the Founding Campus President of Girl Up UI, a registered chapter of the United Nations Organisation, Girl Up. She is passionate about advancing gender equality and human rights and has volunteered for several organisations including: Stand to End Rape, Global Youth Leadership and Girl-Child Foundation and Give Girls a Chance. 

Young Female Leaders Regional Caucuses

Leaders of the Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, and Diaspora Africa (CEND) Caucus

Nanjerah Peace Brenda
(Age - 22)
Uganda

President

Nanjerah Peace Brenda

Nanjerah Peace Brenda is passionate about girls having equal rights and opportunities because she believes EACH ONE of us was created with a special greatness to make this world a better place and no one should stop us

Wanjiru Muchir
(Age - 17)
Kenya

Vice President

Wanjiru Muchiri

Shiro, 17 from Kenya , east Africa. Shiro is super passionate about women’s rights and she also works for a group called ‘the menstruator’.

Rebecca Rosette Nanfuka
(Age - 22)
Uganda

Secretary General

Rebecca Rosette Nanfuka

Nanfuka Rebecca Rosette has been a young female leader(YFL) of TheALI since its inception in 2021. Becky as her fellow YFLs at TheALI love to refer to her, is a great listener and full of ideas on young people engagement and gender equality. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree of science in Actuarial science from Makerere University Kampala-Uganda. Becky is passionate about Women Leadership and Empowerment.
Leaders of the Southern Africa Caucus

Lebohang Nchabeleng
(Age - 24)
South Africa

President

Lebohang Nchabeleng

Lebohang Nchabeleng is a final year law student from Limpopo, Polokwane-South Africa. She is passionate about helping the girl child. She has more than 10 years of advocating for the rights of girls and women and she held these positions in various NGOs Women of Fortitude: President Regaogetswe Network: Vice President 100KidsToVarsity: Chairperson of Mentor/Motivation Committee Happy Days Initiative: Ambassador South African Police Service: Junior Ambassador In her various leadership roles she has aimed to foster Skills Development, Poverty Eradication, she has conducted Anti-Bullying campaigns and Anti-Crime Initiatives, meant to uplift girls and young women,among others.

Jane Mungole
(Age - 21)
Zambia

Vice President

Jane Mungole

Jane Mungole is a second year student of information technology from Zambia. She currently serves as a president of a non-profit organization called the Next Wave of GirlTech which helps young females learn about technology. She also works as a project manager at Malo Organization, A non profit organization that helps end period poverty and early Marriages. She also runs an online event program that helps young females boost their confidence and show up as the women they want to be

Nametso Ncube
(Age - 25)
Botswana

Secretary General

Nametso Ncube

Nametso Ncube is a final year student pursuing a BSc. Health Information management. She is very organized, punctual and an excellent team player who has also acted as a mentor organizing group teachings for community projects in local schools. She is currently the On campus director of the Hult prize foundation at her university. She also volunteers at Loratong Center which is an NGO that seeks to empower women survivors of gender-based violence and socio economic empowerment. She also participates in the Girls for Girls Botswana movement which empowers young women to lead.
Leaders of the Western Africa Caucus

Kadijatu Barrie
(Age - 24)
Sierra Leone

President

Kadijatu Barrie

Kadijatu Barrie is a Gender Research and Development student. She also holds a degree in Accounting and Finance. She is a survivor of Child Marriage and FGM, a fearless and bold girl who’s passionate about teaching and empowering young girls. She started her advocacy from the age of 10. She has served as Coordinator, Advocacy Head, and Consultant at the Children’s Forum network. She currently volunteers at an organization called Strong Girls Evolution (SGE).

Jacinta Dzagli
(Age - 24)
Ghana

Vice President

Jacinta Dzagli

Jacinta Dzagli is a final year student pursuing a degree in Quantity Surveying and construction Economics. She is passionate about Girl leadership as well as advocating for child marriage to stop. She has worked with the United Nations Girl Up Foundation and collaborated with change makers all around the world to address the needs of the hardest to reach adolescent girls. Under her leadership as President, Mission Queens Girl Up Ghana was established under United Nations Girl Up foundation to cater for the unattended needs of young adolescent girls through service, advocacy for gender main streaming of policies, fundraising and education. She is awarded the best delegate representing Germany in the UN women agency under the KMUN 2020.

