Acumen Blog


Announcing the East Africa Fellows Class of 2014

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our third cohort of East Africa Fellows. After a competitive selection process, we’ve chosen are a diverse group of 22 inspiring individuals who are fighting poverty and changing lives of people all over East Africa. Each Fellow is driving an innovative social change initiative addressing a variety of development issues, such as using mobile technology to support smallholder farmers, increasing access to financial services for Muslim women in Kenya, empowering urban refugees in Tanzania, and working with the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs of South Sudan. See below for photos and bios of everyone in the incoming class of East Africa Fellows:


Abdiqafar is from Kenya and is a Credit Officer at the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) of the Ministry of Devolution and Planning of Kenya. At WEF, Abdiqafar works to provide access to affordable credit to support women start and expand business, and is also developing an Islamic finance product for Kenyan Muslim women. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from University of Nairobi, and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Nairobi. He is also Certified Public Accountant (CPA-K).


Billow is from Northern Kenya and is the Founder of The Mandera Times, a bi-monthly newsletter that seeks to provide access to information and current events to communities living in Northern Kenya that the mainstream media ignores. Billow also works at the Ministry of Education of Kenya, and was a One Young World Ambassador in 2013. Billow holds Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from University of Nairobi, is a Certified Public Accountant, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Finance & Economics from KCA University.


Calvince is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and CEO of M-Shamba, an interactive mobile platform that provides vital information to farmers and other stakeholders along the agricultural value chain. M-Shamba has benefited over 4,000 farmers to adopt new sustainable farming practices and increase access to markets to trade produce. Calvince holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural, Biomechanical, and Processing Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University.



Caren is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Executive Director of Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF), an organization that works to develop the next generation of leaders in East Africa through leadership, training, and mentorship. ELF has trained 500 university student leaders, and has reached over 3,000 students through motivational talks in schools. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Nairobi.


christine gitau

Christine is from Nairobi, Kenya and is an enterprise coach and mentor at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services – such as training, endorsement for loans, and creating market connections – to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses. She is also the East Africa Representative of ARTerial Network, Africa’s largest civil society organization for the Arts. Christine holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Literature from Moi University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Media Production from Mohamed Amin Foundation.

david gatwech

David is from Juba, South Sudan and is Deputy Director of Protocol at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs of Government in the Republic of South Sudan. In addition, David is a Secretary of the Joint Border Commission, as well as the National Secretariat for Peace Negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. Previously, served as the Representative of the South Sudan Referendum Commission in Australia. David holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Deakin University, Australia.

eda eslabaEda is from Nairobi Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. Her book, called Mkenya Halisi, has sold over 1,800 copies, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Eda holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Studies from Africa International University (Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology).

!gerald otim

Otim is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Senior Program Coordinator for Design and Training at Educate!, a pioneering an innovative model of secondary school education, combining experienced-based training and mentorship to position youth to lead change and development in Ugandan as leaders and entrepreneurs. Otim works strategy and creation of training resources for an education program that is reaching over 10,000 youth in 250 secondary schools across Uganda. He holds a Bachelors of Development Economics from Makerere University.


Janemary is from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is the Country Director for Asylum Access, Tanzania which empowers the unrecognized and marginalized urban refugee population in Tanzania through legal services, livelihood and entrepreneurship training, and influencing public policy. Janemary holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and Human Rights from the University of Dar es Salaam.


jonathan mativo

Jonathan is from Makueni, Kenya and is the Founder and Chief Strategist of ICT for Development (ICT4D) Kenya, an award-winning organization that provides ICT training at the community level through a mobile training model. Nearly 200 of their youth graduates have secured jobs in the ICT sector. Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics and Computer Science from Jomo Kenyatta University.




Joram is from Nyeri, Kenya and is the Chairman of Jijenge Sanitation Youth Group, an organization that aims to alleviate poverty through solid waste management by increasing incomes for recyclable waste collectors through direct market linkages. Joram also serves as the Head of Finance for Upper Gura Water Resources Users Association. He is currently pursuing an MBA from Acton School of Business.



Kahabi is from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and is the Deputy Project Director and Senior Manager for Capacity Building at Management Sciences for Health, which works to strengthen the leadership and management capacity for central agencies of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University (USA), and an MD from Muhimbili University in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania



Kamanda is from Kigali, Rwanda and is the Operations Manager at Gardens for Health International, an organization that works to provide agricultural solutions to chronic malnutrition. Kamanda was previously a Global Health Corps Fellow, and also worked at the Bank of Kigali. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) Kigali, Rwanda, and is currently pursuing an MBA from Mount Kenya University.




Ken Oloo is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder of Filamujuani (“Films in the Sun” in Swahili) which trains and mentors students from informal settlements – such as Mkuru-Kwa-Njenga, Kibera and Kangemi – to tell their own stories using video and photography. He is also a director of Zindua Ltd, a social enterprise that creates television shows, commercials and documentaries. Ken holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Daystar University and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship for Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.


Leonard is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Executive Director of Uganda Youth Forum, which challenges youth from ages 12-24 to take responsibility in creatively solving social and economic problems in their communities through nationwide programs such as the National Youth Awards. Their programs have reached 1,000 schools and over 10,000 young people. Leonard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Political Science from Makerere University.




Lucy is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Head Psychologist under the Department of Mental Health at the Ministry of State for Defense. She is addressing the mental and behavioral needs for uniformed personnel and their families, and aims to standardize these practices at military schools and hospitals across Kenya. Lucy holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the United States International University.

nehaNeha is currently working in Kampala, Uganda as the Acting Deputy Executive Director at International Law Institute-African Centre for Legal Excellence which works to build Africa’s legal infrastructure through responsibly drafted laws, systems for dispute resolution, capacity building, and improved governance. She was previously an Associate Attorney at the law firm Duane Morris, LLP. Neha holds a Bachelor’s Degree from New York University, and a Doctorate in Law from Temple University.



Nivi is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Co-founder and CEO of eLimu, an interactive education technology venture that delivers engaging digital media content on tablets tailored for the Kenyan curriculum. eLimu tablets are currently being used by over 1,000 primary school students. Previously, Nivi worked in the Kenyan IT training industry for 6 years and ran an initiative for underprivileged children called “Maisha ni Matamu.” Nivi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Ithaca College, NY.



Richard Zulu is from Kampala, Uganda and is a Founder and Lead of Outbox, which currently works with up to 20 startups, and has reached over 900 individuals through their various community engagements during their first one and a half years of operation. Richard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from Makerere University, Uganda.


sachinSachin is from Kenya and is currently based in Kigali, Rwanda where he is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Laterite Ltd. Laterite conducts socio-economic and policy research to help organizations in underserved markets deliver social change and effective development interventions. Previously, Sachin has worked in East Africa, South America and the US for the World Bank, Booz & Co, Silver Oak Solutions and IDEX. Sachin holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California – Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.


Samson is from Mbale, Uganda and is the Health Development Officer at Innovation Africa, which implements solar energy and water projects reaching over 15,000 people in rural villages throughout Uganda. Previously, he was the Executive Director of RAIN-Uganda, which provides healthcare services to the rural poor. Samson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Management from the Islamic University of Uganda.




Sarah Matindi is from Nairobi, Kenya and is a Program Officer at MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now), an organization that engages men, boys and institutions to end gender-based violence and promote gender equality. She holds a certificate in counseling from the Amani Counseling and Training Institute.


The East Africa Fellows Program is made possible through the generous support of our partners: the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, the Giving Wings Foundation, and the Gerald Segelman Trust. To learn more about the East Africa Fellows Program, visit our website. We will begin accepting applications for the next class in July 2014.


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