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Program Partners and Staff

The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) on Inclusive Civic Engagement led by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is a collaborative initiative with Humanity & Inclusion (HI), the African Disability Forum (ADF), and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

This program, funded by the US Department of State, extends the organizations' history of Fellowship programming. ICI and HI have previously collaborated on initiatives, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) International Fellowship Program and the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment (PFP-IDE).

Program Partners

Institute for Community Inclusion Logo

About the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)

Established in 1963, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) operates as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), based at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Boston Children's Hospital. Dedicated to advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities to engage fully in society, ICI conducts research, program evaluation, training, and consultation. Through collaboration with diverse entities, including local, state, national, and international agencies, legislators, educational institutions, employers, multicultural organizations, and people with disabilities and their families, ICI champions personal choice, self-determination, and social and economic justice.

Humanity & Inclusion Logo

About Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Established in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to addressing poverty, exclusion, conflict, and disaster. With over 30 years of experience and prestigious awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nansen Refugee Award, HI focuses on supporting people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in about 60 countries globally. The HI East Africa Region (EAR) Office and the HI Ethiopia Country Office collaborate closely with ICI colleagues to support Fellows in the 2022–2024 PFP Fellowship Exchanges, implementing projects to enhance civic engagement for people with disabilities in their home countries.

African Disability Forum Logo

About the African Disability Forum (ADF)

Established in 2014, the African Disability Forum (ADF) is the continental membership organization of Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs) in Africa. ADF’s mission is to strengthen and unify the representative voices of Africans with disabilities, their families, and organizations. Acknowledging the vast regional diversity of the African continent, ADF recognizes the impossibility for any single organization to fully represent such diversity directly. Therefore, ADF actively incorporates and builds upon existing pan-African, sub-regional, and national federations of DPOs and networks. ADF, a member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), is a partner on the 2025 PFP Fellowship Exchange.

International Disability Alliance Logo

About the International Disability Alliance (IDA)

Established in 1999, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) is a global network of organizations representing persons with disabilities and their families. Committed to the effective and full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) worldwide, IDA ensures CRPD compliance within the UN system, post-2015. Recognized as the foremost representative voice of persons with disabilities by the United Nations in New York and Geneva, IDA actively involves representative Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) at national, regional, and international levels. IDA is a partner on the 2025 PFP Fellowship Exchange.

Program Staff

  • Heike Boeltzig-Brown, PhD

    Image of Heike Boeltzig-Brown

    Senior Manager for International Partnerships and PFP Program Director,
    Institute for Community Inclusion

  • Christa Preston

    Image of Christa Preston

    PFP Program Coordinator, Institute for Community Inclusion

  • Mercy Opiche

    Photo of a black African woman with natural hair, wearing a turquoise blouse, and smiling into the camera.

    Program Manager, Humanity & Inclusion East Africa Region Office

  • Andrew Namolo

    Image of Andrew Namolo

    Project Officer, Humanity & Inclusion East Africa Region Office

  • Anteneh Darsema

    Image of Anteneh Darsema

    Regional Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) Manager
    and PFP Program Liaison, Humanity & Inclusion Ethiopia Country Office

  • Bethelehem Zewde

    An Ethiopian woman with shoulder-length curly hair, wearing a black and white blouse and a chunky necklace in shades of grey and blue, smiling at the camera.

    Program Director, African Disability Forum

  • Bernice Otieno

    A young Kenyan woman, with long brown hair, wearing a turquoise top and black suit, smiles into the camera.

    Communication Officer, African Disability Forum