Rockefeller global fellowship program in social innovation

This year-long program for individuals  was to learn how to address social and environmental problems affecting poor and vulnerable populations. With the completion of it's first year the Rockefeller Global Fellowship program is now hosted by Cape Town University in South Africa.  The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience is still closely linked to the program contributing to content and acting as guest speakers.


In 2013-14 The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) was pleased to work with the Rockefeller Foundation to design and deliver the Rockefeller Foundation global fellowship program in social innovation. This program reflected both the realities of our rapidly changing, ever more complex world and the Rockefeller Foundation's goals to deepen understanding, sculpt new ideas, and enhance relationships in order to better address social and environmental problems affecting poor and vulnerable populations.

This fellowship program launched in May 2013 to help mark the Rockefeller Foundation's centennial year. Read the official Rockefeller Foundation press release

Purpose and timeline

The Program provided a year long learning experience, designed to:

  1. introduce them to the concepts of complexity, resilience and social innovation
  2. increase their skill in managing and catalyzing transformation in complex problem domains, and
  3. strengthen and broaden their networks of contacts capable of implementing sustainable desired change.

Lead organizations and faculty

The Fellowship Program was delivered through collaborative leadership from faculty and staff at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. These two organizations have a common focus on the application of theory to practice for innovation in linked social-ecological systems. They both hold international reputations for cutting edge research and teaching and have a long history of collaboration through the international Resilience Alliance.

Frances WestleyMichele-Lee MooreDarcy Riddell, and Dan McCarthy

Beatrice Crona and Per Olson

Our 2013-14 Fellows

The 18 fellows accepted into the program were outstanding individuals who have been nominated by partners and organizations working in areas that related to some of the Rockefeller Foundation's key focus areas:

  • digital employment in Africa,
  • transforming health systems, and
  • climate change resilience in Asia. 

Alexandra Vogl

With a Master’s degrees in Urban and Rural Planning and Urban Strategies, Alexandra works as an Urban Development Specialist at the Asian Development Bank. She was Managing Director of TINA VIENNA Urban Technologies and Strategies based in Vienna, and mainly working with Eastern European cities, and former Head of Communication and Real Estate department at the Vienesse Center for Technology and Innovation. She has also led the Project Management Department at the Berlin Business Development Corporation, attracting foreign investments to the city of Berlin. From Austria; based in Manila, Philippines.

Betty Kariuki
Betty is a graduate of Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya and Strayer University, Washington DC. She is currently the Partnerships and Projects Manager at Enablis Entrepreneurial Network East Africa—a development organization that supports entrepreneurs through capacity development, networking, and providing access to finance. Betty is passionate about youth and women entrepreneurship and most recently, youth employability. She is married and a mother of two.
From Kenya and based in Nairobi

Chinwe Ogbonna
Since mid-2008, Chinwe is a Programme Specialist in Health Economics with the Nigeria Country Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Within the span of her professional career, she has worked within and outside Nigeria with the government of Nigeria, Center for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta, World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva and Ethiopia, Family Health International (FHI) Nigeria, as well as the UNFPA Regional Office for Africa in South Africa.

Chinwe brings experiences from her work on the use of health economic tools and approaches to inform strengthening of national health system performances; evidence-based advocacy, policy formulation, development of national strategic frameworks and plans, programme designs of mechanisms that improve financial access to quality health services especially for vulnerable populations, universal health coverage, costing exercises, and economic evaluations for health-care services.
She holds an MSc degree in Heath Systems Management from the University of London/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine along with additional qualifications in innovative systems strengthening, improving universal access to health, human rights based approach to programming, results-based management and use of equity-focused tools.
From Nigeria and based in Abuja

Jackson Hungu
Jackson Hungu is the Deputy Country Director for Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Kenya. In addition, he is one of CHAI’s thought leaders on e/mHealth and splits his time between CHAI’s Kenya country team and CHAI’s global diagnostics team. In Kenya he leads CHAI’s work on access to medicines and diagnostics. In addition to advising and working with the ministry of health, he is in charge of managing CHAI’s UNITAID HIV/AIDS medicine and diagnostic commodity donation to Kenya to scale up HIV/AIDS treatment. Jackson worked with Hewlett Packard (HP) to build and deploy an innovative electronic platform to accelerate diagnosis of infants with HIV at national scale in Kenya hence reducing time to treatment saving lives. This work has scaled beyond Kenya to Uganda and soon other countries. To achieve this, Jackson worked with undergraduate IT students and faculty to deploy these software solutions (that sit on HP technology) at scale that are now challenging the status quo in the transformation of health systems. He is now working with HP to deploy a “Health Cloud” that will provide the platform to host all national level health applications to facilitate health service delivery across all disease areas. On the global diagnostics team, Jackson’s role has been to advice diagnostic manufacturers on appropriate e/mHealth technologies that would enhance diagnostic application in the field ultimately working to deploy these technologies at national scale. Jackson holds a bachelors and masters degree in economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
From Kenya and based in Nairobi

Joan Leteipa
As a Program Manager with TechnoServe, Inc, Joan Leteipa is currently managing the Kenya chapter of The Connected Farmer Alliance, a Public-Private Partnership (GDA) between Vodafone, USAID, and TechnoServe to promote commercially sustainable mobile agriculture solutions, reduce poverty, and increase resilience for 500,000 smallholder farmers across Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Previously, Joan managed the successful proof of concept Digital Campus Connect (DCC) project supported by Rockefeller Foundation under the Poverty Reduction through Information and Digital Employment (PRIDE) program. Joan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a higher diploma in Psychological Counseling, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Mentoring. Her passion is to inspire hope and empower people to reach their potential in order to live significant lives and enhance their livelihood and that of their families and communities.
From Kenya and based in Nairobi

Kumanan Rasanathan
Dr Kumanan Rasanathan is a public health physician currently working for UNICEF in New York on district health system strengthening to improve the delivery of maternal and child health services in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the UNICEF focal point for health in the post-2015 development agenda and a member of the task team managing the global thematic consultation on health for the post-2015 discussions.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Kumanan worked at WHO in Geneva on primary health care and the social determinants of health(people's living conditions and access to power, money and resources), considering the impacts of non-health sectors on health and vice versa and their relationship to health inequities. His work on social determinants focused on a range of issues including climate change, human rights, non-communicable diseases, economic crises, migration and social protection. Prior to joining WHO, Kumanan worked in a range of roles in New Zealand, Australia, China and the United Kingdom, as a clinician, researcher, policy-maker and programme manager in clinical practice, vaccine clinical trials, primary health care, national health policy, and reducing inequities in maternal and child health.
From New Zealand and based in New York City

Manju George
Manju is Co-Founder and Head of Corporate Development at Intellecap, a consulting, investment banking and knowledge services firm in India that work with enterprises, investors and donors to drive business solutions for development issues.

As Head–Corporate Development, Manju works closely with the leaders of Intellecap's Practice Areas and Initiatives to build and manage the organization’s strategic client and partner relationships and support its global business expansion. She guides Intellecap's thought leadership initiatives and represents the firm, its learnings and ideas at global events and published media. Manju has experience in inclusive business and social enterprise development, investment and business strategy design, and private sector development in Asia and Africa. From 2007 to 2012, she developed and led Intellecap's consulting practice and was responsible for building and managing critical client relationships, projects, and a team of consultants.

Before Intellecap, Manju consulted to Kudumbashree, a poverty eradication and livelihoods development initiative of the Government of Kerala. Here, she focused on promoting micro enterprises of low-income women through training and access to credit and markets.
Manju holds degrees in rural management and commerce.In 2011, she was acknowledged as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was invited to represent the community at the discussions in Davos 2012. She also serves on the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation.
From India and based in Geneva.

Megha Bhagat
Megha is a Business Responsibility professional with a background in legal education from National Law School of India University, working with the NASSCOM Foundation for 3 years. She leads the Foundation's program on Impact Sourcing and also supports the programs on disability for the entire southern region in India. She has completed her education in human rights law and holds a LLB and LLM in the specialised subjects.

Patrick Karanja
Patrick works at World Vision in the Global information and communication technologies (ICT) team focusing on ICT4D with a scope covering education, health, and economic development. He has rich experience in setting up business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Africa and has a passion for being involved in transformational development work globally.
A member of the Internet Society, he is a graduate from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor of Education.

Pumela Salela
Pumela Salela is a Board member of the Global Sourcing Council, an Ambassador for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Outsourcing in Africa, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Tri-Sister City Alliance (TriSCA), the first Sister City Alliance between BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) cities in order to create jobs for knowledge workers. Recently she was appointed to be in the Advisory Council of the World BPO Forum, which is considered “the Davos of BPO” (business process outsourcing).

Prior to her role, she was a BPO/ITeS (information and technology essential standards) consultant for the World Bank, based at the organization’s United States headquarters in Washington D.C., and a Director: BPO and O (business process outsourcing and offshoring) and information communications technology (ICT) enabled services at the Department of Trade and Industry, Industrial Development Division, South Africa, where she was responsible for drafting strategies and policies to create an enabling environment for the BPO and ICT sectors in South Africa.

Before that, Pumela held the position of Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa, where she was responsible for attracting and negotiating with potential foreign investors to set up BPO operations in South Africa. She also worked for a number of years in various marketing roles in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinationals and media organizations in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Purnomo Dwi Sasongko
Purnomo was appointed as head of the Regional Planning and Infrastructure Development Division of Semarang’s Regional Development and Planning Board (BAPPEDA) in 2010.

