The Girl Child Long Walk Fellowship is a supportive cohort of learning and practice for faith-inspired change agents working at the nexus of faith, gender, and social change. We co-create a space with Fellows where they can take the next step in their journey to untangling the contradictions at the intersection of faith and gender inequality. This is a leadership development opportunity for faith-inspired change agents who don’t typically have access to leadership opportunities.

Through this opportunity, Fellows have:

  • Space to deepen their intellectual inquiry into the historic structures which underlie and perpetuate the patriarchal social norms which devalue girls’ human rights from the womb and make them vulnerable to systemic patterns of overwork, harmful traditions, abuse, neglect, and basic disrespect.
  • Opportunity for contemplation to connect with their own souls, cultivate inner freedom to ask questions, sort through their own religious and cultural beliefs, and tap into and clarify what is the deepest essence of faith that can “move mountains” (in particular those fortified by religion).
  • Peer learning with a small cohort of brave faith-inspired change agents from around the world working at the intersection of faith, gender equality, and community-led social change. 
  • Opportunities to refine strategic thinking and maximize the impact of a new or existing project.

Read on to learn more about our Fellows.

2023–2024 Fellows

Adelphine Angemito
Adelphine Angemito lives in Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has been serving her community for eight years at Congo Initiative-Universté Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (CI-UCBC) where she is a gender champion committed to girls’ and women’s empowerment. She co-founded the Women’s Voices group in 2013 and currently serves as a mentor and staff advisor. Adelphine is passionate about gender issues and enjoys listening to and solving women’s problems. In 2018-2019, she developed and executed a mentorship program for female students to prepare them to face any challenges society can throw at them. From 2019-2022, she managed a four-year project titled “Empowering Vulnerable Women in Eastern Congo,” to build up the social-economic empowerment of women through formal education, literacy, entrepreneurship, vocational training, psycho-social support, and a positive masculinity campaign. Adelphine believes that if every person identified a challenge and set out to solve it, we would soon have a better planet where people will live and not just survive.

Karina Aquino
Karina Aquino is a researcher and former diplomat based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She is an advocate for increasing gender equality and diversity in public policy. She has over 15 years of combined experience in project management and international cooperation and diplomacy, both in her home country Honduras, as well as in the United States. In this arena, she has been trained in Honduras, Chile, Germany, Brazil, and India. She contributes to socioeconomic development at World Vision, leading the integration of the evidence-based Gender Equality and Social Inclusion approach within and across sectors and programming, and providing technical and management leadership in the design, planning and implementation. Her line of research is on topics ranging from gender equality and participation and decision-making of women, and building bridges and partnerships between scientists and policymakers to face global challenges. She is a member of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World at UNESCO, and general secretary and founding member of the Network of Science Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean. She holds a Masters of Art in Project Management and a Diploma in Management Skills and Leadership both from Central American University of Technology.

Juliana Avila
Juliana Avila, a co-founder of the women-led non-profit organization Aquarela Frauengruppe e.V. in Wolfsburg, Germany, is passionately dedicated to supporting foreign women through the challenges of the migration process. Originally from Brazil, Juliana and her four friends established the organization with a mission to unify and empower immigrant women, fostering a community of mutual support. Since relocating to Germany in 2015, she has been actively involved in addressing discrimination faced by immigrant women based on various factors such as gender, family status, nationality, class, ethnicity, and religion. With a background in multinational companies and currently pursuing a master’s degree in Women’s Studies — Gender, Citizenship, and Development, Juliana exemplifies a commitment to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for immigrant women in Germany.

Magdalene Chikanya
Magdalene Chikanya is a program coordinator for Freely in Hope in Zambia, and holds a BA in Development Studies. She has over seven years work experience in community development and is passionate about creating safe spaces for girls and co-creating spaces where survivors and advocates can thrive, champion their voices, and take leadership roles. In addition to designing, leading, and developing the strategy of Super Girls Revolution (reaching over 100 girls in Mtendere Lusaka, Zambia), she co-created the Butterfly Effect Retreat Curriculum which helps girls heal from the trauma of sexual violence, setting them free to pursue their academic dreams and transform the world. She has also worked with organizations including Poetice International and Young Women’s Christian Association. Magdalene has worked in Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States across multiple cultures, leading, mentoring girls, designing projects, and sharing her story as a survivor of sexual violence. From her own story of brokenness, she gives other girls and women hope and inspires them to pursue their dreams while holding hands with other survivors to break the circles of oppression. She is based in Lusaka, Zambia.

Consoler Eliya
Consoler Eliya, commonly known as Dr Mama Consoler, is the founder of the organization New Hope For Girls, based in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She has more than 15 years of experience in the field of social sciences, specifically in human rights. She is a survivor of abuse and violence, was denied education because of her gender, and was forced into an abusive marriage at the age of 11. Today she holds a PhD in Social Work and has spent her life bringing awareness of the importance of engaging and giving equal rights to both genders. The initiative starts at the family and goes to the national level by also encouraging boys to stand against any forms of gender discrimination from their families and beyond. Consoler and her husband Eliya have been blessed with 58 foster girls and two biological children living together in one family.

