East Africa: Using a bottom-up approach to tackling poverty

Although most East African economies have continued to grow over the past few years, income inequality remains high. More than 75% of East Africa’s population lives in rural areas, the majority being smallholder farmers living on less than $2 per day. Urban areas are equally challenging with 60% of Nairobi’s population living in slums and lacking basic services like water, sanitation and electricity.

Acumen started investing in East Africa in 2001 and now our East Africa portfolio is one of our largest under management. Our investments span from solar energy, to mobile-enabled supply chain solutions for farmers, to long lasting anti-malarial bed nets, to cotton ginning, and more.

A model for innovative development

East Africa investments span from solar energy, to mobile-enabled supply chain solutions for farmers, to long lasting anti-malarial bed nets, to cotton ginning, and more.

44,000

Jobs created & supported

improving livelihoods and economies

$29.5

Million invested

in breakthrough innovations

23

Companies

Providing choice not charity

82

Million Lives Impacted

With dignity not dependence

Meet the Team in East Africa

Acumen opened its East Africa office in Nairobi in 2007.  Our team on the ground provides ongoing management support to our investees. In addition to benefiting from Acumen’s global networks, we’ve built a valuable set of local advisors and supporters. See if we’re hiring.

  • Close Drawer Ashley_headshot_updated

    Ashley Speyer

    “I am inspired by Acumen's commitment to moving beyond the status quo, challenging conventional solutions to global poverty, and pioneering a new approach with powerful results.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen in June 2014, Ashley worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York where she conducted research on Cuba’s energy landscape and Brazil’s foreign policy strategy in Africa. Her passion for international development and social entrepreneurship began during her experiences in East Africa where she learned the importance of local ownership in development efforts. In 2007, while in high school, she partnered with a women’s cooperative and created a non-profit organization to build a school in Arusha, Tanzania. During college, Ashley spent time in Uganda studying international development and the impact of decentralization on citizen participation. She volunteered at a local human rights organization and wrote her undergraduate thesis on transnational advocacy networks and their role in enforcing international norms. Ashley received her B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and enjoys hiking and skiing.

    CONTACT

    T:(646) 747-3852
    E:aspeyer@acumen.org

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    Dennis Otieno

    “Acumen has pioneered a social and financial model that has left indelible footprints on the investment ecosystem.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen, Dennis was a Senior Investment Analyst at Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), where he was involved in sourcing, conducting due diligence and managing portfolio clients. He has also worked as a business associate at Transglobal Consultants where he helped Small and Growing businesses with working capital planning and management. Dennis holds an MBA, Finance option from United States International University – Africa (USIU-A).

    At Acumen, Dennis identifies, cultivates and manages a pipeline of investment opportunities providing critical services to the poor. He also supports Acumen’s post investment efforts to add significant value to investee companies.

    CONTACT

    E:dotieno@acumen.org

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    Joy Gikandi

    “Acumen is impacting lives and making a difference the world over. It is immensely gratifying to support social change-makers on their leadership journeys and absolutely amazing to be part of a team that is empowering game-changers and emerging leaders who are driving real change in their communities.” [READ MORE]

    As a Leadership Associate, Joy manages engagement and community building initiatives for our Acumen Fellows all over the world, primarily helping plan the upcoming Acumen Fellows Global Gathering. Previously, Joy was working as an East Africa Fellows Associate responsible for the program’s communication and management, as well as the annual selection & recruitment of the new cohorts of fellows. Prior to Acumen, Joy spent a little over four years managing training programs in Kenya & Rwanda for corporations, SMEs and government institutions as part of their capacity building initiatives.

    CONTACT

    E:jgikandi@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Lawrence Riungu

    Lawrence Riungu

    “Acumen’s patient, focused and supportive approach to investing makes us the right investment partner for any ambitious entrepreneur who has set their sights on developing scalable solutions to some of the world’s intractable social and economic problems.” [READ MORE]

    Throughout his career, Lawrence Riungu has actively sought out opportunities to launch and build new initiatives and businesses, including both within existing corporate organizations and through stand-alone entities. In the process, he has developed a passion for and significant experience in business model design and change management to meet evolving customer needs and competitive business environments.

    Lawrence comes to Acumen with 15 years’ experience in the financial and operational aspects of a broad range of industries including real estate and geothermal energy development, ICT (mobile commerce), energy commodity trading, electric power utilities, oil and gas pipelines, insurance and mining. He also brings with him a unique mix of local and international business experience and strong capabilities in evaluating and solving business problems. Immediately prior to joining Acumen, Lawrence was the Kenya Country Manager for BizCorps, a non-profit program that connects recent MBA graduates with SME entrepreneurs in emerging markets. In the past, Lawrence has worked in investment roles at Centum Investment Company, East Africa’s largest publicly traded investment company and has also worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase in New York and First Africa Capital in Nairobi.

    Lawrence earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a dual Bachelor of Arts (A.B) degree in Economics and Computer Science from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

    CONTACT

    E:lriungu@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Martin Leboo

    Martin Leboo

    “Acumen has taught me to embrace complexities in the world. There are no simple and singular narratives, the problems are intricate, and the solutions are varied – and the answers are found by listening to those who are affected.” [READ MORE]

    Martin joined Acumen in October 2014 as a short term associate on the portfolio team, and in July 2015 joined full-time as a Portfolio Analyst. In this role, Martin supports the East Africa portfolio team in sourcing pipeline and doing due diligence on potential investments.  Prior to joining Acumen, Martin was pursuing his master’s degree in economics at the University of Nairobi. Martin has interned at the UN office in Nairobi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nairobi.

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    Minayo Sagala

    “The Acumen model embraces and celebrates individual strengths and weaknesses, weaving a beautiful tapestry of talent that seeks, awakens, empowers and inspires stories of dignity.” [READ MORE]

    Minayo is legal counsel based in the Acumen East Africa office in Nairobi, which currently manages investments in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. She holds an MSc in Education for Sustainability from the London South Bank University and an LLB from the University of Nairobi. Prior to joining Acumen, Minayo was a senior associate at Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates, a top tier corporate commercial law firm in Nairobi and also spent about a year and a half as a senior associate in its affiliate office, Adept Chambers, in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

    CONTACT

    T:: +245 716 252 802
    E:msagala@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Beatrice Onyango_biopic

    Beatrice Onyango

    “Acumen calls for us to be leaders who do what is right and not what is easy. With such thinking, I believe that we can transform our lives and also transform the lives of the people around us hence being a positive change agent.” [READ MORE]

    Prior to joining Acumen, Beatrice served as the President of AIESEC from 2012-14 in Rwanda, where she worked with university students in Kigali and Huye to develop their leadership potential through exchange programmes and experiential learning activities.  She also served as a public relations officer at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economic (then School of Finance and Banking).  Originally from Kenya, Beatrice is interested in leadership development for youth, women’s development and being a positive change agent.  As the Administrative Associate, Beatrice champions the operational needs of the East Africa team and provides executive support to the East Africa Director.

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    Duncan Onyango

    “Any far reaching development can be achieved by implementing what we believe: That the promise of a continent can be achieved when the full human potential is unleashed” [READ MORE]

    Duncan Onyango joined Acumen as Director of East Africa in September 2012. He has been a long supporter of Acumen and informally served as an advisor to the East Africa team over the years, as well as being actively involved in the Fellows Program.

    Duncan most recently served as the Group Chief Finance Officer of Rift Valley Railways, where he led the structuring of a $287M debt and equity capital investment in the rail sector. He began his career with over ten years at Abbey National, a major international bank in London, gaining cross-functional business experience in both the retail and corporate arms of Abbey, including serving as the bank’s Head of Training & Management Development for the Wealth Management Division. Building on that experience, Duncan moved into consulting at Strategic Workforce Limited in London, before returning to East Africa where he founded Quantum Africa in 2006, working with many small businesses and entrepreneurs. He has expertise in strategic & business planning, organizational alignment and business transformation. Duncan holds an honors degree in Computing and Retail Management from Oxford University.

    CONTACT

    T:+245 716 252 802
    E:donyango@acumen.org

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    Kazi Mghendi

    “While many investors focus solely on profitability, Acumen seeks to understand the social impact that its investments make. I believe this is what society needs most. Indeed it starts with standing with the poor, listening to the voices unheard and recognizing potential where others see despair.” [READ MORE]

    As the Administrative Associate, Kazi manages the operational needs of the East Africa team and provides executive support to the East Africa Director. Kazi brings valuable on-the-ground experience in East Africa’s development sphere coupled with solid administrative skills. Prior to joining Acumen, she worked in the microfinance industry and the humanitarian sector. Her past roles include working as a Credit Officer with a Kenyan microfinance institution appraising loans and managing relationships with clients, a Business and Entrepreneurship Trainer with AIESEC in Rwanda, an Administrative Assistant with Nairobi Chapel, and a Project Management Intern with Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK). Kazi holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies with a concentration in Integrated Community Development from Daystar University in Nairobi.

    CONTACT

    E:kmghendi@acumen.org

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    Loise Nduati

    “Acumen is challenging the world’s status quo-allowing people to gain choice, dignity and hope in building their own futures. This is what excites me about being part of the team.” [READ MORE]

    As the Senior Business Associate for East Africa, Loise holds a cross-functional role working on the Business Development, Communications and Talent teams. She was previously the Executive Officer of the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations, the umbrella body of women entrepreneur associations in Kenya leading policy advocacy, capacity building, strategic business development and entrepreneur mentorship for an enabling business environment for women. Just prior to joining Acumen, Loise was training business member organizations in East Africa on how to engage government for policy change. Loise holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Kenyatta University and a MBA from United States International University-Africa.

