2016/2017 Cohort's Scholars

Congratulations and a warm welcome to our three Data-Driven Changemakers: Masood, Leonard and Theo. These three exceptional students are the recipients of a Impact for Society Fellowship to assist in the tuition fees for the MA in Applied Economics program at CERGE-EI. Masood, Leonard and Theo were chosen as the most outstanding for their zeal towards impact-driven social change and endeavors in using analytical skills to solve community problems.

Masood Sadat, DDC Fellow 2016Masood, who was involved as a research officer in the Asia Foundation in Afghanistan, was active in improving data-analysis education in his community. Using his analytical experiences in a number of research positions, Masood was able to train over 100 Afghan researchers, analysts and professionals in both government and private institutions to work with data, a skill still widely undeveloped in Afghanistan. Masood wrote a data analysis textbook in Dari language, which is freely available both in print and electronically to Afghans, the first and only manual of it’s kind in the Dari language.

After noticing that lack of quantitative evidence for policy interventions in Afghanistan has lead to a decline in international support and aid, Masood aspires to establish an institute that can offer education and consultation to data-driven sectors and government organizations. With success, the institute will also function as a policy think-tank and regulatory research center for the Afghan community. This opportunity at CERGE-EI will enable Masood to obtain the skills to empower other Afghans to examine and explore policies that can help the region recover and prosper in the future. 

Leonard Annan, DDC Fellow 2016Leonard is passionate about using technology and innovative approaches to advancing literacy skills in his home region, Ghana. With a background in computer science, Leonard initiated the Adesua Ye (“Education is Great”) Literacy Foundation campaign to empower the less privileged across Ghana by educating critical thinking and technological competence. In Ghana the literacy rate is currently as low as 67.3% (Ghana Statistical Service) and in a survey conducted by Leonard, 90% of the illiterate the people he interviewed had mobile phones. This inspired Leonard to develop the ‘Adesua Ye Learning Tool’’, an android application that helps adults learn how to read.

With the master’s program at CERGE-EI, Leonard is determined to obtain the skills to continue implementing innovative solutions to literacy education around Ghana. The degree will help Leonard gain comprehensive knowledge in applied economics, which he hopes to disseminate across the region. As his education project grows, Leonard will be able to transfer the economics know-how to help others tackle major issues in the developing world.

Theo Kuro, DDC FellowTheo has been dedicated to overcoming challenges of youth unemployment in rural areas of his home nation, Albania. Involved in the Innovation for Development in Rural Areas project for the United Nation’s Skill Development for Employment (SD4E) program in Albania, Theo helped carry out a number of fieldworks and research to further understand the core issues of unemployed youth in rural regions. In collaboration with Albania’s Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and the National Employment Service, Theo participated in a prototyping team for intervention policies that would confront the main problems that were discovered in their research. Through creativity, experimentation, testing and reiteration, his team employed a human-design approach to find an effective strategy to assist unemployed youth, namely an online database and network.

In the future, Theo aims to use the acquired knowledge from CERGE-EI’s Master’s in Applied Economics to continue finding socially innovative projects and development schemes that can alleviate unemployment and improve education in Albania and even globally.

CERGE-EI is excited to receive Masood, Leonard and Theo in Prague and looks forward to assisting and collaborating with the three Impact for Society Fellows in achieving their ambitions for community development.