Wairimu Gathu
Wairimu Gathu is the co-founder and director of programs at Binti Network, a feminist organization in Nairobi, Kenya, dedicated to building foundations for girls and young women to positively impact communities. Guided by the belief that the liberation of girls and young women starts with a shift in power dynamics, Wairimu, along with her fellow founders, currently leads two impactful programs—a leadership fellowship for girls and a social enterprise accelerator for young women. These initiatives have cultivated a network of young female leaders from marginalized communities, serving as a platform to collaborate with institutions, including faith-based ones. Binti Network’s mission is to reshape communities by dismantling patriarchal norms through disruptive agendas, fostering conversations, sharing lived experiences, and utilizing artivism. Faith-motivated activism stands at the core of their focus, contributing to the resocialization of communities for the betterment of girls and women.

Fanis Inganga
Fanis Inganga is a dedicated advocate for the rights of women and girls, driven by a passion for co-creating solutions and innovating with communities to address social injustices and foster gender transformation. With a decade of experience in the NGO sector, she has worked extensively in program development and management, specializing in areas such as land and natural resource management, indigenous women’s rights, HIV, and Nutrition. Currently serving as the Senior Programs Manager at Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health, Fanis is based in Nairobi, Kenya, where she works for the advancement of gender equality and social justice.

Thien-Nhien Luong
Thien-Nhien Luong is based in San Jose, California, in the United States. She is an educator, thought leader, and community activist advocating for adolescent sexual and reproductive rights, empowering girls and women, and closing economic injustices and health disparities impacting the vulnerable communities. She has held various positions within the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and worked with academic institutions in leading health disparity research and co-creating integrated solutions with community leaders. Currently, she is the president of Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organization Network consisting of leaders from non-profit organizations to address the rising needs due to climate change and political instabilities through community-participatory processes. Additionally, she is the executive director of Design Capital Asia, a non-profit with the mission to eradicate poverty by implementing proven interventions on youth empowerment, social entrepreneurship, and community development.

Joel Mutuku
Joel Mutuku is the Country Program Director at Tumaini International Trust, a non-profit organization that supports AIDS orphans, vulnerable children, and poverty-stricken communities in Machakos County in South East Kenya. Their work includes child sponsorship, education, healthcare, and community-based organizing programs. Joel gained valuable experience during a two-year tenure at Pioneer College Caterers in California and later joined Tumaini International Trust as their Donor Services Coordinator. Joel was subsequently promoted to the position of program director. In this capacity, he oversees all Tumaini projects and sponsorship programs spanning eleven counties in Kenya. He is passionate about effecting positive change in the lives of young children and assisting those in need. His commitment to Tumaini’s mission reflects a deep-seated dedication to making a meaningful impact on the community. Joel’s educational background includes certifications in Information Technology and Fundraising Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Hope International University in California.

Monica Nyiraguhabwa
Monica Nyiraguhabwa is an innovative social entrepreneur and nonprofit executive. In 2012, she co-founded Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) to respond to the limited life choices and opportunities among adolescent girls and young women living in the underserved areas of Uganda. She is a highly respected advocate for girls’ education in Uganda who has been selected as an Obama Africa leader, Perennial Fellow, Cordes Fellow, Skoll Fellow, and African Visionary Fellow. She has also been named as a Top Woman 40 Under 40 by the national New Vision newspaper in 2017 and 2019. GUIU has been internationally recognized as part of Michelle Obama’s Girls Opportunity Alliance. Monica is a Commonwealth Scholar with an MA in Education, Gender and International Development from the University College of London and a BA in Adult and Community Education from Makerere University. She is based in Kampala, Uganda.

Leslye Obiora
Leslye Obiora is an Igbo woman and Professor of Law at the University of Arizona. She formerly served as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and has held numerous positions across academic and international institutions, and contributed to a number of internationally-renowned leadership projects. She played a pioneering role in stimulating the growth of indigenous philanthropy in Nigeria that helped catalyze the inauguration of the Africa Philanthropy Forum by the Global Philanthropy Forum. Her prescient interventions have invigorated civil society effectiveness, governance reform, leadership development, succession planning, human rights, and gender empowerment. Born on the cusp of the Biafra civil war and raised as the seventh of nine children by a young widow, her formative experiences bred fortitude and a passion for service, which has shaped her conception of leadership as an art of self-transcendence trained on promoting the greater good. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nigeria, a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Juristic Science degree from Stanford Law School. She is based in Tucson, Arizona in the United States.

Jackline Odhiambo
Jackline Odhiambo was raised by a team of widows, an experience that has shaped her life’s choices. As a child, she was surrounded by their love and care, and understood that they were struggling financially to put food on the table, and especially to pay the school fees for their children. Based in Kisumu, Kenya, she began leading community development projects, including establishing a school and a water project where she encountered the social stigmatization of widows. Widows were unheard when they spoke and scapegoated if anything went wrong in these projects. She decided to make the personal political and she founded Nyanam Widows Rising, a non-profit preparing widowed women to lead in their communities. The organization’s vision is Africa where widowed women thrive. She is also a public health researcher and is currently pursuing PhD studies with research focused on the stigmatization of widows.