  • Close Drawer Mary Nduta

    Mary Nduta

    “At Acumen we believe in a world of possibilities; where there are equal opportunities for the poor in which they can have a chance for a sustainable livelihood that restores their dignity. It is the drive and desire to change how the world tackles poverty that makes me proud to be part of Acumen.” [READ MORE]

    Mary has over eight years’ experience in financial management, administration, project management, budgeting and human resource management. She started her finance career by working at Farmer’s Choice Ltd for five years and was part of the team that implemented the ERP for the company. She later moved to the non-profit sector at One World International where she handled implementation of a mobile content project. She joins Acumen from the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office where she worked for five years in finance and administration managing the implementation of financial, administrative and human resource systems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration from United States International University (USIU) and is a Certified Public Accountant.

  • Close Drawer Patrick_Oketa

    Patrick Oketa

    “Patrick is the latest addition to the East Africa team. He joins us as the Associate Director of Portfolio and will lead and guide the team in shaping Acumen’s portfolio strategy, management process, team and influence in East Africa.” [READ MORE]

    Patrick brings a wealth of experience in private equity, project financing, project cycle management, and a practical understanding of how resources can best flow to those who need them most. Over the last 15 years, he has worked with various projects and entrepreneurs to deliver practical financial and social value and added innovative solutions to their businesses across Africa. Patrick joins us from the Uganda Development Bank where he was the Director of Development Finance a position that allowed him to oversee the development and improvement of credit, risk management and customer service at the largest government owned bank in Uganda. Prior to that, he was a Partner at Pearl Capital Partner a fund manager that focuses on investments in the Agribusiness value chain in East and southern Africa. In the past, Patrick was the Chief Investment Officer of the African Agricultural Capital and also worked at the international fund manager Actis where he was responsible for the administration of the $100 million Actis Agribusiness Fund. He began his banking career at the East African development Bank where he worked for 5 years in Uganda and Kenya in various capacities. Patrick holds an MBA and MA in Banking and Finance as well as an honors degree in Economics.

    CONTACT

    E:poketa@acumen.org

As a part of their nine-month field placement, Global Fellows work with one of our investee companies. These Fellows are currently gaining on-the-ground experience in East Africa.

  • Close Drawer Adedotun Eyinade

    Adedotun Eyinade

    “Adedotun Eyinade will work in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania with Husk Power Systems. Husk uses innovative biomass technology to convert abundant rice husks into energy that provides...” [READ MORE]

    Adedotun Eyinade will work in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania with Husk Power Systems. Husk uses innovative biomass technology to convert abundant rice husks into energy that provides power to rural villages. Adedotun is from Nigeria and has worked for KPMG for over four years, most recently as a Senior Associate in Financial Risk Management. He holds a Bsc in Microbiology from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and an International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation.

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    Clément de Alcala

    “Dignity is the foundation of positive impact. As a global community, brought together by shared hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses, achievements and mistakes, dignity is fundamental to creating stronger relationships and solving the world’s biggest challenges.” [READ MORE]

    Clément leads expansion into new markets for Altamira, a leading provider of innovative solutions for intelligence and defense communities worldwide. A skilled business development professional with extensive experience in B2B sales, he has spent the past decade enabling growth opportunities focused on long-term profitability in multiple emerging countries. Clément holds a B.A. in marketing and an MBA in public negotiation.

    Clément will spend his fellowship with Devergy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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    Jini Sebakunzi

    “Dignity is having the choice to be understood and treated with empathy.” [READ MORE]

    Jini has more than 10 years of experience in business development and project management in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the East Africa Program Manager for Regions of Climate Action (R20), where his team recently won a two-year grant to start a solar bakery in rural Burundi. Before R20, Jini spent six years as a marketing consultant for Caterpillar Inc., where he was responsible for driving profitability for more than 30 African countries. Jini has a B.A. in Economics with Applied Quantitative Methods from the University of Sussex in England and an M.A. in Intercultural Communication from the University of Lugano in Switzerland. 

    Jini will spend his fellowship with Green Energy Biofuels in Lagos, Nigeria.

  • Close Drawer Justus Kilian

    Justus Kilian

    “Justus will work in Gulu, Uganda with Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC), which provides market access to smallholder farmers in northern Uganda. Justus is from...” [READ MORE]

    Justus will work in Gulu, Uganda with Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC), which provides market access to smallholder farmers in northern Uganda. Justus is from the US and has worked as a Senior Financial Analyst at Merrill Lynch, and as a Global Securities Technician at the Northern Trust Company. He holds a BSc in Business Administration and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is also a CFA Charterholder.

  • Close Drawer Luis Lopez Martinelli

    Luis Lopez Martinelli

    “Luis will work in Nairobi, Kenya with Virtual City, a company that increases rural farmers’ incomes through mobile technology. Luis is from Mexico and has worked as a Business...” [READ MORE]

    Luis will work in Nairobi, Kenya with Virtual City, a company that increases rural farmers’ incomes through mobile technology. Luis is from Mexico and has worked as a Business Unit Manager at Det Norske Veritas, a climate change and environmental services company. He worked as a Commercial Strategy Analyst for CEMEX in Mexico and the USA. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurship from the University of Alberta in Canada.

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    Natalie Grillon

    “My fellowship was crucial; I have the courage to start my enterprise, honing my leadership style in training and experience at GADC and supported by my cohort and Acumen family”

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    Nicole Iden

    “It takes more than passion and smarts and a good business model for a social entrepreneur to succeed. Most of all it takes guts and unshakeable commitment.” [READ MORE]

    Nicole is working in Nairobi, Kenya with Juhudi Kilimo, which provides micro asset financing to smallholder Kenyan farmers, enabling them to acquire assets that boost their productivity and provide long-term economic stability and growth.  Nicole is evaluating the current IT infrastructure and developing a more streamlined tech strategy in order to improve farmer mobile finance and date reporting.  Nicole is from the US and has worked with Capital One as a Bank Vice President, Grameen Foundation, and Accenture. Nicole holds a B.A. in Economics from William & Mary, and an M.S. in Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia.

  • Close Drawer Rajanthi Manivannan

    Rajanthi Manivannan

    “Rajanthi will work in Nairobi, Kenya with M-KOPA, which provides financing for mini solar home systems in Kenya. Rajanthi is from Canada and has worked for Cuso International...” [READ MORE]

    Rajanthi will work in Nairobi, Kenya with M-KOPA, which provides financing for mini solar home systems in Kenya. Rajanthi is from Canada and has worked for Cuso International in Ghana as a Strategic and Organizational Consultant. Previously, she worked as a Senior Financial Analyst for Rogers Communications in Toronto. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo and is a Certified Management Accountant.

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    Saad Latif

    “Raised in Pakistan, Saad has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in Pakistani society. It was this exposure that drove Saad to apply his skills and education...” [READ MORE]

    Raised in Pakistan, Saad has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in Pakistani society. It was this exposure that drove Saad to apply his skills and education to create social impact and is what brought him to the Acumen Global Fellows Program.

    Saad has a strong track record of leadership. He was the first President from the undergraduate program of the Students’ Council at the reputed Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). During his time at K-Electric (formerly Karachi Electric Supply Company) he developed strong technical and operational skills and was part of the team that transformed the utility that supplies electricity to more than 20 million individuals. Saad has also leveraged his passion for storytelling to help produce documentaries for the largest television network in Pakistan.

    He holds a Bachelors of Science [MC1] (Hons) in Economics from LUMS and brings experience in project planning, research, analysis, and management in addition to strong leadership skills to the Acumen Global Fellows program.

    Saad will spend his Fellowship with energy investee Husk Power Systems in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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    Tammy Warren

    “Originally from a small town in rural Georgia, Tammy spent the last 12 years volunteering and working across three continents – in Guatemala, Kenya and Cambodia. Her natural...” [READ MORE]

    Originally from a small town in rural Georgia, Tammy spent the last 12 years volunteering and working across three continents – in Guatemala, Kenya and Cambodia. Her natural curiosity, coupled with her deep sense of empathy, propelled her to travel to and work with under-resourced communities in different parts of the world, listening and learning from each experience abroad.

    Tammy has over 15 years of consulting experience in the corporate sector, including her most recent role as Project Management Consultant for Target Corporation. She has worked on portfolio and risk management in many different industries including healthcare, education, retail and banking for CedarCrestone and Capgemini.

    Tammy holds a Bachelors of Business Administration [MC1] from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

    Tammy will spend her Fellowship with agriculture investee Mekelle Farms in Tigray, Ethiopia.

  • Close Drawer Aliyah Kurji

    Aliyah Kurji

    “Aliyah Kurji will work in Nairobi, Kenya with d.light design, a company that makes low-cost solar lights that provides cleaner, safer, and cheaper lighting to families living...” [READ MORE]

    Aliyah Kurji will work in Nairobi, Kenya with d.light design, a company that makes low-cost solar lights that provides cleaner, safer, and cheaper lighting to families living at the bottom of the pyramid. Aliyah is from Kenya and has worked with Accenture as a Senior Consultant for over six years in the UK. She has also worked with SmallWorld Cambodia and is a member of RAPID UK Urban Search and Rescue. She holds a BA from the University of Warwick and has pursued her MBA from Oxford.

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    Felipe Spath

    “I am in service of creating a new rural order where young people can thrive, a place where they want to stay, rather than flee due to poverty or despair, to build a better future.” [READ MORE]

    A passionate and energetic doer, Felipe is the founder of three social enterprises. The first, SOLE Colombia, has worked with more than 100,000 students in rural Colombia to improve learning aptitudes by emphasizing self-organized online learning. The second, Th1nk, works with organizations to conduct design thinking and visual thinking workshops. The third, La Juanita Finca Verde, aims to create a vibrant Colombian countryside by encouraging sustainable farming practices and creating dialogue through travelling cinemas and TEDx events. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Felipe was International Operations Officer for Archie’s, a restaurant chain with operations in Colombia, Ecuador and United States. Felipe holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

    Felipe will spend his fellowship with BioLite in Nairobi, Kenya.

