Our Team of #Heartivists
Tessa’s mission to end animal cruelty in our food system led her into the fields of public health, behavior change, and nutrition where she found an intersection of so many important causes. Learning about the connection between human health, the environment, social justice, and animal welfare showed her a space where universal good could be nurtured.
The research and community experience she gained from work in this space has strengthened Tessa’s ability to bring people together and create impactful strategies for change. As TPP’s Animal Advocacy Program Director, Tessa leads the Global Animal Advocacy Program (GAAP) which centers on providing grant, capacity building, and connectivity opportunities to activists working to end animal suffering around the world, with a special focus on expanding the farmed animal protection movements in Brazil, India, and Mexico.
When not connecting with activists, Tessa loves exploring coastal South Carolina with her three dogs and observing all of the interesting creatures and plants that inhabit this part of the world.
Milena is a communications consultant and activist from Italy. She majored in Communication and Advertising at the Turin University. She’s been working for over 15 years in Sustainable Communication in the non-profit sector, helping green companies and associations to promote their eco-friendly products and practices. In 2000, she met the American activist Julia Butterfly Hill, and since then has worked as her Italian spokesperson and event organizer. She has also served as the International Coordinator of What’s Your Tree, a program created by The Circle of Life Foundation inspired by the story of Julia Butterfly, and has collaborated with the Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams and her Center for Peace and Compassion in the south of Italy.
Her deep passion for Environment, People, and Communication always leads her to put her skills and her heart in service of projects and initiatives to make a positive difference in the world, and TPP is one of those projects.
Matt Shanor is our Technology Manager and oversees the organizational software, digital workflow and marketing support for our organization. He has a long history of working with businesses and non-profits to develop strategic marketing efforts and operational systems design and is proud to have joined the TPP team in 2020. In addition to his role at TPP, he owns a small marketing company based in North Carolina and has worked with clients in a wide variety of industries for the past 15 years. His duties at The Pollination Project include managing our website and business software as well as providing daily support for our employees and grantees.
Matt lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife, 3 children and a crazy coonhound. In his spare time when he is able to break away from a screen for a bit, he enjoys playing golf and tennis.
Natasha believes that the greatest gift we share with others is our story. No matter what form they take, stories allow us to connect to one another and often help us to find a sense of belonging and purpose.
From working as the Director of Development and Marketing for a children’s arts nonprofit in NYC to founding a successful after-school art program for her community when the local school lost it’s program to budget cuts, Natasha has worked to build supportive environments both online and in-person that honor the creative spirit and assist in bringing dreams to life. She believes that using our voices, listening deeply and practicing mindfulness is what helps people to move beyond societal labels and self-imposed limits to become expressive storytellers with the power to change our world for the better.
With over fifteen years of professional writing experience, Natasha has published original pieces in national publications such as Latina and physical spaces such as the Library of Congress. She has applied her skills to entrepreneurial business ventures ranging from hand-making journals to jobs in both the corporate and nonprofit arenas of marketing and development. Natasha loves to laugh and has a joyful approach to work as well as to life which she shares with her husband, children, and super playful, rescue pup named Marley.
Deva grew up in New York, where she spent a great deal of time involved with her local theatre company. She reveled in the practice of building a story to share with others. This sense of community, of coming together for a common purpose spurred a path towards starting her own small business to raise funds for animal advocacy groups and eventually bringing her to the nonprofit field.
Deva was the East Coast Coordinator for Animal Place’s Food for Thought Program, helping nonprofits adopt sustainable and humane food policies. It was here where she became inspired by the intersecting of issues concerning our food system. Stepping in as the Wildlife and Environmental coordinator, she created alliances with large environmental and social justice nonprofits; cultivating connections amongst her peers. She also served as a field educator speaking with students about the global effects of our food choices.
Deva’s work is directed by her desire to educate and empower all to seek and attain a fair, clean, kind world.
She resides just outside of a sleepy college town in West Virginia with her husband and their gang of animal misfits. In her spare time, she finds peace sitting amongst her flock of chickens enjoying the sun together.
Originally from Maine, Amelia attended Centre College in Kentucky where she studied and traveled broadly while also competing in cross country and track. She graduated with the goal of addressing climate change through nonprofit work. Inspired by TPP’s commitment to compassion and support for changemaking in a variety of intersectional fields, Amelia applied to be a TPP intern. After her internship, she joined the team to assist the inaugural Greenhouse cohort. While completing her graduate studies in nonprofit management, Amelia stepped into her current role as TPP’s Programs Support & Volunteer Coordinator. She is excited to expand TPP’s network of amazing volunteers and support changemakers in TPP’s grant application process. When she’s not advocating for changemakers, Amelia loves to run, cook vegan food, and spend time with her dog.
After an epiphany in 1997 changed the way Ari related to food, his heart opened up to the impact every person’s life has on countless beings and the world at large. Soon after this insight, Ari had a vision of himself attaining his worldly goals & dreams, yet left feeling empty inside. This led him to ground his life into practices such as mindfulness, compassionate eating, philanthropy, servant leadership, and transformational entrepreneurship.
Ari hosts and leads meditation workshops/retreats, volunteers his time to spread small acts of kindness, and seeks to create the causes and conditions for a major reduction in global industrialized meat production. On the side Ari invests in start-ups that seek to disrupt factory farming and founded a business that redevelops apartments to be as carbon-neutral, water-efficient, and community oriented as possible. Ari actively experiences the challenges of being a modern-day yogi, and the delusion that life can be compartmentalized into separate boxes such as family, work, service, health and spirit. He remains constantly challenged to live his life in alignment with his values, and to utilize the numerous privileges he has been given to turn seeds into blossom and blossom into fruit. Ari shares with his wife Becky, a doctor who cares for underserved populations, the desire to serve others and act as a role model for their two young boys.
