Every day at the Education Collaborative, we celebrate the women who drive change in Africa’s higher education sector. As the world celebrates women and their achievements on International Women’s Day, meet twelve women driving impact within the Education Collaborative while igniting change in Africa’s higher-ed sector.

Through their work and the support of the Education Collaborative’s leadership and network members, we continue to make progress towards our 2030 goal to transform over 1 million students into ethical, entrepreneurial leaders who create jobs, transform industries, and lead economies. 

Rose Dodd, Director, Education Collaborative  

Rose leads the development of the Education Collaborative’s 10-year strategy to impact over 1 million students directly. She believes African tertiary institutions can and should lead the African renaissance. In the last five years, she has led the building of a foundation that allows university leaders and stakeholders to collaborate in teaching, management, and administration at the Education Collaborative.Rose has taught entrepreneurship, design thinking, Giving Voice to Values and the Leadership seminar series at Ashesi University since 2015. She has an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MPhil in Development Policy and Practice from the University of Cape Town. In late 2020, Rose received the prestigious Millennium Excellence award, a long-standing award that celebrates leadership and excellence in Ghana. The initiative has recognized other Ghanaians, including the late Kofi Annan and Ashesi President Patrick Awuah. Rose’s award was in recognition of her passion to provide a safe space for children of kayaye (head porters in Ghana markets) through Kaya Childcare, an initiative she started.   

Prof. Angela Owusu-Ansah, Provost, Ashesi University  

Prof. Owusu-Ansah serves as an Education Collaborative consulting committee member, providing strategic oversight on the operations within the network. As the provost at Ashesi University, she sits on Ashesi’s executive committee and leads the academic affairs department under which the Education Collaborative was established. Additionally, she sits on the Education Collaborative 2022 Annual Convening agenda planning committee, ensuring the Convening delivers on its promise to equip educators across Africa to build their institution’s capacity. Prof. Owusu-Ansah serves at Ashesi with over 30 years of experience in academic development and research and oversees faculty and excellence in instruction and research. Before joining Ashesi, Angela was a Professor of Doctoral Studies and a Faculty Chair of dissertation research at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. She also served as a national commissioner for the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), a major accrediting agency of over 700 higher education institutions. She also served as the Associate Dean of the School of Education, the Master of Education Programs Director, Coordinator of Unit Assessment and Accreditation, Licensure Officer, and Chair of Teacher Education Programs at Elon University.

Dr. Priya Iyer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Finance and Employability, Botho University

At the Education Collaborative, Priya sits on the 2022 Annual Convening planning committee and is engaged in planning the employability track of the 2022 Annual Convening, sharing her perspective on the conversations the Convening should drive to equip educators with the ideal approaches to improve their institution’s career development systems.  

Priya drives the employability and entrepreneurship agenda of the graduates at Botho University through various initiatives coordinated through the Student and Alumni Affairs Department. Graduate placements, student internships, Entrepreneurship Lab and engagement with industry through the Industry Reference Forums are part of her portfolio. She also oversees the Finance, Human Resources and Technology departments. Iyer is a Chartered Accountant by profession and was the first woman to be elected president of the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA). She won the most votes ever polled by a Council member when she was elected, and in her position as BICA President, she established good networks with other professional institutions around the world, such as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the World Bank. She has a Bachelor’s in Commerce from the University of Calicut, Kerala, India, and has a doctorate in higher education.

Araba Botchway, Executive Director, Admissions and Financial Aid, Ashesi University

Araba sits on Ashesi’s Executive Committee, having a strategic oversight over the Education Collaborative’s operations. As part of her work, she helps manage Ashesi’s partnerships, including the Master Card Foundation’s funding for the Education Collaborative to transform over 1 million students into ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who create jobs, transform industries, and lead economies in 2030. Araba has more than 20 years of experience in scholarships and grant management and recruitment of students across Africa. Since 2013, Araba has led the recruitment of brilliant and talented students with leadership potential from across the African continent to study at Ashesi. Before her role at Ashesi, Araba worked as the Program Officer for the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) in West Africa for 12 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in French with Spanish from the University of Ghana, a certificate in Communications and Marketing from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, a Post-graduate diploma in Marketing of Services from the Maastricht School of Management, the Netherlands, and an Executive MBA from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) among others.