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    Joanne Schneider

    “Joanne is used to being an outsider and navigating new cultures. Over the course of 15 years, she went from a Mandarin-speaking preschool in Singapore, to an international...” [READ MORE]

    Joanne is used to being an outsider and navigating new cultures. Over the course of 15 years, she went from a Mandarin-speaking preschool in Singapore, to an international school in Switzerland, a rural high school in New Mexico, and then college in New England. These diverse experiences fostered her strong sense of identity as well as her ability to build relationships with new communities across lines of difference.  Joanne brings this and her experience in entrepreneurship, product management, marketing, and communications to the Global Fellows Program.

    A force in the tech sector, Joanne spent the last three years at Google working to build and bring products to market for small businesses. Whether it’s founding a healthcare startup, organizing a women’s hackathon, or helping an accelerator manage deal flow, Joanne is always pushing herself and others to create greater impact by leveraging technology to do more with less. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Economics and Latin American Studies from Dartmouth College.

    Joanne will spend her Fellowship with agriculture investee Esoko in Nairobi, Kenya.

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    Lorenn Ruster

    “I’m in service of ensuring that I make a real contribution with all of the experience, education and skills that I have, towards a better world where future global citizens will flourish!” [READ MORE]

    Lorenn is a strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers where she co-created PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, a shared value business that is majority Indigenous owned and staffed, focused on powering positive change in Indigenous communities. Lorenn participated in Pollinate Energy’s young professionals program focused on alleviating energy poverty in India’s urban slums. In 2014, she attended Singularity University at NASA Ames, Silicon Valley to use exponential technology to positively impact one billion people within a decade. Following this, she co-founded Bibak, a social enterprise transforming post-conflict societies into thriving communities through technology for landmine detection. Lorenn holds a Bachelor of Science and Arts, majoring in Chemistry, Psychology and French and a tri-national Master of International Management in Social Innovation undertaken at the University of Sydney, HEC Paris and Copenhagen Business School.

    Lorenn will spend her fellowship with SolarNow in Kampala, Uganda.

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    Mohammed Fahim Shelot

    “Through the Fellowship, I've had to step out of my comfort zone and go the extra mile to appreciate the power of risk taking and achieving things which I could never imagine before.” [READ MORE]

    Fahim is working in Kitale, Kenya with Western Seed, a Kenya-based company whose mission is to address the lack of maize productivity among smallholder farms in East Africa. He will work towards improving financial processes at the organizational and customer levels. Fahim is from Pakistan and has worked with Al Meezan Investment Management as an analyst, with Ernst & Young’s Global Islamic Finance team in Bahrain as a consultant, and with Capital Management House in Bahrain in private equity. Fahim holds a B.Sc. in Accounting and Finance from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder.

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    Nicolas Guillen

    ““Growing up in Quito, my older sister always said I would be President of Ecuador one day. My sister was biased, but what she saw was my passion for helping others. By the...” [READ MORE]

    “Growing up in Quito, my older sister always said I would be President of Ecuador one day. My sister was biased, but what she saw was my passion for helping others. By the time my family and I moved to the U.S., my bags were packed with dreams and I was starving for opportunities to explore my impact in the world.” Nicolas moved from Quito to New York City when he was 15 years old and the experience of being surrounded by those who were disadvantaged never left him, nor did his desire to shape his community.

    Upon completing university, Nicolas was selected as one of 154 members worldwide to advise the Ecuadorian Department of Immigration on the needs of immigrant families abroad, through the Ecuadorian International Center. A dynamic self-starter, Nicolas spent five years working in risk management at Morgan Stanley and later launched his own software company. Nicolas comes to Acumen from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

    Nicolas will spend his Fellowship with sanitation investee Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya.

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    Nqobizitha Ndlovu

    “A world run by moral leaders has equal opportunities for growth for all, the freedom to imagine future of limitless innovation and is a world abounding in compassion, empathy and love.” [READ MORE]

    Nqo is currently the Senior Project Manager for Resource Africa, where he has teamed up with entrepreneurs in conservation, hospitality and agriculture to create a rural development project that has already impacted more than 400 households. Previously, Nqo worked in multiple organizations focused on environmental conservation across sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa’s People and Parks Program, the Jobs Fund of the National Treasury, USAID’s Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program, WWF South Africa, and McKinsey & Company. Nqo has a M.A. in Management from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

    Nqo will spend his fellowship with Solar Now in Kampala, Uganda.

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    Ramya Waran

    “When Ramya met a young war widow from an impoverished region in Sri Lanka, the woman represented an alternate version of herself. Born to Sri Lankan parents who immigrated...” [READ MORE]

    When Ramya met a young war widow from an impoverished region in Sri Lanka, the woman represented an alternate version of herself. Born to Sri Lankan parents who immigrated to Australia before the civil unrest in the 1980s, Ramya was humbled by how different the young woman’s life was from her own, having not grown up there. After that meeting, she promised to return to Sri Lanka to understand and address the consequences of conflict on disempowered communities.

    Ramya stayed true to her promise. After working as a financial management consultant, Ramya joined Palmera, a non-profit that empowers vulnerable communities in Cambodia and war-torn regions of Northern Sri Lanka. She also started a social business, It Starts with a Stitch, which donates 100 percent of its profits to war widows in Sri Lanka.

    Ramya holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce and Science from the University of Sydney, and brings strong management skills and a deep commitment to social impact to the Acumen Global Fellows Program.

    Ramya will spend her Fellowship with agriculture investee KZ Noir in Kigali, Rwanda.

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    Suraj Sudhakar

    “Acumen taught me that as much as we should be driven to find the answers, we must ask and live the tough questions knowing that the answers are not easy nor will they come easily.” [READ MORE]

    During his fellowship year, Suraj worked with Ecotact, a Nairobi-based company that aims to improve the urban landscape for low-income communities through environmentally-responsible projects in sanitation and housing. His projects involved developing a marketing plan for expansion of the Eco-toilet model and building a financial consolidation plan. Prior to the fellowship, Suraj was working on a variety of consulting projects in market research and healthcare. He has served as a Team Leader for Rural Innovations Network and as a programmer analyst at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Suraj earned a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Cochin University of Science & Technology.

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    Yuliya Tarasava

    “Yuliya arrived in the U.S. from her native Belarus in her early twenties with an aspiration to continue her education, $200 in her pocket, and a scant English vocabulary....” [READ MORE]

    Yuliya arrived in the U.S. from her native Belarus in her early twenties with an aspiration to continue her education, $200 in her pocket, and a scant English vocabulary. What she lacked in means did not stand in the way of her grit, resilience, and audacity. In nine months, Yuliya taught herself English, and was accepted into an American business school to study finance. That accomplishment is one in a long list of academic successes; earlier in her academic career, Yuliya achieved the top score on a national math exam, and later earned a perfect average at Belarus’ top university.

    Yuliya brings to the fellowship a decade of business experience in the areas of portfolio management, market research, risk assessment, and investment strategy evaluation. She worked at Summit Rock Advisors and Managers Investment Group and is both a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.

    Yuliya will spend her Fellowship with agriculture investee Juhudi Kilimo in Nairobi, Kenya.

Acumen’s East Africa Fellows Program launched in 2011. These Fellows are the emerging social impact leaders of East Africa.

  • Close Drawer Aaron-Kirunda

    AARON KIRUNDA

    “Aaron is the co-founder and CEO of enjuba, a Uganda-based social enterprise that is empowering high-growth entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses through access...” [READ MORE]

    Aaron is the co-founder and CEO of enjuba, a Uganda-based social enterprise that is empowering high-growth entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses through access to credit and business development support. Enjuba is also empowering children in more than 700 schools in Uganda by improving their literacy skills and helping them develop key life skills through spelling bees. Aaron has been profiled by local and international media and has received several awards for his work. Based in Kampala, Uganda, Aaron is a fellow of MIT’s Global Startup Workshop and the London School of Economics’ Programme for African Leadership. He has graduate training in Business Model Innovation and Public Policy from the London School of Economics.

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    Abubaker Musuuza

    “Abubaker is the Co-Founder and Director of Village Energy.” [READ MORE]

    Abubaker is the Co-Founder and Director of Village Energy, which runs energy micro-factories that utilize solar power to meet the energy needs of those without access to electricity. Currently, over 150 households use Village Energy’s solar system, providing an alternative to kerosene and saving families 15-20% of their household income. Abubaker has experience as the East Africa Representative of Ashoka, as well as the National President for AIESEC Uganda. He holds a Bachelor’s of Social Work and Social Administration from Makerere University.

  • Close Drawer Anthony Mulli

    Anthony Mulli

    “Anthony is the founder of Katchy Kollections Ltd, a for-profit social enterprise he began at the age of sixteen. Katchy Kollections seeks to eliminate poverty by creating...” [READ MORE]

    Anthony is the founder of Katchy Kollections Ltd, a for-profit social enterprise he began at the age of sixteen. Katchy Kollections seeks to eliminate poverty by creating employment opportunities in the fashion space “one stitch at a time.” Anthony’s creative journey is about the preservation of cultural heritage while bringing about social change. Today the company employs 22 full-time staff from disadvantaged communities and they have trained 50 women in the construction of fashion accessories. Anthony lives in Nairobi, Kenya and in 2015, won the FA254 award for Africa’s Best Upcoming Fashion Designer in the African Designer for Tomorrow competition and will have his products showcased on eBay Germany.

  • Close Drawer billow

    Billow Hassan

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 BMwangi

    Boniface Mwangi

    “Boniface is the Project Director of Picha Mtaani.” [READ MORE]

    Boniface is the Project Director of Picha Mtaani, which is a mobile photo exhibition held in towns across Kenya, showcasing photographs of the post-election violence that rocked various parts of the country in 2007/08. Picha Mtaani has reached over 500,000 individuals and plans to develop an online platform that will use photography as a catalyst for social change across East Africa. Boniface has worked as a photojournalist for the Standard, and has worked as a freelancer for Bloomberg, the AFP, Reuters, the Boston Globe, as well as a number of other media outlets. He holds a Diploma in Print Journalism from the East African School of Journalism, and has been recognized as a TED Fellow and twice as the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year.

