Ford Foundation announces its 2021 Global Fellows Network with representation from West Africa

Ford Foundation announces its 2021 Global Fellows Network with representation from West Africa


Forty-eight emerging leaders from around the world, including Nigeria, Togo and Sierra Leone, join the inaugural 24 fellows to build a network of 72 active fellows working to tackle global drivers of inequality.

LAGOS, Nigeria, 19 October 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- New York – October 19, 2021 – The Ford Foundation has today announced its 2021 Ford Global Fellows, the foundation’s flagship global fellowship program, with a $50 million investment supporting emerging leaders around the world. The announcement doubles the number of fellows slated for its second year and with representation from West Africa. This in an effort to provide more leaders the critical support they need in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 48 new fellows will join the inaugural cohort launched in 2020 and include one Fellow from Togo and Sierra Leone, and two from Nigeria. Together, the three cohorts will comprise 72 (of what will eventually be 240 Fellows over ten years) promising global leaders.

“We are scaling the Ford Global Fellows faster because this crisis requires bolder commitments to creating a more just and equitable future,” says Adria Goodson, director of the Ford Global Fellowship. “People who are most proximate to injustice are stepping up and surfacing solutions to local challenges driven by global structures of inequality.”

Compounded by vaccine inequity, job precarity, climate change, rising authoritarianism, and racial and gender inequity, COVID-19 has laid bare the crisis of inequality with a renewed urgency to combat it. Ford Foundation has responded by scaling up the Ford Global Fellowship to support leaders from communities who face injustice head-on, and help them cultivate their ideas and energy in solving long-standing inequalities exposed or exacerbated by the pandemic.

The fellowships will provide these emerging leaders with the tools, networks, and solidarity they need to work better, smarter, and more sustainably in the long haul.

“Inequality and injustice defy borders. The Ford Global Fellows are bringing their local experiences to learn from each other’s work and design and reimagine solutions to global systems of inequality. We are excited to welcome Adebukola (Bukky) Shonibare and Ekaete Umoh from Nigeria, Farida Nabourema from Togo and Joseph Kaifala from Sierra Leone,” announced Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, Ford Foundation program officer, West Africa.

About the Fellows

The cohorts are selected by FGF on the basis that each represents a broad range of backgrounds, fields, and approaches to addressing inequality.

Adebukola (Bukky) Shonibare is the founder and executive director of Invictus Africa, an organisation addressing gender inequalities through rights-based advocacies, legal reviews, and capacity development.

Accepting the accolade, Shonibare says: “We must promote wide and in-depth understanding of gender issues, while collaborating with relevant state and non-state actors on effective strategies. All girls in Nigeria should have the right to education and opportunity with safety and freedom.”

Ekaete Umoh is country director at CBM Global Disability Inclusion, fighting to end the cycle of poverty and disability in Nigeria. As national president of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, she has been involved in the passing of a national law protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

Umoh envisions a just society with equal opportunities for all where people with disabilities can access their rights and achieve their full potential. “We can’t address the world’s injustices without ensuring rights and opportunities for people with disabilities.”

Farida Nabourema is a Togolese social activist, a pan-Africanist and a writer, where she has regularly denounced corruption, dictatorship and inequality.

Nabourema is working towards a world in which dignity is not a privilege that only a few people are entitled to, but lived by all vulnerable and marginalized communities that today are oppressed, exploited and dominated. She adds, “We must ensure the human rights of marginalized communities and stop exploitative practices that perpetuate oppression.”

Joseph Kaifala is the founder and principal of the Center for Memory and Reparations, facilitating healing from the Sierra Leonean civil war. He founded the Jeneba Project providing girls access to quality high school education and paving a way for them to forge a brighter future.

“We must create a world with inclusive and equitable education for all and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls. I want to see a world where women and girls have equal access to education and are free from discrimination,” said Kaifala.

Their role in the Ford Global Fellowship (FGF) program

Each cohort will undertake an 18-month program. The goal of the 10-year program is to identify and connect emerging leaders from across the globe who are advancing innovative ideas and solutions to combat inequality. Each Fellow receives funding and resources to develop and pursue both group and individualised learning plans to advance their own leadership development. They will each receive a no-strings-attached US$25,000 stipend.

“Ford entered the Fellowship space as a learning partner. We work with emerging leaders in surfacing insights, identifying and investing in tools, and building networks they need now in the face of today’s crises,” added Goodson.

The program focuses on supporting each individual and on building a strong Fellowship community. All of the cohorts will work together to co-create their Fellowship experience so that it supports both individual growth and collective learning. FGF supports them in the development of deliberate, trusting, and generative relationships so the Fellows and Ford can strengthen their practices to challenge and change inequality together.

Goodson concluded by saying the urgency of the need to fight inequality is growing rather than receding: “One year into our program and as global crises deepen, we are called to accelerate our support for emerging leaders globally and move to scale faster. The Covid-19 pandemic, compounded by the effects of climate change, the rise of authoritarianism, and racial and gender injustice, have laid bare the crisis of inequality and created new urgency to combat it.”

Learn more about the Ford Global Fellowship here.

Distributed byAfrican Media Agency for The Ford Foundation.

About The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Media contact

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne

Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications

Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.


Communication​ digitale

Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements

Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique

Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique

Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média

Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu

Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion

Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training

We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring

We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations

We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development

We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.


This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available