Stephanie has always had a great love for animals, participating as a foster parent for stray dogs and volunteering with various programs aimed to help the welfare of pets. After connecting her love for animals with her food choices, she began to open her heart to both suffering and compassion in the world and connecting the choices we make in life to a more blessed and blissed life. She realized the power that one person truly has to impact the world, and thus teamed up with Ari (her brother-in-law) to create The Pollination Project. Stephanie is also extremely committed and dedicated to her career as Vice President of a literacy curriculum company and children’s book distributor and feels a deep connection with empowering youth to be readers and writers in the world, while also empowering them to change the world. Stephanie lives in NYC with her with her partner Josh, and their son Odin, and spends her time both enjoying the city she loves, as well as traveling the country to be with her family and dear friends.
Birju Pandya focuses on the nexus of finance, systems evolution and inner transformation. He has been involved in the Mobius ecosystem since 2014.
Birju has years of experience working in the investment world, towards creative uses of capital and designing for emergence. He also has spent years developing mindfulness-related approaches to support individual/collective human development within business.
Birju has worked with organizations including Armonia (Regenerative Investing), RSF Social Finance (Integrated Capital), ServiceSpace (Gift Ecology), and McKinsey & Company. He has a Bachelor’s from Arizona State and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Birju’s roles in life include volunteer, husband, father, friend, colleague. He is the son of first-generation Indian immigrants, and lives with his family in Berkeley, CA. A few values that Birju holds dear – authenticity, vulnerability, gratefulness, compassion, equanimity.
Growing up in the Appalachian mountains, Carolyn found inspiration in the forests, rivers, and wildlife around her home. In her third year as an Ecology student at the University of North Carolina- Asheville, a mentor gave Carolyn the opportunity to work on grant projects for The Environmental Quality Institute. Those early projects included contracts with Greenpeace, the Centers for Disease Control, and other diverse stakeholders who sought scientific solutions to environmental problems. These projects brought her to understand that challenges in the environment could not be viewed in a silo, and that all social issues were deeply connected.
Since that time, she has focused on fund and program development across the non-profit sector. This has included work in such varied fields as wetlands restoration, strengthening the foster care system, supporting high-quality palliative care and hospice services in rural communities, and expanding available public health interventions for families in crisis. Carolyn earned her MBA in 2015 with a focus on international development. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband, four boys under the age of 10, and a puppy named Sister.
Victor Sjodin was raised in the New York area, and got his start as a community organizer in Philadelphia, working campaigns such as: Book through Bars, Critical Mass bike rides, and Food Not Bombs; fundraising for political prisoners; Humane League’s foie gras ban (in which 52 out of 56 restaurants dropped foie gras); protests against the notorious animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences; and participating in the direct rescue or adoption of several hundred dogs, cats, laboratory rats, chickens, a pig and even a few humans.
For the last four years, Victor has dedicated his time to touring North America, visiting over 500 colleges and universities to promote an ethical vegan diet and lifestyle giving talks and handing out over 700,000 informative booklets to students. He has spent three summers on the annual Warped Tour, educating concertgoers on the horrors of factory farms, and helped coordinate state-based ballot initiatives. In 2011 he joined the national nonprofit Mercy For Animals for a 42-city, 12,000-mile, three-month tour on a specially outfitted video truck showing the documentary “Farm to Fridge” to the public. While on the road he has met and talked to millions, listening to their struggles and connecting the dots of economic injustice, racism, false values and media manipulation.
“We must change direction and walk out of the Saharan desert of materialism, ego, and base entertainment to realize our true purpose: the freedom of all. To this end the awake and courageous must rebel against the lies and propaganda of our government, media, education, and churches. Light must conquer dark, progress must triumph over stupidity, universal solidarity must triumph over greed,” explains Victor.
Sophia Hanson is co-founder of the National Youth Foundation (NYF). A 2017 Pollination Grant recipient, NYF works with players from the NBA and NFL to promote kindness, inclusion and gender equity through student literary projects. NYF also created and hosts the only national student book competition on women, the Amazing Women’s Edition contest.
Dr. Shenika Jackson
Dr. Shenika Jackson, born and raised in Chicago’s Englewood Community, is an advocate for minority high school students and young adults, and has been a private property owner for nearly 17 years. In 2016, Dr. Jackson created a college-readiness project called: My College Going Self, a project designed to assist minority, low-income high school students with the transition from high school to post-secondary education. The project started as a “pilot” project that was implemented to high school students for the first time in the Englewood Community at Kelly Branch Library. The My College Going Self Project became a part of a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization: MY Foundation: Street Starts to Great Starts Corp., co-founded by Dr. Jackson.
In June 2018, Dr. Shenika Jackson completed a PhD in Community Psychology from National Louis University. Her dissertation: African American Males and Academic Achievement: Understanding the Challenges Transitioning From High School to Higher Education, captures the barriers and challenges young black male teens face as they transition from high school to higher education. Dr. Jackson holds other degrees to include a Master’s of Science-Written Communications (2009), and a Master’s of Arts-Psychology/Human Development (2005), from National Louis University. In March 2020, Dr. Jackson made her career journey back to a nonprofit organization in the Englewood Community: Growing Home Inc. As Case Manager of Employment Training for young adults, and returning citizens, Dr. Jackson assists with job skills and training, and the capabilities of finding permanent employment after finishing Growing Home’s 12-week paid Transitional Job Training Program (TJP). Dr. Jackson uses a module called TIP (Transforming the Impossible to Possible), a bottom-up practice in workforce development for low-income job seekers in Chicago. The module was developed by Phillip P. Hong, at Loyola University in the School of Social Work in Chicago IL.
Maulid Hamisi Mwinyikai is from Mtongwe, Mombasa and has professional experience as a trained Environmental Activist, a renowned art and development practitioner in community development, health care, and team building. In 2000 Maulid was trained as a peer educator, organized by Mtongwe Community Initiative, Family health options Kenya and Action Aid Kenya. From 2007 to 2013 was trained as a professional actor, working in a theatre company, During the training he thought about the youth back in Mombasa and wondered what he could do to change their lives. When he got back home he mobilized youths and started a community based organization: Kishoka Youth Organization. The organization is an Art, Development and Environmental community based organization which does work aimed at Youth Empowerment and Environmental issues.
Maulid is dedicated in mobilizing young people and assisting them identify their potential so as to make the world a better place, to have more influence in society by participating in positive social change and to help people reuse and reduce plastic waste in a creative way. He is excited about the opportunity to assist other grantees through mentorship and cross-pollination as an East African Leader, and looks forward to working with passion and integrity to support TPP’s grant making at the grassroots level.