  • Close Drawer calvince

    Calvince Okello

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 CKalama

    Charles Kalama

    “Charles is the Founder & Director of EcoPost.” [READ MORE]

    Charles is the Founder & Director of EcoPost, an integrated waste management company that utilizes waste plastic as a resource to manufacture aesthetic, durable and environmentally friendly fencing posts. EcoPost is curbing deforestation by providing an alternative to timber, recycling waste plastic, and creating jobs for the unemployed. Charles has experience as the Founder & Director of FinAfrika Web Creations and as an Account Manager with Advanced Solutions International. He holds an MEng in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Management from University College London, and was named “Innovator of the Year” by IChemE in 2010.

  • Close Drawer Collins Mugodo

    Collins Mugodo

    “Collins is the founder of Youth Pro Empowerment, a social enterprise helping young entrepreneurs and small businesses in low-income areas  achieve their goals by developing...” [READ MORE]

    Collins is the founder of Youth Pro Empowerment, a social enterprise helping young entrepreneurs and small businesses in low-income areas  achieve their goals by developing robust business models that serve the needs of their end users and can survive dynamic business environments. Collins lives in Nairobi, Kenya, is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) at Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

  • Close Drawer david gatwech

    David Gatwech Lok

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Demelash-Bekele-Debere

    DEMELASH BEKELE DEBERE

    “Demelash is the founder and executive director of Vision Community Based Rehabilitation Association (VCBRA). Based in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional state, VCBRA is transforming...” [READ MORE]

    Demelash is the founder and executive director of Vision Community Based Rehabilitation Association (VCBRA). Based in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional state, VCBRA is transforming the lives of more than 5000 people by improving the health, social and economic well-being of people with disabilities through providing comprehensive rehabilitation services and promoting access to Basic Health Care Services and Economic Benefits of Prisoners. Demelash currently serves as a board chair of a civil society consortium named Community Based Rehabilitation Network Ethiopia (CBRNE). Demelash holds an M.A. in Social Psychology.

  • Close Drawer Dennis Ochieng

    Dennis Ochieng

    “Dennis is the Sales and Operations Director at Sanergy, a pioneering social enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya which builds healthy, prosperous communities in informal settlements...” [READ MORE]

    Dennis is the Sales and Operations Director at Sanergy, a pioneering social enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya which builds healthy, prosperous communities in informal settlements by making hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible. In just three years, Sanergy has launched over 660 Fresh Life facilities run by a network of 300 operators who serve 25,000 residents daily with hygienic sanitation. Prior to joining Sanergy, Dennis managed primary healthcare programs in South Sudan for six years. Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in public health.

  • Close Drawer eda eslaba

    Eda Esilaba

    “Eda 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...” [READ MORE]

    Eda 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).

  • Close Drawer Engidawork-Lemma

    ENGIDAWORK LEMMA

    “Engidawork is the Regional Manager for Save Your Generation Ethiopia (SYGE) based in Addis Ababa. SYGE works with adolescents and youth on issues related to sexual reproductive...” [READ MORE]

    Engidawork is the Regional Manager for Save Your Generation Ethiopia (SYGE) based in Addis Ababa. SYGE works with adolescents and youth on issues related to sexual reproductive health needs and the prevention of HIV/AIDS. In his role, Engidawork coordinates the USAID-funded MULU/MARPs HIV Prevention Project whose aim is to reduce the rates of new HIV infections among Most-At-Risk Populations (MARPs) through combination prevention approaches. He facilitates and provides trainings on peer-to-peer education, life skills development, and youth-centered communication strategies geared toward vulnerable populations in high schools, universities and out-of-school settings. Engidawork holds an M.A. in Sociology from Indira Gandhi National Open University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 ENamara

    Evelyn Namara

    “Evelyn is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Country Director of Solar Sister” [READ MORE]

    Evelyn is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Country Director of Solar Sister, which brings light, hope, and opportunity to rural African communities through a woman-centered direct sales network. Solar Sister has established a network of over 200 women entrepreneurs in Uganda, and has impacted nearly 32,000 lives. Evelyn is an IT professional and has experience working in telecommunications, internet business, computer programming, and training. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Makerere University, and received the Anita Borg Change Agent Award in 2012.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 FMuigai

    Faith Muigai

    “Faith is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Director of Operations of Jacaranda Health.” [READ MORE]

    Faith is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Director of Operations of Jacaranda Health, which operates a network of mobile clinics and inpatient centers that provide care for pregnant women and families. Since recently launching, Jacaranda Health has already provided delivery services or antenatal care to hundreds of women. Faith is a registered nurse and has experience across the medical field including research, administration, and patient care. She holds a Master’s degree in Nursing and Administration from Towson University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 GMkwaya

    George Mkwaya

    “George is from Zanzibar, Tanzania and is the Project Coordinator of Zanzibar Initiative for Youth Association (ZIFYA)” [READ MORE]

    George is from Zanzibar, Tanzania and is the Project Coordinator of Zanzibar Initiative for Youth Association (ZIFYA), which is a community development organization that creates educational and employment opportunities for youth in Zanzibar. ZIFYA currently runs a prawn farming initiative that annually employs about 30 young people and trains over 150 people per month. George has experience in tourism, as a teacher, and as a community leader. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from the Open University of Tanzania.

  • Close Drawer !gerald otim

    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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 HNabbuye

    Hawah Nabbuye

    “Hawah is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Senior Program Coordinator of Educate!” [READ MORE]

    Hawah is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Senior Program Coordinator of Educate!, which provides training and mentorship to young Ugandans interested in launching enterprises and community-based organizations. Educate! works with over 3,200 students who participate in entrepreneurship training and leadership development. Hawah has personally mentored over 150 students in life skills and launching transformative projects. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Kyambogo University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 HThuo

    Herbert Thuo

    “Herbert is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Chief Marketing Officer of Virtual Group” [READ MORE]

    Herbert is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Chief Marketing Officer of Virtual Group, which utilizes simple mobile tools to enable traders to access new internal markets by empowering the entire ecosystem with mobile money available across East Africa. Virtual Group has engaged over 100 merchants and has increased the income levels of over 1000 households in Kenya. Herbert is a branding and communications professional with expertise in sales and business development. He is currently pursuing an MBA from United Stated International University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 IKeshavjee

    Irfan Keshavjee

    “Irfan is the Founder & Lead Partner of Karibu Homes.” [READ MORE]

    Irfan is the Founder & Lead Partner of Karibu Homes, a social enterprise that brings home ownership along with a secure, sanitary, and progressive community to low-income families. Karibu Homes hopes to build 10,000 homes and house 50,000 people per year. Irfan also co-founded Honey Care Africa, a social enterprise that has impacted over 10,000 lives. Irfan is also the Director of the East Africa Film Academy, Co-Founder of Galu Beach Retreat, and Managing Director of White Rose Services. Irfan holds a BSc-Eng in Civil Environmental Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of Oxford.

  • Close Drawer James-Odede

    JAMES ODEDE

    “James is a Kenyan technologist and serial entrepreneur. Through LakeHub, the Kisumu-based technology innovation hub he is co-founder and director of, James has brought together...” [READ MORE]

    James is a Kenyan technologist and serial entrepreneur. Through LakeHub, the Kisumu-based technology innovation hub he is co-founder and director of, James has brought together the tech community of Western Kenya and built the region’s first co-working space. LakeHub exists to catalyze the growth of social innovation in Western Kenya by providing young entrepreneurs, developers and creatives in the region the resources they need to actively participate in the digital economy. A graduate of Maseno University with a BSc. in Computer Science, James is passionate about technology for development and committed to bridging the technology gap that exists between Africa’s big cities and rural communities.

  • Close Drawer Janet Aika Matemu

    Janet Aika Matemu

    “Janet is passionate about using technology to facilitate social change, movement and revolution. Janet is the Technology Manager with Jacaranda Health, a social enterprise...” [READ MORE]

    Janet is passionate about using technology to facilitate social change, movement and revolution. Janet is the Technology Manager with Jacaranda Health, a social enterprise committed to reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in East Africa. Jacaranda uses innovative approaches and evidence-based practices to deliver friendly, cost-effective services to underserved communities. As Technology Manager, Janet has developed and implemented electronic and mobile-health solutions to provide quality care and empower marginalized communities. Janet is from Nairobi, Kenya and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computational Biochemistry and a Post Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JEwechu

    Joachim Ewechu

    “I never knew I had this much potential; it has been a moment of learning and self discovery, great inspiration and encouragement, every leader needs this for progress in our time.” [READ MORE]

    Joachim is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Co-Founder and Chief of Business Operations of Angels Initiative (AI), which is a business incubator, accelerator, and venture capital fund focused on supporting the growth of scalable social impact enterprises. AI has supported 40 entrepreneurs thus far, and hopes to impact thousands over the new few years. Joachim is also a Founding Part of Mara Launchpad, another business incubator. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Kyambogo University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JWali

    John Wali

    “John is the Executive Director of Junior Achievement in Kenya.” [READ MORE]

    John is the Executive Director of Junior Achievement in Kenya, which empowers youth through hands-on programs on how to start and manage their own enterprises making them self sufficient and economically stable. Junior Achievement in Kenya has reached over 175,000 youth and aims to deliver programs in all 7,000 public secondary schools across Kenya. John has been involved at Junior Achievement since 2004, and holds a BA in Economics from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and an Executive MBA from Moi University.

  • Close Drawer Jon Stever

    Jon Stever

    “Jon is the founder and Managing Director of The Office, a unique community innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda. The Office is pioneering a new model for building collaborative,...” [READ MORE]

    Jon is the founder and Managing Director of The Office, a unique community innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda. The Office is pioneering a new model for building collaborative, member-funded community spaces that facilitate collaboration across entrepreneurial and creative ecosystems in a city. Their community in Kigali consists of social entrepreneurs, freelancers, artists, hackers and entrepreneurial support organizations and there are always diverse events taking place in their space. Previously, Jon worked at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and with The Economist Group in London. As a professional economist, he regularly consults for development organizations, financial institutions and companies.

