Second Exec Ed program fuels Alna Dall’s passion for change in Africa

Alna DallWhen activists launched the #MeTooNamibia movement in spring 2019, Alna Dall was front and center. The movement, spearheaded by young women with the help of the office of the First Lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos, was supported by Namibia’s Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence. Dall, a former television journalist and 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow at the Maxwell School helped create the coalition in 2013.

“I always wanted to pursue journalism because I have a desire to change the world,” Dall said. “I realized there is only so much you can do as a journalist. I feel my strengths can be used better as an activist.”

Now she’s back at Maxwell, this time pursuing an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) degree, sponsored by Fulbright. She plans to combine her media savvy with improved networking and management skills to continue the fight for gender rights in Namibia. “In Africa, media and social media are key to social change,” said Dall, who has worked as a television news editor, hosted a current events talk show and served as a social/online media manager.

Dall started addressing gender-based violence – which she calls Namibia’s “most wicked problem” – in 2012, working with other groups and lobbying government on “talking and awareness campaigns.” She credits the six weeks she spent at Syracuse as a Mandela Fellow for building skills and a professional network to work on an issue close to her heart.

She then began to work on women’s issues on Africa’s regional level. Another 2017 Mandela fellow from Namibia connected her with a group writing the Draft 10-Year Action Plan of the Human and Peoples’ Rights Decade in Africa. She was invited to Burkina Faso in May 2018 to work with representatives of women’s rights groups and media professionals to ensure women were included in the plan.

The Mandela Fellowship for Young African Leaders “was the best experience of my life by far,” she said. “What the fellowship does for Africans is excellent. You can see like-minded people and see there is such passion for change on the continent.”

Her previous work with the Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence included organizing protests and government petitions and raising money to support survivors, shelters and pay for funerals for victims of femicide. She hopes EMPA courses will prepare her to strengthen the coalition to better represent the issues of women, children and gendered minorities in Namibia’s Parliament.

She’s pleased to return to Maxwell, where she met lifelong friends and colleagues. “The coursework is amazing and every day I learn more,” Dall said. “These are important relationships we have built as Africans here in Syracuse.”