Dr. Palesa Natasha Mothapo, Head, Postdoctoral Research Support in Division for Research and Development, Stellenbosch University, South Africa 

Palesa serves as a member of the Education Collaborative employability community of practice, where she engages in conversations and projects designed to improve graduate employability in Africa. She also serves on the 2022 Annual Convening agenda planning committee, where she shares her perspectives on structuring the Convening to address the relevant trends for educators to improve employability, entrepreneurship, ethics, and leadership outcomes in their institution.  

Palesa, as the head of Postdoctoral Research Support at Stellenbosch University, provides support to postdoctoral research fellows through capacity development initiatives, identifying new funding opportunities and overall support on the processes that influence these emerging researchers within the academic space. She is an alumnus of the GreenMatter WWF Nedbank Green Trust Emerging Leaders, was listed on the 2014 Mail and guardian 200 Young South Africans, a lifetime member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow, and has recently been nominated as Inspiring Fifty women in STEM South Africa for 2020. 

Palesa is passionate about young women in STEM and devotes much of her time to mentoring and encouraging young women, particularly in rural and underdeveloped areas, to take part in STEM careers. She is a Mentor for STEMIAfrica and Smart Tribe, with female mentees from 6 African countries. 

Rebecca Awuah, Faculty, Ashesi University

Over the past 18 months, Rebecca has led the Education Collaborative’s effort to introduce an ethics and leadership online course called Giving Voice to Values (GVV) Africa, teaching creative and effective approaches to ethical action. Rebecca spearheaded the introduction of the GVV curriculum at Ashesi in 2011 and, a decade later, is leading the GVV Africa curriculum development tailored for industry professionals and higher education leaders across Africa. Rebecca believes GVV Africa can potentially impact how ethics and leadership are taught, discussed, and practised in Africa. She also contributes to the 2022 Annual Convening agenda planning committee and ethics and leadership track of the convening. In the larger Ashesi University community, Rebecca has played a pivotal role in providing structure to Ashesi’s mathematics curriculum since 2008, when she joined the community. She has taught Pre-Calculus, Calculus and Statistics to many Ashesi students and alumni. Beyond Ashesi, Rebecca also works with other communities to improve education outcomes in Ghana. She serves on the board of Teach for Ghana, chairs the Odeefoo Oteng Korankye II Educational Fund board, and leads the Bereksuo Math Project, through which Ashesi students provide extra maths lessons for Berekuso basic school pupils. 

Ivy Muthoni, Associate Manager, Career Development Services, Strathmore University

Ivy is a primary mentor in the Education Collaborative’s System’ Change Program (SCP) for Employability. The program is supporting three institutions to develop and strengthen their career service systems through mentorship support. Ivy has been working with the Rwanda Polytechnic team, the mentee institution and collaborating with the SCP team to contextualize Strathmore’s best career services practices to suit Rwanda Polytechnic’s needs. 

Abigail Welbeck, Director of Career Services, Ashesi University  

Abigail brings a wealth of experience in career service development to the Education Collaborative network. From leading speaker series to holding capacity building sessions for institutions within the network, Abigail is leading the effort to strengthen a Ghanaian university’s career service development system with the potential of impacting over 50,000 students. She is leading this effort under the Systems Change Program for Employability. Abigail looks forward to helping inspire a sense of purpose, sustainability, and excellence in Higher Education Employability systems across Africa. For a little over a decade, Abigail has supported the development of career services structures at Ashesi University. She provides executive and strategic leadership for developing, implementing, and evaluating systems, programs, and events to connect employers with students, faculty, and alumni. Abigail spearheads the university’s effort to maintain a graduate placement record of 90% and above post-graduation. 

