Meet the Board

Dr. Anteneh Roba

MD - IFA Co-Founder, President and Board Member

Dr. Anteneh Roba

Currently a part-time certified emergency-room physician since 1988.  My first initiation in to the world of compassion and suffering stared in 2003 when I returned to my motherland, Ethiopia. There, I saw babies dying of diseases that were treatable and preventable. I saw animals being needlessly tortured, as they are elsewhere. I saw homeless little children sleeping on concrete. When I returned to the United States, I realized what my mission was in life, and the idea of the International Fund for Africa was born, in memory of my mother, Amsale Gessesse who died in 1961.

My extra-professional activities include promoting a vegan diet, working with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and animal protection.

Seble Nebiyeloul

M.H.A. - IFA Co-Founder and Country Director

Coming from a Third World country, I am sensitive to the plight of poor people. My concern over high child mortality rates and the burden of disease due to preventable causes led me to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Allied Health with a minor in psychology and then a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Administration.

I am a true believer that one is never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true. I am committed to bringing about the change I want to see by using my leadership skills to improve and develop equitable, effective strategies that address complex and interrelated health care issues in Africa. I am dedicated to alleviating the suffering of humans and animals.

Anuj A. Shah, Ph.D

IFA Board Member

Anuj A. Shah

From a very early age, I have been interested in social justice movements and other organized efforts to remedy suffering and injustice against the oppressed, including the suffering of animals. My experience has shown me how desperate is the plight of many of my fellow human beings, so I am glad to have the opportunity to serve as a board member for IFA as it finds new pathways to justice for impoverished people and abused animals.
Since 2002, I’ve practiced in several areas of law and have taken special interest in civil rights, immigration, and animal law. While in law school, I received the national Warren J. Ferguson Social Justice Essay Prize. I was also a scholar in residence at the international East-West Center in Honolulu, where I completed my doctorate in philosophy with a concentration in comparative philosophy, especially Indian versus Western thought.

Melanie Blake

IFA Board Member

Melanie Blake

As an immigrant from South Africa, I have experienced my own hardships in life and know what it is like to lack basic necessities. Therefore I am very much aware that one person or organization can change a person’s life forever. My goal in life is to make a difference and spread compassion around the world for humans and animals alike. Therefore I am currently working on a project that will instill these ideas in young children and make them more aware of the world around them.

Sefanit Fassil

Board Member

I grew up in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States of America where I finished my training as a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina. I live with my husband and our three young children in Bowie, Maryland. While working in Annapolis, Maryland, I became a child medical examiner and child advocate for Anne Arundel County, serving abused children.  Being able to share my expertise and extend my compassionate nature and respect for life further by working with the International Fund for Africa pleases me immensely.

Tesfaye Mekonnen, M.D

Honorary Board Member

Tesfaye Mekonnen

From the time I studied medicine at the Higher Institute of Medical Science in, Cuba, I thought only of dedicating myself to improving medical care in places which are in dire need of improvements. I obtained my medical degree in 1988, and specialized in anesthesiologist in 1996.
In 2003, I joined WHO supporting the Ethiopian national violence and injury prevention program, and in 2004, I joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), which prepares health care and allied health professionals for public practice to assume key epidemiological and administrative roles in communities.
I currently work in Atlanta, providing support for emergency & disaster medicine development in Ethiopia. Living with my wife and three young children reminds me every day how important it is for every human being to have the chance for a happy and rewarding life. I am glad IFA shares my concern for the people of Africa.