Yvonne Marimo (Diploma in Development Leadership, 2011) is the founder of the Global African Business Woman Network (GAWN). An entrepreneur and a personal development practitioner, she has a passion for empowering women and girls to embrace entrepreneurship as a tool for combating poverty and financial exclusion.

In 2011, while attending Coady’s Diploma in Development Leadership, Yvonne was awarded the prestigious Katherine Fleming International Development Award, which provides a bursary to a deserving woman leader from Africa to attend a program at Coady each year.

“Receiving the award was a confirmation and affirmation that the work I was doing was needed,” Yvonne says as she reflects on the experience.

At the time of the award, Yvonne worked for Self-Employed Women’s Association of Zimbabwe (SEWAZ) where she made a direct impact on the lives of women in her home country of Zimbabwe by designing and facilitating training for women in personal empowerment, gender sensitization and basic business skills. She later founded Global African Business Women’s Network, in part to extend her reach beyond the country’s borders, continent-wide.

“The award inspired me to dream big – to reach out beyond the limitations of my own country or continent,” Yvonne says.

“I have been able to do this through the Global African Business Women Network, a digital platform that brings together African women entrepreneurs on the continent and those in the diaspora so that they can connect, share experiences, and learn from each other.”

Family and friends created the annual Katherine Fleming International Development Award in memory of the late Katherine (Katie) Fleming, who dedicated her life to overcoming child poverty in Africa. Katherine, a StFX alumna ’85, died at her home in Tanzania in May 1999 at the age of 35.

This year marks a significant anniversary of supporting African women’s leadership, and partnership with StFX University and Coady International Institute.

The award will support Yvonne in returning to Coady to complete a fellowship.

“Studying at Coady gave me the knowledge, skills, and confidence I needed to complete my work within evidence-based frameworks and methodologies,” Yvonne says.

“Being at Coady gave me a sense of purpose,” she adds. “Purpose provides motivation and direction on a daily basis. Purpose is about finding meaning in what one does even in the face of struggles or challenges. The purpose to do my work gives me the power to push on and keep going on no matter how hard things become.”

Please join us as we welcome Yvonne Marimo, friends and family of (late) Katherine Fleming, and celebrate 20 years of the Katherine Fleming International Development Award at StFX Homecoming’s Coffee with Coady.