Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Empowers Women

As part of celebrating this year’s Women’s History Month, we highlighted the work of African women who are U.S. program alumni making an impact in their communities.

Hyasintha Ntuyeko, Mandela Washington Fellowship alumna from Tanzania

This week, we meet Tanzanian Hyasintha Ntuyeko, a social entrepreneur and CEO of Kasole Secrets, a company that brings innovative solutions to the menstrual health crisis in her country. She decided to form Kasole Secrets because she saw how the complications of menstruation and the poor quality of sanitary pads in Tanzania prevented young women from reaching their full potential. Hyasintha credits the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, which she received in 2015, with opening funding opportunities, connecting her with potential partners, and bringing significant growth to her business and her skills as a leader. Watch her video:

Minnie Elodie Folly, YALI RLC alumna from Togo

Minnie Elodie Folly is a food engineer and an entrepreneur who empowers women gardeners to be self-sustained income generators in Togo. Through her food processing unit, Adili, where women farmers are the main suppliers of raw material, she’s created a stable source of revenue. Her organization also trains women farmers on how to boost their farming and increase their productivity. Minnie is an alumna of the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center West Africa. Watch her video:


Sarah Kuponiyi, YALI RLC alumna from Nigeria

Sarah Kuponiyi is a young Nigerian health professional who is passionate about supporting young women and adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health. Her passion to address menstrual hygiene challenges facing girls in Nigeria and Africa led her to start Alora Reusable Pads, a social enterprise that addresses these challenges by creating eco-friendly menstrual hygiene products freely distributed to in-school and vulnerable girls and sold at affordable prices to the public. She also runs A Well-Informed Adolescent (AWA) Initiative, an NGO that creates and manages safe spaces for young people to have access to sexual and reproductive health rights education. Watch her video:

Julie Obi, YALI RLC alumna from Nigeria

Seeing the women in her Nigerian community struggling to afford school fees, becoming single mothers at an early age, and lacking access to resources to take care of themselves motivated Julie Obi to make a difference. She established Djulies Sustainable Eventplace, a social enterprise that emphasizes food processing, product development, and social and economic empowerment, to help women in rural communities cultivate their own innovative ideas. Julie is an alumna of the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa program. Watch her video: