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Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bertha Centre


Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation


The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation is designed to strengthen the capacity of leaders with a passion for change, a strong desire for action, and an interest in identifying targeted, innovative ways of tackling complex social and environmental problems at their roots. The 2016 Fellowship Program will bring together a diverse global group of 21 leaders who understand that 21st century problems cannot be resolved in isolation and are committed to developing transformative solutions to these problems that result in more resilient systems, communities, and people. The Program draws on international experts in social innovation, complexity, and resilience as well as local experts confronting intractable challenges on a daily basis.

The Fellowship Program is designed for leaders from the social or ecological sectors who are working to transform the systems we live in - political, economic, legal, educational, environmental, and cultural. Fellows should possess a tolerance for risk, deep appreciation for collaboration, and strong interest in learning - their goal is not just to help systems improve and adapt, but to fundamentally alter the systems that create problems in the first place.

The 2015 call for applications will focus on individuals working to build social and ecological resilience in specific problem areas affecting the lives of poor and vulnerable people, including: livelihood diversity; social finance; alternative forms of governance; energy; effective, accessible, and resilient health systems; disaster/climate shock resilience; and social technology. The Rockefeller Foundation defines resilience as "the capacity of individuals, communities, organizations and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of shocks and stresses, and even transform when conditions require it." Simply put, resilience is what enables people to survive, adapt, and thrive.

Ideal applicants will be experienced, action-oriented professionals who are willing to learn, think, influence, and act with deliberate, strategic design for ultimate impact that extends beyond their own particular organization or initiative. Applicants should have existing connections to broader networks and/or the capacity to create new networks that can work across geographic or system scales. Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to exploring new ways of thinking about old problems and figuring out how to put theoretical ideas into practice.

Please note: the program works through a closed nomination process. Applicants must be invited to apply by a member of our international nomination panel, based on the applicant's previous interaction with the nominator.

The 2016 Fellowship Program
The program will consist of three modules held at various global locations. Each module will involve four to five days of learning, applying new knowledge to current projects, and networking. Fellows' travel, food, accommodation, and learning materials will be funded by the Fellowship with support from The Rockefeller Foundation; no additional stipend or grant is provided.

The modules have been designed specifically for this Fellowship Program, and each one will integrate cutting-edge research on how change happens in systems with practical tools and frameworks proven useful for strategic interventions. Each session will consist of small group exercises, networking opportunities, site visits with local partners, stimulating discussion, presentations, and a chance to apply lessons directly to real-time challenges faced by Fellows within their current work. Participants will also have access to world-class researchers and educators, and experienced mentors.

Module One:
Bogota, Colombia, 16 - 20 May 2016

Module Two:
Cape Town, South Africa, 19 - 23 September 2016

Module Three:
Ubud, Indonesia, 9 - 15 January 2017

2016 Fellows








2015 Fellows

Dr. Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar is Director at Taru Leading Edge where he is leading the company’s vertical on risk and resilience. In his current role he has helped develop disaster-risk reduction and climate-change resilience strategies for city governments, iNGOs, bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies. He has over a decade of experience in hazard risk modeling, vulnerability analysis, environmental modeling, and climate variability/change analysis. In recent years, he has been working towards bridging the gap between technology and society to enable informed urban resilience in a changing environment.
His work in the area of urban heat island modeling, climate variability and risk analysis has been published in peer reviewed journal articles, technical reports and has been presented at various international and national forums. His work has been commended in the form of grants and awards. His recent work on development and implementation of Urban Health Services Monitoring System has been recognised by the U.N Secretary-General’s global pulse initiative as an intervention to watch. 

Shrashtant Patara, Chief Executive Officer of Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA), is an architect by training.  He has been with the Development Alternatives Group since 1988, providing innovation expertise, management capability and strategic direction to teams engaged in the promotion of sustainable technology, creation of green jobs and fulfilment of basic needs amongst the rural poor.  Currently, Patara is responsible for the management of initiatives aimed at creating community benefits through decentralized renewable energy powered micro-grids.  He is a qualified group process moderator, at the forefront of designing participatory approaches to the resolution of complex problems and facilitating the evolution of multi-partner institutional networks aimed at promoting sustainable practices and policy change.  Patara led the “start-up” team that established of the TARA Livelihood Academy – an initiative that delivers training services for skill development and entrepreneurship. He is also a Director in TARA Machines and Tech Services Pvt. Ltd., a special purpose vehicle set up to promote technology solutions for small enterprises and a promoter of TARAlife Sustainability Solutions Pvt. Ltd, the DA Group’s most recent effort to extend the reach of basic needs products and services to base of the pyramid customers. 

Ms. Bijal Brahmbhatt is currently the Director of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT). She is a civil engineer by training and is a recognized expert in habitat improvement, community development and housing finance. She oversees the MHT’s operations at the national level.She has proven experience in conceptualizing planning, managing and providing support for slum up gradation programmes across India.
She has worked on renewable and efficient energy issues for the poor with various stakeholders including the Government of India and private sector.

Her professional experience has focused on a range of poverty alleviation issues, particularly with women, entrepreneurship, slum upgradation, Water and Sanitation, income and urban planning, housing finance, housing technology etc.
She is representing MHT on several Government advisory committees including expert committee on Rajiv Awaas Yojana, Affordable Housing task Force by the Prime Ministers office in 2008 and steering committee of planning commission for the 12th five year plan.
She is on board of SEWA Grih Rin, a housing finance company for the poor women and is also as an advisor to poor women credit cooperatives.

She has authored several publication / papers on habitat, housing Finance and community development. Some of which are:-

  1. Securing services and tenure to support urban work : The Approach of Mahila Housing trust; India
  2. Co authored Policy Research Working Paper on “ More but different Government for slum free and livable cities, Ahmedabad”
  3. Innovations in Housing finance: Emulating mortgages for the poor. – Matt Nohn and Bijal Brahmbhatt

Ahmet Dawalak is a specialist in Monitoring and Evaluation and has more than five years of experience in international development. He has served in various international organizations including Action Contre la Faim, Agronomists and Veterinarians without Borders and World Food Program, contributing to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Niger, his native country. Dawalak is currently the M&E Manager for MercyCorps Niger providing technical support on  project proposals,  monitoring & evaluation and ensuring accountability as well as efficacy in programs and projects. He is trained as a Zootechnician Engineer, a degree he obtained from the Polytechnique Institut for Training and Applied Research (IPR IFRA) in Mali. Dawalak tries to leverage his skills in Monitoring and Evaluation and Zootechnology in  programing and new program development so as to contribute to improving the lives of the poor. He is one of the founders of an economic interest group in Niger ( which aims to be a model for other prospective young entrepreneurs in Niger so that the agro-ecological potential of the country is sufficient for their ventures to flourish and become profitable.  Dawalak is very passionate about social entrepreneurship and he is the owner of a shop that supplies only local products (camel milk, cheese, butter etc.) to promote the consumption of local produce. 

Haileyesus Brook works as a project coordinator at the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre & Network since 2009. Much of Haileyesus’s work focuses on improving environmental governance in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) of Ethiopia through building capacity of stakeholders and introduction of multi-stakeholder platforms where actors inform each other, plan together and address challenges on the ground and at policy level. Haileyesus has also involved with teams to develop various successful projects and he has special interest on issues related to water and landscape governance. Recently he leads a project that aims to develop a water allocation plan for a threatened basin in the CRV. Haileyesus in the past has also overseen the implementation of sustainable agricultural projects and implementation of a Land Use Planning Programme in the CRV.

Haileyesus has had significant experience working with government and civil society counterparts in Ethiopia to introduce improved environmental governance structures in the Central Rift Valley. Accordingly he has played a critical role towards the establishment of a high-level steering committee for the CRV that provides guidance and support for the sustainable development of the landscape. Haileyesus was also part of the proposal development team for Ethiopian Climate Innovation Centre (ECIC), and he has also worked with a team to assess challenges that businesses in Ethiopia face due to climate change, identifying existing options to climate proof investments from the negative impacts of climate change. 

Michael Onyango
Changing Lives, One Person at a Time”

Michael’s works have been within the creative economy sector across platforms amongst interdisciplinary sectors within governments, NGO’s and the private sector, in Africa and globally. He has just joined the Kisumu County Government Cabinet, responsible for the docket of Communication, Information and Technology.  He currently serves as a Board Member of Kenya Film Commission advising the national government and other relevant stakeholders on matters pertaining to development, co-ordination, regulation and promotion of the film industry in Kenya. Within the creative industries sector he has immensely contributed to developing The Road Map for Kenya’s creative industries sector, in collaboration with IBM, positioning the sector as a catalyst to Kenya’s economic growth, outlining how to double Kenya’s current creative industries contribution to GDP to 10% by 2017.

His formal academic background is in the Sciences, while his work history has primarily been within the communication/creative industries since 1994. Within this time he has and continues to serve in various capacities such as informing and leading key regional and country initiatives, and various communication and creative economy agendas. 

Oanh K. Pham is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP) in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is a pioneer and an expert in social entrepreneurship development, child protection, and women’s rights. With CSIP, Oanh contributed to a new sector of social entrepreneurship in Vietnam and the region. From 2009 to 2015 CSIP has built a pipeline of 70 social enterprises, which contribute to improve the life of 200,000 disadvantaged people. Oanh is also a key mover in initiating policy changes to create a conducive environment for the growth of the social enterprise sector in Vietnam. To spread the impact of her work nationally and regionally, she is a co-founders of Social Enterprise Asian Network, a trustee of AirAsia Foundation, member of Asian Venture Philanthropies Association, and founder of Vietnam Social Entrepreneurs Club.
Prior to founding CSIP, Oanh built an extensive career in development, having worked with major international non-government organisations based in Vietnam.  In her previous roles, she worked as Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF Vietnam, Gender Coordinator with ActionAid International Vietnam and Project Officer with World Concern International. Oanh also served on the Vietnam National Committee for the Advancement of Women as the National Project Facilitator for the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Vietnam.
Oanh was educated in Vietnam and Australia. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and English from Hanoi University. In 1999, she earned her Master’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Monash University. She currently works and lives in Hanoi. 

Esther Muchiri has over 25 years of local, regional and international experience in matters of ICT for Development, including regional ICT policy & guidelines development, ICT Strategy and Implementation, M&E system design, institutional strengthening, youth mentorship and empowerment. During her 18 years at USAID/East Africa as the regional ICT specialist, Esther managed a portfolio of over US$1.5m, which resulted in the development of the COMESA regional ICT policy & guidelines. She left USAID in 2007 to venture into the private sector and founded 3 companies, namely:  Andest Bites Ltd, Andest Consultants Ltd and eMentoring Africa. Under eMentoring Africa, Esther has provided thought leadership in the development of numerous mentorship programs, and has provided transformational and servant leadership trainings to university student leaders.  She has had the privilege of working and interacting with people from all walks of life, including working with youth living in underserved communities. Currently, Esther has volunteered her time, effort and expertise as a member of the Advisory Council of the Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP), which is developing talent of 100 (and 400 in 2016) ICT graduate interns to work in the Government to boost efficient service delivery to citizens.

As the Vice-chair of the Kenya IT & Outsourcing Services (KITOS), the private sector body lobbying for the development of the ITES industry in Kenya, Esther was appointed the focal contact person for the Netherlands Trust Fund (NTF) project funded the Dutch Government and implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC). She is a member of IEEE (Kenya Section) and a member of IEEE-Women In Engineering (WIE), where she has coordinated academia-industry forums as a way of bridging the gap between academia and industry demands. Two of her future goals are to influence the review, revision and/or implementation of education policies that advocate for the development of an all-rounded pupil; and champion the review youth empowerment policies (for the out-of-school youth), with a goal of integrating and implementing mentorship and coaching. Esther holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems and Technology from United States International University (USIU), and is a Certified Mentoring Program Manager by Mentoring University, Boston USA (online). 

Francisco José Noguera Cepeda leads the Social Innovation Lab at Compartamos con Colombia, a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen the capacity of local organizations in initiatives that aim to drive positive social change in the country. Prior to Compartamos con Colombia, Francisco worked as an Associate with the Markets and Enterprise Program at the World Resources Institute, in Washington DC. At WRI, Francisco researched market-based approaches to sustainable development, and led the launch of the New Ventures project in Colombia in collaboration with Universidad de los Andes.
His previous experience includes work in management consulting. Francisco holds an MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. 

Lina Maria Jaramillo Useche Kempf is co-founder and Executive Director of Aliança Empreendedora (Entrepreneurial Alliance), a non-profit organization that supports low-income microentrepreneurs through partnerships with companies, NGOs and governments across the country as well as engineers, tests and implements inclusive business models that stimulate entrepreneurship for low-income communities, and has supported more than 19,000 microentrepreneurs in Brazil ( was also co-founder and Executive Director of Impulso Microcredit, a organization that pioneered the launch of the first crowdfunding platform for low-income microentrepreneurs in Brazil ( br)
She graduated in Business Administration from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and post-graduate in Social Sector Law from the Positivo University and specialized in Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofits from Harvard Business School.
As a social entrepreneur she was selected as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum in 2012, is a global YouthActionNet Fellow by the International Youth Foundation since 2010 and was selected in 2015 as a global fellow of Vital Voices. 

Geoff Cape: As the founder of Evergreen, Geoff has been its CEO since 1990. Evergreen, has grown to include over 130 staff and offices in Toronto, and Vancouver with a collections of programs focused on the future of cities. Evergreen led the $55 million redevelopment of the Brick Works property centre for cities and urban infrastructure with 16 buildings and 41 acre campus.  With a focus on strategy, campaign building and cross sector collaboration, Geoff is a strong team player who enjoys new ideas and working on complex problem solving exercises that involve sustainability issues and the revitalization of urban landscapes. Across Canada, Evergreen has enabled over 7,100 action projects. Geoff is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum , and a regular participant at the World Economic Forum, Davos. Geoff is founding Chair of the Sustainability Institute, and has been recognized as one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40”, an “Ashoka Fellow”, winner of the Peter F. Drucker Award, and the Governor General’s “Golden Jubilee Medal”. In 2007 Geoff was awarded “Canadian Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Schwab Foundation. In 2010 Geoff Cape was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada. Geoff lives in Toronto with his wife Valerie and three boys Toma, Ben and Sebastien, and cycles to work every day—even in blinding Canadian snow storms. 

Romi Bhatia, United States Agency for International Development

Romi Bhatia is an development finance specialist with a 15-year career spanning numerous developing countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Mr. Bhatia served as the Agency Lead for diaspora engagement creating public-private partnerships with diaspora organizations to catalyze remittances, diaspora investments and social entrepreneurship to achieve development impact. Mr. Bhatia currently serves as a Sr. Investment Officer and Team Lead in the Agency's Office of Development Credit, utilizing tools such as credit guarantees to unlock financial capital to support base of pyramid (BoP) development. Prior to joining the Agency, Mr. Bhatia was V.P. of International Operations at Microfinance International Corporation managing their debt lending facility and other programs with microfinance institutions (MFI) in Latin America.  He launched the transnational mortgage/SME loan program for Latin American immigrants in the US that sought to channel remittances for home improvement and small and medium enterprise (SME) development in their country of origin. Since 2009, Mr. Bhatia has been an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University School of Business where he has taught microfinance courses to MBA students. Mr. Bhatia holds a M.A. degree in International Affairs with a concentration on International Finance and Business from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from UC Berkeley.  

Swapnil Shekar is one of the co‐founders of Sambodhi. A management graduate, Swapnil has more than 14 years of experience in results based management and programme management support. He has, as an M&E specialist, anchored many peer‐reviewed evaluations in livelihoods, natural resource management, renewable energy and public health sectors. His current work focuses on designing and implementing monitoring, learning and evaluation systems for market based developmental interventions with a special focus on creating real time learning loops for programme implementation. He is presently leading the MLE team for Rockefeller Foundation supported ‘SPEED’ programme in India. 

