Four Set to Receive Mentorship under WACSI’s Flagship Research Fellowship Programme

Four Set to Receive Mentorship under WACSI’s Flagship Research Fellowship Programme

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“Being chosen as a research fellow fills me with thrill and excitement. This remarkable opportunity allows me to enhance my research skills and contribute significantly to the advancement of CSOs through knowledge curation and documentation”, says Samira Seidu. 

Seidu is one of four new research fellows set to receive six-month intensive coaching and mentorship that will sharpen their research skills and make them contribute more to the body knowledge in the civil society sector.  

The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) has admitted four fellows into its flagship research fellowship programme. Sani Mohammed from Nigeria, Rachad Bani from Benin, Samira Seidu and John Obuaba from Ghana are taking part in this year’s fellowship programme. 

WACSI’s research fellowship programme is one of the most recognised mentorship initiatives in the civil society sector which seeks to promote indigenous knowledge production for the West Africa’s third sector. It is a 90-180-day action-oriented initiative targeted at young researchers, particularly those enrolled in master’s or PhD programmes, or candidates who have recently completed from any of these programmes.  

It equips participants with research and analytical skills they need to effectively engage with government, the private sector and the global community to improve good governance and sustainable development.    

The new fellows, John Obuaba (Ghanaian) is the Founder and Executive Director of Celdar Foundation while Muhammad Sani Kassim (Nigerian) is a public sector reform specialist.  

The others, Rachad Bani (Beninese) is a public policy graduate student at the American University of Cairo while Samira Seidu (Ghanaian) is a graduate of law studies and a volunteer at WACSI.  

John Obuaba, comes to this role with thirteen years of experience working in the   civil society sector, focusing on project management and facilitating community-led development processes. He has worked as a convener of the community of practice   which focused on promoting local philanthropy and human rights in Ghana.  

Presently, the new research fellow is leading a local philanthropy project in Anum, Eastern Region of Ghana, which aims to strengthen the community’s ability to claim their rights and promote sustainable development. 

He hopes to gain new insights and perspectives on how communities he can contribute to their own development through indigenous knowledge.  

“I feel excited to be selected for this enriching fellowship. It’s a great opportunity to join other young African researchers passionate about Africa’s development and contribute towards strengthening the civil space in West Africa”, he said. 

Muhammad Sani Kassim, is an accomplished public sector reform specialist driving transparency and citizen-centric government systems. With over eight years in the field, Kassim has collaborated with state and non-state actors to co-create effective governance mechanisms. His research interest areas include aid practices, natural resource governance, combating corruption, citizen engagement, and public finance management for improved service delivery outcomes. Kassim has conducted research for esteemed organisations such as United Nations Development Programme, Mastercard Foundation, and Transparency Centre, among others. 

Muhammed aims to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding aid and neo-colonialism. He looks forward to engaging in thought-provoking dialogues that challenge his perspectives, enabling him to explore innovative approaches to promote equitable and sustainable development in Africa. The new fellow hopes to broaden his knowledge, expand his research capabilities, and actively contribute to the ongoing efforts of decolonizing aid practices on the continent. 

“I feel elated and honoured to join fellow Africanists who believe in Africa and are working to make it better through researching new aid governance systems. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the continent”, he said. 

Rachad Bani is a graduate student studying public policy at The American University in Cairo under the African Graduate Fellowship. He has worked on various policy analysis projects, including climate change adaptation, supply chain finance in agriculture, cash transfers, women empowerment, e-governance, and fiscal policy. Rachad’s prior experience includes working as a Programme Associate at the Media Foundation for West Africa, where he supported projects aimed at improving participatory governance, public accountability, and media development in West Africa. 

Rachad aims to practice methodological approaches to conduct research and analyse data scientifically and systematically, resulting in the generation of credible and reliable knowledge. He firmly believes that the skills he acquires during this fellowship will contribute to his personal and academic growth as a researcher, enabling him to generate knowledge that can have a positive impact on lives in West Africa and beyond. 

“I am really happy and feel honoured to have been selected for this fellowship. I believe it offers a unique opportunity to further fine-tune my research skills and generate credible and reliable knowledge likely to impact lives in West Africa and beyond”, he told WACSI’s communication team. 

Samira Seidu is a passionate human rights activist who has keen interest in peacebuilding and community empowerment initiatives. She has led several peacebuilding campaigns in some of the conflict-prone areas in Ghana. She has also embarked on philanthropic initiatives such as providing food support to childing leaving in some streets in Ghana. With a law degree from Central University, Ghana, Samira aspires to be a legal human rights advocate.  

Samira’s expectations for the fellowship are ambitious yet focused. Firstly, she aims to develop her research skills and grow professionally, capitalising on the resources and support provided by the programme. Additionally, she plans to conduct high-quality research and provide recommendations and best practices to enhance the design and implementation of capacity strengthening interventions led by WACSI. 

The research fellows will contribute to the Institute’s body of knowledge while receiving one-on-one coaching and guidance from our carefully selected mentors.   

They embark on this journey with some valuable research experience gained through previous roles in the civil society and development sectors. 

The research fellowship programme perfectly aligns with the Institute’s mission and new five-year strategic plan.  

Partners interested in collaborating with WACSI to hone the research skills of West African graduates can write to 


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Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.


Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.