Stéphane BaiCôte d’Ivoire
Désiré Stéphane BAI has six years of experience in Media and Journalism. He has worked as a communication practitioner at both assistant and managerial levels in Ivory Coast. He has focused his education and career plans in the area of Mass Communications, with the purpose of promoting equality, inclusive growth, and democracy in his country. He holds a BA in Journalism from the Institute of Communication Sciences and Technologies (ISTC). He has worked as a Web Journalist for an Africa-centered online media outlet, and later as Communications Officer for a government project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He helped the ‘’National Program for Supporting Institutional Reforms and State Modernization’’ reach its target population and gain more visibility. This experience increased his interest in M4D (Media for Development). In 2020, he launched Afriquobs, an online media project designed to promote local changemakers and advocate for active citizen participative democracy and human rights in Africa. He has also engaged in voluntary missionary service in Nigeria, which gave him the opportunity of working with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. He learned from this experience the values of diversity and inclusion, of which he has since become an active defender. Stéphane BAI is passionate about literature, history, news, geopolitics and music.
Rebecca Castello is a public employee at the Federal University of Pará, where she has been an administrator for eight years. She has worked in nonprofit sector for over three years as a volunteer. She obtained a PhD in Social and Environmental Development from the Center of Higher Amazonian Studies in Brazil, focusing her studies on public university management. She also has an MBA in entrepreneurial education from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro-PUC, as well as in public and people management. She works in social projects in her own community, organizing events and actions focused on the distribution of food and clothing in areas with vulnerable people, assisting newcomers in nursing homes, and distributing toys to low-income children. She participates as the manager of a start-up project that aims to reduce food waste in the Brazilian Amazon region, combining sustainable development and greater access to low-cost food for the local population. In addition, she has worked in an institution for children for adoption, where she developed storytelling and children’s games. Through these experiences and her academic background, she has developed skills in project management, monitoring and evaluation, and research, always focusing on sustainable development, economic development and philanthropy aimed at distributing food to low-income people.
Syed Faisal AljuniedSingapore
Syed Faisal Aljunied is a policy and program evaluator in the Singapore Government. His current role involves reviewing programmes that promote digital readiness and inclusion. Cumulatively, he has five years of experience in government and health care. He has progressively made an impact in the local and global health scene through research, monitoring and evaluation, and digital transformation. His previous efforts have galvanized stakeholders to collectively come up with practical solutions to achieve objectives. Notably, his efforts have (i) created public awareness on mental health in prisons to initiate policy reforms, (ii) improved quality of healthcare services in Singapore’s largest hospital and (iii) contributed to knowledge on health safeguards in investment treaties at the World Trade Forum. His professional journey thus far has allowed him to publish opinion pieces on (i) being a change agent and (ii) global mental health. Faisal also engages with the wider community by participating in international conferences such as the UN Youth Assembly and World Bank Group Seminar. He then capitalized on these international experiences in a global innovation lab where he co-created a digital health solution with other professionals to facilitate eldercare using design thinking. Formally, he has a Master of Public Health from The University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Science in Science Communication and Biology from The Australian National University. His Master’s dissertation was a mixed-methods research on public health in international investment agreements, which was presented at the 2020 World Trade Forum.
Suzanne N’GouandiCôte d’Ivoire
Suzanne N’Gouandi has five years of experience in the communication and non-profit sectors. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics and a Certificate in Corporate Communication. She is currently working as the Communication Officer for SOCODEVI on the multi-country project PROCED design to support the development of model, inclusive and sustainable cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Ghana. Suzanne’s work consists in coordinating the implementation of the project communication strategy and participating in the reinforcement of cooperatives’ external and internal communications. As an advocate for girls’ education, she has also been volunteering for five years through SEPHIS foundation to promote women’s leadership and rights through conferences and workshops. She leads the SEPHIS International program aimed at engaging young women from everywhere in the implementation of SDGs in their communities.
