Lavinia Mbongo currently heads the Quality Surveillance Laboratory at the Ministry of Health and Social Service in Namibia. Lavina also served as a biosafety inspector, administering the Biosafety Act of 2006, developing, and translating complex policies to stakeholders. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and is pursuing her Master of Science in Molecular biology. Lavinia is also a National Authorized User for the Biosafety Clearing House, responsible for ensuring mechanisms set up by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety are used to facilitate the exchange of information and remain in compliance. She also helped to establish a hydroponic farming project aimed at educating communities about affordable methods that can be used to produce nutritious products. Upon competition of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lavina will leverage the skills, knowledge, and experience gained to address the socio-economic challenges facing Namibia, by forging links with national and international stakeholders in the scientific community who can help her country adopt hydroponic farming as a way alleviate hunger and increase access to nutritious foods.