  • Close Drawer joram

    Joram Gichuki

    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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Joseph-Owino

    JOSEPH OWINO

    “Joseph is a Ugandan entrepreneur and the founder of Kawowo Sports, an online sports platform that publishes comprehensive and original content on local sports from around...” [READ MORE]

    Joseph is a Ugandan entrepreneur and the founder of Kawowo Sports, an online sports platform that publishes comprehensive and original content on local sports from around Uganda and East Africa. In founding Kawowo.com, now Uganda’s most popular online sports platform, Joseph sought to raise the profile of local sports while celebrating and promoting indigenous athletes, offering them exposure to a wider audience with the hopes of helping them attract financial support and sponsorship. Kawowo Sports is a division of Owino Solutions, a media and web development company that Joseph also founded. In December 2011, Owino received the Ericsson Young Achievers Award for his contributions to the Ugandan Information and Communications Technology Sector. Joseph is a self-taught tech enthusiast who through his numerous web services and digital communications platforms is dedicated to bringing African content online for all.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JIngabire

    Julienne Ingabire

    “Julienne is from Kigali, Rwanda and is the Co-Founder and Global Chief of Operations of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE).” [READ MORE]

    Julienne is from Kigali, Rwanda and is the Co-Founder and Global Chief of Operations of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), which aims to increase educational outcomes by using a franchise model to produce and distribute affordable, eco-friendly, and high-quality menstrual pads. Since 2009, SHE has impacted over 50,000 girls across half a dozen schools in Rwanda. Julienne was previously the Operations Manager of Bourbon Coffee, and the Head of Internal Audit at the Rwanda Development Board. She is currently pursuing an MBA in Strategic Planning from Edinburgh Business School.

  • Close Drawer kahabi

    Kahabi Isangula

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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

  • Close Drawer Bélise-Kangabe

    KANGABE BÉLISE HATEGEKA

    “Bélise is from Kigali, Rwanda and works at Laterite, a Kigali-based data, research and technical advisory firm dedicated to social and economic development and impact. As...” [READ MORE]

    Bélise is from Kigali, Rwanda and works at Laterite, a Kigali-based data, research and technical advisory firm dedicated to social and economic development and impact. As Laterite’s Data Manager, leads large quantitative and qualitative data collection efforts that contribute to the evaluation of policies and programs by providing honest evidence and insights drawn directly from international development program beneficiaries. Passionate about gender equality, she advocates for policy changes in favor of marginalized young girls and women by raising awareness of their challenges and promoting their rights and aspirations. Bélise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Glasgow Caledonian University with a special focus on Politics and Sociology.

  • Close Drawer kennedy

    Kennedy Oloo

    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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Krupa Patel

    Krupa Patel

    “Krupa is the founder and CEO of Anza, a business incubator that provides a range of services to start, support and scale social impact businesses in Tanzania. Krupa is passionate...” [READ MORE]

    Krupa is the founder and CEO of Anza, a business incubator that provides a range of services to start, support and scale social impact businesses in Tanzania. Krupa is passionate about the transformational potential social businesses have on society and has infused these beliefs into all of Anza’s activities. Anza supports over 104 start-up entrepreneurs with mentorship and financing, in addition to running a number of in-house social businesses as subsidiaries of Anza. Krupa lives in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.

  • Close Drawer Linda-Mukangoga

    LINDA MUKANGOGA

    “Born to Rwandan parents, Linda is the co-founder and CEO of Haute Baso, an ethical fashion brand and social enterprise that uses fashion as a channel for investing vocational...” [READ MORE]

    Born to Rwandan parents, Linda is the co-founder and CEO of Haute Baso, an ethical fashion brand and social enterprise that uses fashion as a channel for investing vocational training, mentoring, employment and fostering entrepreneurship for young women in Rwanda. Her company works with 142 artisans from around the country to produce high-quality fashion apparel and accessories. The work she did on the design and production of pieces for the international retail chain Anthropologie strengthened Linda’s belief in the importance of showcasing Rwanda in the global market while empowering the country’s talented women. Linda has been featured on CNN’s African Startup and was part of Spring Accelerator’s 2015 cohort.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 MMlagui

    Majala Mlagui

    “Being the change I want to see in the world can be a difficult challenge. The Acumen Fellowship has provided me with a vibrant support structure and tools to do good and do well.” [READ MORE]

    Majala is from Taita Taveta, Kenya and is the Founder of Thamani Gems, which works with artisans and small-scale miners on fair trade distribution channels and sustainable markets. Thamani Gems is working with over 100 miners to increase mineral education levels, sustainable mining practices and knowledge of the regulatory framework. Majala’s background is in business process optimization, change and project management, and financial systems. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Sheffield.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 MMapenduzi

    Martin Ojara Mapenduzi

    “Martin is from Gulu, Uganda and is the Gulu District Local Government Chairperson, where he serves as the political head of the Gulu district” [READ MORE]

    Martin is from Gulu, Uganda and is the Gulu District Local Government Chairperson, where he serves as the political head of the Gulu district. He also leads the Gulu Centre for Economic and Social Transformation, which aims at promoting community participation and involvement in decision making and awareness creation on human rights and good governance. Martin was previously the District Speaker of Gulu, a Program Manager of Radio Choice 92.1 FM, and a secondary school teacher in Gulu. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Gulu University, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation Studies from Gulu University.

  • Close Drawer neha

    Neha Pandya

    “Neha 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...” [READ MORE]

    Neha 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.

  • Close Drawer Oliver Dalizu

    Oliver Dalizu

    “Oliver is the founder and CEO of Giovane Impresa, a social enterprise that delivers financial and enterprise education to youth and their families enabling them to make smart...” [READ MORE]

    Oliver is the founder and CEO of Giovane Impresa, a social enterprise that delivers financial and enterprise education to youth and their families enabling them to make smart financial decisions, create their own economic opportunities and thrive. He has been instrumental in helping over 2,000 young people take charge of their financial future. In the past decade, Oliver has worked in management consulting and in the Kenyan banking industry. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya and holds an associate degree from the Kenya Institute of Bankers and a business administration degree from Kenya Methodist University.

  • Close Drawer Pauline Wanja

    Pauline Wanja

    “I had a chance to interact with a different kind of philanthropy, one that seeks to reach out to people in need without comprising their dignity. This makes true giving conceivable.” [READ MORE]

    Pauline is the Co- Founder & Executive Director of the LIST (Living In Shanty Towns) Initiative, which aims to unify young people living in informal settlements and prepare them for a productive and dignified adulthood and together work toward personal, social, economic and political justice. Pauline has worked at the World Youth Alliance, Kibera Community Development Agenda, and at the Kenya Human Rights Commission. She moderated the Global Youth Against Corruption Network (GYACN) for a year, and she is also currently working as a Youth Empowerment Program Assistant & Activista Coordinator at ActionAid Kenya. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Moi University and studied Accounts at Strathmore University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 RObiero

    Ramadhan Obiero

    “Ramadhan is the Director of the “We Are Watching You” project which engages communities through music and performances.” [READ MORE]

    Ramadhan is the Director of the “We Are Watching You” project which engages communities through music and performances to create a culture of vigilance and political accountability. Ramadhan has experience as the Coordinator for the Vumilia Youth Group, the Stage Manager for musician Eric Wainaina, the leader of the Kale Leo Band, and the Chairman of the African Cultural Research and Education Foundation. He holds a Diploma Certificate in Community Development from the Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development.

  • Close Drawer richard

    Richard Zulu

    “Richard is from Kampala, Uganda and is a Founder, Lead and Program Manager of Outbox Uganda, an innovation hub and incubation space that supports people to turn their ideas...” [READ MORE]

    Richard is from Kampala, Uganda and is a Founder, Lead and Program Manager of Outbox Uganda, an innovation hub and incubation space that supports people to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. Outbox currently works with over 20 startups, and has reached over 900 individuals through their community business trainings. Richard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from Makerere University, Uganda.

  • Close Drawer Romana-Mbinya

    ROMANA A. MBINYA

    “Romana is from Nairobi, Kenya and believes that everyone has a right to decent living. As a Senior Agricultural Officer working with the State Department of Agriculture, she...” [READ MORE]

    Romana is from Nairobi, Kenya and believes that everyone has a right to decent living. As a Senior Agricultural Officer working with the State Department of Agriculture, she works with rural agricultural projects that address issues such as sustainable livelihood development, food security and climate change. Romana is passionate about empowering and investing in women in agriculture and in education and sees her work as contributing to the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Romana holds a Master’s degree in Rural Systems Management from the University of Queensland and is a recipient of the Australian Leadership Award 2013.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 SKaranja

    Sarah Karanja

    “Sarah is the Project Manager of WelTel.” [READ MORE]

    Sarah is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Project Manager of WelTel, which leverages mobile phone technology to improve health outcomes for HIV/AIDS patients. WelTel’s technology has proven to be effective at increasing anti-retroviral adherence through clinical trials, and has helped hundreds of patients. She holds a Master’s degree in Medical Sociology from the University of Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer Selamawit Terefe Tiruneh

    Selamawit Terefe Tiruneh

    “Selamawit is a lawyer and a gender activist and works as a program coordinator for the International Samaritan, an organization that serves victims of severe poverty in developing...” [READ MORE]

    Selamawit is a lawyer and a gender activist and works as a program coordinator for the International Samaritan, an organization that serves victims of severe poverty in developing countries. Selamawit works on a project providing access to education for children living in garbage dump areas. She is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, holds a master’s degree in sociology and a degree in law and management. She was a Peace, Security and Development Fellow at The African Leadership Centre, King’s College London. 

