Announcing the 2024 Echidna Global Scholars!

During their fellowships, the 2024 Echidna Global Scholars will conduct individual research focused on improving learning opportunities for girls, young women, and gender-nonconforming people.

Meet the scholars.

The Echidna Global Scholars Program at the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings seeks to catalyze and amplify the impact of local leaders working to advance gender-transformative education across the Global South.

During a six-month fellowship, Echidna Global Scholars conduct individual research focused on improving learning opportunities and life outcomes for girls, young women, and gender-nonconforming people, develop their leadership and evidence-based policy skills, build substantive knowledge on gender and global education issues, and expand their pathways for impact. Upon completion of the fellowship, scholars transition to the Echidna Alumni Network, a growing community of practice aimed at promoting their significant, sustained, and collective influence on gender-transformative education globally and locally.

Since its inception in 2012, the Echidna Global Scholars Program has hosted 10 cohorts of fellows and currently supports an alumni network of 33 scholars from 20 different countries.

This program is made possible by the generous contribution of Echidna Giving.

Please email [email protected] with any questions about the program.

2024 Echidna Global Scholars 

Sudha Ghimire | Nepal

Assistant Professor, Tribhuvan University

Sudha Ghimire is an assistant professor of health education at Tribhuvan University (TU). She teaches courses in reproductive and community health education. Prior to joining TU, she worked as a registered nurse in public hospitals for sixteen years. Her research interests lie in the intersection between gender, sexual and reproductive health, rights, and social justice. Taking transformative and participatory approaches to school-based health education, her work focuses on building the agency and critical awareness of adolescent girl students for equitable reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education, and community health.

Sudha has received a fellowship from NORHED Rupataran Project to carry out her Ph.D. research on skills-based health education for early adolescent students. She has organized and facilitated workshops for teachers, students, and communities, and provided consultancy services to various (I)NGOs on reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education, gender, and community health. Additionally, Sudha has published articles and book chapters and has presented papers on her research areas.

Connect with Sudha on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Ana Magdalena Rodríguez Romero | Mexico

Co-founder and Co-director, ProSociedad

Magdalena (Magda) is co-founder and co-director of ProSociedad, a development agency specializing in the design, evaluation, and scale-up of evidence-based solutions for sustainable development.

Magda has nearly 15 years of experience in capacity building for impact-driven local organizations. At ProSociedad, she has led the development of Cometa, an evidence-based and collective impact program that promotes the economic empowerment of women facing intersectional inequalities.

She has also worked as a consultant for international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women, and as a professor at the Universidad Panamericana and ITESO, as well as in continuing education at UNIVA, teaching courses on corporate social responsibility, social innovation, and financing for development.

Magda was selected for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by the U.S. Department of State (2018) and was recognized as a finalist for the Latin American Leaders Awards (2022), the Don Lorenzo Servitje Award for socially responsible young businesswomen (2021), and the Civil Society Research Prize promoted by CEMEFI (2015).She holds a master’s degree in development management from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Follow Magda on X via @anamagdarr and connect with her on LinkedIn.


Mebrahtom Tesfahunegn | Ethiopia

Assistant Professor, Mekelle University School of Law

Mebrahtom Fitiwi Tesfahunegn is an assistant professor of law at Mekelle University School of Law, where he also completed his graduate and undergraduate studies. He has also participated in the Community Solutions Program (CSP) with special emphasis on women’s rights through the U.S. Department of State and George Mason University. His research interests include women’s and disability rights, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, peace and conflict resolution, and access to justice.

Mebrahtom has worked as a human rights research assistant, human rights officer, Tilburg-Mekelle University Ph.D. program Coordination Unit Coordinator, and Director of Mekelle University Legal Aid Center. He has coordinated and implemented many projects, among which are two European Union-funded projects and a U.S. Department of State-funded project that have had considerable impact on the rights of people with disabilities to education. As a legal aid practitioner, Mehbrahtom has engaged in successful litigation against denial of the right to work and denial of access to education of girls and women with disabilities. As an Echidna scholar, he plans to investigate barriers to education for girls and women with disabilities, coming up with strategic solutions so as to “Leave no girl or woman with disabilities behind in education in Tigray.”

Connect with Mehbrahtom on Facebook.


Lydia Wilbard | Tanzania

Executive Director of Learning and Engagement, CAMFED

Lydia is a seasoned gender equality advocate with over 15 years of experience in forging multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance girls’ education and women’s empowerment.

Lydia has been rising through the ranks of CAMFED’s leadership since 2005, when she founded the CAMFED Association (CAMA) in Tanzania. In this network of young, educated women, she became an active business mentor and leader, working with others to support the next generation of children in securing their right to education and developing the power to drive change in their communities.

Currently, as CAMFED’s executive director of learning and engagement, Lydia forges strategic partnerships with communities and government ministries in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya to support the most marginalized girls to go to school, learn, and thrive. She is the lead on the organization’s systems transformation strategy and on the implementation of the Learner Guide Program, a peer mentorship and life skills program focused on addressing the social, cultural, and systemic barriers facing girls and the risks of school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Lydia has a master’s degree in public health with a focus on maternal, child, and reproductive health from Johns Hopkins University, earned with the support of a USAID scholarship.

Follow Lydia on X via @WilbardLydia.