Damilola Ayeni
(Age - 21)
Nigeria

Secretary General

Damilola Ayeni

Damilola Ayeni is a graduate in Computer Engineering from Ekiti State University. She is enthusiastic, diligent, hardworking and sparks Innovative and creative ideas. She was Treasure, Vice President as well as Software/Academics Director at her department whilst completing her studies. She currently works at Better Life Program for the African Rural Woman (BLPARW) in Abuja.

Young Female Leaders (YFLs)

Aminat Lawal
(Age - 22)
Nigeria

Aminat Lawal

Aminat is a recent law graduate from the University of Ibadan. While at the university, she was the Founding Campus President of Girl Up UI, a registered chapter of the United Nations Organisation, Girl Up. She is passionate about advancing gender equality and human rights and has volunteered for several organisations including: Stand to End Rape, Global Youth Leadership and Girl-Child Foundation and Give Girls a Chance.

Divine Keren Yamulamba (Age - 25)
D.R Congo

Divine Keren Yamulamba

Is a Congolese writer, poet, renowned speaker and entrepreneur. She is the author of ‘Above and Beyond’ and the proud founder of her publishing and ghost-writing firm, ‘The Psalms of Keren.’ She is currently a Masters student in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Pretoria. Quote: The change we so strongly advocate for can no longer linger behind the shadows of mere talk. The time has come for the proactive women of our continent to show up and show forth.

Elma Akob (Age - 23)
Cameroon

Elma Akob

Is a Cameroonian dynamite, an award-winning Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker and the founder of ‘Elevate Africa.’ She has been named one of the Top 100 employable graduates in South Africa for 2019 and 2020 through Gradstar. QUOTE: Being the first is commendable but the real impact is made when you ensure you’re not the last.

Dimah Nader (Age - 19)
Egypt

Dimah Nader

Is an Egyptian student currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the British University in Egypt. She graduated with a 4.00 GPA and high honours from Dover American International School. She also took part in the Model United Nations (MUN) conference twice, where she landed herself the titles of ‘best delegate’, ‘most outspoken’, and ‘most likely to become president’ among 63 other delegates. This led her to discover her passion for public speaking and debating. Quote: A leader does not walk a road, a leader paves the road

Nurat Wamaya (Age - 25)
Kenya

Nurat Wamaya

Nurat Wamaya is self-proclaimed Gender and Human Rights Activist who is passionate about girl empowerment and entrepreneurship. She has a degree in Gender and Development Studies and over the years she has been engaged in several activities that are geared toward empowering and voicing the plight of the Kenyan Girl; most notable being the social media and Engagement Associate with The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI), the Advocacy and Communications Officer and acting programs director with Let Girls Learn Initiative - Kenya.Nurat's forte is in developing skills in girls and women and giving them the support, they need in empowering girls and women to believe in themselves and achieve their full potential in every sphere.

Claude-Christelle Igueri
(Age - 25)
Gabon

Claude-Christelle Igueri

Ms Claude-Christelle Igueri (Age - 26) Gabon. Ms Igueri is currently studying for her PhD in French. She is also a Junior Lecturer in the French department of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her field of research focuses on Francophone Female writers who illustrate through their literature how female characters reform their identities within their communities.

Itumeleng Motaung
(Age - 20)
South Africa

Itumeleng Motaung

Is a 19 year old South African and Criminology student at the University of Pretoria. She is an Allan Gray Orbis foundation fellow, a member of the International Golden key, a 2021/2022 marketing and communication officer at Varsity studio student accommodation and a mentee of the Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI). She is also an award-winning entrepreneur with impeccable leadership and communication skills. Quote: Anything worth doing at all is worth well. I believe that whatever you decide to peruse in life, you have to make sure you give it 100%. Do it to the best of your ability to avoid regrets. Another thing to always keep in mind when doing anything is no matter how long the night may be, the sun is sure to rise.

Chidinma Esther Kalu
(Age - 25)
Nigeria

Chidinma Esther Kalu

Is a Nigerian Programme Assistant at the West African Institute of Public Health. She is a staunch advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 on alleviating gender inequality. She believes that no girl should be restricted from maximizing her potentials. Currently, she volunteers as Head of Operations at the GirlLEAD Project and is also a UN volunteer working on the STEM Girls Initiative, which is targeted at achieving gender equality. Ms Kalu holds a Bachelor's degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of Benin, with 3 years of experience in the development sector.