Suhaimi Bin Zainal ShahSingapore
Suhaimi Zainal Shah has 5 years of experience in the education sector. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics (Distinction/2:1) and a postgraduate diploma in Education, he taught Mathematics and the English Language at a secondary school before going for a stint at the Ministry of Education Headquarters. His interests lie in interdisciplinary learning and one of his focus has been where education intersects with technology. He blogs about his EdTech explorations at the Sg Edtech Blog and his innovations have gotten him a Google for Education Innovator accreditation too. Beyond work, Suhaimi supports Project Refresh as a volunteer leader through Young National Trade Union Congress (YNTUC) and he also plans programmes for minority youth via MENDAKI Club. He has more than five years of experience as a community leader and his newer projects are to develop future leaders with succession planning in mind. Suhaimi is also interested in futures thinking and he believes that as youth leaders, one would need to be able to apply foresight and look out for signals to prepare themselves for the future world. He hopes to be able to contribute meaningfully as a global citizen by thinking global but first start acting locally.
Soraya DiengCôte d’Ivoire
Soraya Dieng is a jurist with over two years of experience in human rights in Côte d’Ivoire. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Law from the West Africa Catholic University of Abidjan and a Master’s degree in Ethics and Governance majoring in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from the Research and Action Peace Center in Abidjan. She is a jurist at the National Tobacco, Alcoholism, Substance Addiction Control program. She focuses on writing legal texts related to addiction, ensuring the right to health of injecting drug users and sensitizing stakeholders to the legal aspects of tobacco control. Through thai work, she has acquired a solid knowledge of health law, particularly in terms of access to health for vulnerable populations, and developed her project coordination skills and strengthened her analysis skills. Previously, Soraya worked as a jurist at a child foster center on a project related to the assistance of minor victims of sexual violence, and for a Catholic NGO caring for street children. Soraya has volunteered as a jurist for NGOs fighting against sexual feminine mutilations, child protection, forced marriages, and all types of gender-based violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Through these experiences, she developed a strong knowledge of human rights mechanisms, project coordination and sensitization skills. Soraya enjoys focusing on human rights issues and defending children and women’s rights.
Simarjeet NagpalIndia (American India Foundation Scholar)
Simarjeet Nagpal has been actively engaged in the nonprofit sector for the last twelve years, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi. As part of the 2020-21 cohort of the Banyan Impact Fellowship, Simar has been working on regenerative land use ecosystem design and development. Simar is investigating how native dense forests could rejuvenate rural communities by providing economic benefits in an equitable manner. Prior to the Fellowship, Simar served as the National President of the National Association of Students of Architecture, India, and was on the Executive Council for three years. During his stint at NASA India, the organisation overhauled its operations to achieve higher and more effective grassroots engagement, increasing its portfolio of activities and modes of delivery to suit architectural students’ varied aspirations and requirements across the nation. Simar formed a volunteer group called Better Bharat which soon formalised into Axes Charitable Trust with a vision of the welfare of the society. He coordinated all the trust’s programs for seven years, including plastic-free city drives, plantation drives, and a free computer education program for the underprivileged. Working extensively with these organisations, Simar has demonstrated experience in Project Design and Management. The nature of his engagement in these organisations helped him develop partnership building and team-leading skills. Simar is extremely passionate about sustainability and inculcates its tenets in his professional and personal life.
Dr. Sheena Ramazanu is a distinguished nursing alumna from Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. She pursued her nursing degree at University of Manchester – Singapore Institute of Technology and attained a first-class honor. She was presented with an Outstanding Dissertation Achievement Award. Sheena has a Master’s degree in Clinical Research from the University of Manchester, after which she was awarded the prestigious and competitive Hong Kong PhD fellowship and became a Fellow of the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative Academy (Fulbright University Vietnam), She served as a Registered Nurse in Singapore for 7 years. During her service in the hospital, she has been recognized as a service champion in recognition of excellent service annually. In addition to that, she embarked on the role as a preceptor and guided student nurses and registered nurses in their professional development. In the clinical setting, she has conducted both quantitative and qualitative research studies to improve patient-family caregiver outcomes. She has been invited as a speaker at regional, international conferences and academic institutions. She is currently a peer-reviewer of an international refereed journal.