In 1994, when I was about 7 years old, my parents left the village to settle in the City due to the civil war unrest in Northern Uganda. From that time until 2010 when I returned home, I lived away from my home. While away, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Technology from Nkumba University in Uganda. Once I had completed my degree, and with the spirit of volunteerism and compassion that I had towards life, I wanted to use my new knowledge and experiences gained in Information Communication Technology, leadership, debate, and sports to help my community.
So now I see myself at the forefront in helping my community recover from the destruction caused by the 23 years of civil war unrest in Northern and Uganda as a whole. This is specifically being done through formation of Community Based Organizations such as Northern Uganda Debate Society, Acholi Youths for Sustainable Development, and Kitgum Basketball Association – a basketball project for which I received a TPP grant.
In addition to my work with these organizations, I am also helping to guide and mentor groups and individuals to bridge the information gap between them and the world by promoting ICT. Again With all these experiences, I see myself as one of the next generation of change makers that will help make the world a better place to live in.
Fernanda Garcia Naranjo Ortega
Fernanda was born and raised in Mexico City. She has a BA in International Relations and Law.
Collective work has been a key part of her training and she has actively helped various organizations, such as Ollin Jóvenes en Movimiento A.C., Casa Cuna La Paz A.C., Casa de Medio Camino Thelma y Honnorat, The Humane Society International and The World Can’t Wait, all of them focused on creating a fairer and more ethical world for all species.
She currently directs the anti-speciesist sanctuary “Granjita TyH” located in Mexico, from where she also carries out activism and outreach for animal liberation, and she also supports EDGE Funders Alliance Administration and Operations Coordination since she firmly believes in intersectionality and fostering alliances in order to build a better future. She is a member of The Pollination Project Greenhouse Cohort, the Red Veganas Antiespecistas and the Red de Santuarios Antiespecistas México.
Charlene is passionate about animals, especially the homeless and unwanted. She founded and organized Sheltered, an art benefit for animals at risk, held at the Tsao Gallery in Davis, CA in 2014. The nationally curated art exhibit raised awareness of the staggering number of homeless animals who will never find shelter. She was awarded a grant from The Pollination Project for media related to this project. She has worked in veterinarian hospitals and services in various positions. Over the years, she has been an active volunteer with nonprofit animal rescue organizations.
Her other passion is writing. A recent story appeared in Among Animals 3, the Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction, which was released in 2022 by Ashland Creek Press, a publishing company that focuses on the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife issues. She earned an MFA from the University of California, Davis. She also worked as an editor and writer at the University.
Leandro Franz is a brazilian economist, producer and writer with 8 books published and a couple literary prizes. One of his books has been adapted to a play in Mozambique. He has a career in management consultant (holds a Master’s degree in Economics), but has always been involved in voluntary initiatives on Arts (one feature film and a couple shorts produced) and Effective Altruism (member of the animal cause group in São Paulo).
Lylah Persad can be described as a dynamic stream of Experiencing that is alive in each moment.
Her skills lie in building communities and helping people recognize their highest values, so they may live their best and happiest lives. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the LP Entertainment Theatre, an organization with a mission to “reach beyond the grasp” and encourage “historically under-served” adolescents and adults to live their full potential, even if they were not academically inclined.
She works with youth and youth organizations internationally, and serves as a consultant, instructor, coach, keynote and inspirational speaker, focusing on enhancing life skills to create a culture of entrepreneurs, who understand the importance of serving others, living honestly and with integrity, while creating from themselves.
Not limited by labels, Lylah Persad also known as Zen-Lylah– Bestselling Author of the books– Starting from here- Healthy Daily Habits- A Message to Teens and “Simple Reminders to Inspire the Power of You- available on Amazon Kindle.
She is a humanitarian and was awarded “Global Ambassador for Human Rights and Peace” in 2019, and is also an advocate for Mental Health and Anti- Bullying, having hosted various workshops, written and produced various performances for stage and film.
Lylah Persad is many things to many people. She was once a “single mother”, living on a little island, unsure of what life had to offer.
She then welcomed the support from the entire globe and understood that it was always about what can you contribute towards the Life you have, using what you have- The possibilities are astronomical- and the journey continues through the foundation of the TPP.
Samuel Litunya was born and raised in Kajiado, and partly in Kakamega, Kenya. I have training in administration and finance and basic knowledge in agronomy. Am the founder & program manager at Turkana Community Foundation (TCF). I am 2020 Pollination Grant recipient. TCF works with the communities in Turkana & Kakamega counties in order to nurture, empower and transform the marginalized women and young people to be self-reliant, to take part in the decision making of their community. I am passionate about people and to promote kindness, inclusion and gender equity through community literacy programs. As a change maker, I am inspired by The TPP global compassion and love for the underserved communities.
Catherine is a pro-life, enthusiastic, and motivated budding development economist. She is a
graduate of the University of Nairobi with a Master’s Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation in
Population Studies. Her quest for knowledge motivated her to join Nagoya University, Japan
where she is currently a graduate student pursuing International Development; majoring in
Economics and Policy Management.
Catherine is multi-skilled and passionate about development. Besides adept research skills,
data manipulation, and proposal writing, she trained in econometrics and programming skills.
Coupled with about 5 years of experience in development work with non-profit organizations
within the African region, she is currently participating in the Asian research context to broaden
her skills across the globe. She aspires to reach disadvantaged groups in society and put a
smile on their faces, the motivation behind joining the Pollination Project. She gets her
inspiration from the Tibetian leader Dalai Lama, who said,” Our sole purpose in life is to help
others, if you can’t at least, do not hurt them”.During her free time, Catherine enjoys cooking,
traveling, and meeting new people.
Eric Anorrey is a development enthusiast who holds BA Degree in Development Education
Studies from the University for Development Studies in Tamale -Ghana. He has had working
experience in project management, monitoring and evaluation, and Social work in urban and
rural Ghana. Currently, he is a Project Officer at Savana Signatures and the Grievance Redress
Officer for the Transport Sector Improvement Project (TSIP) funded by the World Bank in the
Bono East of Ghana.
