The World Pulse 50: Voices Rising in 2022

The first-ever World Pulse Voices Rising Awards celebrates rising women digital changemakers and storytellers who are shaping our future. These 50 leaders from the World Pulse community are logging on to change the world — one click, one comment, one connection at a time.

Storytellers

Meet 15 storytellers who are using the power of voice to inspire action, spark change, and lift up their communities.

Arrey-Echi Agbor-Ndakaw | Cameroon

Storyteller

"Change has never truly happened when we stay silent. In this quest for change, some voices have thundered literally. For some of us, our pens like the mighty sword continue to penetrate barriers, making many people to pause, think and take action."

From inside Cameroon, Arrey-Echi Agbor-Ndakaw logs on to World Pulse to shed light on issues ranging from conflict to disability. Read her stories and connect.

Ruth Howard | Jamaica

Storyteller

“I was a timid country girl when I started university… those three years sowed the seeds of transformation that would ultimately determine my life's purpose.”

Ruth Howard's university mentors taught her to claim her voice and speak up for others. Now she advocates for women and girls’ rights as a communications professional and passionate gender advocate. Read her stories and connect.

Kamila Geethi | Afghanistan

Grand Prize Storyteller

“My sisters, I urge you to remember Afghanistan. I urge you to talk about the crisis in my homeland, to play a role in making a difference in the lives of Afghan people. ”

In August 2021, as the Taliban advanced toward her city of Kabul, Kamila Geethi logged on to World Pulse to share her fears and plead for her people. She continued to share stories even as she made a harrowing journey to Spain, intent on speaking on behalf of her people. Her poignant stories mourn the loss of her homeland and urge the new leaders of her country to care for it. Now, she uses her pen to advocate for Afghan refugees and those experiencing conflict across the world. Read her stories and connect.

Laa'iqah SeedSower | South Africa

Grand Prize Storyteller

"We teach wisdom through stories of courage, hope and strength. My stories tell of my losses and gains, my hopes, and desires. The fountain of ink from which I draw my pen is deep as my soul and rich as the valley that I am."

As devastation engulfed her homeland last year in what was called the worst violence South Africa had seen since 1994, Laa’iqah SeedSower turned to World Pulse to share her stories. Her beautiful, poetic voice continues to give shape to the struggles and triumphs of women in her country. Read her stories and connect.

Catherine Djiemo | Sweden

Grand Prize Storyteller

“If you know you have a right and have been marginalized, you have the freedom of speech to raise your voice even if you’re standing by yourself. You are worth it.”

After moving to Sweden from Cameroon and experiencing discrimination at a hair salon, Catherine took matters into her own hands, affirming natural Afro hairstyles and advocating for Black women and girls. She spoke out by sharing her story on World Pulse and launched changemaking initiatives to address colorism and to teach families how to care for natural, curly hair. She uses storytelling to raise awareness of issues impacting her community. Read her stories and connect.

Elizabeth Francis | Trinidad & Tobago

Storyteller

“We have marched… we have raised our voices, and we have advocated for change. We have put systems in place, hotlines upon hotlines, but still, it’s not a lifeline in the moment.”

Elizabeth Francis sees a striking contrast between the Caribbean’s idyllic island life and rising rates of gender-based violence. She uses her voice to advocate for the rights of survivors and dreams of creating a healing space for women to recover. Read her stories and connect with her.

Arpita Gaidhane | India

Storyteller

“There is support and joy in pregnancy, an outpouring of gifts and love for a new generation. So, why not offer similar support for the flip side of the coin?”

After enduring a heartbreaking miscarriage, painter, writer, and facilitator Arpita Gaidhane says it's time to break the culture of silence surrounding pregnancy loss. She's using the power of story to break taboos and advocate for honesty and connection. Read her story and connect.

Harriet Kamashanyu | Uganda

Storyteller

"Everybody has a story to tell - the world awakens to our stories when we decide to share them. The digital revolution has taught us one thing - everyone has a story to tell."

At the start of the global pandemic, Harriet Kamashanyu used her stories to advocate for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health services in Covid-19 response. In her work, she helps organizations provide health and education services to women and girls living in Kampala’s red light district. Read her stories and connect with her.

Martha Llano | Colombia

Storyteller

“We must make changes from deep within; we must find the peace that no agreement can give us.”

Following a resurgence of political violence in Colombia, storyteller, photographer, and poet Martha Llano reflects on a path toward peace. Her words underscore her deep care for people and the planet. Read her stories and connect.