Manisha Bhinge is the Vice President with BRAC USA, BRAC's US based affiliate. She works closely with BRAC country offices in Asia and Africa to support the organization’s holistic programming approach, while ensuring a strong focus on extreme poverty, gender and impact research.  Manisha has been instrumental in supporting social innovation strategies across BRAC's programs on adolescent girls in South Sudan and Tanzania, the expansion and advocacy for the ultra poor as well as human rights and legal aid services to women in Bangladesh. Through BRAC USA, she manages a grant portfolio of over $25 million for BRAC programs with relationships with major US-based foundations. Prior to BRAC she was Manager of Development and Communications at the Synergos Institute, where she was responsible for institutional fundraising and program development for Southern Africa. She’s worked on several USAID projects and was instrumental in developing a partnership with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition to address child undernutrition in Southern Africa. Manisha’s previous experience includes several years as an analyst at the Corporate Executive Board; a best practices management consulting firm, where she led assignments with major Fortune 500 and Global 3000 organizations. She has also worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Hanoi, Vietnam.  A native of Mumbai, India, Manisha graduated from Harvard University’s Kennedy School with a Masters in Public Administration and International Development. 

Abishek Bharadwaj

Determined to contribute to transforming the lives of India’s rural poor, Abishek works as a Senior Consultant in cKinetics, a sustainability innovation and capital firm. As one of the operational team leads for the Project Development support at cKinetics is providing to the Program and the various Developer partners, he has been at the forefront of operationalizing the key elements and differentiators of this innovative and potentially path-breaking pan-India energy access program.  In the past he worked independently to set up a micro-hydro plant to generate the electricity needed for basic lighting, irrigation needs and to run a rice mill for a remote forest tribal village in Odisha, India. Abishek adopted a localized inclusive approach to ensure sustainable operations of the plant.  He graduated in Mechanical engineering from Jawaharlal Technological University in India and completed his Masters in Energy Science, Technology and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. 

Amy Chester brings considerable experience in community engagement, policy, communications and real estate development to advocate for the urban environment. 
Chester is currently the Managing Director of Rebuild by Design.  In that position she led an international design-driven competition that utilized an truly inclusive and collaborative process to create implementable large-scale infrastructure projects that addressed the physical and social vulnerabilities exposed by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast United States.  This process created a network of 10 design teams consisting of over 200 individuals and more than 700 government agencies and community organizations who co-created the proposals, resulting in the federal government awarding $930M to implement the winning designs.  She is now working with other regions in the US to replicate the process. Additionally, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations, management, fundraising, and strategy of the project. 
Previously, Chester worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Legislative Affairs and as a Senior Policy Advisor, responsible for the engagement strategy and public vision of PlaNYC, the Mayor’s sustainability agenda, which included initiatives such as Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, Congestion Pricing and The Million Trees Campaign.
Before working in the Mayor’s office, Chester worked at the NY City Council, where she was successful in ensuring the inclusion of affordable housing in large-scale neighborhood rezonings.  Chester worked at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where she developed affordable housing, and a charter school for Harlem Children’s Zone, and also worked at the Freelancers Union, where she was responsible for the design and construction of two alternative medical practices.
Chester worked as the Lead Organizer for Listening to the City – a historic opportunity for residents in the New York region to engage in a democratic planning process for the World Trade Center site post 9/11.   She also worked as a consultant to a dozen non-profit organizations on issue-based campaigns with M&R Strategic Services and on many electoral campaigns.
Amy was raised and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Sasank Vemuri has been working in the field of training and capacity development since 2003, first as an independent consultant and with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) since 2008. His focus at GIZ has been in supporting developing partner countries and cities in preparing policies and implementing practices that support communities in adapting to the physical, economic and social impacts of climate change. His professional expertise lies at the intersection of climate change adaptation and finance, with experience also in public private partnerships (PPP). As the Program Manager for GIZ‘s Umbrella Programme for Natural Resource Management in India, Sasank Vemuri worked with the Indian National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to develop and disseminate new financial products for rural communities’ that support the management of local natural resources and reduce vulnerability. He was involved in developing the first community-owned forestry CDM project to be approved by the UNFCCC.
Currently based in Manila, Philippines, he is the Climate Change Specialist with the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA). CDIA is a regional initiative established in 2007 by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Germany, with additional funding support from the governments of Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the Shanghai Municipal Government. The Initiative provides assistance to medium-sized Asian cities to bridge the gap between their development plans and the implementation of their infrastructure investments. At CDIA his responsibilities focus on prioritizing and developing infrastructure investments based on a city’s climate resilience strategy and linking those projects to financing. In addition to having lived and worked in the US, Germany, India and the Philippines, Sasank Vemuri has worked on assignments in Bangladesh, Kyrgyz Republic, Thailand, and Vietnam. He has earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Michigan State University and studied M.A. International Relations, a program jointly offered by the Humboldt and Freie Universities in Berlin and the University of Potsdam. 

Cristina Navarrete Moreno is an Operations Officer working for the Development Marketplace and Innovation Labs at the World Bank Group. She leads the program’s expansion to Africa and the targeted capacity development and learning opportunities component of the Development Marketplace program. Cristina is actively involved in addressing ecosystem and capacity gaps of social enterprises, government counterparts and WBG working on service delivery to the poor.
In addition to her work on the DM during the past three years, Cristina has analyzed how to support private development and encourage research and development investment in countries such as Poland, Ecuador, El Salvador and Costa Rica.
Before joining the World Bank Group, Cristina worked as an economist for the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in Oran, Algeria where she supported regional economic development in Western Algeria. Prior to her experience with AECID, Cristina was a consultant for Technopolis Group in Brussels, Belgium focusing on comparative analyses and evaluations of innovation policies and practices across EU countries.
Cristina holds a bachelor's degree in Management and Business Administration and a Masters in Financial and Actuarial Science, both from the Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE) in Madrid. As recipient of a grant by the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, she was also awarded a Masters of Arts in European Economic Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges. 