Dr. Jennifer N. Udeh, ​Head of Programs and Partnerships, ​Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA)

Jennifer leads the ESSA team working on the knowledge and research component of the Systems Change Program for Employability. The team will study the career development models of mentee institutions on the pilot program and recommend evidence-based best practices to improve their career services systems. Ultimately, they will develop a guidebook with tried and tested guidelines for successfully implementing new career services systems. 

Jennifer joined ESSA in 2018 as a Programme Manager and transitioned to Head of Programmes and Partnerships in 2020. She has led and supported innovation and transformation initiatives within the public, private and international development sectors. Jennifer has previously worked with organizations in the UK and Africa, including The World Bank, Selfridges Retail Group, The Manufacturing Advisory Service. She holds a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Manufacturing Engineering and Management and an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Innovation Management from the University of Warwick, where she is also a Module Leader and Lecturer in Project Management and Leadership. Jennifer is service orientated, dedicated to learning and development, and passionate about collaboration, social innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.

Jewel Thompson, Business Administration Faculty Member, Ashesi University 

As a seasoned Social Impact strategist and business development, Jewel has worked with the Education Collaborative to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum and innovation lab at African Development University, an institution under the Education Collaborative mentorship program. Jewel has also led a design thinking & entrepreneurship content for seminar series and curriculum for Palm Institute as part of the Education Collaborative’s mentorship program.  

Jewel has over eleven years of experience in entrepreneurship program development, innovation, business development and analysis, strategy development, and social impact activities and initiatives. She is currently focused on facilitating the early growth of African social impact startups that seek to expand their offerings globally through business training, strategy development, and access to financial tools. At Ashesi University, she serves as a Faculty in Entrepreneurship, design, and innovation, which allows her to extend my expertise in teaching, scholarship, and community. Jewel enjoys volunteering on various platforms such as Founder’s Institute Accra as a Business Mentor, serving as Faculty lead for TEDx Ashesi University to promote cultural conversations, and working on gender-focused initiatives such as ANDE’s Gender Equality Initiative working group to support women in entrepreneurship on the continent. 

Dr. Sena Agbodjah Agyepong, Senior Lecturer & Head of the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University 

Sena serves as a consulting committee member, providing oversight over the Education Collaborative’s operations, sits on the 2022 Annual Convening agenda planning committee, and has led speaker sessions. Sena currently leads the Education Collaborative’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem project with Dr William Murithi, Adjunct faculty, Ashesi University. The project’s goal is to share best practices for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem development on higher education campuses in Africa, learning from thriving ecosystems on the continent. 

Sena is a senior lecturer of Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Development and Project Management at Ashesi University and a Program Facilitator of the Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX). She is the Project Lead for the Business Academy of the Next Generation Cocoa Youth Programme (MASO), a MasterCard Foundation-funded programme with Solidaridad West Africa as the consortium lead. Sena started her academic career as a Teaching Assistant at the Department of Building Technology at KNUST in the 2003/2004 academic year. She was a demonstrator in the department while undertaking her PhD in Building Technology (Construction Management) between August 2004 and February 2009. Her doctoral research focused on developing a Human Resource Management Policy development framework for construction companies. She has, over the years, developed an interest in Entrepreneurship, Real Estate and Construction Project Management.

Rose Akudugu, Assistant Finance Manager, Ashesi University

Rose has 15years of experience as a financial expert and sits on the Education Collaborative’s consulting committee to offer insights and financial advice for decision making. 

She holds a Bachelor of Accounting from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). Her association and experience working as an administrative person in higher education have been in Ghana’s private sector. She started as an Account Officer and rose through the ranks to become a Chartered Accountant and an Assistant Finance Director at Ashesi. She looks forward to establishing a grant reporting standard across projects at the Education Collaborative and mentoring emerging mentee institutions in budgeting and reporting to win funding opportunities through the Education Collaborative network.