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Deborah Dauda

LEPA (Leading Everyone to Participate in Africa) Initiative, Fresno, United States

Deborah Dauda

Deborah Dauda, MPH, MA, Global Health Cert.
Founder/Director: LEPA Initiative, The Red Elephant Foundation (REF): Advocacy Volunteer, Fresno State University (FSU): Institutional Review Board (IRB) Community Member, WASH United: Menstrual Hygiene Day Alliance Member, World Pulse: Community Listener

I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and emigrated to the U.S. to pursue my education in 2001. My mother is from Ogga, Kogi State, my biological father is from Kafanchan, Kaduna State, and my dad is from Los Angeles, California. I graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Arts International Development Studies, and obtained concurrent graduate degrees in Public Health (MPH; Community Health Sciences, & Global Health Cert.) and African Studies (MA; African Studies-Refugee Education and Health) from the Fielding School of Public Health and the International Institute at UCLA respectively.

I am passionate about, and have interest in the welfare of refugees/IDPs, youth development, adolescent SRH, social inclusion, peacebuilding and, maternal/child health, and I have worked with several institutions in the United States, West/East Africa, South America, and South Asia on the aforementioned topics. My experiences have helped to shape my lifelong commitment to community development, and public health service, which includes the activities of my initiative; LEPA (Leading Everyone to Participate in Africa) launched officially in 2014. LEPA’s mission is to empower, inspire, mentor, and build the leadership capacity of African and Diasporan youth through three overarching plan-of-action: the realization of the rights of girls, the active participation of African youth in all levels of civil society and the building of stronger relationships between Africans in the Diaspora and those on the continent. LEPA’s current project includes #MenstrualNarratives– A storytelling campaign designed to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.

Furthermore, as a performer I have had the privilege of meshing my passion for dance, with social activism to further causes on African and Diaspora issues through collaborations/projects with artists such as: Lemi Ghariokwu (Nigeria), Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), Zap Mama (DRC/Belgium), Samba Mapangala & Orchestra Virunga, (DRC) and Shakira (Colombia). I also host monthly dance workout sessions in Fresno, California called “Danceletics” highlighting music from contemporary African/Diasporan Artists.

I currently work as a QI manager in Fresno California on adolescent health initiatives–specifically on improving Chlamydia screening and increasing access to quality SRH services for youth through public health detailing. My goal for the near future is to work in northern Nigeria. I hope to hone research skills/methodology that will prepare me to respond, and develop contextual, sustainable, and resilient evidenced-based healthcare delivery models in low-resource settings. I look forward to collaborating and learning from you all.

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