He is a youth development activist and women empowerment advocate, empowering young
women on issues of sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and SGBV. Eric loves working
with marginalized people in rural communities and is dedicated to empowering excluded
groups in society to ensure that the human rights and dignity of all persons are fully observed.
I am a graduate with the Bachelor’s degree of Business Administration obtained in 2012 at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) majored in Finance. I have 10 years of experience working with Private and International Non for profit organization (INGO). My experience and expertise lies into the sector of supporting the community attaining their self-sufficiency. I have spent my years into supporting projects aiming at community empowerment and livelihood enhancement. My participation and the level of my engagement during my work to the projects has grown my skills in project planning, management, implementation, facilitation, coaching and Monitoring and Evaluation. Most of the project that I have worked on were mainly to support business people in business planning and management, youth and women empowerment, water and sanitation, as well as promoting girls’ education through supporting schools in establishing school businesses with objectives of generating income to support the poorest girls in the matter of equipping their girls’ changing room and purchase of school materials, notebooks, pens, shoes and etc. I am passionate about a society free of dependence where every individual enjoy the fullness of basic rights, access to foods, shelter and etc.
I founded Social Investment 4 Community in 2016 which I am striving to make it a socially inclusive business development hub. This initiative aims at working with community in enriching their potential through mentorship, coaching and transfer of soft essential skills of group and cooperative management.
Jean-Marie Zihalirwa is a philanthropist and Entrepreneur with over 20 years in the development sector. Prior to this, he works as a senior planning, management, monitoring and evaluation advisor at GDI, Grenier pour le Développement Intégré organization.
Jean-Marie uses the Theory of Change approach in the Republic Democratic of Congo to develop organizational or corporate strategic plans, development proposals and results-oriented M&E systems.
He takes care of the environment and disadvantaged people.
Emily Logiron Asekon
I come from a nomadic pastoralist community in the Northern part of Kenya. I have training in Information Technology Management & Community Resource Management with extensive working experience in the nonprofit sector. I have several years’ experience working with micro-finance organizations. I am passionate about community work and volunteerism. I am the Director, Kanam women Initiative that focuses on civil rights, Health and empowerment of Turkana women living in Nairobi and Turkana. I am inspired by the TPP’s commitment and the support for change-making in various different fields. In my free time, I love writing and reading fictional stories.
Crista Valentino is a social advancement specialist, community builder and communicator. At 26 she founded CoalitionWILD, a youth-led environmental organization that has equipped and mentored over 2,500 emerging leaders in 121 countries to develop conservation solutions in their communities. She is currently working to support socio-economic progress through community-led development in areas committed to preserving their natural and cultural heritage. With over a decade of experience navigating collaborations with international environmental leaders and fostering grassroots community action, Crista’s work bridges the gap found between generations, cultures, and tactics to design a thriving future for all life. If she’s not answering your messages, you can probably find her in the shadow of mountain peaks with her phone on airplane mode reconnecting with the spaces that give her inspiration.
Sebastian Sanga is a Tanzanian change-maker whose background career is economics. He graduated from the University of Dar Es Salaam in 1994 and thereafter pursued professional courses in policy studies at Central Europe University (EU) in Budapest, Hungary; and attended short courses in entrepreneurship at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro region, Tanzania.
Sebastian is active in policy formulation & implementation, advocacy, economic empowerment & development, capacity building for the community-based groups and natural resource governance activist. He organizes learning platforms on community issues. In Kilombero district, he had facilitated the formation of Kilombero Governance Monitoring Network [KIGOMONE] to address governance related challenges. He had engaged in awareness creation on regional integration including EU-ACP partnership arrangements related programs to Non-State Actors (NSA) under the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung [FES]’s supported programs.
After working for over 15 years with different organizations and as independent consultant, Sebastian decided to zero-in in entrepreneurship and community development programs. In 2011 he reallocated his settlement from Dar es Salaam to Miswe village, one of rural areas of Coast region to start investing in agriculture with a community economic empowerment in mind. His main agricultural crops dealing with are fruits and vegetables.
Through his Mapembelo Ventures firm and his vegetable crops, Sebastian has managed to integrate his community and women in particular in his production and selling chain. Women participate in the production process and work as vegetable vendors to earn their living income. In 2013, the USA-funded Feed the Future selected Mapembelo Venture’s farm as one of their demo-farms in Coast region. Mapembelo Ventures, which is also one of TPP grant beneficiaries (received a seed grant in 2016), is a main producer and supplier of vegetables in Miswe area and the nearby villages. In 2019, the Municipal of Coast region selected Mapembelo Ventures’ farm as the best agricultural operator in that ward; and the firm was granted a sponsorship to participate at a zonal farmer’s festival event in Morogoro region.
Furthermore, Sebastian is behind the two local-based community groups, Twitange Savings Group (TSG), formed by 20 interested members with a mission to liberate themselves from poverty; and the Union of Miswe Churches which is focusing on Behavior Change of local families/community. The union of churches is also advocating for local leadership governance. In these two community-based platforms, Sebastian is one of the key resource persons to mitigate poverty and address poor governance in his area.
Herve TSOALA is a co-founder and current CEO at LODE Cameroon, a non-profit organization under Cameroonian law committed to fight against social injustices and extreme poverty in rural communities.
Having lived in rural areas throughout his childhood, he became much more sensitive to the precarious living conditions of populations and particularly those of young people in rural areas. Starting from the lack of financial resources to send their children to school, to social injustices, passing through malnutrition, misinformation, and neonatal and prenatal health problems, he thinks and remains convinced that the real cause of these problems lies in poverty environment that undermines the populations of his community. Being a passionate person, Herve works for rural communities that free themselves from poverty and precariousness. He received support from TPP in 2020, which gave him a big boost in his work.
Herve is currently a Ph.D fellow in Geography and planning where he carries a research on the role of micro-financing in socio-territorial dynamics. Having worked with several organizations and NGOs in Cameroon where he worked in turn as project assistant, Data entry clerk, project associate and post graduate teaching assistant. Herve is a disciplined, motivated and open person who likes to work in collaboration with others. He is now more and more interested in data analytics.