Prior to this, he worked for and acted as the head of different divisions of local government agencies for over 10 years. These different roles and responsibilities have equipped him with extensive knowledge and experiences in issues relevant to housing and settlement, landscaping, water and waste management, spatial planning, and also urban planning.
Purnomo holds a Bachelor in Architecture degree and Master in Urban and Regional Planning from Diponegoro University.

Sandhya Rao
Sandhya Rao is the Senior Advisor for Private Sector Partnerships in the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition at USAID. In this role, she provides strategic and programmatic leadership on private sector engagement, mHealth, market-based solutions and social innovation. In 2012, Sandhya led the design of a new public-private partnership that harnesses the power of mobile technology to improve the skills and performance of health workers in developing countries. Information on mPowering Frontline Health Workers can be found at

Sarah Reed
Sarah is a researcher and practitioner with expertise in resilience, climate change and urban development, urban poverty, and housing, particularly in Southeast Asia. She is currently a Research Associate with the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition—Vietnam.
Sarah is based in Hanoi, Vietnam and holds a Masters of Science in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh.

Sofi Bergkvist
Sofi is the founding Managing Director of ACCESS Health International. ACCESS Health identifies, analyzes, and supports in the design of healthcare service delivery and financing models for high quality and low-cost healthcare. She is also is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Emerging Markets Solutions at the Indian School of Business, where she focuses on health financing and public-private partnerships in health.
Previously, Sofi was a healthcare analyst for an asset management company in India. She has also worked in management consulting in Sweden, where she focused on outsourcing public sector services. Sofi was engaged with the UNFPA in Malawi and carried out a cost-effectiveness study of the national road map for reduced maternal mortality. She has also worked as an advisor to the European Commission's Delegation to the United Nations on sustainable development issues.
Sofi has a Master of Science in international economics from the Stockholm School of Economics, and studied on the MBA program at McGill University in Montreal.

Sunandan Tiwari
Sunandan is an ecologist trained at the Salim Ali School of Ecology, Pondicherry University, India, with over fifteen years of experience in project management and implementation in the development sector. He has worked in a wide array of areas—adaptation to climate change, water resources (rural and urban), sanitation, forestry, renewable energy, and environmental services. This work has been focused on improving the lives and livelihoods of local communities, especially the marginalized and poor, and their environment.

Sunandan’s experience has covered technical and institutional aspects, governance issues, resource management, and policy issues. He has worked very closely with many stakeholders, from local communities in different parts of South and Southeast Asia to government officials, policy makers, national as well as international researchers and research institutions, UN agencies, bi-lateral organizations, multi-lateral agencies, foundations, corporate agencies, and grassroots NGOs.
Working with local governments for the uptake of innovative ideas and practices through effective policy advocacy has been one of the key aspects of his work. For the past two years he has been coordinating the Sustainability Management program at ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia and is based in New Delhi, India.

Toan Vu Canh
Toan works at the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies (NISTPASS) under the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam. Previously, he worked as an environmental specialist for EIFFAGE group in France—a European leader on construction, civil engineering, electrical Contracting and metallic construction.
He has extensive experience working on urban climate change resilience and disaster risk reduction at different levels and scales in Vietnam. He has played the role of coordinator and technical lead in a number of projects under NISTPASS such as Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (Vietnam component) funded by the Rockefeller Foundation; Mekong—Building Climate Resilience for Asian Cities (Vietnam component) supported by the United Agency for International Development (USAID); Asian Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform supported by Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and coordinated by Stockholm Environment Institute and UNEP, etc. He has a particular interest in urban governance for climate resilience in small and medium cities.

Wilailuk Wisasa
Wilailuk is Manager of Bureau of International Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Collaboration, National Health Security Office (NHSO). NHSO provides universal health coverage for a population of 47 million in Thailand and has used key performance indicators to improve the quality of services provided and to expand those services to meet the changing needs of the population. She is also a coordinator for capacity building to support the movements in achieving the Universal Health Coverage Program, and manages of South-South technical collaborations aimed at building up sustainable capacity among developing countries.
Wilailuk studied public health and holds a Master of Economics. She has experience working in public health facilities in rural areas, and worked as Policy and Plan Analyst in the health system. She is also a researcher. Her main areas of interest are health financing, health care reform, and health policy and system management.

Yogesh Rajkotia
Yogesh is an experienced leader in global health with extensive expertise in developing and managing large-scale health systems strengthening initiatives. He is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Collaborative Development, a health systems strengthening ‘action-tank’. Prior to that, he worked for USAID, where he served as team leader for Health Systems in Rwanda and Senior Health Systems Advisor in Washington. While working for USAID, he provided leadership to the agency’s health systems work globally, and managed key programs including the $125 million Health Systems 20/20 Agreement and the $1 billion TASC3 contract. He has also worked as a long-term advisor to the senior leadership of health ministries in Bangladesh and Rwanda.
Yogesh holds a Doctorate degree in health economics and a Master’s degree in health policy. He has worked on health systems strengthening issues in 25 countries on 5 continents.

Program Manager: Loretta Rose