Sheila Roquitte has over 20 years of professional experience and has worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) since 1999 in Washington, Africa, and Asia on an array of development issues. She is currently based in Bangkok as the Regional Resilience Advisor, promoting resilience through risk-informed development investments. She serves as the Agency’s point of contact in Asia for the Global Resilience Partnership, a $150m initiative sponsored by USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Swedish International Development Agency. Prior to assuming her current position, Ms. Roquitte established and served as the Director of the U.S. Government office in Nepal to integrate disaster risk reduction investments across USAID, the State Department, and the Department of Defense. Before joining USAID, Ms. Roquitte worked for the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government as well as for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, consulted for Fortune 500 companies, and ran a grassroots NGO in South Africa. Ms. Roquitte holds a B.A. in Economics & Mathematics from Northwestern University, and an M.P.A. in Economic Development from Princeton University.

Kalim Hanna serves as the Regional Environmental Officer for the USAID Sahel Regional Office in Dakar Senegal.  Since joining USAID Kalim has served in Mali as an Agriculture Development Officer and in Egypt as the Regional Water Advisor. Prior to joining USAID, Kalim served as a Senior Engineering Advisor for a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq, and worked as a water resource engineer in the areas of watershed modeling, storm water management, GIS floodplain mapping, environmental permitting.  Kalim also worked as an irrigation engineer in Haifa, Israel.   Kalim currently holds a PhD in Biological Resource Engineering, focusing on Irrigation and Watershed Modeling, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. 

Mireille Tushiminina, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the executive director and co-founder of Shalupe Foundation, an action and impact driven NGO run by and for Congolese women. Shalupe Foundation specializes in developing and providing holistic solutions for young women with focus on fighting Gender Inequality and Violence, Social Injustice and altering the cyclical oppression of women due to lack of financial resources to afford basic maternal care in post-conflict DRC.
Mireille is a health care provider turned service-driven visionary senior executive, social/gender activist and entrepreneur with over 20 years of professional exposure and solid experience in Gender mainstreaming, consulting and public health sectors fueled by a passion for generating empowerment for Africa women through advocacy, development of sustainable programs that alleviate poverty, and prioritization in education and health agendas. Apart from the fact that she is also campaigners of Action/2015- working on climate change, development and gender equality need to work together to make the most of this historic moment within a perspective of long-term change and engagement.
She is a young and dynamic emerging leader who has contributed in diverse ways in promoting the ideals of women’s rights and development in the DRC.
Mireille has a proven record of successfully developing and implementing global strategies in capacity building which led her to receive the Martin Luther King Jr Fellowship Award, Crans Montana Leaders for Tomorrow Award, Trust Women conference scholar, Vital Voice Lead Fellow and She is also a member of the governing council and the Chapter Head for the pan-African Africa 2.0 global Organization. She is currently an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow (a program extended to 20 African Leaders each year by the African Leadership Institute in association with the Saïd Business School at Oxford University) and feels very inspired to “pay it forward” to her society----by providing a fresh ray of hope for marginalized and victimized communities in her native country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mireille holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Northeastern University and an M.B.A in Health Care Management from Davenport University. 

2014 Fellows

Alexandra Vogl
With Master’s degrees in Urban and Rural Planning and Urban Strategies, Alexandra works as an Urban Development Specialist at the Asian Development Bank. She was Managing Director of TINA VIENNA Urban Technologies and Strategies based in Vienna, and mainly working with Eastern European Cities, and former Head of Communication and Real Estate department at the Vienesse Center for Technology and Innovation. She has also let the Project Management Department at the Berlin Business Development Corporation, attracting foreign investments to the city of Berlin. 

Betty Kariuki
Betty is a graduate of Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya and Strayer University, Washington DC. She is currently the Partnerships and Projects Manager at Enablis Entrepreneurial Network East Africa—a development organization that supports entrepreneurs through capacity development, networking, and providing access to finance. Betty is passionate about youth and women entrepreneurship and most recently, youth employability. She is married and a mother of two. 

Chinwe Ogbonna
Since mid-2008, Chinwe is a Programme Specialist in Health Economics with the Nigeria Country Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Within the span of her professional career, she has worked within and outside Nigeria with the government of Nigeria, Center for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta, World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva and Ethiopia, Family Health International (FHI) Nigeria, as well as the UNFPA Regional Office for Africa in South Africa.

Chinwe brings experiences from her work on the use of health economic tools and approaches to inform strengthening of national health system performances; evidence-based advocacy, policy formulation, development of national strategic frameworks and plans, programme designs of mechanisms that improve financial access to quality health services especially for vulnerable populations, universal health coverage, costing exercises, and economic evaluations for health-care services.
She holds an MSc degree in Heath Systems Management from the University of London/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine along with additional qualifications in innovative systems strengthening, improving universal access to health, human rights based approach to programming, results-based management and use of equity-focused tools. 

Jackson Hungu
Jackson Hungu is the Deputy Country Director for Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Kenya.  In addition, he is one of CHAI’s thought leaders on e/mHealth and splits his time between CHAI’s Kenya country team and CHAI’s global diagnostics team. In Kenya he leads CHAI’s work on access to medicines and diagnostics.  In addition to advising and working with the ministry of health, he is in charge of managing CHAI’s UNITAID HIV/AIDS medicine and diagnostic commodity donation to Kenya to scale up HIV/AIDS treatment. Jackson worked with Hewlett Packard (HP) to build and deploy an innovative electronic platform to accelerate diagnosis of infants with HIV at national scale in Kenya hence reducing time to treatment saving lives. This work has scaled beyond Kenya to Uganda and soon other countries.  To achieve this, Jackson worked with undergraduate IT students and faculty to deploy these software solutions (that sit on HP technology) at scale that are now challenging the status quo in the transformation of health systems. He is now working with HP to deploy a “Health Cloud” that will provide the platform to host all national level health applications to facilitate health service delivery across all disease areas. On the global diagnostics team, Jackson’s role has been to advice diagnostic manufacturers on appropriate e/mHealth technologies that would enhance diagnostic application in the field ultimately working to deploy these technologies at national scale. Jackson holds a bachelors and masters degree in economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. 