Lilian Dibo Eyong | Cameroon

Storyteller

"Storytelling has a powerful ability to heal from the inside. It is owning your life, owning every event that occurs around you by telling it in your own voice. The discovery of your unique story is the discovery of your unique purpose. What is your story? Tell it!"

Lilian Dibo Eyong knows what it means to be excluded and stigmatized as a woman with disability. She shares powerful narratives on World Pulse about her experiences and even offers storytelling training, financial workshops, and other skills-building seminars to women with disabilities in her community. Read her stories and connect.

Aimee Knight | United States

Storyteller

“Early in my pregnancy, I had considered abortion and decided it was not for me. It was one of the last choices I would make in my pregnancy that felt like mine.”

After her state of Texas passed a restrictive state law banning most abortions, Aimee Knight logged on to share her journey from teen mom to advocate for reproductive freedoms. Read her story and connect with her.

Olimpia Coral Melo | Mexico

Storyteller

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the name that had embarrassed me… would become the name of a law to ensure that no woman is blamed and scorned for her sexuality.”

When her long-term boyfriend released an intimate recording, Olimpia thought her life was over. Then, she and a group of women activists joined together to pass a law to protect women from digital violence. She uses her personal story to shed light on the process of turning pain to power. Read her stories and connect with her.

Regina Afwani Young | Cameroon

Storyteller

“In our empowerment workshops we not only equip deaf girls with livelihood skills, but also empower them to use digital tools to create more visibility for their products."

Through her organization, Association for the Empowerment of the Deaf and Vulnerable Persons, Regina trains deaf girls to become leaders who impact their communities with the help of technology. She uses her stories to amplify the voices of women and girls and to connect with others around the globe. Read her stories and connect.

Tiffany Brar | India

Storyteller

"Raising our voices through storytelling, not only brings about our ideas, but also enables our readers to actually put themselves in our position and imagine our plight."

As a blind girl growing up in India, Tiffany overcame countless obstacles. Now she helps people with disabilities access resources, build skills, and become leaders in their communities. She logs on to World Pulse to share her stories and encourage others to own their narratives. Read her stories and connect.

Teresia Kagecha | Kenya

Storyteller

"I tell real life Stories from the horse's mouth so to speak, as I do home visits in my community as a volunteer in Community Social/Health work. I engage, interact, and listen without discrimination."

As a community social worker, Teresa knows the devastating impacts of hunger and poverty. She wrote a powerful, award-winning story on World Pulse envisioning a world where cycles of poverty are broken. Read her stories and connect.

Digital Changemakers

From hosting talk shows to challenge perceptions to mentoring young girls and advocating for disability justice, these 13 Changemakers use digital tools to transform their communities and create a more gender-equal world.

Basudha Modak | South Africa

Grand Prize Digital Changemaker

“With my initiatives, I’m trying to change the social and political system to support women and not suppress them. Community-driven approaches improve the quality of life for families and help women become more independent.”

An engineer and tireless community leader, Basudha created the Storm in a Teacup Foundation for women to share skills and resources. Today the foundation has grown to include a chapter of Technovation, while the skill-building, community farming initiatives, and pilot projects that Storm in a Teacup started in Johannesburg townships are being replicated in self-help groups in Uganda. Basudha is also involved in the Every Woman Treaty, a global coalition working to end violence against women and girls. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Nain Mirabel Yuh | Cameroon

Grand Prize Digital Changemaker

"In my community, programs and interventions have often been designed for people with disabilities (PWD) leaving out a key element: their voice. Because of that, most often these interventions tend to be ineffective... This is why in our project we included PWDs in the design and implementation of the intervention."

Research fellow Nain Mirabel Yuh developed an innovative study methodology to interview persons with disabilities and their parents about what they would need to implement support systems. This information helped her and a team design an intervention that brings evidence-based recommendations to families and communities of persons with disabilities. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Pallabi Ghosh | India

Grand Prize Digital Changemaker

"Having rescued more than 5000 trafficked children and adults, I decided to reflect on the impact I may have created. One of the key learnings was the need to take a step further and not only focus on just rescuing and rehabilitating trafficking survivors but rather, preventing the incidence of trafficking itself."

As a human rights activist working to curb issues like human trafficking, gender-based violence, migration-related conflicts, and social injustice, Pallabi has helped rescue more than 5,000 trafficked children and adults. Her organization, Impact and Dialogue Foundation, works to prevent trafficking on the grassroots level through outreach and trainings that have reached more than 35,000 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Adriana Leigh G. | Canada

Digital Changemaker

"The more of us rise in radical love, the more of us have it, own and live it, the more it will shift the way we live. I believe that radical love can change the world.”