Herve lives in Cameroon, spends free time with his family, likes to travel, meet new people and work remotely. Herve has a particular love for social entrepreneurship and is quick to show interest when the opportunity arises.
Luke is the founder of Support Solutions Homeless Services and has several years of experience in social services and nonprofit management. He led the organization for six years, building programs to meet the needs of marginalized communities and successfully raising over $700,000 in funding, including a seed grant from The Pollination Project. He is excited to join TPP as a grant advisor and be a part of passing this experience on to other startups.
Joseph Obore is a Ugandan by Nationality, hailing from and currently living in Bukedea District – Eastern Uganda. He is action-oriented, committed, team builder, focused, willing to learn, self-driven, hardworking, resilient and passionate about community-led development. He is the Founder and currently working as Executive Director of Action for Development of Grassroots Communities (ADEGCO) – a small Community Based Organization working with and for the young people in shaping their future as the next generation. ADEGCO designs and solves communities’ most pressing challenges in the thematic areas of Agriculture, Education and Employability skills training, WASH and Environmental Conservation. The project for which a seed grant from TPP was secured in 2018 included, “Positive Youth Development through mentorship and capacity building sessions” where 50 unemployed youth were connected and matched to mentors who inspired, motivated and changed their mindsets during one on one long term mentorship support and monthly in-person capacity building sessions.
Joseph is sympathetic, empathetic, compassion conscious and vegan who has cultivated and advocated for TPP values. He brings in over 5 years of demonstrated experience, skills, knowledge and track record of participating in grant making process. He enjoys reviewing project grant applications, making funding decisions, conducting initial project site visits, conducting mid-term and end of project review/evaluation exercises, project related training and mentorship support to project implementers among others. He has successfully designed and implemented several projects that have created lasting impact. He believes in a continuous learning process in order to have a greater impact in the communities. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Development Studies from Makerere University and he is a change maker by training.
Michael Abdullahi is an education development practitioner with over five years of work and leadership experience in the non-profit sector while collaborating on different projects across three continents in empowering young people to innovate and translate various forms of education into sustainable, social, and economic solutions.
Owing to his passion for improved quality education systems in Nigeria, Michael founded Lifeshapes Foundation, a youth-led non-profit organization creating low-cost and informal learning systems that have facilitated access to quality education for over 3000 children in low-income communities.
In 2020, he developed an Ed-tech solution during the compulsory school closure in Nigeria due to the spread of Covid-19 called “School On The Go”, a low-cost and offline innovation helping over 1000 children to learn remotely across 11 communities in three states in north-central Nigeria. This novel idea was recognized as the 3 Top Global Edtech solutions and awarded the “Between COVID and Classroom Grant” 2020 by shareyourself, a US-based grant-making NGO, that same year.
Previously, Michael served as the National Strategic Planning Head, IOBE-Nigeria, where he helped over 700 students by supporting them in creating strategic plans, translating ideas into businesses, and executing projects in entrepreneurship and leadership spanning 12 Nigerian Universities.
He is a grant recipient and a fellow of over four prestigious fellowship programs including, Fellow of the United State Young African Leadership Initiative, Top 10 Innocent Chukwuma Social Impact Chair and Fellowship by the Lagos Business School, Nigeria, Changemaker Everywhere Academy Fellow by Ashoka Global, Recipient of the Nigerian Prize for Leadership Award, Top 10 Global Recipients of the Stop The Resurgence Grant, The Pollination Fund, just to mention a few.
Agbor Solomon Eneke
I am Agbor Solomon Eneke, a Community Development Officer working with rural communities in the South West Region of Cameroon. As a community development worker, it is my responsibility to ensure effective collaboration of communities in natural resource management, participate in decision making and benefits sharing. Using Coordinated efforts across target groups, community leaders, and other stakeholders I ensure that this group optimize their engagement within the process to achieve optimum results.
My love for rural development, women/youth empowerment and nature are overwhelming that’s why i work tirelessly to ensure that rural dwellers are provided with tools and capacities to effectively manage natural resources and in return take part in the benefit sharing that comes from nature.
I Easily adapt to changes around me and welcome new challenges all the time. Make the best out of what is available. Help rural dwellers realize their potential and improvement in livelihood.
It is fun when i play football. For me football is not only a sport, it teaches me team work; win together, loss together, communicate with each other during the game and even cover each other. It helps me make decisions in quick successions and take responsibility for my every action.
I am fun to be with and for me learning is an every day activity.
I am Gihana Jackson, a dedicated biology and chemistry teacher, I am also a professional nutrition and dietetics consultant with Bcs in Public Health and Human Nutrition from Catholic University of Rwanda. I volunteered with Uganda Red Cross for one year and attained knowledge and skills on Life planning, Personal, Family and community values, Future planning, HIV/AIDS, Teenage pregnancy and Sexuality, nutrition and food security.
With the support from The Pollination Project, I founded a local non-government organization “Fields of Hope” that supports children and adults with disabilities of which I am its president.
Emmanuel Nuvalga is a graduate of Criminology and Security National Open University of Nigeria. He is the founder and president of Support for Girl Child’s Education Initiative, founder of Baajon Computers Business Center. He volunteers for Women Environmental Program (WEP), Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRS), ConnectJapan and YMCA. Emmanuel is deeply in love with humanitarian movement, highly passionate about advancing Education for young people in the hardest to reach communities.
Aaron is a social entrepreneur and secondary school teacher with experience working in rural community day schools in Malawi. He has a Bachelor of Science (Education) degree major Biology and minor Chemistry. Growing up in a rural setting where there existed neither tap water nor protected wells and access to health care services meant walking over 30km to a nearest health centre, he grew up believing he should be an agent of change. He graduated from Mzuzu University and started working on his dream in 2016.
In the year 2017 Aaron cofounded and served as operations lead at Green Ventures, an enterprise that seeks to provide farmers with sustainable solutions in agriculture. The enterprise promotes organic farming by providing high quality and nutrient rich organic fertilizer made from agricultural and domestic wastes as a substitute to chemical fertilizer. The fertilizer improves soil fertility even after use for a prolonged period of time as opposed to chemical fertilizers and has a high capability to retain soil moisture.
