Introducing the Gender Equality Changemakers Awards Finalists

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The upcoming Gender Equality Changemakers Awards will be taking place soon. They will bring together GEC students, alumni, and people interested in gender and initiating change in their organisations.

This event will take place virtually on the 29th of September 2022 and will be dedicated to celebrating and awarding those who are actively accelerating gender mainstreaming in the workplace. We invite you to join us for the GEC Awards Event on the 29th of September by following this link to RSVP.

For this first iteration of the GEC Programme, and in recognition of its ground-breaking nature, we are offering awards to selected participants to recognise their efforts, inspire them to greater achievement, and to inspire subsequent participants.

Criteria for the 2022 awards are as follows:

  • Comprehensive, well-written, and thought-through gender action plan.
  • Successful implementation of a gender action plan.
  • Shown initiative, insight, and creativity in honouring the ethos of the GEC Programme.

Winners stand a chance of winning a limited-duration mentorship opportunity that will include one-on-one meetings with the mentor for 3 months and much more.

To read more about the Gender Equality Changemakers Awards, follow this link.

Our finalists are making great strides within their industries and all of them created Capstone projects that can bring much change within their different organizations. Here they are;


Pamela Bella Nyamutoka Katooro

Pamela Bella Nyamutoka Katooro has an MBA, LLB and 16 years of experience in international development and is currently the Africa Regional Director at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), responsible for delivering the strategic direction of five country programs in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Pamela is the Vice Chairperson and Director of Gender at the Digital Frontiers Association (DFA)-Uganda and leading the Gender Strategy design and implementation. She is also the Gender COP Facilitator for Uganda and Rwanda for the DFI (Digital Frontiers Institute) Gender Equality Changemakers Program. Pamela was the first female Ugandan Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (Tufts University and Digital Frontiers Institute SA) and is extremely passionate about gender equity as a result of this passion has initiated and implemented several Regional and country-based gender-inclusive financial inclusion programs through public and private partnerships.

Her Final Capstone Project is centred around how proper gender audits need to be conducted. A gender-responsive HR policy needs to be developed, as well as increasing the gender balance in procurement.

The early success of this project saw Pamela getting 57 participants to enroll in the GEC Programme. The HR manager becoming a gender champion and HR policies also have been reviewed. Furthermore, incentives such as relocation and babysitting subsidies were granted in order to encourage female agents to join the field.


Abebaw Belay

Abebaw Belay is a senior system Architect at EthSwitch S.C (National Switch), where he works on assessing the needs of customers and businesses and making architectural approaches and design documents. Abebaw serves as a mentor, advisor, and manager while establishing and interpreting structural designs. He also often works with engineers, project managers, strategists and stakeholders throughout IT and the business as a whole. Abebaw has worked with system engineers at Kifiya Financial Technology, including others.

Abebaw helps to identify gaps that exist in clients’ technology systems and formulate, modify, and integrate improved software and hardware applications, ensuring that it harmonizes with existing systems. While also ensuring that the new solutions meet industry regulations.

Abebaw’s Capstone Project focuses on creating a more gender-sensitive environment that considers the unique needs of different genders. Through this project, he has held gender sensitising training that focuses on unconscious biases in the workplace. The challenges identified are driven by deep-rooted discrimination against women and stereotypes about their appropriate role in society. This has also encouraged the C-suite to enroll for the LEO course.


Prudence Mnisi

Prudence Mnisi is a professional social scientist with training in sociology, anthropology and development finance, a Certified Expert in Financial Inclusion Policy, a Certified Expert in Gender Change and currently registered for a Master’s in Monitoring & Evaluation with a particular emphasis on the evaluation of policies and programmes. Currently working for the Centre for Financial Inclusion an agency of the Ministry of Finance as a Financial Inclusion Manager.

She has vast experience and expertise in managing programmes and has been involved in a number of development projects – mainly in agriculture development & finance, rural finance, social finance work, gender-inclusive finance and Collaboration /Networking, fostering partnerships, and Practical Financial Inclusion Models for enhancing inclusive economic growth.

She believes in an all-inclusive financial system that responds to the needs of the country’s economy and ensures that all citizens regardless of their socio-economic status are engaged and contribute positively to the development of a country. She believes that there is a need for government and financial regulators to be proactive in ensuring that the objective of the financial inclusion agenda accelerates programmes to ensure there is equal access and usage of financial services for both women and men and other vulnerable groups in our society. Prudence is also a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Working Groups.