As a gender equality facilitator, Adriana helps organizations and individuals translate human rights, especially gender-based violence, into everyday life. She's reached close to 200 people while sharing her thought leadership through writing, presentations, and workshops. Connect with her on World Pulse.

E.J. | Nigeria

Digital Changemaker

"These multiple traditional roles compel women to be everything to everyone... hence the dire need for mentoring, which is imperative to mitigate some of the challenges mentioned above effectively."

This higher education professional helps mentor female undergraduate students with skills to overcome everything from sexual harassment to competition for resources. E.J. has reached more than 235 students through the EmpowHerNG initiative. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Charlene Gail Taruwona | Zimbabwe

Digital Changemaker

"To me, change making is a practice and a lifelong journey. It means the power to shape the future and transform the world for the good of all. "

Charlene has fulfilled her longtime dream of hosting her own talk show that discusses taboos, social, cultural, religious, lifestyle, and human interest stories. She has already reached more than 665 people with her episodes, with intentions to reach a global audience. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Evelyn Bisona Fonkem | Cameroon

Digital Changemaker

"Women... will be trained on how people can manage and cope with the different mental health conditions they face.."

This mental health advocate is training 25 women and girls in the Mile 8 Mankon community on how to manage and cope with mental health struggles, along with how to provide psychosocial first aid. She intends for trainees to then become community mental health advocates. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Grace Ikirimat | Uganda

Digital Changemaker

“Let’s boldly navigate through the complexities created around us because we mold great destinies; so that our vision of sisterhood is realized.”

As founder of Alias = Women our Roots (AWOR), Grace Ikirimat helps women with disabilities develop economic resilience through skill-building and support. Amid COVID-19, she launched a youth apprenticeship program that has reached 20 girls to address school closures, economic instability, and youth unemployment. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Grace Iliya | Nigeria

Digital Changemaker

"As part of an effort towards promoting greater women's participation in electoral and governance processes it is important to quickly find ways to tackle these issues and bridge the gaps."

This multimedia journalist and humanitarian founded Orah Bayit, an organization offering sensitization campaigns to make the electoral process more accessible and inclusive of women with disabilities. Grace Iliya aspires to create a shift in organizational structures and policies to transform elections. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Jefiter Mang | Nigeria

Digital Changemaker

"...I aim to break the unhealthy menstrual silence and myths and stop menstrual poverty for the less fortunate."

Founder of the nonprofit Life Aid, Jefiter helps girls in rural communities age 10-17 learn menstrual hygiene, access sanitary pads, and stay in school. She's provided education and resources to 250 and helped 10 girls to stay in school. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Leonida Odongo | Kenya

Digital Changemaker

"I have come to nurture so many young people, instilling in them the same confidence that my mama instilled in me."

As a movement builder, Leonida connects farmers, university students, and rural women to forge creative solutions to climate change. Her unique skillset has led her to champion food and climate justice, along with human rights. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Natasha (Megs) Lombard | South Africa

Digital Changemaker

"I want to help girls and women, living with trauma, to express themselves in drawings and other visual artworks…”

This artist and writer channels her creative talent into helping others heal from trauma. Natasha Lombard's art therapy project helps those who may not have the resources to access professional therapy find comfort and healing through art. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Sif Holst | Denmark

Digital Changemaker

“Let us all — not just people with disabilities or those very close to us — speak up when we see injustice or when people are denied equal opportunities.”

A disability rights advocate, vice-chair of the Disabled Peoples Organisations Denmark, and a candidate to the UN CRPD Committee, Sif Holst advocates for persons with disabilities and their organizations to have a place at the table. She shares that accessibility is a prerequisite for equal access, and to achieve equality, we need to pay attention to the differences. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Digital Empowerment Leaders

Meet 15 Digital Ambassadors who are empowering the next generation of women and girls to come online and benefit from digital tools.

Sally Maforchi Mboumien | Cameroon

Digital Empowerment Leader

"As a proud woman peacebuilder, I look forward to a time when my community... will stop interfering in women's contributions towards peacebuilding within these armed conflicts."

A teacher, researcher, social activist, and founder and executive director of Common Action for Gender Development, Sally has mobilized women-led organizations and coalitions in Cameroon in online peacebuilding efforts. In 2021, her 41 trainings reached 1,085 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Busayo Obisakin | Nigeria

Digital Empowerment Leader

"It is germane to me that women and girls must find their voices, discover their power, live their dreams, and create the life they want for themselves as they continue to navigate online."