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 SGrecaga

    Soiya Gecaga

    “Soiya is the Founder and Executive Director of “We The Change” Foundation.” [READ MORE]

    Soiya is the Founder and Executive Director of “We The Change” Foundation, which seeks to provide early childhood education and care to children in marginalized communities. “We The Change” aims to reach 500 children by year five and develop a model of holistic education to be replicated in government schools across Kenya. Soiya has served as Solicitor at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Bates Wells & Braithwaite, and as the Executive Director of the Global Tribe Network (now the Global Youth Fund). She holds an MA in Modern History from the University of St. Andrews and holds a Diploma of Law and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law in London.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 SMutai

    Stephen Mutai

    “Stephen is the Chief Accountant at Juhudi Kilimo, which provides financial services to rural smallholder farmers.” [READ MORE]

    Stephen is the Chief Accountant at Juhudi Kilimo, which provides financial services to rural smallholder farmers by micro-leasing wealth generating assets, like a dairy cow. Juhudi Kilimo currently has 7,000 borrowers and hopes to reach 50,000. Stephen has held various finance and accounting positions at K-Rep Bank. He holds a BBA in Accounting from Maseno University and an MBA from the University of Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 TNoorbhai

    Tayeb Noorbhai

    “Leaders need vision: this is a starting point. They also need pragmatism and resolve to see change through. The fellowship cultivates our visions, and trains us to enable change.” [READ MORE]

    Tayeb is from Arusha, Tanzania and is the Business Development Manager of SimGas, which combats climate change, deforestation, and indoor air pollution by developing biogas as an alternate source of energy. SimGas has established a manufacturing and distribution network with numerous sales partners across East Africa. Tayeb has also worked as a Renewable Energy Advisor with the Netherlands Development Organization(SNV). He holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the University of Oxford.

  • Close Drawer Vitalis Kahendah

    Vitalis Kahendah

    “Vitalis is the founder of Hopewell Educational & Development Services, an organization that designed and founded the first free secondary school program in Kenya. He continues...” [READ MORE]

    Vitalis is the founder of Hopewell Educational & Development Services, an organization that designed and founded the first free secondary school program in Kenya. He continues crafting relevant training programs to empower very poor children and youth with life skills that enable them to earn a decent livelihood. Hopewell’s outreach programs include the eight-year-old Freedom for Girls Program that provides 2,500 school girls with sanitary products to allow them to stay in school. Vitalis lives in Nakuru, Kenya and holds a master’s degree in development studies from St. Paul’s University, Kenya.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 WWaithaka

    Wambui Waithaka

    “Wambui is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the National Treasurer of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists' and Dentists Union (KMPPDU).” [READ MORE]

    Wambui is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the National Treasurer of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists’ and Dentists Union (KMPPDU), which is a trade union dedicated to reforming the health sector in Kenya through advocacy exposing corruption, industrial action, and lobbying. KMPPU has helped to increase the salaries of thousands of doctors in Kenya, and has contributed to the reduction of graft across the healthcare system. Wambui is also currently a Medical Officer with the Kenyan Ministry of Medical Services. She holds a Bachelor degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 WLochi

    William Lochi

    “The Good Society readings inspired me to be more committed to the institutionalization of core governance principles, such as sound public policy, liberty and the rule of law.” [READ MORE]

    William is from Chukudum, South Sudan and is a Policy & Institutional Advisor to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs for the Republic of South Sudan. In this capacity, William works with the ministry to strengthen institutional structures and develop strategies for implementing change. Previously, he worked as an oil and gas policy advisor with the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly, and also played a key role in managing the out-of-country voter registration and voting during the 2011 Southern Sudan Referendum in Western Canada. William holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Windsor.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 ATemu

    Abraham Temu

    “Abraham is the Founder & Managing Director of KiBO Foundation.” [READ MORE]

    Abraham is the Founder & Managing Director of KiBO Foundation, which delivers applied ICT and leadership training programs to youth with a focus on creating work and entrepreneurial opportunities. Over 250 youth have undergone KiBO’s 15 week intensive training program, and they hope to reach 200 more each year. Abraham has worked as an Associate at Toronto Dominion Asset Management, as an Associate Vice President PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as a Senior Manager at Aexsys Corporation. He holds a BSc in Quantitative Methods and an MBA from the University of Toronto.

  • Close Drawer Anthony-Mukundi-Kinyua

    ANTHONY MUKUNDI KINYUA

    “Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Anthony is the Product Innovation and Commercialization Executive for Africa at d.light, a global social enterprise and Acumen investee that provides...” [READ MORE]

    Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Anthony is the Product Innovation and Commercialization Executive for Africa at d.light, a global social enterprise and Acumen investee that provides quality, affordable solar energy solutions for households and small business. Anthony has an array of professional experience in the fields of renewable energy, electrical engineering, innovation and product development. He holds a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Technical University of Kenya and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Energy Technology.

  • Close Drawer Billene-Seyoum-Woldeyes

    BILLENE SEYOUM WOLDEYES

    “Billene is a feminist writer and curator at www.africanfeminism.com and creator of Earuyan Solutions which is a feminist brand and approach to fostering gender equality consciousness through training, coaching and research.” [READ MORE]

    Over the past two years, Billene has also been working on building leadership and institutional alignment capacities for “systems-shifting” projects and partnerships. She is the author of the book Transformative Spaces: Enabling Authentic Female Leadership through Self Transformation—The Case of AWiB. Billene served as the President of the board of the Association of Women in Business (AWiB) in 2013. She holds a Master’s degree in Gender and Peace-Building and a second M.A in Peace, Security, Development and International Conflict Transformation.

  • Close Drawer Birikit Terefe Tiruneh

    Birikit Terefe Tiruneh

    “Birikit is an African feminist and the founding director of Women’s Health Association of Ethiopia, a grassroots knowledge-building organization that focuses on training...” [READ MORE]

    Birikit is an African feminist and the founding director of Women’s Health Association of Ethiopia, a grassroots knowledge-building organization that focuses on training women in life skills as well as health matters. Women’s Health works across nine regions in Ethiopia seeking economic empowerment through investing in marginalized women’s group businesses. The project has reached over 500 women in four years. Birikit holds master’s degrees in social work and rural development from Addis Ababa University and Indira Gandhi National Open University, respectively. She was a Peace, Security and Development Fellow at The African Leadership Centre, King’s College London.   

  • Close Drawer Brenda Wambui

    Brenda Wambui

    “Brenda is the CEO and co-founder of Brainstorm Africa, an online media organization whose mission is to address the need for critical thought in Kenya and Africa at large....” [READ MORE]

    Brenda is the CEO and co-founder of Brainstorm Africa, an online media organization whose mission is to address the need for critical thought in Kenya and Africa at large. Brainstorm Africa runs an award-winning weekly journal, Brainstorm, as well as a quarterly topical e-book. Brainstorm has had over 70,000 unique readers since its inception and its books have been downloaded over 5,000 times. Brenda holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) in Marketing and is an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Affiliate.

  • Close Drawer caren

    Caren Wakoli

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer christine gitau

    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,...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Daniel Tulibagenyi

    Daniel Tulibagenyi

    “Daniel is the founder and coordinator of Mission for Civic Awareness and Health (MICAH), an outreach program that trains university students as social entrepreneurs. MICAH...” [READ MORE]

    Daniel is the founder and coordinator of Mission for Civic Awareness and Health (MICAH), an outreach program that trains university students as social entrepreneurs. MICAH empowers young professionals to be community leaders geared towards transforming lives in their regions. MICAH draws students from various disciplines and has impacted over 8,000 lives across various districts of Uganda. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies from Uganda Christian University and is pursuing a Master of Science in Leadership and Governance at Makerere University’s business school.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 DOkello

    David Okello

    “David Okello is the General Manager of Coast Coconut Farms.” [READ MORE]

    David Okello is the General Manager of Coast Coconut Farms, which is a social enterprise providing sustainable employment in the coastal rural areas to alleviate poverty through coconuts based businesses. Coast Coconut Farms has reached over 1,200 people and hopes to establish market linkages with over 3,000 coconut farmers in the coast province of Kenya. David has experience as an Audit Assistant at Ernst & Young International, and as the Director of Finance at the Moi University Students Organization. He holds a Bachelor’s of Business Management from Moi University.

  • Close Drawer Denis-Pato

    DENIS PATO

    “Denis is the co-founder and Head of Programs at Vijana Corps, a youth-led, Uganda-based nonprofit organization that utilizes literacy, film and the opportunity to participate...” [READ MORE]

    Denis is the co-founder and Head of Programs at Vijana Corps, a youth-led, Uganda-based nonprofit organization that utilizes literacy, film and the opportunity to participate in civic society and debates as tools to empower marginalized youth. Vijana Corps’ programs serve 3,500 youth across northern Uganda, addressing poverty, illiteracy and human rights issues. Passionate about youth issues and social justice, Denis was one of 500 young people who sat in Jordan in August 2015 to write the Amman declaration on Youth Peace and Security. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Project Planning and Management from Makerere University, Uganda.

  • Close Drawer Derrick-Muturi-Kinyua

    DERRICK MUTURI KINYUA

    “Derrick is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the founder and CEO of RabbitIQ, an online herd management platform that is evolving how commercial rabbit farmers breed, manage and...” [READ MORE]

    Derrick is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the founder and CEO of RabbitIQ, an online herd management platform that is evolving how commercial rabbit farmers breed, manage and market their livestock using data and analytics. By tracking each individual animal and communicating with farmers through the use of SMS and QR codes, RabbitIQ lets farmers know when to breed, when they should deliver, when to administer vaccines and more. It also enables farmers to access veterinarians on demand via live chat. Through RabbitIQ’s network, the platform also serves as a bridge for farmers to tap into bigger markets that they may not as individuals have access to. Derrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Technology from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as well as a diploma in Ethical Hacking from the Institute of Software Technologies in Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 EAgaba

    Edward Agaba

    “Edward is a Senior Business Advisor at TechnoServe Uganda, where he is leading the “Consolidating The Gains” project.” [READ MORE]

    Edward is a Senior Business Advisor at TechnoServe Uganda, where he is leading the “Consolidating The Gains” project, which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers in southwestern Uganda by reducing the transaction costs along the banana value chain. The project has reached 26,000 farmers in the districts of Mbarara, Isingiro and Ntungamo in south western Uganda. Edward has experience in economic development, microfinance, banking, and as a high school economics teacher. He holds an MSc in Development Economics from Uganda Martyrs University and a BA in Economics from Makerere University.

