Thrive Africa
A giving circle for and by Africans in the Diaspora

Founding Members
Nwamaka Agbo
Nwamaka is Nigerian-American and brings over 10 years of experience in working on social and economic justice issues and campaigns that support the sustainable and equitable development of thriving and prosperous communities as Innovation Fellow for the Movement Strategy Center. Through her Fellowship, Nwamaka acts at the Project Coordinator for Restore Oakland - a community driven effort to create a restorative economics and restorative justice center in East Oakland. She also consults on initiatives like Democratizing Capital East Bay, that are designed to lift up models of community governance as a strategy for providing vulnerable communities with the agency to determine how their communities are developed. Previously, as the Director of Programs at EcoDistricts, Nwamaka led Target Cities – a pilot program designed to support 11 innovative neighborhoods in 9 cities across North America. As the Director of Programs at Transform Finance, Nwamaka helped to design and launch the inaugural Transform Finance Institute for Social Justice leaders. The Institute was created to educate and train social justice community leaders about how to best leverage impact investments to deepen their social impact for transformative social change. Nwamaka worked at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights for over six years in a range of positions spanning from Policy Director, to Campaign Director and Deputy Director. During her tenure at the Ella Baker Center, Nwamaka supported the launch of the Oakland Green Jobs Corp and later went on to develop the organization’s Oakland-based Soul of the City civic engagement campaign.
Axum Teferra
Axum is an Ethiopian-American, born and raised in Houston. She presently works in climate change and clean energy planning at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to leading efforts on climate resiliency and mitigation at MAPC, she sits on the agency’s Equity Committee, which aims to advance internal equity practices and evaluate the agency's progress in advancing equity throughout Metro Boston. Axum previously worked at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Second Nature, a sustainability organization focused on higher education. While at Second Nature, she provided capacity-building support to minority-serving and under-resourced colleges and universities that were developing sustainability plans. Axum currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), a creativity lab for social justice work in the public sphere, and is a member of the Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) Network.
Yassin Janneh
Yassin moved to California in 2000 from The Gambia to pursue her undergraduate studies. Her academic pursuits subsequently moved her to Canada and France but she has since returned to the East Bay. She currently heads workforce recruitment and retention programs for La Clinica, a network of clinics that provides primary care health services to low-income and immigrant communities. In her role as Workforce Manager, she manages a team responsible for operationalizing staffing workflows, improving customer experience and engaging employees. Yassin also does advocacy work through the Eastbay Health Workforce Partnership to advance career pipeline initiatives and job training for youth and people of color. In addition to her community health work, she is passionate about tenant rights and affordable housing, especially in Oakland. She is a long-time volunteer and member of Priority Africa Network. Outside of work, Yassin loves to be physically active. She enjoys dancing and is an avid traveler. 
Ola Osaze
Ola has lived in the US for most of his life after moving from Nigeria as a young teen. He brings over ten years of experience in development, community organizing, and program management, working for such organizations as The Opportunity Agenda, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Queers for Economic Justice, and CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities. As a community activist, Ola has been involved with the Audre Lorde Project in NYC – co-founding Trans Justice – and Uhuru Wazobia, one of the first LGBT groups for African immigrants in New York. Ola is a 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow, with writings appearing in Black Public Media, Black Girl Dangerous, and anthologies, including Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought, Queer African Reader, and the soon to be released Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity. From a very young age Ola has had quite a sweet tooth and harbors a serious obsession for all things pie.
Nse Umoh Esema
Nse was born in Nigeria and moved to the US at the age of 7. She is an urban planner who is passionate about improving life in cities, in the US and in Africa, for the most marginalized communities. Currently, she is working with 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation to support cities in West Africa and South Africa in building the resilience of communities, institutions and residents to economic, social and environmental shocks and stresses.

Previously she worked at the MIT Community Innovators Lab, where she leveraged media-based tools and strategies to advance the self-determination of communities on the margins globally. Nse lives in New York City and volunteers with African Communities Together, an organization committed to providing services, developing leaders and mobilizing action amongst African immigrants. Outside of work and volunteering, Nse enjoys dancing, especially to Afrobeat, cooking, and trying new foods. 
Rufaro Gwarada
Rufaro is an US-born Zimbabwean who spent the formative years of her life in Zimbabwe and moved back to the United States as a young adult. Rufaro currently manages fundraising and communications at Mobilize the Immigrant Vote. She was previously coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa at Global Fund for Women, editor and content developer for AfricaSpeaks4Africa, and sits on the board of Priority Africa Network. Rufaro is also a writer who believes in the transformative power of stories, and is committed to gender justice with an emphasis on women and girls’ rights. As a diaspora African, Rufaro is committed to migrant rights, and the advancement of African-led solutions for Africans. Rufaro sometimes creates mixed media visual art, has been known to disappear into stories, and loves 90s music.