Through the Confident Girls program, Busayo Obisakin has scaled empowerment trainings during COVID-19 to help lift women and girls out of poverty and to escape gender-based violence. In 2021, she reached more than 77,400 people and conducted 353 trainings. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Tamarack Verrall | Canada

Digital Empowerment Leader

“Giving a platform to women’s voices is so precious. It gives me such hope.”

An activist, educator, amplifier, and advocate, Tamarack Verrall has helped grassroots women's organizations transition to online spaces during COVID-19. She is renowned in the World Pulse community for her encouragement and support. As a Digital Ambassador, in 2021 she reached more than 840 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Esther Ndihano Atosha | DRC

Grand Prize Digital Empowerment Leader

"Dear teacher! I don't have 8 children as you predicted. Rather, I have a very big family of girls and women who are impacted by my leadership and entrepreneurship program."

A young leader in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Esther serves as an entrepreneurial coach for women with Street Business School and a representative of Young Women Leaders, a program that helps young women and girls gain the skills and confidence to become leaders in countries experiencing crisis. As a Digital Ambassador, in 2021 she led 171 trainings reaching 124 people in rural areas. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Anum Shakeel | Pakistan

Grand Prize Digital Empowerment Leader

“In most parts of the world, a person’s goals and aspirations are defined by gender. Unfortunately, a woman is often discouraged from pursuing her dreams just because she is a woman.”

In Pakistan, Anum Shakeel has trained and mentored more than 10,000 students to get into the corporate world through internships, volunteer opportunities, and career counseling. She founded Marketects Club to bridge the gap between academia and industry and has reached more than 100,000 people through 24 online training sessions as a Digital Ambassador. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Sabeena Ahmed | United Kingdom & United Arab Emirates

Digital Empowerment Leader

"I have been fort58ate to receive a warm reception from hundreds of local expatriates and like minded international tourists. I call them my 'Fair Trade Angels' because without them I could not support fairtrade organizations around the world."

This fair trade campaigner, educator, designer, retailer, and social entrepreneur reached 2,000 people in her six trainings in 2021. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Kristine Yakhama Atsianji | Kenya

Grand Prize Digital Empowerment Leader

"The world must invest in the education and security of girls as resources for the future of this world."

As co-founder and coordinator of Good Health Community Programmes, Kristine is passionate about developing advocacy, leadership, and policies. In her role as World Pulse Digital Ambassador, in 2021 she conducted 20 trainings on two topics, reaching an impressive 5,250 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Adanna Ononiwu | Nigeria

Digital Empowerment Leader

"Being a World Pulse Ambassador has made me more confident in my ability to help women and girls leverage technology and international networks to improve their skills and acquire new skills."

Adanna is renowned for her digital literacy trainings and mentoring work that encourages and motivates young women to pursue careers in STEM . Adanna has led more than 100 trainings since becoming a Digital Ambassador for World Pulse, reaching an estimated 1,345 people in English, Igbo, and French. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Chinyere Kalu | Nigeria

Digital Empowerment Leader

“It gives me a lot of joy to see women and girls turning toward technology. You connect to people you’ve never met, you make an impact from your corner of the room, and you become limitless."

This activist, writer, and educator has taught virtual workshops about everything from perimenopause to coding and app building to creative writing during Nigeria's #EndSARS protests. In 2021, as a Digital Ambassador, Chinyere Kalu conducted 70 trainings, reaching 140 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Fola Carine Fomduwir | Cameroon

Digital Empowerment Leader

"My vision is to see an inclusive society and equal opportunity for all, where women are seen as persons with skills and abilities to contribute."

Fola Carine Fomduwir sees education and continuous participation in development activities as a way for women and girls with disabilities to support their goals. As a Digital Ambassador, in 2021 she conducted 12 trainings for 32 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Efe Omordia | Nigeria

Digital Empowerment Leader

"In my work with women in vulnerable situations, I have noticed that they often desperately need guidance and loving support and I am offering that."

Years of attending to the needs of diverse vulnerable groups led this Digital Ambassador to train in applied behavior analysis. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Efe Omordia not only trained women and girls to come online, she also offered Zoom sessions to support women survivors of gender-based violence. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Kat Haber | United States

Digital Empowerment Leader

"Give your knowledge away as freely as possible to as many as possible for as long as possible."