He was awarded a grant from the Pollination Project in 2019 to support his work on improving access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and also founded Young Leaders Rise (YLR) an organization that works on improving sustainable livelihoods in Malawi. Among others, Aaron and his team trains rural women and equips them with entrepreneurial skills which enables them (women) establish and run successful local business enterprises. Aaron also served as an ambassador at Thought For Food (TFF) between 2020 and 2021 and has undergone a series of trainings which includes Greenhouse Training Program. In July 2022 he joined TPP as a volunteer Grant Advisor.
Kennedy Odera earned a diploma in Business Administration at Kenya Polytechnic, now
Technical University of Kenya while passionately participating in sports for development
initiatives in the community while in Nairobi. Upon return to my kanyawegi community, I
founded Pamoja sports club,later supported by Tpp seed grant in 2017, an initiative that
empowers girls and community through sports/football, delivering excellent football skills and
life skills training.
Having been raised in a rural kanyawegi community and seeing girls and community struggle
to access education and relevant opportunities, I was always determined to make meaningful
positive change in the lives of the marginalized through sports/football, something I have been
passionate about since then. As the founder of the life changing project, I’m always involved
in the management, recruiting like-minded Coaches and life skills educators, resource
mobilization and partnership development as well as organizing training for coaches/staff and
coordination of volunteer activities.
I’m driven by an unwavering desire of thinking globally and acting locally to create sustainable
change with the local community as the meaningful change agents. Having been privileged to
be a grantee with the pollination project, I’m equally excited to continue to be part of this
family as a grant advisor and help jointly create sustainable change in our communities as
well as provide relevant support to fellow like-minded changemakers.The Pollination Project is
changing lives and I enjoys being part of that change process in my community.
Groomed to be an engineer by engineer parents, I’ve long studied Math and Science. For 15 years after teaching Science by day in struggling NYC high schools (by night I earned a Master’s in Science Teaching), I tutored Math and Science and MCAT Prep.
I have since launched a nonprofit (EducationEquity Foundation) that provides free tutoring in STEM and MCAT Prep to low-income premeds.
In my (sparse) spare time, I enjoy tennis, bicycling, and working out.
She is a Tanzania woman with aspirations in hard work, teamwork, and women leadership and is ready to change under reasoned doubt. Her hobby is travelling and listening to music.
Professionally, she is a teacher who has served the students to acquire the proper education for 12 years. Besides, she has cooperatively engaged herself in women’s entrepreneurship skills and organisations. To strengthen her leadership capacity, she has attended various International seminars for building capacities for female officials. More seemingly, she is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Administration degree at the University of Dar es salaam in Tanzania.
For the past 15 years, Monika has been creating an inclusive dance network in Europe and working with inclusive groups through dance. She is a dance teacher, choreographer, project manager, and disability advocate working on accessibility in performing arts. In 2012, Monika founded the MeetShareDance association based in Madrid, Spain which organizes dance workshops, conferences, and an international inclusive dance festival. The festival has been produced annually since 2012 all around Europe. In 2018 she founded Dance Company MSD with eight dancers with and without disabilities and started with new creations and international collaborations.
‘Dance is the language and my work tries to speak some of them’
Stephanie Scott is a mother, educator and artist based in Ecuador. Stephanie holds a BA in Linguistics from Georgetown University and a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University. She is the founder of Proyecto Tsere in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which supports literacy through multicultural children’s literature projects. Proyecto Tsere also creates and publishes original children’s books tailored to the needs of multiethnic rural Amazonian public school students and distributes them for free. In 2017, Stephanie received a Seed the Change grant from Pollination Project.
Erick Omondi is the founder of Generation Guiders, a Grass-root community based organization.
Generation Guiders CBO intervenes on Girls child rights, HIV/Aids awareness, life skills, women empowerment project, Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Girls child empowerment.
Erick Omondi has over 10 years of experience in working with young people.
He possesses a wealth of experience from working with youth’s on SRH issues as a peer youth educator, he has volunteer for 2 years as a community mobilizer.
He also serve as a mentor and is passionate about empowering adolescents girl’s in the community.
Erick Omondi is inspired, motivated and privileged to work with TPP to build his capacity to connect women and girl’s empowerment projects in his community to TPP funding, and to help local change-makers achieve their mission.
The Pollination Project is changing lives and I enjoy being part of that change process in my community.
Kisubi Denis is a One Young World Ambassador, Campaigner and leader in development practice, who is passionate about working with inspiring diverse groups of people to become change agents and challenge the injustices in society.
He is a Co – Founder and Director at Give Hope Uganda a youth-led organisation in Uganda that seeks to promote the health and well-being of adolescent girls and young people with opportunities to realise their full potential.
Over the past four years he has successfully managed campaigns (online and offline) and he is passionate about youth, media and information literacy. He has led successful campaigns to redesign narratives about young people, such as #SPEAK! Campaign with CIVICUS, #U=U Campaign and #EndChildMarriage in Africa in partnership with AU-UNICEF Campaign on Reimagining an Africa without Child Marriage.
He has served for three years since 2019 – 2021 as a volunteer at Project Pataki – an initiative managed by the African Leadership Institute (AFLI), funded by the Ford Foundation and governed by a pan-African youth advisory board. The initiative seeks to shift young Africans to the centre of the development narrative. One project under this initiative, advocated for young people to be included in governance structures on the continent and is a follow-up to the African Youth Charter, signed by the AU in 2006, and which has not been consistently implemented across all African Union member states. Denis has been actively involved in this as a Change Lead.
He is an Alumni 2020 at Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) a United States’ signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders, African Civic Engagement Academy program Alumni 2021 – an initiative of the U.S Department of State implemented by University of Georgia, Ashoka Changemaker Everywhere Academy Fellow 2022, CIVICUS Member and holds a Non – Degree Program in Information Technology Business.
He is an Alumni 2022 at East Africa Human Rights Program (EAHRP) a regional training program which provides a unique opportunity for human rights workers, defenders, activists and educators from civil society organizations, institutions and government agencies, to deepen their understanding of human rights and the essential role of human rights education in effecting and sustaining social change. Developed in partnership with Equitas training alumni from across East Africa, the goal of the EAHRP is to strengthen the capacity of a regional pool of human rights organizations and institutions to use a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to advance gender equality and human rights through human rights education (HRE), with the purpose of building a global culture of human rights.
