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Dedo Baranshamaje

2019 Obama Fellows


Lilongwe, Malawi




Always unexpected

Favorite book:

The Century of Asianisation by Parag Khanna


Without access to resources, community, or funding, locally-led entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa often fail. Despite a growing consensus that top-down development funding is ineffective, only 2% of international aid currently goes to local organizations. Instead, global aid organizations continue to fund outsider approaches to development while ignoring local talent and their capacity for leadership.


The Social Impact Incubator (SII) has supported visionary leaders in Burundi and Malawi for the past 8 years. With government, corporate, and philanthropic partners, SII catalyzes local organizations to think creatively, and supports them with tools, networks, and access to investment necessary to grow and amplify their work. In weekly training sessions, entrepreneurs learn critical operating skills such as strategy, fundraising, and project management. Cohorts have access to months of mentorship and a platform that connects them to peers and funders. SII has leveraged millions of dollars to entrepreneurs in the program. Dedo plans to open the next incubator in Rwanda, to develop a flexible bridge fund to support African-led startups across the continent, and to build a strong evidence base to demonstrate that local leaders can become successful entrepreneurs. Dedo is poised to prove what’s possible when we invest in local talent, showing that local solutions are best and shifting the narrative on just and effective development across Africa.

Greatest victory:

"The Social Impact Incubator has been an Impact Lab for over 120 organizations across Burundi, Malawi, Nicaragua, and soon Rwanda. These organizations are delivering long term and sustainable positive change in their communities by providing quality healthcare, education, agriculture, environmental, and tech solutions to rural and often neglected communities. The Social Impact Incubator acts as a broker between governments, donors, and innovators within the countries we work in. We're proving that a new model for philanthropy and grant-making is possible, and that it's possible to put local visionaries and institutions at the center of development strategy in Africa."