This climate activist, entrepreneur, and TEDx organizer brings her passion for resilient living, teen leaders, and wilderness conservation to her role as a World Pulse Digital Ambassador. Her three trainings in 2021 reached 1,030 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Valentina Mapunda | Tanzania

Digital Empowerment Leader

"My call to activists is to raise a voice in the community and build their capacity to eliminate gender inequality and eliminate all conflicting and oppressive traditions."

This community development advocate shares economic, social, and political opportunities with women and girls through her trainings. As a World Pulse Digital Ambassador, she conducted 46 trainings, reaching 3,577 people in 2021 alone. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Shameela Yoosuf Ali | United Kingdom

Digital Empowerment Leader

“It doesn’t matter where you come from and what your background is. You can learn digital tools to empower yourself and others.”

This journalist and editor-in-chief of FemAsia magazine hosts a digital space for women to inspire and impact the world. As a Digital Ambassador, Shameela Yoosuf Ali reached 500 people through 10 trainings in 2021. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Minakshi Birajdar | India

Digital Empowerment Leader

"My objective is to train women and girls in terms of employment opportunities, to provide them with various government schemes along with training."

Minakshi Birajdar specializes in connecting women in a small village of India with resources and trainings. She focuses especially on widows who lack financial and emotional support. In 2021, she conducted 19 trainings as an a Digital Ambassador, reaching 362 people. Connect with her on World Pulse.

World Pulse Spirit Awards

After an intensive nomination and selection process, the World Pulse community has spoken! These six leaders embody the World Pulse Spirit: They're using technology and the power of story to encourage women and girls and create real impact in the world

Paulina Lawsin Nayra | Philippines

Grand Prize Spirit Award

“The stories on World Pulse are life changing. It’s important to me that every woman can recognize her wealth and strength within, even with the limitations brought to us. There is something we can all do and contribute.”

Paulina Lawsin Nayra's work and advocacy revolve around empowering girls, women’s political and economic empowerment, environmental protection, and sustainable evolution. As a long-time member of World Pulse, she shares her legal knowledge and love of technology with others and works to digitally empower as many women as she can. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Veronica Ngum | Cameroon

Grand Prize Spirit Award

“Let the world adopt the concept of universal design to promote accessibility for all disability types.”

As CEO and Founder of the Community Association for Vulnerable Persons, Veronica opens pathways for hundreds of women with disabilities to become leaders and advocate for change. She is a beacon of hope and catalyst for change among women with disabilities, and works tirelessly to ensure that women in her community are able to log on to World Pulse and benefit from this sisterhood. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Susu Mohamed | Somalia

Grand Prize Spirit Award

"I have been working for humanity for 17 years and I encourage young people to study and work for peace."

This humanitarian and outspoken peace activist co-founded Somali Women Empowerment Child Association. She works to prevent rape, sexual assault, and harassment against young girls through radio broadcasts that reach 1.5 million women and girls. She's also a pillar in the World Pulse community, supporting others and using her voice to create impact. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Carolyn Seaman | Nigeria

World Pulse Spirit Award

“At Girls Voices, we raise disruptive girl leaders who will demand their seats at the table.”

Carolyn trains girls to drive social change through tech, digital media, and storytelling. Her Girls Voices Initiative has sped up the journey toward gender equality and broadened the types of education and skill-building girls receive, reaching more than 600,000 girls. She works to support and encourage others in the community and bring digital skills. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Josette Blackburn | United States

World Pulse Spirit Award

"I have a vision of this momentum of positive female energy creating a tsunami, a tidal wave of goodness, wealth, warmth, and love..."

This passionate advocate and designer offers women encouraging support while connecting them with financial resources and speaking out on global issues. Josette Blackburn's compassionate mentorship is a source of inspiration for many women in the World Pulse community. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Marie Abanga | Cameroon

World Pulse Spirit Award

"Let's meet the challenges we face with compassion for self, even more than we show to the people we seek to help, whose causes we champion."

A tireless advocate for mental health and self care, Marie Abanga imparts hope to women as the Founder of Hope for the Abused and Battered Cameroon. Drawing from her background in law and psychotherapy, Marie helps women on World Pulse recognize the importance of self-care and healing. In her work, she's helped more than 71,500 people care for themselves. Connect with her on World Pulse.

Make the List! Earn a Badge on World Pulse
The World Pulse Voices Risings Awards happen annually around International Women's Day to celebrate the rising leadership of women in our global community. When you earn a badge on World Pulse, you will be eligible to be honored in upcoming awards programs. Whether you are a storyteller, a changemaker, a digital empowerment trainer, a poet, or all of the above — you belong here. Join us.