Exildah Bwalya Mubanga
(Age - 24)
Zambia

Exildah Bwalya Mubanga

Exildah holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics with Demography from The University of Zambia. She’s a trained researcher and has certificates in data analysing using STATA, data management and analysis using SPSS, basic ICT skills, Financial Modelling using Excel. She's a feminist leader, a digital learning designer, and an ActionAid-trained digital trainer and facilitator. Renewed Strength Zambia has also trained and specialized her in treatment for survivors of rape and trauma related with child sexual abuse. She’s passionate about working with young people and helping them realise their full potential. She does conversations around issues that affect people within the community with Loud Silence Zambia especially around issues of COVID-19 and Domestic and Gender Based Violence.
Lesedi Maroga

Lesedi Maroga
(Age - 19)
South Africa

Lesedi Maroga

Ms Maroga is a 19-year-old Bachelor of Laws student at the Nelson Mandela University. She is gender equality activist and a staunch believer in the rights of children in Africa. She hopes to become a family lawyer in future. She enjoys cooking, reading, and listening to music.

Prisca Mwamba Mambwe
(Age - 25)
Zambia

Prisca Mwamba Mambwe

Prisca is a second year Public Administration student at the Information and Communications University. She owns two small businesses, one that helps people with small loans and the other one that sells feminine products. Ms Mwambe’s goal is to become a Customer service expert and also grow her SMEs and do community work to help vulnerable women and girls in her country achieve their goals by empowering them with skills that will help them become independent.
Funbi Akinsanya

Funbi Akinsanya
(Age - 24)
Nigeria

Funbi Akinsanya

Ms Funbi is a 24 years old Masters of Science graduate of Global Governance and Ethics from UCI with a background in Law with Social Sciences from the University of Warwick. She has an interest in international trade, investment, arbitration law, sustainable finance and development. She currently works in international development consulting. She hopes to purse a legal career in these fields as well as policy making. She is determined to be at the centre of African development and creating policy solution that are context and continent specific. She believes in closing the gender gap in policy issues and adopting a holistic approach to policy recommendation. Her other interest include reading, listening to podcasts, theatre and food.

Faridat Opeyemi Adewuyi
(Age - 21)
Nigeria

Faridat Opeyemi Adewuyi

Ms. Adewuyi is a final year student at University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria and also in her final stage at Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) exams. Opeyemi currently volunteers with Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV) - an NGO that focuses majorly on girls and women rights, where she has undertaken various projects in several communities which involve vulnerable girls, neglected women, widows and people with special needs. Opeyemi envisages a future where women are given full rights to maximise their potential and exploit all that they possess. Her goals and aspirations are to be a source of encouragement, help and a role model to other young female leaders.

Puseletso Lefakane
(Age - 19)
South Africa

Puseletso Lefakane

The best way to describe her is with the name ‘lioness;’ this is because of her fierce independence and strong character. She is a Development Studies student attending the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa. She was ranked SA’s Top 100 Youth Ambassador in 2019, a 2020 Asian Youth Model United Nations delegate under the World Health Organization council and is currently a mentee of the Amazon Leadership Initiative (ALI). She is a youth trailblazer and an active change maker. Quote: Girl get up, so many girls dreams are tied up onto your dream. These young girls are waiting on you to succeed and challenge the status quo in order for them to realise that their dreams are valid. You're capable.

Esihle Buthelezi
(Age - 16)
South Africa

Esihle Buthelezi

Esihle is a student at Hillcrest High School,currently in grade 9.Her goals are to be head girl at Hillcrest High school thereafter study psychology and business and become a successful business woman.She also aspires to be an influential writer having written her first book at 15years old.Miss Buthelezi is looking to start a foundation called, QEDUSIZI (End Suffering) FOUNDATION with the aim to support and guide young children who have been burdened with responsibilities of home such as of losing parents through HIV/AIDS.Esihle’s inspirations also greatly steamed from her participation in TheALI Leadership Forum 2021.

Ukamaka Nnenna Ugwu
(Age - 23)
Nigeria

Ukamaka Nnenna Ugwu

Is a Nigerian Lawyer. Currently, she is working with a prestigious law firm in Nigeria and a mentee of the Amazon Leadership Initiative (ALI). She is also an editor and graphic designer at International Digital Organization for Scientific Research (IDOSR) Journal. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. She loves writing and she has published academic articles in different International Journals. Quote: There is nothing impossible if you believe in yourself; With love and encouragement we can make the world a better place for everyone, never look down because the journey of life is to keep looking up.