Etty Rahmawati
Etty Rahmawati is from a small town in Java, Indonesia, called Babat and has spent most of her career in education. After moving to Borneo in 2009, she started working for a non-profit organization that integrates human health and environmental health, called Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). At ASRI, she serves the community by raising the awareness of the importance of protecting the forest for health. For eight years, she worked as a community outreach coordinator and volunteer coordinator, and is now manager of Planetary Health Education. Her roles are managing the education program, reporting, budgeting, collaborating with stakeholders, and developing curriculum for kids, teens, and adults on planetary health. Serving communities through education is her passion. She believes that education has the power to change for the better world.

Masouma Rasouli
Masouma Rasouli is a passionate advocate for gender equality and education. Formerly a water supply engineer in Afghanistan she is now a software development student based in Landau in der Pfalz, Germany. Hailing from a country grappling with gender inequality and the deprivation of education for girls, Masouma witnessed the challenges faced by women in her home country to accessing basic rights. Masouma is leveraging her skills and expertise in technology for social change to make a meaningful impact by advancing gender equality and educational opportunities for girls in Afghanistan. With resilience and dedication to bridge the gender gap and empower girls, she is dedicated to challenging the status quo and aims to create a more equitable future for Afghan girls.

Fred Sebaggala
Fred Sebaggala grew up with a single mother who taught him the strength and courage that women possess. Fred founded and is the managing director of She Learns, an organization that empowers girls and women. He engages in ministry that works with schoolchildren in Uganda, challenging the youth to live purpose-driven lives. They offer gender equality education, a reusable sanitary pads ministry, and regular food drops to local villages without access to resources. The organization also hosts several annual conferences for women and girls, sharing gender equality ideals from a faith perspective with speakers from around the world. He is based in Kampala, Uganda.

2021-2022 Fellows

Susan Barnett
Susan Barnett is based in New York City and consults with diverse faith and secular leaders and nonprofits on media/communications strategy and content creation. A former investigative reporter, Susan focuses on the intersection of water/sanitation/hygiene and women and girls’ health, education, dignity, and equity.

Esperande Bigirimana
Esperande Bigirimana is based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She works with We Will Speak Out South Africa, and is an advocate against sexual violence, and a member of the Phephisa survivors Network in South Africa and the global survivor network.education, dignity, and equity.

Maria Ligia Conti
Maria Ligia Conti is based in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She is a language teacher, healing doll maker, and seeker. Ligia loves nature, people and all that which is to be learned. Her goal in life is to be of service and to find her inner truth.

Kate Kiama
Kate Kiama is based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a born feminist and works at She’s the First as Director of Programs. Kate serves on the Board of Make Every Woman Count and is passionate about addressing social injustices that affect adolescent girls and women.

Esther Kitonga
Esther Mali Kitonga is based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is currently pursuing an advanced degree in counseling psychology. Esther is a social worker and counselor at Tumaini International Trust and was a project director at Compassion International Trust.

Patrick Musembi
Reverend Patrick Musembi is based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is an accomplished educator with over 20 years of university teaching experience and focuses on peacebuilding and human security. Rev. Musembi and his wife Ruth are blessed with two sons and a daughter.

Humphrey Nabimanya
Humphrey Nabimanya is based in Kampala, Uganda. He is a sexual reproductive health and rights advocate, a youth and gender activist, and social change agent. Humphrey is the founder and CEO of Reach A Hand Uganda, an organization of youth and gender change advocates from some of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

Jennifer Nantale
Jennifer Nantale is based in Kampala, Uganda. She is the country director for Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in Uganda, and has been working with civil society organisations, government departments and the private sector in relief and development programs in East Africa for 20 years.

Valencia Ortiz
Valencia Ortiz is based in Baltimore, MD. She is a social worker supporting foster care youth at the Baltimore County Department of Social Services. Valencia is an Afro-Latina and big sister, auntie, mentor, feminist, dancer, equality advocate, and child of God.

Amal Sarah
Amal Sarah is based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is pursuing a postgraduate degree in Environmental Sciences from Forman Christian College. She is a member at the Central Cathedral of Praying Hands and works for the Women’s Desk of the Diocese of Raiwind – Church of Pakistan.

Maame Afon Yelbert-Sai
Maame Afon is based in Mountain House, California. She is an internationally recognized thought leader, advocate for the rights and leadership of women and girls, coach, mentor, facilitator, and recording artist who uses music to promote social change and philanthropy. Maame is the Founder and Chief Steward of MILT – Management for Impact, Leadership & Transformation.

Student Fellows

Katie Gienapp
Katie Gienapp is a senior at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies (Sociology, Biblical and Theological Studies). Previously a leader in various faith-based and justice-oriented organizations, Katie currently resides in a multi-racial living and learning community and works as a missiological research assistant.

Whitney Thomas
Whitney Thomas is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is a sophomore at Dartmouth College where she is studying biology. She enjoys looking at the intersection of her faith and science as a writer for the Dartmouth Apologia and working as a research assistant in Dartmouth’s octopus cognition lab.