  • Close Drawer Eric Kaduru

    Eric Kaduru

    “Eric is the founder and CEO of KadAfrica, a commercial passion fruit farm and outgrower network. KadAfrica works with more than 1,500 out-of-school girls aged 14 to 20 to...” [READ MORE]

    Eric is the founder and CEO of KadAfrica, a commercial passion fruit farm and outgrower network. KadAfrica works with more than 1,500 out-of-school girls aged 14 to 20 to build sustainable livelihood options by starting viable agro-enterprises cultivating passion fruit. As a Ugandan, born and raised in Kenya, Eric passionately believes that involving youth in agriculture is key to developing Uganda and the region. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, South Africa and is a recipient of the 2014 SEED Africa Award, the 2013 Africa Young Achievers’ Award in the Agriculture and Agro-Processing category, and is a 2014 Unreasonable East Africa Fellow.

  • Close Drawer Evodius-Gervas

    EVODIUS GERVAS

    “Evodius is a social entrepreneur, gender activist and Senior Program Officer of the Hakizetu Young Women and Girls’ Rights Organization, a nonprofit based in Mwanza, Tanzania...” [READ MORE]

    Evodius is a social entrepreneur, gender activist and Senior Program Officer of the Hakizetu Young Women and Girls’ Rights Organization, a nonprofit based in Mwanza, Tanzania dedicated to promoting the safety, health and social protection of young women and girls as a preventative strategy against early pregnancies and forced marriages. He is also founder of the Economic Empowerment Program on poverty-reduction strategies for survivors of teenage motherhood and child marriage. Since its establishment in 2012, the program has supported more than 384 young women and girls through mentorship and with vocational training, entrepreneurship and market research skills. Evodius holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Dodoma, Tanzania and has been listed among the Top 10 African Youth Philanthropists in 2015 by African Philanthropy Network.

  • Close Drawer Faith Nafula

    Faith Nafula Wafula

    “Faith is the founder of SEMA, a youth-targeted initiative which creates policy change and aims to shift mentality and behavior to end the cycle of gender-based violence (GBV)...” [READ MORE]

    Faith is the founder of SEMA, a youth-targeted initiative which creates policy change and aims to shift mentality and behavior to end the cycle of gender-based violence (GBV) in Kenya. She implements the program at Strategic Applications International, where she is the Gender-Based Violence Program Officer. Through SEMA, Faith has reached over 4,000 university, secondary school and community level youth with GBV training on awareness and advocacy. SEMA also launched the first GBV reporting phone app in Kenya. Faith lives in Nairobi, Kenya, holds a law degree and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in governance, peace and security at Africa Nazarene University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 GBakka

    George William Bakka

    “George is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Angels Initiative (AI).” [READ MORE]

    George is from Kampala, Uganda and is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Angels Initiative (AI), which is a business incubator, accelerator, and venture capital fund focused on supporting the growth of scalable social impact enterprises. AI has supported 40 entrepreneurs thus far, and hopes to impact thousands over the next few years. George is the recipient of the Golden Certificate from Educate!, the Anzisha Prize Fellows, and the African Leadership Network Fellowship for his work as a social entrepreneur. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Qualitative Economics from Makerere University.

  • Close Drawer Havi Murungi

    Havi Murungi

    “Havi directs a program at the Tafaria cHub (creative hub) which immerses visual and performing artists, writers and designers into rural communities in the company of local...” [READ MORE]

    Havi directs a program at the Tafaria cHub (creative hub) which immerses visual and performing artists, writers and designers into rural communities in the company of local artisans where they investigate local problems and generate solutions expressed in a creative medium. For example, enlivening the interiors of dull medical dispensaries with mood-uplifting sculpture, or using light installations to mark and delimit bodies of water to reduce the risk of accidental drowning. In addition to his work at Tafaria, he runs Havis, a market research and information design consultancy. Havi is from Laikipia County, Kenya and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a Ph.D in graphic and information design.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 HMugume

    Herbert Mugume

    “Herbert is from Kigali, Rwanda and is an Analyst with KZ Noir” [READ MORE]

    Herbert is from Kigali, Rwanda and is an Analyst with KZ Noir, which is a fair-trade coffee business that supports smallholder farmers in rural Rwanda. KZ Noir has positively impacted 12,000 lives by connecting local producers with international markets. Herbert has also worked with the Rwanda Development Board and the Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA). He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the School of Finance and Banking.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 HMuraj

    Hital Muraj

    “Hital is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Corporate Affairs Manager of CISCO” [READ MORE]

    Hital is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Corporate Affairs Manager of CISCO, where she leads the Community Knowledge Center (CKC) initiative which brings internet connectivity and micro-economic opportunities to underserved communities across Sub Saharan Africa. The CKC initiative has provided management training to over 100 center managers and has increased internet access for nearly 170,000 people. She holds a Certificate in Systems Analysis & Design from Micrologic Computer Training Institute.

  • Close Drawer James-Waruiru

    JAMES NGANGA WARUIRU

    “James is from Kiambu, Kenya and is the co-founder and project manager of Fountain of Hope Life Center, a community-based organization that runs health support programs serving...” [READ MORE]

    James is from Kiambu, Kenya and is the co-founder and project manager of Fountain of Hope Life Center, a community-based organization that runs health support programs serving disadvantaged young women, the elderly and the visually impaired. James is especially passionate about empowering young women to attend school during their menstrual periods, and as a believer in sustainable community development, he established a small sewing center in order to make re-usable sanitary kits that are cost-effective, comfortable and 100 percent biodegradable. James desires to continue to be the male voice in the fight against the social stigma on menstruation in Africa and, to this effect, has authored and published several articles highlighting the problem. His program won second place in the 2010 “Out-of-the-Box” competition and was a participant in the 2013 Australian “TravelGiver Challenge.”

  • Close Drawer janemary

    Janemary Ruhundwa

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Jean Chrysostome Rindiro

    Jean Chrysostome Rindiro

    “Jean is the MBA Director of Admissions and Operations for Oklahoma Christian University in Rwanda, a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith,...” [READ MORE]

    Jean is the MBA Director of Admissions and Operations for Oklahoma Christian University in Rwanda, a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith, leadership and service. His work at Oklahoma Christian University acts as a bridge connecting underemployed, high-potential women and men to jobs in the fastest growing sectors of the economy after earning their MBA. He believes that educating people is the wisest and most effective investment a developing country can make. Jean is from Kigali, Rwanda, has held Accountant and Budget Manager positions in the Parliament of Rwanda and is currently pursuing his Ph.D.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JKaranja

    Joan Wangui Karanja

    “Joan is the Regional Director for the COFTA.” [READ MORE]

    Joan is the Regional Director for the COFTA, which uses Fair Trade principles to promote the sustainable development of African producers into successful businesses. COFTA has registered 172 Fair Trade produces in 24 countries across Africa, and hopes to expand their capacity building, market access and advocacy programs to reach even more producers. She has experience in marketing, public relations, strategic planning, and fair trade, and is the Founder of both Orchid Media Ltd and Sueno Associates. She holds an MBA and an MSc in Strategic Planning from Edinburgh Business School and a BA in Communications from Daystar University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JKithendu

    Johnson Kithendu

    “Johnson is the Managing Director of Milango Financial Services.” [READ MORE]

    Johnson is the Managing Director of Milango Financial Services, which is a microfinance institution that provides one stop servicing for various financial and training needs. Milango has reached over 10,000 clients and given over 13,000 loans valued at $4.5 million. Johnson has worked in microfinance at the Center for International Development and Research, Faulu Kenya, and Focus Kenya. He holds a Bachelor’s of Education from Maseno University.

  • Close Drawer jonathan mativo

    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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JNganga

    Joseph Nganga

    “Joseph is the CEO of Renewable Energy Ventures, which produces and distributes affordable solar lanterns.” [READ MORE]

    Joseph is the CEO of Renewable Energy Ventures, which produces and distributes affordable solar lanterns. Renewable Energy Ventures has distributed over 4,000 solar lanterns and has created over 500 micro-enterprises through their retail network. Joseph has worked as a banking analyst at Bank of America, as an energy consultant at various organizations, and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Caroline for Kibera and a Consultant at InfoDev at the World Bank. He holds a BA in Finance and Marketing from Queens University of Charlotte.

  • Close Drawer Judith Owigar

    Judith Owigar

    “Judith is the co-founder and Operations Director of Akirachix, a Kenyan organization that nurtures generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions...” [READ MORE]

    Judith is the co-founder and Operations Director of Akirachix, a Kenyan organization that nurtures generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions for Africa. Through Akirachix, she is increasing the number of women who create technological solutions and, in effect, the perception of women in technology. Judith is a 2014 International Focus Fellow and recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award 2011 for Women and Technology. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in applied computing at the University of Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JDeSouza

    Julio De Souza

    “Julio is the Chief Operating Officer of Nuru Energy, a social enterprise that produces and distributes low-cost lanterns that are rechargeable through pedal generators.” [READ MORE]

    Julio is the Chief Operating Officer of Nuru Energy, a social enterprise that produces and distributes low-cost lanterns that are rechargeable through pedal generators. Nuru Energy has 12,000 light units sold in East Africa, and aims to reach five million lights sold by 2015. Julio has worked a Program Manager with the UNDP in Kenya on private sector development. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Development from the University of Oslo, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Economics from California State University.

  • Close Drawer kdwJd9vnJXssh0rIbu2Jhyucc3WHpbtBsfLRed_-AQVWcRTomYkwsfnKcbsXSobRqQ=w876-h477

    Kamanda Kamiri

    “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....” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 KGikunda

    Ken Mwenda Gikunda

    “Ken is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of eMobilis.” [READ MORE]

    Ken is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of eMobilis, which is addressing the unemployment crisis in Kenya and Tanzania by providing training in mobile software development and entrepreneurship. eMobilis has directly trained over 700 young people, of which 70% have recieved full scholarships. Ken has experience in banking and business development from Barclays and Citibank. He holds an MBA from University of Victoria, and was selected as a Young African Leader as part of an initiative by the US State Department.