Oreoluwa Balogun
(Age - 25)
Nigeria

Oreoluwa Balogun

Is a development professional from Nigeria, who is passionate about human social development. With about three years of work experience in the development sector, she has worked on several projects which include advocating for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, advocating against gender-based violence, promoting financial inclusion and financial literacy especially for women, and advocating for gender equality and justice. She is currently a postgraduate student at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, studying International Development. Quote: Always be willing to put in the work required to make your dreams become a reality.

Rebecca Rosette Nanfuka
(Age - 21)
Uganda

Rebecca Rosette Nanfuka

Is a Ugandan student currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree of science, in Actuarial Science at the Makerere University Kampala, Uganda. Rebecca has been a young female leader(YFL) of TheALI since its inception in 2021. Becky as her fellow YFLs at TheALI love to refer to her, is a great listener and full of ideas on young people engagement and gender equality. Becky is passionate about girls and Women Leadership and Empowerment. Quote: Dear girls, you have substantial strength in your talents, perceptions and personal ideas because you are the mothers of the nation. Stand upright with confidence and be a voice to unbosom the leadership potential in you.

Tsaone Tryphinah Mosweu
(Age - 25)
Botswana

Tsaone Tryphinah Mosweu

Ms Tsaone is a visually impaired young woman aged 25 years. She lost her sight at the age of 12. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from the Institute of Development Management (IDM). She is Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted [BABPS] youth chairperson, she is an intern at UNFPA Botswana where she supports development of disability inclusive programmes and she is passionate about empowerment of women and girls with disabilities who often face difficulty in accessing information on critical issues, lack access to services, and vulnerable to economic, social, civic and personal discrimination.

Elizabeth Juma
(Age - 22)
Zambia

Elizabeth Juma

Elizabeth is a medical student at Mulungushi University.She’s not only passionate about girl matters but also matters that involve every youth in general.Ms Juma want to see the youth especially females making great and better impact in the world, she envisions great SHEroes owning their own businesses and creating more employment for the next generations to come. Quote: I want to see these wonder women being in the forefront of making a great difference and making decisions that will not only involve their own gender but also including the other gender.

Yara Dahab
(Age - 25)
Sudan

Yara Dahab

Yara Dahab is a Sudanese, LLB Honours and LLM graduate. She is currently working as a Candidate Attorney and practicing in the area of Personal Injury Law. Yara is very passionate about Human Rights and Women’s Law and would like to pivot her legal career into that area.

Andile Magunje
(Age - 18)
Zimbabwe

Andile Magunje

I’m in my final year in high school. I am passionate about my education and taking up leadership as a young female . I am a Kukaya Foundation Youth Development Initiative Alumni. I am an Honourable Councillor in my city's Junior Council. I am an all-things-creative person. My hobbies are reading novels, writing poems, articles and art. Living in a society that is not conducive for the girl child to thrive, I have channeled my creative skills towards ending all forms of abuse and breaking stereotypes around issues that affect the girl child as one of 32 girls in Amplifying Girls Voices through Digital Arts, a program by Plan International Zimbabwe focused on propelling the girl child forward in my country.
Lesedi Moloke

Lesedi Moloke
(Age - 17)
South Africa

Lesedi Moloke

I'm currently doing grade 11 in Prudens Secondary School and I am the school's President of 2022 as well. I have won a spelling bee competition organized by an organization called MoAfrika Itlhokomele which occasionally works with the school. In terms of academics, I have achieved three certificates this year which are : 1. Top 2 achieving learner in Grade 11. 2. Toppest learner in First Additional Language Grade 11 ( English ). 3. Toppest learner in Home Language Grade 11 ( Sesotho ).
Oamogetswe Chikwado

Oamogetswe Chikwado
(Age - 20)
South Africa

Oamogetswe Chikwado

Chikwado is a third year Electrical Engineering student. A member of Black Womxn Caucus, A Feminist movement fighting against Gender Based Violence and Femicide.She is also the founder of #ForTeensOnly, an online platform that facilitates peer support for teenagers from the age of 13 to 19 and is currently the Secretary General Of the SRC of Tshwane South College.
Victorine Ngimou

Victorine Ngimou
(Age - 22)
Cameroon

Victorine Ngimou

Victorine Ngimou is a fierce feminist Activist, who has been fighting for girls’ rights, women empowerment, and leadership and giving voice to the voiceless for the past 8 years. She holds a degree in Business Management, with Human Resource Management as a major. In 2014 she created and established a school club called Development fighters, coached by Women for a Change (WFaC). She is one of the She facilitators and works with Mifali as a movement committee member. She is also a member of the Global Fund for Women. She is very skilled in communication, inclusivity, organization as well as Conflict resolution.