Meet The 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 Supervisor
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, Co-Founder
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
Fridah Kangwa: English/Literacy 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.
Elizabeth Mutale Ng’andu: Head Nurse
Elizabeth is our health facility’s Nurse in-charge. She worked as a nurse for 29 years till her retirement. She’s retired but not tired. She retired in 2008 due to an illness which troubled her for 8 years, thankfully, she is healed and healthy. She joined Bakashana Basambilile organization in November 2019 During her employment as a government Nurse she worked in various hospitals and departments. She has vast experience in pediatric, labour wards, theater, ART Room and Counselling, Testing, and Care to mention a few. She has a lot of experience in so many areas concerning health and has a passion for work
Florence Watanuka Ngobeka: Health Centre Assistant
Florence works from Bakashana’s health facility as our Reporting Point Person. She is an Assistant Nurse as well as a Psychosocial Counselor. She graduated with a diploma in health services management at National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) IN 2016. She also has a certificate in psychosocial counseling. Florence is not orignially from Kasama, but came here with her Husband who is a Minister. She began working with Bakashana in November 2019. She is passionate about Women’s Health and is always around to offer a smile to new and nervous clients.
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.
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.
Justin Hostetter: Chief Operating Officer
Justin 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.