# MVFJ 2023 - VOTING NOW OPEN
You've helped us choose these exceptional nominees who have demonstrated their dedication to advocating for justice and humanitarian efforts in Africa through the use of forensic DNA - and now, here they are!
VOTING is now open and will run until November 30.
Please help us in selecting the 2023 #MVFJ by submitting your vote below.
VOTING CLOSES IN:
Be a part of this #MissionInAfrica as we reveal the winner on December 4!
The Forensic Visionary
Mr Yasin Farah
Introducing Yasin Farah, recently appointed as the National Forensic Expert by the Attorney General of the federal government of Somalia. With a background spanning 15 years in forensic science, analytical chemistry, and pharmaceuticals across institutions in Sweden, the UK, and Somalia, Yasin brings a wealth of experience to his role. Prior to this, he served as a Senior Forensic Science Advisor at the Puntland Bureau of Forensic Science in Somalia. Yasin's dedication to advancing the use of forensic DNA in his region and his vision for the future of forensics in Somalia make him a standout nominee for the My Voice for Justice Awards. MORE ABOUT YASIN
The Molecular Maestro
Ms Asha Auckloo
Asha Auckloo brings her expertise as a Senior Forensic Scientist at the Forensic Science Laboratory Mauritius. With a Master of Science in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, she excels in the intricacies of forensic science. Asha's contributions extend beyond the laboratory as she actively engages in training law enforcement professionals and served as the JCI Executive Vice President in 2020. A recent presenter who bowled over the audience at our 3rd Forensic DNA Sympoisumm, Asha's dedication to advancing forensic science in Africa together with her passion and leadership make her an outstanding nominee for the My Voice for Justice Awards. MORE ABOUT ASHA
The DNA Policy Pioneer
A/Prof. Aaron Amankwaa
Aaron Amankwaa is a Research Scientist in Forensic Biometrics, Genetics and Biology with an impressive academic background in forensic biology, with research experience in DNA profiling and forensic DNA legislation/ policy. Aaron's contributions to the field of forensic biometrics and DNA policy have paved the way for more robust and flexible protections regarding the use of biometric data. His extensive research and engagement with various agencies and groups demonstrate a profound commitment to advancing justice through DNA policy advocacy in Africa, ensuring ethical and effective practices in forensic science - all of which make him another standout nominee for the MVFJ Awards.
The DNA Testimony Trailblazer
Lt Col. Sharlene Otto
Meet Sharlene Otto, the DNA testimony trailblazer with a remarkable 30-year career at the South African Forensic Science Lab. Her expertise has made a significant impact on the criminal justice system, as she has provided DNA testimony in over 600 cases, including some of the most high-profile ones like the murder of Marike de Klerk, the Fairhead murders and the triple axe murder of the Van Breda family. Sharlene's unwavering commitment to justice and her invaluable contributions in forensic science make her an obvious choice as nominee for the MVFJ Awards.
The Medicolegal Humanitarian
Mr Stephen Fonseca
Introducing Stephen Fonseca, a pivotal figure in Africa where he has dedicated his efforts to empowering authorities, enhancing justice and medicolegal systems, as well as overseeing ICRC forensic specialists. As manager of the African Centre for Medicolegal Systems (ACMS), Stephen plays a key role in fostering regional collaboration among international agencies, policymakers, and practitioners improving justice and medicolegal processes in response to mass fatality events from conflict, migration, and disasters. Stephen additionally contributes as a valuable member of the ICRC's Forensic Unit Global Management Team and it is no surprise that he is ranked as a nominee in this year's line up.
The DNA Angel of Compassion
Ms Jennifer Degner
Introducing Jennifer Degner, a dedicated Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) from Texas. Jennifer has been the driving force behind the "Global SAK Donation Project" in Africa. Her vision is to ensure the SAK project's success, enabling more survivors to access quality evidence collection and Forensic Nursing care in many Africa regions, making her a standout nominee. Jennifer's commitment to expanding this program to include additional areas in Africa, advocating for a survivor-centered approach, and improving Forensic Nurses' training across the region mark her as a true angel of compassion in the world of DNA advocacy and change. MORE ABOUT JENNIFER