Prakriti PandiaIndia (American India Foundation Scholar)
Prakriti Pandia is a psychotherapist and researcher. She has four years of experience working in NGOs and cooperates as a psychologist and trainer. She has expertise working with adolescents and young adults on diverse topics. She has been continuously working towards bridging the gap in accessing affordable mental health services and reducing its stigma. In the wake of Covid-19, she started an initiative named “Community Yarning” to provide free online group therapy to individuals struggling with various mental health concerns. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology (Psychosocial Clinical Studies) from Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). She has multiple certifications in research from the University of Manchester, which she gained while working with Sangath on the Communication-Centered Parent-Mediated Treatment For Autism Spectrum disorder in South Asia (COMPASS) Project for a year. Prakriti underwent one year of training in Narrative Therapy from Dulwich Center, Australia. She has worked passionately on research projects on ‘Interplay of trauma in lives of survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, ‘1984 Anti-Sikh Riots survivors and processing of trauma’ and ‘Pre-and Post-retirement effects on Elderlies.’ She is currently working on Adverse Child Experience research focusing on Social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices. Prakriti is a trauma-informed therapist and presently enrolled in “CIT program for Educators in South Asia.” Prakriti is currently working with Srijan Foundation on the “Empowering Girls and Ending Child Marriage” Project and conducting qualitative research “Dhuku Practice” in Jharkhand, India, as an American India Foundation Fellow.
Prakriti ChawlaIndia (American India Foundation Scholar)
Prakriti Chawla is a Social Designer, currently serving as an AIF Banyan Impact Fellow. She has spent most of her childhood on the campus of Muskaan, a world-renowned training institute for persons with intellectual disabilities (PwIDs) in India. Over the past four years, she has worked towards the inclusion of marginalized people in the mainstream workforce through multiple path-breaking projects through partnerships with governments and nonprofits. Prakriti completed her Master’s degree in Social Design from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University in Delhi, where she led various projects on migration, disabilities, gender, self-advocacy, and education. She has a certification on disability livelihoods from EnAble India. She has had on-ground experience in the mainstream hospitality industry and has worked with Lemon Tree Hotels, one of the first companies to hire people with disabilities on a large scale. While there, she directly worked with the Head of Diversity & Inclusion to help develop inclusive policies for the national chain of hotels. Along with India’s Skill Council for Persons with Disability and Muskaan, she has also helped in the creation of a standardized curriculum on vocational training for PwIDs for national dissemination. In her most recent project with Muskaan, she conducted a research study on the experiences of family members of people with intellectual disabilities. As a continuous learner, Prakriti believes in expanding her horizons and therefore has learned basic sign language and is also a budding clay artist. Prakriti has been recognized as a Rising Star by Wedu Global.
Orlando Figueiredo NascimentoBrazil
Orlando Figueiredo Nascimento was born in Soure, on the Island of Marajó in Brazil. He has been teaching English in public schools for eleven years and has faced the challenges of building a more equal society through education. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching the English Language from Universidade Federal do Pará, in Soure, Pará, Brazil, where he also worked as a substitute professor for two years. After that role, he took part in the PDPI Brazil English Teachers Program at Temple University, Philadelphia. Currently he is a school teacher in a public school in Soure, where he has been working for eleven years. He has proven to be capable of developing strong project coordination, planning, monitoring, implementation, reporting, and evaluation skills from a perspective where education acts as a vital instrument to change the social reality of people. Throughout his career, Orlando has followed the legacy of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. He believes that teaching is all about discussing and promoting critical thinking on topics that matter such as education development, environmental conservation, social justice, equity, social and racial equality.
Michelle Chong is skilled in Product Management and User Experience (UX) Design, and currently works at a technology-based rental marketplace start-up that promotes sustainability. With over six years of proven track record in the aviation industry and public sector, she has worked with C-suite executives and multi-level stakeholders in domains such as project management, strategic planning, marketing strategy formulation, and e-commerce. Proving to be resilient and versatile, Michelle overcame numerous challenges and made a successful career transition when aviation was affected by COVID-19. Having found a new direction in life, Michelle has been passionate about going above and beyond to lead a meaningful life and to impact others positively. An aspiring social entrepreneur passionate about women’s empowerment, she has played a pivotal role in building a ground-up initiative to help low-income women and their families to reduce inequalities faced, by bridging opportunities for them to sustain their employability and achieve progressive income growth through two core themes of community building and knowledge sharing using technology as an enabler. A firm believer in the importance of mentorship and nurturing the next generation, she serves as a mentor to undergraduates at her alma mater where she provides tips and guidance on navigating student life and building a strong foundation for a future career. A well-rounded individual who hopes to spread the importance of physical and mental wellness, she is also a certified Yoga Teacher with over three years of teaching experience.