Chmba Ellen Chilemba ‘10 Recognized as 2021 Kofi Annan Changemaker

Chmba Ellen Chilemba ‘10 from Malawi has been selected as one of 12 Kofi Annan Changemakers for 2021. Chmba is a music producer, DJ, and activist who works to create educational growth opportunities towards marginalized identities. 

Chmba Ellen Chilembe ’10

Chmba founded Tiwale at the age of 17 years old during a summer off from her studies at Mount Holyoke College in the US. Tiwale is a community center in Malawi supporting girls/women and non-binary folks through art, music tech, education, and economic opportunities. 

“We’ve recently expanded our class offerings, tapped into the music industry and we’re offering DJing and music production,” says Chmba who is excited to share the news of a second community centre in Lilongwe, Malawi.

To date, they have directly supported 396 members and reached 22,000+ youth in campaigns. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiwale has distributed 26000+ masks made at their community center prioritizing low-income critical workers, educators, and students.

At ALA, Chmba engaged with leading experts in Academy-wide thematic Executive Seminars which helped her realize the value of networking. “ALA made entrepreneurship, community organising, activism and leadership more tangible through exposure to exciting guest speakers,” says Chmba.

Chmba’s latest recognition as one of the 12 Kofi Annan Changemakers will provide her the opportunity to network, learn from, and engage with other exceptional young changemakers. 

“I feel very appreciated for the work we are doing in Malawi. The recognition of the impact of our work allows us to get more financial support in order to expand our programming. I envision more expansion into 10 districts in Malawi.”

Chmba has already received numerous accolades for her work in Malawi to date. She has been named a Forbes’ Africa 30 Under 30, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, Glamour Magazine’s College Woman of the Year, Global Changemaker, Ashoka Future Forward Winner, Global Citizen Youth Advocate, One Young World Ambassador, Commonwealth Awardee for Excellence in Development and a University of the Pacific Powell Emerging Leader.


You may know a young leader, like Ellen, who has shown leadership potential in your community. We accept nominations for high school students with potential from as young as 13 years old.