Joan Leteipa
As a Program Manager with TechnoServe, Inc, Joan Leteipa is currently managing the Kenya chapter of The Connected Farmer Alliance, a Public-Private Partnership (GDA) between Vodafone, USAID, and TechnoServe to promote commercially sustainable mobile agriculture solutions, reduce poverty, and increase resilience for 500,000 smallholder farmers across Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Previously, Joan managed the successful proof of concept Digital Campus Connect (DCC) project supported by Rockefeller Foundation under the Poverty Reduction through Information and Digital Employment (PRIDE) program. Joan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a higher diploma in Psychological Counseling, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Mentoring. Her passion is to inspire hope and empower people to reach their potential in order to live significant lives and enhance their livelihood and that of their families and communities. 

Kumanan Rasanathan
Dr Kumanan Rasanathan is a public health physician currently working for UNICEF in New York on district health system strengthening to improve the delivery of maternal and child health services in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the UNICEF focal point for health in the post-2015 development agenda and a member of the task team managing the global thematic consultation on health for the post-2015 discussions.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Kumanan worked at WHO in Geneva on primary health care and the social determinants of health (people's living conditions and access to power, money and resources), considering the impacts of non-health sectors on health and vice versa and their relationship to health inequities. His work on social determinants focused on a range of issues including climate change, human rights, non-communicable diseases, economic crises, migration and social protection. Prior to joining WHO, Kumanan worked in a range of roles in New Zealand, Australia, China and the United Kingdom, as a clinician, researcher, policy-maker and programme manager in clinical practice, vaccine clinical trials, primary health care, national health policy, and reducing inequities in maternal and child health.

Manju George
Manju is Co-Founder and Head of Corporate Development at Intellecap, a consulting, investment banking and knowledge services firm in India that work with enterprises, investors and donors to drive business solutions for development issues.
As Head–Corporate Development, Manju works closely with the leaders of Intellecap's Practice Areas and Initiatives to build and manage the organization’s strategic client and partner relationships and support its global business expansion. She guides Intellecap's thought leadership initiatives and represents the firm, its learnings and ideas at global events and published media. Manju has experience in inclusive business and social enterprise development, investment and business strategy design, and private sector development in Asia and Africa. From 2007 to 2012, she developed and led Intellecap's consulting practice and was responsible for building and managing critical client relationships, projects, and a team of consultants. 

Before Intellecap, Manju consulted to Kudumbashree, a poverty eradication and livelihoods development initiative of the Government of Kerala. Here, she focused on promoting micro enterprises of low-income women through training and access to credit and markets.
Manju holds degrees in rural management and commerce. In 2011, she was acknowledged as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was invited to represent the community at the discussions in Davos 2012. She also serves on the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation. 

Megha Bhagat
Megha is a Business Responsibility professional with a background in legal education from National Law School of India University, working with the NASSCOM Foundation for 3 years. She leads the Foundation's program on Impact Sourcing and also supports the programs on disability for the entire southern region in India. She has completed her education in human rights law and holds a LLB and LLM in the specialised subjects.

Patrick Karanja
Patrick works at World Vision in the Global information and communication technologies (ICT) team focusing on ICT4D with a scope covering education, health, and economic development.
He has rich experience in setting up business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Africa and has a passion for being involved in transformational development work globally.
A member of the Internet Society, he is a graduate from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor of Education. 

Pumela Sulela
Pumela Salela is a Board member of the Global Sourcing Council, an Ambassador for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Outsourcing in Africa, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Tri-Sister City Alliance (TriSCA), the first Sister City Alliance between BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) cities in order to create jobs for knowledge workers. Recently she was appointed to be in the Advisory Council of the World BPO Forum, which is considered “the Davos of BPO” (business process outsourcing). 

Prior to her role, she was a BPO/ITeS (information and technology essential standards) consultant for the World Bank, based at the organization’s United States headquarters in Washington D.C., and a Director: BPO and O (business process outsourcing and offshoring) and information communications technology (ICT) enabled services at the Department of Trade and Industry, Industrial Development Division, South Africa, where she was responsible for drafting strategies and policies to create an enabling environment for the BPO and ICT sectors in South Africa. 

Before that, Pumela held the position of Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa, where she was responsible for attracting and negotiating with potential foreign investors to set up BPO operations in South Africa. She also worked for a number of years in various marketing roles in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinationals and media organizations in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Purnomo Dwi Sasongko
Purnomo was appointed as head of the Regional Planning and Infrastructure Development Division of Semarang’s Regional Development and Planning Board (BAPPEDA) in 2010.
Prior to this, he worked for and acted as the head of different divisions of local government agencies for over 10 years. These different roles and responsibilities have equipped him with extensive knowledge and experiences in issues relevant to housing and settlement, landscaping, water and waste management, spatial planning, and also urban planning.
Purnomo holds a Bachelor in Architecture degree and Master in Urban and Regional Planning from Diponegoro University. 

Sandhya Rao
Sandhya Rao is the Senior Advisor for Private Sector Partnerships in the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition at USAID. In this role, she provides strategic and programmatic leadership on private sector engagement, mHealth, market-based solutions and social innovation. In 2012, Sandhya led the design of a new public-private partnership that harnesses the power of mobile technology to improve the skills and performance of health workers in developing countries.  