He is driven by an innate desire to create sustainable change from the inside with the local community as the development expert. He is privileged to volunteer as a Grant Advisor with The Pollination Project and excited to continue to be part of the Leadership Program and to help create sustainable change in his community.
Kiima Stephen is born in Karugutu – Ntoroko District to Kiima Erifazi ( Father) and Muhindo Maria (Mother but now deceased). Kiima Stephen is a global ambassador with passion for socio-economic transformation, leadership, advocacy, empowerment and community development, I believe life has to thrive in a safe peaceful environment while every ones rights are fully respected, protected and enjoyed for sustainable co-existence. I envision a world where everyone has the capacity to express, assemble and associate freely without fear. I am so keen at addressing different grass root challenges in my community and around the world through use of information, education and communication of major issues and possible strategies to mitigate the status quo. My approach is mobilizing the most affected and engage them in the planning of possible interventions that would solve challenges being faced.
My journey to seeding kindness started in 2015 immediately after University, but I started experiencing a light of hope in 2018 and 2019 where I won a seed grant from The Pollination Project to carry out “Calligraphic fine art and Branding for school drop outs and “Hand Made Craft from Used Plastic Bottles” as a global kindness program. Since then I have served as a board of trustees for several indigenous community led Organizations in Uganda which are not limited to Raise a child initiative, Aide For Nature and Conservation, Act Foundation, Raise To Shine Initiative, Wilmat Development Foundation, The Care Trust, Bolster for life Initiative, Seeds of hope, Seed For Life Initiative, Action For Children Welfare, Rays of change, The Veg Relief trust, The Nature Trust, Centre for life and community development.
I am currently the Executive Director of Seed Community Relief (https://seedcommunityrelief.org/) that was founded in 2018, to transform the livelihood of those deprived, exploited, and respective survivors as well as transforming the environment they live in by addressing every aspect of the challenges they face, in order to restore their souls from traumatic living disorders that compromise their livelihood and their environment. Our aim is to make sure that those who are deprived, exploited, and respective survivors are also well positioned to contribute to and fully enjoy the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
I have a set of values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way I want to be treated and helping those in need, to me I call them social and traditional values. In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. I believe we all ought to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different than yours that it’s almost incomprehensible because where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then the community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated lose hope and become sad.
Currently I am focusing on strategies that support breaking the cycle of poverty, low levels of education, cultural and traditional beliefs that hinder socio-economic transformation because I believe that most challenges like domestic violence, gender based violence, un wanted pregnancies, child labor, human trafficking, idleness, prostitution, poverty, inability to access services like reproductive health services, lack of access to basic necessities, etc can all be solved once people are educated, empowered and aware of the current situation and what need to be done to address certain challenges.
I have championed different projects in my community which have impacted thousands of lives and I feel great when I impact and transform lives, community and the environment and I am happy for my new opportunity of working as a Grants Advisor at https://thepollinationproject.org/.
I am Mathias Mwesige, TPP grantee and now a Project Coordinator for Kasese Tourism Investors Forum (KTIF). I previously worked in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement as a Supervisor in food distribution to refugees. I also worked at Kasese Guide Radio (KGR) as a Marketing Manager.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) majoring in Procurement. I also attained an Administrative Law certificate.
I am so personate in environmental protection, women and children empowerment and human rights.
Mary Oyier is a victim of post election violence 2007-2008 . This what drove me into uniting Kenyans regardless of colour, religion, tribe nor race.
Founder on Onugpwani (One Nation Under God). Now Women and Youth Resources Centre where we train on soft income generating skills with the aim of killing poverty and getting a meal on the table.
Alumni .. Auschwitz Institute for prevention of genocide and mass Atrocities.
Certified as a Mediator by Clingadel university Hague Netherlands.
Grantee The Pollination Project 2019
Chimwemwe Chitambala is a graduate from the University of Zambia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with Economics. A Bank of Zambia Governor award winner of Exceptional Financial contribution to financial literacy in Zambia. She is confident, and self-motivated goal getter who strives to be a better person through learning and sharing with others who’s passionate about working with girls and women, which has been my drive to volunteer with various organizations to advocate on issues such as menstrual hygiene, gender equality and social justice, women economic empowerment and sexual reproductive health.
She is a founder of a youth-led organization that seeks to foster social and economic development for young women through creating opportunities that will bridge the gap of financial inclusion among women in Zambia. The organization has reached over 100 young women in rural areas of Lusaka and Copper belt through micro-finance scheme of a women revolving fund project that provides capacity building in business and financial management. Thus, the organization offers micro loans to young women as they are building their skills to scale up the business at the end of six months of the project.
Hi I am Bennet Gnaniah, from Tamilnadu, India. I have completed my Masters in Social Work specialized in Medical and Psychiatry from Madras Christian College. My passion is to build just a sustainable society where all marginalized and vulnerable communities can equally participate in their socio economic and cultural development through creating awareness and built their capacities.
I strongly believe that “a people’s thought converts into an action, an action converts into a habit, a habit converts into behaviour, a behaviour converts into society and society converts into a nation”. In order to bring a change in the nation we need to bring a change in people’s mind-set. I am working towards to bring that change and make this earth a better place.
Moline Katiyo-Mayhew is a Skills Development Consultant, Cultural Practitioner and a Humanitarian worker. A Fashion Designer, visual artist and fitness enthusiast. She is the Founder of Chengetedza whose projects provide mentorship and trainings in the arts and fashion to give equal opportunities for self empowerment to youth and women mainly from disadvantaged communities. She is currently a Board member of Zimbabwe Germany Society (ZGS) and has more than 15 years work experience in the United Nations and International Organisations. She is Founder of a fashion label HB Designs.
She is greatly inspired by the work of The Pollination Project (TPP) who previously funded her organisation Chengetedza. She is an alumni of The African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) and also an alumni of The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).
She studied French and Portuguese at the University of Zimbabwe and holds a Diploma in Business Administration.
