“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Founder & Executive Director
Yacine Djibo founded Speak Up Africa in 2011 with one goal in mind: to discover and implement effective, sustainable solutions to the most challenging problems facing the African people. Focusing on strategic communications, policy and advocacy, Speak Up Africa is dedicated to empowering African leaders and citizens to take on issues such as malaria, neglected tropical diseases and sanitation in order to save and improve lives.
Previously, Yacine worked as the Senegal country director for Malaria No More, where she developed and managed several high-profile national programs to promote malaria prevention and treatment. She built and maintained relationships with national and local government officials; designed and oversaw the distribution of lifesaving commodities countrywide; and cultivated partnerships with private-sector companies, media outlets, musicians and celebrities to develop marketing programs that raise awareness about malaria.
Prior to devoting her career to the health and well-being of children and families in Africa, Yacine honed her skills in the areas of business administration, finance and real estate at several private-sector companies, including Intercontinental Life Insurance Company, where she served as managing director; SAGEF Construction and Real Estate Development Company, where she was director of sales; and Fidelity Investments, where she served as a business analyst.
Yacine earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations and her MBA from Boston University.
Deputy Executive Director
Fara Ndiaye has been an integral member of the Speak Up Africa team since its founding in 2011. There she has been able to pursue her passion for public health and sustainable development advocacy, social and behavioral change communication, community outreach, and partnership building and engagement.
Beginning as the Director of Programs, Fara focused on external relations and coordinating partner activities. She then moved to the position of strategy and development director, in which she managed initiatives to advance the organization’s advocacy, programmatic and partnership goals; developed strategies to engage the private sector; and created advocacy and communications tools. Currently, as Deputy Executive Director, Fara has taken on the oversight of all program activities, ensuring proper planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; appropriate liaison and negotiation with government partners; and the meeting of national and international standards and practices.
Before joining Speak Up Africa, Fara spearheaded the communications, partnership and advocacy initiatives in Senegal for Malaria No More. Prior to that, she worked on the research of migration issues for a variety of small non-governmental and major global organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, including the International Organization for Migration and the International Center for Migration and Health.
Director of Finance
Ali Sidikou joined Speak Up Africa in February 2016 as Senior Financial Manager. He has a broad professional expertise acquired after over fifteen years in the financial departments of leading subsidiaries of large multinational groups in West Africa. Ali has been active in various sectors: telecommunication (Etisalat Group, Monaco Telecom), industry and the information and communication technology (People Input).
As Director of Finance, Ali provides leadership and coordination in all aspects related to finance, including risk management, treasury, budget control, accounting, reporting, human resources management and administrative duties.
After a Master in Management and Business Administration obtained at Université Pierre Mendes-France (Grenoble 2 France) Ali completed a Postgraduate Degree in Economics at University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada).
Strategic Communications Manager
As Speak Up Africa’s Strategic Communications Manager, Maelle is leading communication and outreach initiatives and planning under the mentorship of the Deputy Executive Director. She also leads the development and creative expression of the organization’s social marketing assets across video, design, copy, and photography.
She joined the Speak Up Africa team in January 2014, to reinforce and develop the communication branch, after an experience in the UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, as a communication and knowledge management intern. As a program officer at Speak Up Africa, Maelle worked on the design and development of communication programs and campaigns, implemented on the field, while striving to create sustainable partnerships with key national and international stakeholders.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in both History and English and a Master’s degree in History and Comparative Civilizations. In 2013, she obtained a MBA in International Institutions and NGOs Management.
Yaye Sophiétou Diop
Yaye Sophietou Diop joined Speak Up Africa team in February 2016 after working for 2 years on communication for behavioral change around issues related to maternal, neonatal and child health.
Holder of a master’s degree in strategic communication, Sophietou is in charge of planning and implementing projects around sanitation and gender. Her work focuses mainly on formative research, strategy development, training and coaching in the implementation of communication and advocacy activities.
Passionate about research, she has worked on topics related to health, agriculture, equity, gender and sanitation.
Policy and Research Manager
Safiétou Kane is a sociologist specializing in gender, international development and research. With more than ten years of experience in Africa (particularly in Senegal) and the United States Safiétou is a passionate of gender and development, particularly in the areas of health, education, water management, the environment, microfinance and female entrepreneurship.
Before joining SpeakupAfrica Safiétou has worked as gender expert and conducted many evaluations for differents entities and projects of USAID, UN Women, the Luxembourg bilateral Cooperation, the Canadian goverment and the government of Senegal among others.
Safiétou holds a Ph.D and a Masters in Comparative Sociology as well as a Masters in African Studies and Policy Analysis from Florida International University in Miami, US and a Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology. She has published a book and articles on gender and development in Senegal and on microfinance and female entrepreneurship.
Sanitation Program Officer
Aïda joined Speak Up Africa in August 2018.
As a Program Associate, Aïda supports the organization’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) program and activities, as well as other projects or programs of interest to the institution. She also assists in the production of communication campaigns and tools.
She holds a Bachelor in Political Science from Concordia University and a Certificate in International Business from HEC Montreal. Passionate about content creation, she has previously worked in Marketing and Communications.
Malaria James Wallen
James Wallen joined the Speak Up Africa team in July 2019.As a Program Officer, he is piloting the roll out of the now pan-African anti-malaria campaign « Zero Malaria Starts with Me » in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Between 2015 and 2019, James worked with Global Citizen Year, an international education program. He has a broad set of professional experiences including research, advocacy, M&E, program coordination and youth development. He holds a Masters degree in Medical Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh.
NTDs Program Officer
Gráinne joined Speak Up Africa in November 2019 and is responsible for implementing Speak Up Africa’s Neglected Tropical Disease Advocacy program in Senegal, Guinea and Niger. Previously Gráinne worked at KYNE, a global health communications agency based in Ireland. There her areas of focus included NTDs, neurology, haematology, smoking cessation, environmental health and vaccinations, including leading their work on the Confederation of African Football’s AFCON 2017 pan-African vaccination campaign and working on the Carter Center Guinea Worm Eradication Program.
While studying for her Masters, Gráinne coordinated the Students for Global Health Lecture Series focusing on different aspects of global health — including climate change, health inequalities, governance, human rights and NCD policy, and started the Cambridge branch of Healthy Planet, promoting awareness of climate change and sustainability and their effect on health and healthcare. Gráinne holds a BSc in International Relations and Modern Languages from Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MPhil in Public Health from the University of Cambridge.
Lissa Baba Niang
Immunization Program Officer
Expert in Gender, Development and Decentralized Cooperation, Lissa holds several diplomas including a license in Business Law, a bachelor in Human and Social Sciences and an MBA in Organizational Development Strategies from the University of Chicoutimi in Canada.
With a rich field experience of 17 years in Europe, Africa and North America, Lissa has mainly devoted her professional life to the promotion of Human rights, the strengthening of socio-economic capacities and the optimization of income generating activities.
As a Senior trainer and director of projects in Canada, Senegal, Mali, Guinée, Burkina, etc, she has supervised thousands of organizations and cooperatives on issues of public health, financial empowerment, circular economy as well as entrepreneurship and education. Her motto is: « Alone is harder, together is Better ».
Papa Momar Sokhna Touré
Research and Policy Associate
Prior to joining the Speak Up Africa team, Papa Momar Sokhna worked for two years as an economist at the Directorate General of Planning and Economic Policies, at the Ministry of Economy, Cooperation and Planning. At Speak Up Africa, he serves as an Associate Research and Policy Analyst and his work is focused on action research and supporting the organization’s various programs.
He holds an engineering degree from the Community Development and Training Department of the National School of Applied Economics and has experience in planning and monitoring public policies through his participation at the Technical Committee of the Territorial Conference of the Dakar and Kedougou Regions and the Regional Monitoring Committee for the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators. Papa Momar Sokhna also worked in the Malnutrition Committee on nutrition-sensitive and cross-cutting territorial planning and with USAID GOLD on the integrated good governance barometer.
Bara started his journey in audiovisual communication in 2003. Over the years within companies or as a free-lancer, he has perfected his savoir-faire in web and multimedia DTP. His passion for image, innovation, better access to health and education, led him to work almost exclusively in these areas, where he further polished his skills in France, the Caribbean and Senegal.
For the past eight years, he served as Pedagogical director and trainer at Africatic Education Group in Senegal, as a Graphic designer and trainer at AP-HP (Paris Hospitals), and as a volunteer at New-Health. Bara is now based in Senegal, where he joined the Speak Up Africa team, determined to participate in improving public health on the continent.
Angelo Zogo Menye
Prior to joining Speak Up Africa in March 2015, Angelo was Creative Director at AK Project. With 10 years of experience in the production of communication support. Within the communication team of Speak Up Africa, Angelo oversees and creates the visuals to highlight the campaigns and actions carried out by the organization.
Passionate about photography and nature, he knows how to translate the values of the organization and relay them through his creativity.
Mame Cheikh Mbaye
From 2002 to 2008, Mame Cheikh worked as a press cartoonist in Senegal for “Le Matin”, “The Office” and “Sunulab”. In 2008, he moved to Belgium to obtain an infographics degree and a master’s degree in visual communication. He then worked for a year at Technicode communication before joining the communication’s team at Speak Up Africa.
Roxane Fian holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information and Communication Science at the Higher Communications Institute (ISCOM), a Faculty of the Catholic University of West Africa of Abidjan (CUWA). Passionate about communications, she joined Speak Up Africa in January 2020 as a Production Associate.
Previously, he was an assistant accountant in a public accountancy and tax firm of the place where he was in charge of the accounting of a dozen companies working in various fields of activity (commercial companies, service companies, industries and liberal professions).
He holds a master’s degree 2 in audit and management control at the UCAD. He also obtained a Bachelor’s degree in management sciences from the integrated university after obtaining the Bachelor’s degree in quantitative management techniques from the Lycée Maurice DELAFOSSE in Dakar.
He has also successfully completed training in the Participatory Research Accelerated Method (M.A.R.P) of the African Institute of Local Development (I.A.D.L).
Anta joined Speak Up Africa after 9 years of experience in customer relationship management and administration. Prior to joining the team, Anta focused on the organization of fundraising and networking events as well as the supervision of castings for commercial film productions.
At Speak Up Africa, Anta is responsible for organizing all of the administrative activities that facilitate the smooth running of the office. This includes the organizing of people, information and all other resources. She makes sure the office equipment is maintained, relevant records are up to date and that all administration processes work effectively. Anta creates and maintains a pleasant work environment while ensuring high levels of organizational effectiveness, communication and safety.
Anta Mbodj Sarr joined Speak Up Africa in June 2014 as an Administrative and Logistics Officer for the Football Combating Malaria (FCM) program. Since January 2017, Anta is in charge of all Speak Up Africa’s administrative and financial programs coordination.
Prior to Speak Up Africa, Anta has worked in various private sector companies in Senegal (SGBS – BCEAO – Elton), then joined « Vision 21 Sport Consulting » specialized in the fields of marketing, sponsorship and events where she acquired 10 years of experience as an Operations Manager.
Anta is passionate about basketball and a former basketball player herself at the Dakar University Club. During her basketball years, Anta was a FSBB marketing agent, she organized basketball tournaments & All Star Games, she also facilitated a basketball TV show broadcasted on a national TV channel (RTS), she filed reports of Senegalese basketball players living abroad and organized inclusive sports events for children.
After ten years of experience in customer relationship management (for call processing and quality monitoring for the improvement of partner customer services) and with two years in Human Resources management, Marième joined Speak Up Africa team in November 2017 as assistant to further support the Administration and Logistics Department.
Malaria Focal Point in Ghana
Muniratu Venu has a wide range of experience in coordinating projects, writing proposals and budgets, supervision and leadership, data analysis and report writing.
She has contributed to several initiatives in Ghana, including Net Organization for Youth Empowerment (NOYED), an organization that intervenes in health, education, livelihood, good governance and gender issues. She has also worked directly on mala aria control and prevention, both with the National Malaria Control Programme and with Anglogold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (AGAMAL), contributing to the reduction of the malaria burden from 2011 to 2019.
Muniratu has a Master’s degree in Public Health, Health Education and Promotion from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. She joined Speak Up Africa in November 2019 to support the implementation of the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign in Ghana.