Sarah Reed
Sarah is a researcher and practitioner with expertise in resilience, climate change and urban development, urban poverty, and housing, particularly in Southeast Asia. She is currently a Research Associate with the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition—Vietnam. 
Sarah is based in Hanoi, Vietnam and holds a Masters of Science in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh. 

Sofi Bergkvist
Sofi is the founding Managing Director of ACCESS Health International. ACCESS Health identifies, analyzes, and supports in the design of healthcare service delivery and financing models for high quality and low-cost healthcare. She is also is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Emerging Markets Solutions at the Indian School of Business, where she focuses on health financing and public-private partnerships in health.
Previously, Sofi was a healthcare analyst for an asset management company in India. She has also worked in management consulting in Sweden, where she focused on outsourcing public sector services. Sofi was engaged with the UNFPA in Malawi and carried out a cost-effectiveness study of the national road map for reduced maternal mortality. She has also worked as an advisor to the European Commission's Delegation to the United Nations on sustainable development issues.
Sofi has a Master of Science in international economics from the Stockholm School of Economics, and studied on the MBA program at McGill University in Montreal. 

Sunandan Tiwari
Sunandan is an ecologist trained at the Salim Ali School of Ecology, Pondicherry University, India, with over fifteen years of experience in project management and implementation in the development sector. He has worked in a wide array of areas—adaptation to climate change, water resources (rural and urban), sanitation, forestry, renewable energy, and environmental services. This work has been focused on improving the lives and livelihoods of local communities, especially the marginalized and poor, and their environment.
Sunandan’s experience has covered technical and institutional aspects, governance issues, resource management, and policy issues. He has worked very closely with many stakeholders, from local communities in different parts of South and Southeast Asia to government officials, policy makers, national as well as international researchers and research institutions, UN agencies, bi-lateral organizations, multi-lateral agencies, foundations, corporate agencies, and grassroots NGOs.
Working with local governments for the uptake of innovative ideas and practices through effective policy advocacy has been one of the key aspects of his work. For the past two years he has been coordinating the Sustainability Management program at ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia and is based in New Delhi, India. 

Toan Vu Canh
Toan works at the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies (NISTPASS) under the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam. Previously, he worked as an environmental specialist for EIFFAGE group in France—a European leader on construction, civil engineering, electrical Contracting and metallic construction.
He has extensive experience working on urban climate change resilience and disaster risk reduction at different levels and scales in Vietnam. He has played the role of coordinator and technical lead in a number of projects under NISTPASS such as Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (Vietnam component) funded by the Rockefeller Foundation; Mekong—Building Climate Resilience for Asian Cities (Vietnam component) supported by the United Agency for International Development (USAID); Asian Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform supported by Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and coordinated by Stockholm Environment Institute and UNEP, etc. He has a particular interest in urban governance for climate resilience in small and medium cities.

Wilailuk Wisasa
Wilailuk is Manager of Bureau of International Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Collaboration, National Health Security Office (NHSO). NHSO provides universal health coverage for a population of 47 million in Thailand and has used key performance indicators to improve the quality of services provided and to expand those services to meet the changing needs of the population. She is also a coordinator for capacity building to support the movements in achieving the Universal Health Coverage Program, and manages of South-South technical collaborations aimed at building up sustainable capacity among developing countries.
Wilailuk studied public health and holds a Master of Economics. She has experience working in public health facilities in rural areas, and worked as Policy and Plan Analyst in the health system. She is also a researcher. Her main areas of interest are health financing, health care reform, and health policy and system management. 

Yogesh Rajkotia
Yogesh is an experienced leader in global health with extensive expertise in developing and managing large-scale health systems strengthening initiatives. He is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Collaborative Development, a health systems strengthening ‘action-tank’. Prior to that, he worked for USAID, where he served as team leader for Health Systems in Rwanda and Senior Health Systems Advisor in Washington. While working for USAID, he provided leadership to the agency’s health systems work globally, and managed key programs including the $125 million Health Systems 20/20 Agreement and the $1 billion TASC3 contract. He has also worked as a long-term advisor to the senior leadership of health ministries in Bangladesh and Rwanda.
Yogesh holds a Doctorate degree in health economics and a Master’s degree in health policy. He has worked on health systems strengthening issues in 25 countries on 5 continents.

Delivery Team 2015

Cheryl Rose
Prior to entering the world of universities, Cheryl Rose gained professional experience in a variety of leadership roles within the community sector. She was the founding Executive Director of the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning, encouraging strong partnerships between academics and non-profit organizations across the country.  In 2007, she was invited to be one of the principal directors for the national Social Innovation Generation (SiG) partnership and accepted a role as the Associate Director of the Waterloo Institute on Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR). Recently, she was appointed a McConnell Foundation Senior Fellow for 2015.
She is currently working with a team at The Banff Centre to deliver a summer program focused on the connections between social innovation, indigenous knowledge, nature-based education and creative practice. This social innovation residency will launch in June 2015.
Cheryl holds a graduate degree in Capacity Development and Extension Studies, and she presents widely on Strategy Development for Social Innovation and Enhancing Individual and Organizational Resilience. She is a mother and grandmother who is inspired daily by her family. 

Warren Nilsson is a Senior Lecturer in social innovation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (GSB) and an associate of the GSB’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation. He holds a Ph.D. in organization studies from McGill University, and his research focuses on the organizational dimensions of social change and institutional transformation. This research has involved a variety of social purpose organizations in North America, Africa, and India. He is also a co-founder of Organization Unbound, a global conversation exploring how social purpose organizations can live out internally the social change goals they are working to achieve externally. Prior to entering academia, he spent ten years in the community development sector in the United States. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. 

