2006 Cultural Bridge Fellows


Desiree Allen | LIBERIA

Desiree Allen served as a Special Assistant to Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, where she identified opportunities for the development of a viable Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) market. In all economies SMEs are the primary source of mainstream labor. Supporting the growth of SMEs is not only the most effective means of creating employment, but it is also a fundamental building block in a viable and sustainable economy that allows for the poor to be true stakeholders in economic success. Desiree served as a liaison between the Minister of Finance, the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment, EcoBank, and transnational organization in order to identify the resources necessary to begin planning and implementing a long term campaign for SME development.


Karolina Dryjanska | RWANDA

Karolina Dryjanska worked in Kigali, Rwanda at Next Generation Connect (NGC) with the organization’s founder and CEO, Justine Rukeba Mbabazi, a Rwandan human rights attorney. NGC’s mission is the empowerment of the current generation of women leaders in Rwanda and the cultivation of the next generation of young women. NGC’s programs include: training and public leadership education, a leadership mentoring program, a young women's leadership seminar, legal aid and advocacy. Ms. Dryjanska focused on writing a grant proposal and working to develop a seed operational budget for the young organization. She also facilitated trainings.


Joanne Kubba | ECUADOR

Joanne Kubba worked in Ecuador at E.Ducate, an innovate technology-based learning program designed to give students ages 10-16 the skills they missed in primary school. Joanne worked with Nathalie Cely, a Harvard-educated Ecuadorian, who returned home to help reform Ecuador's education system in the early 1990s. Upon her return, Cely found a centralized system rigid with government bureaucracy, teachers resistant to change, and a high secondary school drop-out rate, particularly for rural and indigenous children. While at E.Ducate, Joanne worked on projects related to developing training programs for rural and poor youth and women to develop skills to make them competitive for jobs. Through technological programs these training programs help to move a larger portion of the poor into the work force.



Serah Makka worked with Hassina Sherjan, an Afghan-American businesswoman who founded Aid Afghanistan, a school for women and girls. She taught English courses and helped with the management of the school. Serah also worked develop an expansion plan and marketing strategy for Ms. Sherjan’s design firm Boumi, which used all Afghan materials and designs to showcase the country and provide jobs for Afghan women.


Funmi Olorunnipa | SOUTH AFRICA

Funmi Olorunnipa’s summer internship focused on expanding the model of gender-related advocacy exemplified by the Women’s Legal Centre in South Africa to other countries in Southern Africa. Funmi worked with South African Women’s Legal Centre Attorney Sibongile Ndashe to bring the Centre’s model of empowering women in neighboring countries Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, by assisting attorneys with the day to day legal and political advocacy work done at the Centre. Additionally, Funmi created a proposal and implementation design for female legal advocates who were interested in expanding the Women’s Legal Centre framework to their own countries. The expansion model was a framework for the creation of organizations which focused on establishing the elimination of violence against women in Southern Africa through legal and political advocacy. The central focus of the expansion project research, proposal and design was the issue of violence against women (including but not limited to rape, sex-trafficking and other gender-related crimes) and the country-specific policy and law-related options associated with this issue.


Sarah-Catherine Phillips | SUDAN

Sarah-Catherine Phillips connected with women peacebuilders in Sudan to learn the path of leadership for women there and to determine measurable outcomes that can be linked to their efforts. Under the supervision of Dr. Sidiga Washi at Ahfad University, Sarah-Catherine conducted interviews with women leaders in Khartoum and assisted Jemma Kumba, MP. Ms. Kumba, in additional to being a leader in Sudan, was also a member of the Pan-African’s Parliament for Committee for Cooperative International Relations. Her leadership roles are important and unique because she focused her efforts on gender in the grassroots peace building process. While working for Ms. Kumba, Sarah-Catherine witnessed firsthand the role that women play in the African Union and Sudanese Parliament and the organizations’ considerations for women’s leadership and development.


Mark Richards | COLOMBIA

Mark Richards worked with Senator Rafael Pardo of the Congress of Colombia and Ms. Luz Piedad Caicedo Delgado, a Colombian anthropologist whose previous research includes the impact of paramilitary demobilization on the life and security of women. Mark examined the economic impact of different peace policies of the current Uribe Administration, as well as how these policies affect women differently from other groups within Colombian society.

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