Our Support Team
We are a group of visionaries, educators, and individuals committed to providing emotional and financial assistance in order to address some of the gender and education issues facing young women in Zambia. Take a moment to learn about the people who are involved in our organization.
Cecilia Lesho, Country Director
Ceciliah was raised in Northern Zambia, the seventh born in the family of eight. She is an alumnus of the Young African Leadership Initiative as well as a Nelson Mandela Fellowship recipient. As a beneficiary of Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) in secondary school, Ceciliah understands first-hand the importance of promoting girl-child education not only in Zambia but the world. Ceciliah holds a certificate in Business and Secretarial and is currently pursuing her BA in Social Work. Ceciliah has been working with Bakashana since 2013, and is an integral part of our Program. She was first trained as a Sexual and Reproductive Health Trainer in 2011 and has been the lead coordinator of our Bana Cimbusa programs. She coordinates scholarship grantees and is the program’s lead SRH facilitator and mentor. Ceciliah has a message for the girls of the world: “I want all the girls out there to know that, it’s never too late! As they say, ‘every great improvement comes after repeated failure’. Though you may have failed to achieve something you want, you can still make it, provided you let go of your past failures and work hard to get there!”
Beatrice Chileshe, Program Advisor
Beatrice Chileshe is a Head Teacher with the Ministry of Education and has over 30 years of experience working with young women and rural education in Zambia. As a woman from a rural area who has pursued her education and found gainful employment, Beatrice serves as a crucial role model and mentor for our young women on scholarship. Beatrice’s sense of humor and story-telling abilities make her a hit at our termly workshops and she is a strong support for the young women working with us.
Claire Albrecht, Executive Director
Claire has over ten years experience working with women’s development programs in and around Kasama. Her interest in collaborating with and better understanding the Bemba culture of Northern Zambia have allowed her -in cooperation with Zambian colleagues- to develop a program which is effective because of its cultural focus and reliance on input and collaboration from the local community . Claire’s love for Bemba music, food, togetherness, and her admiration of-and-respect-for women in Zambia have motivated her and her partner, Justin, to make Kasama their home. She is fluent in the local language, iciBemba, and enjoys learning from her Zambian friends and neighbors the art of motherhood as she and Justin raise their two children. Claire’s academic interest in Gender and Development began during her undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies in Kinston, Jamaica in 2005. In 2012, she received an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Claire has worked with educational programs focusing on the balance of tradition and modernity in a myriad of settings including Kingston, Jamaica; Hawaii, USA; Medellin, Colombia; and Kasama, Zambia
Diana Bwalya, Youth Club Coordinator
Diana is a culturally diverse social development professional with experience in development work with a bias in teaching and administration. She holds a bachelors’ degree in education (special education with civic education) from UNZA. She has expertise in coordinated community service programs to meet critical social needs and is a demonstrated leader and special education expert with experience in teaching children with special education needs (SEN) and working in communities on projects that help women and children engage in promoting living healthy lives in all aspects. Diana’s interest in helping women and the youth understand how to live healthy lives and be engaged in developing their community began when she first volunteered to work in rural Eastern province in Zambia under the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights project with VSO ICS. Her passion for humanity and rights increased when she later worked as a mentorship coordinator with SOTRANE, where she coordinated mentorship programs and raised awareness around youth participation in governance using media. She is now part of the Bakashana team working as a Club and Curriculum coordinator.
Fridah Kangwa, English Teacher
Fridah is our English and Bemba literacy teacher. She is a leader in the community and has stood as a humble guide for women in Kasama for the last 20 years. She joined the Bakashana family because she saw it as a way to share her love for people. She loves to be with women and has a passion for helping them, as they are all her Sisters, Mothers, Grandmothers, and Daughters.
Chanda Ignatius, Computer Teacher
Ignatius Chanda has actively pursued his interest in teaching and computers for many years. He studied in the Copperbelt where he received an International Computer Driving License. He also studied at Luanshya Technical and Business College where he received a certificate in Managing Health and Safety. He has a passion for teaching and sharing and strongly identifies with Bakashana’s drive to empower the youth of Kasama with relevant computer skills and knowledge to take the country forward. He lives with wife Fiance Prudence Kamanga who is studying to be a teacher.
Mirriam Msiska: Boarding House Matron
Mirriam is a mother, grandmother, and house mother for the Bakashana program. She has been mothering for more than 30 years, and her experience and love are essential in keeping the boarding house in order, the girls fed and healthy, and the atmosphere positive for learning.
Astecy Chilongo, Lead Counselor and Advocate
Astecy graduated with a Diploma in Gender studies from the National Institute of Public Administration. (NIPA) in October 2010. She also did a Certificate and Licensure in Psycho-Social Counseling from Chilenge Level 1 Hospital in 2018. In 2011 she started working with the YWCA in Lusaka at their youth drop-in center where she handled different kinds of cases in counseling involving child abuse, child delinquency, rape and defilement. In 2016 she worked with the Childcare Foundation as a Communication and Advocacy Officer, advocating for Juvenile’s rights. She joined Bakashana in 2020 and has augmented our Advocacy and Counseling services. She is a confidant for some of the young women in our program who have suffered trauma and she advocates daily for various clients who come through our offices with cases involving sexual and gender-based violence, defilement, etc.