Michele-Lee Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Geography at the University of Victoria, and leads the Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab based at the UVic Centre for Global Studies. With a passion for social innovation and positive transformative change, Michele-Lee’s research focuses on building capacity in both local and global arenas to confront complex social-ecological challenges and to build social-ecological resilience, primarily concentrating on water governance issues. Michele-Lee is also part of the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars (RAYS) research collective. Previously she worked with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, and at the B.C. Ministry of Environment as a strategy water policy advisor. Michele-Lee holds a BSc in Ecology, an MSc in Geography, and a PhD in Global Governance. 

Per Olsson holds a Ph.D. in natural resource management from Stockholm University and is a researcher and theme leader for Adaptive Governance at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He leads the Centre's initiative on Innovation and Transformation in Social-Ecological Systems. Dr Olsson's primary research interest is in linked social-ecological system dynamics and resilience. His current research is in global sustainability transformations and how to reverse current trends of crossing critical thresholds and tipping points in the Earth system. This involves studies of agency, social-ecological innovations, and the emergence of new, multi-level governance regimes in response to uncertainty and rapid change. Dr Olsson has current research and outreach initiatives in collaboration with SHIFT (an accelerator for start-ups), Biosphere Innovation System (a platform for social-ecological innovation), Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Program on Social Innovation, and Coral Guardians (combining music and science for better coral reefs stewardship). 

Sulona Reddy has a solid track record in establishing both private companies and public entities. She has a wide range of professional experience, having worked over the past twenty years in the public and private sectors, as well as in academic institutions. She holds an MBA from Wits Business School, a postgraduate Honours degree in Social Development from the University of the Western Cape and an undergraduate degree in Economics, and African Political Studies from the University of Cape Town.
Sulona led a project that successfully established the Cape Film Commission, a public-private partnership that went on to develop the regional film industry and place Cape Town on the map as an international filming destination of choice. This experience resulted in her being recruited to serve on the founding management team of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa, where she led the creation of an intergovernmental collaboration forum to improve the efficacy of support to the film and television industry. She was the South African partner in the consultancy team that advised the Department of Trade & Industry on developing an incentive to attract international film and television productions to South Africa, which resulted in a ten-fold increase in public sector financing available to the industry.
After successfully completing her MBA in 2005, Sulona sought to gain exposure in diverse industries, as well as in the public sector, having served as Special Adviser to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, leading sustainable development within the South African Breweries Limited, and serving as the first general manager of the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. She has also been sought after as a consultant to local and international institutions.

She is now with the Bertha Centre, and is the Programme Manager for The Rockefeller Global Fellowship.

Ncedisa Nkonyeni

Ncedisa recently joined the Bertha Centre as the Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Programme Project Coordinator.  Her background is in Documentary and Television Production and during her 10 years in the Industry she has taken on practically every position in the Production Cycle, including South African Film Policy Analysis.  Before TV she worked at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Popular Memory as an oral historian and conducted research on the intersection of Identity, Memory and Music.  Her chapter “A Luta Kontinua into the 21st Century: 20 Years of Nation-Conscious rap” tracks the rise of the Cape Town’s Hip Hop youth culture against the back-drop of 2 South African States of Emergency, and is published by HSRC press.  She has a Masters-Level Diploma in Research Psychology Community Development from Rhodes University and an Honours Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Cape Town.

Media Centre


The Rockefeller Foundation announces 2016 Global Social Innovation Fellows

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to announce today the 2016 Fellows for the Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation.

The 21 fellows include some of the world’s most promising innovators across various sectors, including leaders from NGOs, development agencies, social enterprises, philanthropies and the private sector.  

Over the course of a year, fellows will convene for intensive collaborative workshops in Colombia, South Africa, and Indonesia. At the workshops and throughout the year they will share lessons from their work and gain tools to begin transforming the systems at the root of some of the world’s most pressing challenges.  Read more...


Global Social Innovation Fellowship Comes to Cape Town

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business has joined an international partnership to convene the second annual Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation. The fellowship brings together 21 social innovators from around the world for four intensive learning modules over the course of a year.  Read more... 


The Rockefeller Foundation: For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation's mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, they pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by enabling people, communities and institutions to be prepared for, withstand, and emerge stronger from shocks and chronic stresses.

Building on the University of Victoria's existing base on interdisciplinary expertise, the Centre for Global Studies (CFGS) is uniquely poised to bridge academic research and student mentoring with knowledge mobilization and effective community engagement. The CFGS strives to produce quality and practical research with tangible benefits to both the local community and internationally. The CFGS has a rich history of producing cutting edge research and disseminating it in concise and accessible ways for both policy makers and the wider community.

Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo (UW) is committed to generating new inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process (the dynamics of learning, adaptation and resilience) in Canada and internationally. These goals are achieved through collaborative research and curriculum design projects that bridge UW's faculties, join together researchers and educators at different universities, and work beyond the university community with practitioners from around the world.

Stockholm Resilience Centre at the University of Stockholm: The Stockholm Resilience Centre is a trans-disciplinary research centre that advances the understanding of complex social-ecological systems and generates new and elaborated insights and means for the development of management and governance practices. The Centre advises policymakers from all over the world, and develops innovative collaborations with relevant actors from local social-ecological systems to the global policy arena.


For more information on The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation, please contact Dr Warren Nilsson, Associate Professor in Social Innovation on +27 (0)21 406 1425 or via email on