Her Capstone project is framed around addressing the gender gap in the organization she works for. There are more men currently than there are women being represented at various levels of the organisation. Additionally, dealing with how there needs to be proper anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies put in place and proper collection of sex-disaggregated data. Thus far, she has secured a commitment from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion to provide technical assistance to conduct the gender audit in the organisation. Commitment from the federation of employers to give a platform to educate employers on how the agenda can transform their organisation into employers of choice. She is also currently in the process of developing a Gender Technical Working Committee to drive gender change within institutions which will be chaired by the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank with Prudence’s organization being the secretariat.


Malisa Mukanga

Malisa Mukanga is currently the Country Manager of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung Africa, a Not-for-Profit Organisation with an objective to promote sustainable development. She leads the country operations team implementing hands-on projects to improve the working and living conditions of small-scale coffee farming families in Uganda. With a dedicated team of technical and administrative staff, her role is to provide direction, manage processes, and facilitate the use of transformational approaches to address challenges and harness opportunities. Areas include strategy development, partnership engagement, resource mobilization and capacity building. Before joining the organization in 2017, she worked at the Headquarters in Germany supporting country teams with both finance and program oversight.

Her passion for equipping and empowering young people to make informed decisions and live self-determined lives, benefiting their families, communities and the world has resulted in diverse career opportunities; from teaching psychology to high school students, providing intercultural training to young adults in an international exchange programme, participating in a mentoring program for marginalized youth in urban centres and to now coordinating interventions skilling youth in rural areas. As a trained psychologist with financial management qualifications, and over 10 years of working experience in the development sector – Malisa has been privileged to lead, train and coach, as well as provide counsel and conceptual support to individuals and organizations.

Malisa’s Capstone project shined a light on how we can achieve more equitable gender ratios in leadership positions. Especially because more women occupy lower positions than top positions. There needs to be initiatives to encourage women and to also sensitize men, so they do not resist change.  Furthermore, the issue of sexual harassment in order to be awarded a more senior position needs to be addressed. Finally, she aims to address maternity and paternity leave policies as they need to be more equal and equitable.


Eden Dema

Eden Dema is an experienced policy and gender specialist. She has over 26 years of experience in providing policy guidance to central banks, financial service providers and microfinance institutions. She has been engaged in consulting work with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion since 2017 and before that, she worked for the UNCDF to review the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2 and helped in developing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 3 for the Central Bank of Solomon Islands. As an AML/CFT Expert, she worked for Druk PNB Bank to develop the bank’s AML/CFT Policies and Procedures.

Between 1994 to March 2016, she was a career central banker responsible for financial sector development in Bhutan. Since 2019 she has worked as a digital money coach for the “Certificate in Digital Money course” by the Digital Frontiers Institute and the Fletcher School.
She has also authored knowledge products on financial inclusion, financial integrity, gender-inclusive finance, gender diversity and branchless banking published by AFI, Fletcher School, UNCDF, Financial Intelligence Unit and Fintelekt, among others.

She is a 2022 fellow of the Gender Equality Changemakers Programme (GECP) provided jointly by the Digital Frontiers Institute, the University of Pretoria and Stanford University. She is also a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP), a 2015 Fellow of Fletcher School Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion(FLPFI), and a Digital Money Coach. She has a Master’s Degree in Economics from the International Institute of Public Administration (1999), Paris, France and a bachelor’s Degree in Economics (1993) from the University of New Delhi, India.

Her Capstone Project aimed to identify work-life factors that affect how women may or may not achieve their life goals. While creating more opportunities for women to enhance their careers and explore the possibility of a more flexible and inclusive work environment to promote institutional diversity and women’s leadership. Eden has used the knowledge gained from the GEC programme in developing the Toolkit on Mainstreaming and Implementing institutional Gender Diversity and Inclusion for central banks and financial regulators members in the Alliance for Financial Inclusion(AFI) network. She is also currently working on a AFI project as a policy and gender consultant.


DFI’s academic Partner, the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS, and Gender, University of Pretoria (CSA&G) will evaluate all Capstone Students’ projects against the categories and shortlist projects to be reviewed by the GEC Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will then determine the winners in each category. This event will also be a chance to advance students’ knowledge of gender and a chance to learn from the first cohort’s GEC journey, from both their successes and challenges.


Established in 2015, Digital Frontiers Institute is a proud brand of Digital Frontiers. Learn more about the Gender Equality Changemakers (GEC) programme and find out how to enrol: