AUCD Professional Fellows Alumnae Win Global Zero Project Awards

January 18, 2021

AUCD Professional Fellows alumni Gwaliwa Mashaka (Fall 2018) and Aneth Gerana (2020) from Tanzania have received 2021 Zero Project Awards, which honor the world's best innovations in disability inclusion every year. Gwaliwa and Aneth, who both have lived experience with disability, are being celebrated for leading historic inclusive employment initiatives in Tanzania that they developed with advice from senior faculty at the Nisonger Center and the UCLA Tarjan Center. Aneth and Gwaliwa both lead organizations which help women with disabilities in Tanzania develop employability skills and market themselves successfully.

Gwaliwa's Zero Project Award honors her creation of Employable Africa, an innovative online platform which:

  • Helps individuals with disabilities (especially women) find skilled jobs;
  • Enables employers to post job listings for so they can recruit inclusively.
  • Provides guidance on accessibility standards and reasonable accommodations to private sector employers across Africa (a first)
  • Delivers CART transcription across Africa (also a first)

Employable Africa has won many accolades and uses best practices inspired by some Nisonger Center (Ohio UCEDD) programs, including EnvisionIT, which promotes transition of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The online nature and scale of its work on transition, supporting youth with disabilities, and training private sector employers is unprecedented in Africa.

Aneth's Zero Project Award honors her work with FUWAVITA, a nonprofit she founded to promote empowerment of women with disabilities. Aneth's projects:

  • Enable women with disabilities to set up small businesses and access small loans from community trusts operated by Tanzania's government
  • Register women with disabilities in social media networking groups that enable them to access new markets for their businesses 
  • Create learning centers across Tanzania that train women with disabilities for IT careers
  • Provide vocational skills and leadership training to women with disabilities (especially deaf women)

As Professional Fellows alumni, Gwaliwa and Aneth both part in AUCD's PFP-IDE Fellowship, an exchange program on inclusive employment sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Gwaliwa participated in an in-person Fellowship at the Nisonger Center with mentorship from Dr. Margo Izzo, Transition Services Director, in 2018. Aneth participated in the Fellowship virtually in 2020 with mentorship from Dr. Olivia Raynor, Director of the UCLA Tarjan Center. They will be profiled in the next annual global Zero Project Report, which compiles new models of excellence in inclusion from around the world.  

To learn more about Gwaliwa's and Aneth's Zero Project Award-winning initiatives, visit the links below:

Employable Africa:


AUCD Professional Fellows alumnae & Zero Project Award recipients

Gwaliwa Mashaka and Aneth Gerana