ALA Class of 2008 | Westminster College
Founder of COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA)
- Displaced from his home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was 6 years old, Joseph grew up in the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda, where he endured unspeakably poor sanitary conditions, battled malnutrition, and witnessed extreme human suffering. Instead of resigning himself to a life of misfortune, he saw in Kyangwali the opportunity to do tremendous good.
- At the age of 14, he founded COBURWAS, a non-profit organization that empowers young leaders to tackle the greatest challenges facing their communities
- At the age of 17, he ran a tutoring program for 52 students and opened two hostels for 100 students that allowed students to attend better schools at a lower cost
- Based on his innovative solutions to these challenges, Joseph was selected as 1 of 1500 applicants to be part of African Leadership Academy’s inaugural class of students
- At ALA, he met a guest speaker who helped him raise $20,000 to build the first secondary school in his refugee camp.
- He is currently educating 300 children in his refugee camp and has sent 12 graduates to colleges (3 in the USA, 9 in Africa) and 2 to ALA.
- He is a member of the British Council Global Changemaker network; serves as an advisor on international education to the UN Secretary General and to Gordon Brown and was recognized alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia as one of four Global Citizen Award winners in 2013. by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
- Upon graduating from a degree in biochemistry from Westminster College in June 2015, Joseph was bestowed with university’s highest honor, the Outstanding Senior Award.
- At the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Joseph took part in the Clinton Global Initiative Universityin March 2015, where he spoke on transitional justice, how to rebuild affected communities after wars.
- He is currently working with the Minister of Education of the DRC to enable one million children to enroll in school for the first time
Joseph Munyambanza on the Global Education First website
Educating Refugee Children: The Inspiring Work of Joseph Munyambanza, a member of the Global Education First Youth Advocacy Group – http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/1429.htm#sthash.CxOMyK1J.dpuf
Joseph Mumnyambanza’ss interview by the Brookings Institution:
Joseph Munyambanza’s address at ALA’s Africa Rising Event, New York (2014)