Fellowship Alumnae

from Madagascar and South Africa

Fellowship Alumnae Named BBC 100 Women 2022

The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2022. Among them are two Fellowship Alumnae: 2017 Alumna and 2022 Leadership Impact Award winner Marie Christina Kolo of Madagascar and 2021 Alumna Asonele Rachel Kotu of South Africa.

Marie Christina, a social entrepreneur and ecofeminist, was part of Madagascar’s official delegation to COP27. She advocates on the human rights and gender aspects of climate change, as her country endures consecutive droughts that challenge access to food for millions.

Kolo is regional director of the NGO People Power Inclusion, which aims to fight poverty through the green economy. Her social enterprise, Green’N’Kool, is a leading national platform for climate justice. As a survivor of gender-based violence, she founded the movement Women Break the Silence, which fights against rape culture.

We don’t want to be seen only as poor victims of climate impact, patriarchy and violence. I feel so optimistic and proud when I see that we women can be resilient, despite all the difficulties.

Marie Christina Kolo, 2017 Fellowship Alumna, Madagascar

After 2021 Alumna Asonele Kotu wanted her own contraceptive implant removed but couldn’t find anyone to help her, she founded her business. FemConnect is a start-up that provides technology solutions to alleviate period poverty and reduce teenage pregnancies.

The platform allows users to access sexual and reproductive telemedicine with no stigma or discrimination, as well as feminine hygiene products and contraceptives – and all the same way you would order food online. Kotu is passionate about eradicating period poverty and improving access to quality healthcare, especially for at-risk youth and those in marginalised and underserved communities.

It has been beautiful to watch the determination of young people to create solutions to problems, to ensure that the next generation does not experience the same struggles our parents did.

Asonele Kotu, 2021 Fellowship Alumna, South Africa

Learn more about Marie and Asonele and the 2022 BBC 100 Women.