I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania where I direct the Africa program at the Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies. Over the last two decades, my work has focused on the intersections of youth, international development, urbanization, and informality in sub-Saharan Africa. I completed extended field research among youth-self-help groups in the Kibera settlement of Nairobi, Kenya while directing American University’s Kenya program on Sustainable International Development. In Kenya, I also served a Senior Consultant for a Nairobi-based organizational development consulting firm called Projects and Allied Consultants where where I worked on strategic plans for the East Africa Law Society, the Tanganyika Law Society and the USAID-funded Maendeleo ya Wanawake, the largest and oldest national grassroots women’s organization in the country. I received my PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University.
A scholar-practitioner, I joined the University of Pennsylvania from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public where I led numerous knowledge and learning efforts. As program director of a $6.6 million Mastercard Foundation funded grant on Innovations in Youth Employment in Africa, I curated and facilitated the Future of Work in Africa course, co-authored an innovation guide called Youth Unstuck: Innovations in Youth Livelihoods and Leadership in Africa, and pioneered the Ashoka Emerging Insights report, which showcases the latest trends in social innovation around the world. I wrote and authored a number of successful grants for research and projects on gender equity, education and youth development. I currently serve as a Board Member for the Grandmother Project, a US-Senegal organization focused on amplifying cultural wisdom to navigate social change.
When I'm not working, I'm keeping up with my little changemaker, Mina.