Chileshe Kennedy, Health Outreach Coordinator
Kennedy is our Health Outreach Coordinator. He works from the health facility as a counsellor and also as a lead coach for our “Boys for Change” club. He has worked in health for the last three years, first with “Tikambe” National Sexual and Reproductive Health Campaign, before joining Bakashana Basambilile in 2020. He has a certificate in Psycho Social Counselling and is currently using his free time attached to Kasama Urban Clinic in pursuit of his Counselling License. Kennedy is passionate about working with young people around Kasama to help them improve their life skills.
Nampasa Kasapo, Head Nurse
Nampasa Kasapo was born and raised in the Copperbelt. She is a registered nurse and graduated with a diploma in nursing from Mufulira nursing college in November 2019. Nampasa is also a certified pshycho-social counsellor. She is passionate about working with fellow youth to empower them with the Sexual and Reproductive Health materials and knowledge necessary to live their best lives while planning for their future. She joined the Bakashana team in January 2021.
Justin Hostetter, Chief Financial Officer
Justin has been the CFO of Bakashana for 10 years. Previously, he worked as an aquaculture consultant and business advisor with the Peace Corps and Zambian Department of Fisheries for two years. During this time he worked with many cooperatives and women’s groups in/around Kasama, and cultivated strong ties with the Bemba people and their culture. He holds an MA in Environment and Resource Management from the Vrije University in Amsterdam and a BSBA in Business and Finance from the University of Denver. He is proud to call Kasama his home. He is also writing a blog about the experiences of living in Kasama, and the lessons offered by the Bemba people, called Love n Light Lukupa.
Mwelwa Prudence, Lifeskills Club Coach
Mwelwa Prudence is a teacher by profession, based at a primary school in Mungwi district of Northern Province. She was trained as a primary teacher at KITE in KITWE where she obtained a certificate. She also obtained a special education diploma from the Zambia institute of special education (ZAMISE) in 2017. Prudence is volunteering with Bakashana Basambilile because she’s so passionate about doing charity work and mostly she likes working with adolescents and sharing information with them. Prudence is also volunteering with us as a form of appreciation for the work Bakashana Basambilile is doing in the community of Kasama.
Luswepo Suza, Health Center Assistant
Luswepo Suza has been a part of Bakashana Basambilile Organization since 2015 when she was picked as a scholarship recipient, since her family could not afford to pay for her education. Since graduating grade 12 in 2019, Luswepo has been pursuing additional courses and certifications including computers and psycho social counselling. She is currently volunteering at Bakashana’s Health Facility as part of her practical psycho-social certification while she applies to University, with dreams of pursuing her BA in Social Work.
Kaoma Martha, Lifeskills Club Coach
Martha is the third born in a family of six, and a single orphan. She completed her senior secondary school education in 2014. Martha volunteered with Kasama new police camp clinic as a psychosocial counsellor before joining Bakashana organization. She has a certificate in psychosocial counselling and also did a food production course under TEVETA and obtained a trade test level 3 certificate. She also did child counselling as trainer of trainers. She’s volunteering with bakashana because she is passionate about working with young people. She has the desire to help young people become equipped with life skills, and realize their potential to perform different duties in their communities.
Langa Banda, Lifeskills Club Coach
Banda Langa is a 26 year old male of Kasama district. He was born and raised in Kasama district of Northern Province. He completed his senior secondary school in 2014 and he is currently pursuing his diploma of education in mathematics and physical education. He joined Bakashana Basambilile in 2020 as a club member of the boys for change club. After seeing his committment and passion for the club, he was elevated to be among coaches of our clubs. Because of his passion about working with young people, he is also volunteering with restless development under the kudziwa (to know) project as a community facilitator.
Mwape Morgan, Lifeskills Club Coach
Mwape Morgan is a young, energetic person of Kasama district who is passionate about working with young people around Kasama district and the nation at large. After completing his senior secondary education, he studied power, electrical and psychosocial counselling. He joined Bakashana Basambilile as community health volunteer and thereafter started volunteering as a coach of our clubs. Before joining us, he volunteered with YOUTH ALIVE ZAMBIA for over eight years as a facilitator and youth advocate, worked with CMMB under the NATWAMPANE project as well as ACTION for NATURE organisation. He is also currently volunteering as producer with Restless Development in partnership with BBC MEDIA ACTION and Radio Mano community station under the program called Tikambe Natulande (let’s talk).
Mwewa Borniface, Lifeskills Club Coach
Mwewa Borniface is a volunteer for the Boys for Change and Girls Leading Our World clubs. He joined Bakashana Basambilile organization in September 2020. Borniface is an energetic, vibrant, creative and responsible young man. He started volunteering with BBC MEDIA ACTION in partnership with Restless Development and Radio Mano community radio station on the Tikambe Natulande (let’s talk) radio show. This is a sexual and reproductive health program. He joined bakashana so that he can share his knowledge about SRHR as well as learn from his involvement.