  • Close Drawer Kibret Abebe Tuffa

    Kibret Abebe Tuffa

    “Kibret is the founder and owner of Tebita Ambulance Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical, the first and only private ambulance service in Ethiopia. While working at the largest...” [READ MORE]

    Kibret is the founder and owner of Tebita Ambulance Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical, the first and only private ambulance service in Ethiopia. While working at the largest teaching and referral hospital in Addis Ababa, Kibret handled numerous emergency cases, and due to the lack of ambulance services, many lives were unnecessarily lost. He founded Tebita in 2008 with the sole objective to try and save lives. “Tebita” is Amharic for “Drop,” a message to force every citizen to think about his or her drop of contribution to humanity. To date, Tebita has a fleet of eight ambulances, has provided ambulance services to more than 30,000 clients and emergency training to more than 25,000 trainees. Haling from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kibret is a nurse anesthetist by profession.

  • Close Drawer leonard

    Leonard Imanishimwe

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer q8eFEjDMRFtdYLOocxBE8UkXsYExS8_q_-i1_J4M_-pU_mqiDGHq9nY_3h9xvw4fEw=s190

    Lucy Mukuria

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 MMoon

    Marion Moon

    “Self-discovery, deepening of maturity, sharpening of tools and expansion of network – what an amazing experience! It is liberating to know that I am not normal but I am sane.” [READ MORE]

    Marion Atieno is from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Managing Director of Wanda Organic Limited, which manufactures and distributes low-cost organic fertilizers that increase productivity while restoring soil health. Marion has worked in tourism, media, banking, and marketing. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Macquarie University.

  • Close Drawer Millicent-Obare

    MILLICENT OBARE

    “Millicent is the Head Teacher at Ng’iya Girls Boarding Primary School in Siaya County, Western Kenya. As head and patron of the school’s 4K club—the name for Kenya’s...” [READ MORE]

    Millicent is the Head Teacher at Ng’iya Girls Boarding Primary School in Siaya County, Western Kenya. As head and patron of the school’s 4K club—the name for Kenya’s 4-H program—she works with students to build skills in agriculture, leadership and financial management through the club’s agricultural activities which include planting trees to replace those used for firewood and helping educate the surrounding community on sustainability and food security.  Thanks to Millicent’s training as a teacher with a special focus on child psychology, she is well equipped for the work she leads with the club’s members who are primarily young, vulnerable girls.  She holds a degree in Education from the University of Nairobi.

  • Close Drawer nivi

    Nivi Mukherjee

    “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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 PJumi

    Patricia Leila Jumi

    “Patricia is the Managing Director of GrowthAfrica Capital.” [READ MORE]

    Patricia is the Managing Director of GrowthAfrica Capital, which assists small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses into strong and profitable companies through mentorship, training, and patient capital. GrowthAfrica has helped over 1,500 clients, and hopes to expand their training-of-trainers program across East Africa to reach 5,000 entrepreneurs annually. Patricia has worked at Metrocomia International and also as the Vice President of AIESEC Uganda. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Makerere University and an MBA from Copenhagen Business School.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 RGichinga

    Rachel Gichinga

    “Rachel is the Co-Founder of Kuweni Serious, which is an online platform that focuses on creating a corps of everyday changemakers.” [READ MORE]

    Rachel is the Co-Founder of Kuweni Serious, which is an online platform that focuses on creating a corps of everyday changemakers among young, educated, middle class Kenyans. Rachel has experience as the Project Manager of Penya Africa Ltd, and also as the Program Coordinator/Producer at Rainmaker Ltd. Rachel holds a BA in International Relations from the United States International University.

  • Close Drawer Rekik-Bekele

    REKIK BEKELE

    “Rekik is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is the co-founder of RK Renew Energy, a company that manufactures efficient, ceramic cook-stoves and solar lights for refugee camps....” [READ MORE]

    Rekik is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is the co-founder of RK Renew Energy, a company that manufactures efficient, ceramic cook-stoves and solar lights for refugee camps. After only six months, RK Renew won a 2015 SEED Africa Award in the energy sector—a prestigious grant given to locally-led social and environmental start-ups in developing countries—and is currently a finalist in the World Bank-funded CIC Award. Her hope is that RK Renew Energy can provide improved cook-stoves at low prices to disadvantaged communities and ultimately foster better, more competitive local energy markets in East Africa. An Electrical Engineering graduate from Addis Ababa University, Rekik has worked as a renewable-energy consultant on various development and private-sector projects. She is a fellow of RENAC Germany, a board member of the Ethiopian Solar Association and, in addition to RK Renew Energy, runs her own sports tourism company and bakery co-op on the side.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 RWanjohi

    Robert Wanjohi

    “Robert is from Nyeri, Kenya and is the Manager of Jitunze Environmental Group.” [READ MORE]

    Robert is from Nyeri, Kenya and is the Manager of Jitunze Environmental Group, which restores the environment and the community of the Mt. Kenya Forest World Heritage site through conversation and livelihood development. Jitunze has established fish farming projects serving nearly 300 community members and has rehabilitated over 100 hectares of forest. Robert has extensive experience as a facilitator/trainer, and has led workshops on business planning, agricultural development, and natural resource management. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Maseno.

  • Close Drawer sachin

    Sachin Gathani

    “Sachin 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...” [READ MORE]

    Sachin 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.

  • Close Drawer sarah

    Sarah Matindi

    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...” [READ MORE]

    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.

  • Close Drawer srk3

    SHALMALI RADHA KARNAD

    “Radha believes that every woman should view childbirth with joy rather than with fear of debt, disability or death. She is passionate about improving health systems to provide...” [READ MORE]

    Radha believes that every woman should view childbirth with joy rather than with fear of debt, disability or death. She is passionate about improving health systems to provide equitable access to high-quality healthcare for low-income women. As Clinical Director at 2020MCI, and formerly as the Clinical Programs Manager at Jacaranda Health, a new model for maternal and newborn health in East Africa, she is putting her skills and experience with global best practices in practice at the local level. Her focus on investigating and testing the use of technology in improving care, and creating sustainable systems for quality care delivery, is helping build new models for healthcare equality in East Africa. Radha is a medical doctor with an MPH in Health Systems Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

  • Close Drawer Speciosa Mbula Nguku

    Speciosa Mbula Nguku 

    “Speciosa is the founder and director of Machakos Surgery where she is also an anesthesiologist and pain specialist. Machakos Surgery operates as a surgical clinic in eastern...” [READ MORE]

    Speciosa is the founder and director of Machakos Surgery where she is also an anesthesiologist and pain specialist. Machakos Surgery operates as a surgical clinic in eastern Kenya, the first network of surgical hospitals in Kenya offering quality, affordable and ethical care. Speciosa works with children living with disabilities as part of a team dedicated to restoring dignity to patients through surgically correcting deformities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery and a master’s degree in anesthesiology.

  • Close Drawer Suleiman-Shifaw

    SULEIMAN SHIFAW

    “Suleiman is the creative and managing director of Impact Communication (ICM), an innovative communication company in Ethiopia that designs and implement social and behavior...” [READ MORE]

    Suleiman is the creative and managing director of Impact Communication (ICM), an innovative communication company in Ethiopia that designs and implement social and behavior change communications and marketing campaigns to improve the lives of Ethiopians affected by poor hygiene, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS as well as other health and development related issues. Impact Communication has partnered with the Government of Ethiopia and international development organizations including UNICEF, UNAIDS, Merie Stops, Mercy Cops, SNV and WFP. A native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Suleiman studied at Morgan State University and Savannah College of Art and Design.

  • Close Drawer Teresa-Njoroge

    TERESA NJOROGE

    “A former banker from Kiambu, Kenya, Teresa is bridging the gap between incarceration and social reintegration in Kenya especially for female ex-convicts. She is the founder...” [READ MORE]

    A former banker from Kiambu, Kenya, Teresa is bridging the gap between incarceration and social reintegration in Kenya especially for female ex-convicts. She is the founder and Executive Director of Clean Start Solutions, a social enterprise that provides poor women and youth who have been incarcerated with employment opportunities and training programs that help reintegrate into society and break the cycle of poverty. Through her organization, she offers entrepreneurship training, character development and job placement to former inmates in order to encourage them to create profitable and legal enterprises that sustain them and their families over time. Her passion and commitment drives her to inspire generations of entrepreneurs to transcend the cycle of chronic poverty, “survival crimes” and incarceration. She hopes to expand her work and help cut Kenya’s high rates of recidivism while growing the country’s restorative justice programs.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 WMiringu

    Wagikuyu Miring'u

    “Wangikuyu is the Marketing Coordinator for Kickstart International.” [READ MORE]

    Wangikuyu is the Marketing Coordinator for Kickstart International, which aims to transform Africa from subsistence to commercial agriculture through low-cost capital equipment. Wangikuyu’s role at Kickstart is to promote the “Farming is my Business” campaign, which promotes the aims to lift up the image of the farmer to be a legitimate and proud businessman. She holds a BA in Communications from Daystar University.

  • Close Drawer Wanjiku-Mbugua

    WANJIKU MBUGUA

    “Wanjiku is the Community Education Lead at the Path to Womanhood Foundation, a Kenya-based organization that empowers young women and girls through education. Wanjiku works...” [READ MORE]

    Wanjiku is the Community Education Lead at the Path to Womanhood Foundation, a Kenya-based organization that empowers young women and girls through education. Wanjiku works with young girls from the Kenya’s Maasai community who have been rescued from early marriages or are at risk of becoming a victim of child marriage. Through Path to Womanhood and its partners, Wanjiku helps mentor and provide access to education for these young women with the intent to develop them into change agents who will not only influence their families and communities, but also serve as proof that the cycle of restrictive cultural practices can be broken. Wanjiku holds an M.Sc. in Public and Urban policy from University of Glasgow.