Alumna Spotlight - Moiyattu Banya DC'06
Moiyattu Banya DC’06 is lending her creativity and leadership skills to international initiatives that work toward equity for communities around the globe.
“What is most fulfilling about my work is that I get to impact the lives of thousands on a daily basis,” Banya said.
As a nonprofit and communications professional, Banya plays a variety of roles in organizations that empower and facilitate gender and youth development in Africa and the African Diaspora. For The African Women’s Development Fund USA, Banya serves as a board member and oversees strategy, partnership development, and communications. Banya is also the founder and executive director of Girls Empowerment Sierra Leone, where she leads the strategic vision of the organization, managing its growth, partnerships, and fundraising. Lastly, Banya owns Women Change Africa, a social enterprise which celebrates diverse stories and connects entrepreneurs to investment, communication, and other business resources. Due to the impact of her work with these organizations, Banya has been recognized by Okay Africa magazine as part of their annual list featuring African women who are making a difference. All of Banya’s roles require extensive leadership, a skill she learned during her time at Douglass.
“Douglass impacted my leadership growth tremendously,” said Banya. “If I didn’t have access to the Douglass campus life and all those leadership opportunities to grow, I don’t think I would have had such clarity about my passion or my purpose. It’s ultimately what led me to my career path and where I am now. The Douglass difference was alive and real and truly helped shape my life.”
As a student at Douglass, Banya’s leadership development often took the form of service to the community. In addition to being part of the Douglass Project’s Project SUPER, she served as a resident advisor and was on the Douglass Orientation Committee. Banya also interned at Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership, where she was later hired to manage the 16 Days Campaign to End Gender Based Violence. These experiences were formative, and shaped Banya’s global worldview and mission.
As a leader in a global initiative, Banya has actively worked to share her insights with the emerging generation of leaders at Douglass. This past fall, Banya visited with students in the Global Village to share her wisdom and offer words of encouragement.
“Having a world view of issues is critical. Being able to step out of your comfort zone and learn about the lives of others who may not look like you, talk like you, or even act like you is the best way of transforming the human experience and bringing equality to our experiences as human beings,” said Banya. “Visiting the Global Village was inspiring. I love knowing that there is a community that nurtures students interested in learning through a global lens.”
For Banya, having God at the center of everything she does has offered guidance and purpose along her journey. Banya encourages others to discover and develop a sense of purpose by stepping out of their comfort zones, volunteering with organizations that focus on meaningful work, attending events that teach about different cultures, and reading books and news outlets that offer balanced views.
Banya holds an MSW with a focus on Social Enterprise Administration from the Columbia School of Social Work. She has taught at Columbia University and Temple University. In addition, she has also written about advocacy for a variety of publications and hosts her own podcast, Tea and Peppersoup. Bayna’s accomplishments and passion not only make her a wonderful role model for youth abroad, but also for students right here at Douglass.