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Inspiring Learners and Leaders in Africa

After she graduated from Yale in 2013, Fatymatou Dia (Senegal, UWC-USA) joined the Casablanca office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where she worked on projects for a diversity of industries — and discovered what she calls “my true passion.”

“I started asking myself, what did I think about during my limited free time? The answer was education: I would get home late and start thinking about how to fix the Senegalese education system, or start planning a teacher-training program.”

Fatima wanted to give Senegalese students an opportunity similar to a powerful seminar on leadership she’d taken at Yale, with retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal. She returned to New Haven and spent four months observing the seminar and meeting with professors, mentors, and students. She designed a two-part leadership curriculum, “Building Self, Building Teams,” and delivered it at three Dakar locations last May.

That wasn’t her only initiative. In 2014, Fatima, her younger sister Ned Aminata Dia, and a friend launched Modesty Group, a fashion line designed for young women, whether they wear the veil or not, to dress with “comfort and elegance.” The clothing line “is a different kind of education,” Fatima writes — “a platform we created through clothing to get women and men to have a conversation about the norms and clichés that prevent us from being comfortable with who we are and how we want to express ourselves.” Its founders followed up by organizing a photo exhibition in Senegal on female leaders, titled Entres Femmes, or Women to Women.

“I moved to Nigeria in September,” Fatima writes. “I am back at BCG as one of the pioneers for our new Lagos office.”