Her early childhood passion grew into a mission to uplift women and youth, giving hope and putting smiles on their faces and on turn on hers.
More about her projects at : https://chengetedza.com/
Julianna is passionate about compassionate living and believes in the power of the ripple effect. Born and raised in the PNW in the States, she has grown to love the outdoors. Julianna likes to call herself a student of life, always looking to learn something new. Her favorite activity is finding the significance in the ordinary.
MBIFI Valantine MBIFI
MBIFI Valantine MBIFI is the founder and President of Youth Concept Forum Building Aspirants (YOCOFOBA). He is an Assistant Agricultural Engineer by profession, a community development actor by nature and a civil society activist. He reflects varied personalities including ambition and the qualities of generosity and thoughtfulness. He is also a well determined and vigorous individual, yet pleasantly calm. He encourages fighting for what you desire and believe in.
MBIFI was born in Kedjom Keku – Mezam in the North West Region of Cameroon, he did his secondary and high school in GTHS Bamenda and later completed a diploma in agriculture on the 2010 from the Regional College of Agriculture Bambili. He was then recruited by MINADER as a Senior Agricultural Technician in 2011 and appointed as the Chief of Agric. Post Misaje. In July 2016, MBIFI took a course in the University of Dschang where he graduated with a Bachelors degree of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences.
He is a Change Maker with The Pollination Project who has designed, benefited and managed a series of projects from the TPP, US Ambassadors Self Help Grant, Anike Foundation USA, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the UNDP.
Today, apart from volunteering with YOCOFOBA, MBIFI works for the government of Cameroon as the Director of Community Education and Action Center (CEAC) Belo and the Farm Management Counsellor for the PCP-ACEFA program in the Boyo Division.
To know more about YOCOFOBA, check www.yocofobacameroon.org
Smitha Daniel is a wildlife biologist and a nocturnal primatologist and has led 13 projects, on topics such as Slender Loris, climate change to environmental conservation and human-wildlife interactions management in India. She is completing her Ph.D. in ‘Behaviour Ecology of the Malabar Slender Loris, Loris lydekkerianus malabaricus in its Natural Habitat’ and has been researching the ecology, behavior, threats and conservation of the Slender Loris in India. She has been labelled as a ‘ChangeMaker’ by The Pollination Seed Grant for her work on the illegal trade of slender loris for the purposes of black magic and traditional medicines.
She is a commissioned member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, Section for human-primate interactions, and an executive member of the Association of Indian Primatologists, a project partner for primatologists from around the world, including those from the Oxford University. She has received the Women Scientist Fellowship (WOS-A) from the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology and other prestigious grants such as the Primate Action Fund from The Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation.
She has served as a wildlife consultant and capacity building expert for developing human-wildlife interface management strategies and action Plans with the Indo-German Technical Cooperation, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and has been instrumental in training the forest department officials, students in their undergraduate and postgraduate programs, nature enthusiasts and naturalists.
Outside of work, she takes a keen interest in traveling, exploring different native cuisines and interacting with new people.
Ms Wairimu Mwangi is a founder of Yrimu collection that is focused on Creative arts and
Sustainable food system design within urban areas.
We are focused on actualizing Circular Economy through the promotion of Urban regenerative
gardens and greening the city. We also promote Art as a form of urban space expression and
We work with marginalized communities such as Street youths, schools and other rescue centres
to make them agents of change and create social and economic cohesion and prosperity while
preserving the integrity of the environment.
My name is Muhindo Geoffrey from Uganda. I am a co-founder of FOCOTE INITIATIVE UGANDA a community based organisation in Kasese Uganda running a skilling project for social economic transformation of young women and girls and also a founder and guide at Bujuku Eco Tours & Travel Ltd a local ecotourism travel company (https://bujukuecotours.com/ecotourism-in-uganda/) specialising in sustainable travel across East Africa with a minimal negative impact on the environment while conserving the existing resources.
We create awareness to change the perspectives of the people in our community. The first step to transformation and positive change is mindset change.
I am passionate about nature, conservation and education.
I acknowledge that oftentimes focus on money always overshadows the negative impact of our actions on the environment such as the planting of the highly commercial Eucalyptus trees which have greatly reduced the ground water levels and dried swamps in Uganda and some other parts of the world.
Bernard B. Molho is a professional teacher, writer, administrator, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts with Education (Hons). He is passionate about social and environmental justice in the community.
Bernard is currently working with Brass for Africa, UK charity that is creating brighter futures for vulnerable children and youth in Uganda, Rwanda and Liberia through music for social impact.
He is also the founding director at Usanii Village Africa that looks forward to creating a peaceful world for children and youth. He is a champion of environment regeneration and a TPP grantee (2021) for the now going global project, the Earth Connections Through Art that is addressing environmental issues through art creation and innovation.
Lindsey Sexton is an environmental policy and community engagement professional with more than a decade of experience serving nonprofits, government agencies, businesses, foundations, and communities. She is the founder of 52 Islands, a nonprofit focused on assisting the world’s most at-risk island communities with preparing for climate change impacts. After spending time in collective communities in islands of the South Pacific and in Mexico, Lindsey believes that establishing authentic connections within and outside one’s community is an important tool for building resilience in the face of economic, political, social, and environmental change. Lindsey is passionate about creating regenerative systems that bring humans in harmony with nature. She serves on the board of advisors for The Ocean Foundation and is working on a book about creating space for life to flourish. She has a BS in Biology and an MA in Environmental Conflict Resolution. Lindsey lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Scott, dog Milo, and the occasional bobcat, coyote, and black bear.
Chiaga Eric is an Agro-environmentalist, a social entrepreneur, and business coach. He has over 10years experience in the non-profit sector working mainly with vulnerable women, youths and marginalized groups in rural communities in Cameroon.
He is the founder of Community Empowerment Agency for Sustainable Development (CEMASUD), an impact driven-nonprofit organization founded in 2009 aimed at alleviating extreme poverty, acute malnutrition, and environmental degradation in Cameroon, through the promotion of sustainable agriculture, economic empowerment and livelihood-skills trainings/support initiatives.
He is a dynamic servant leader with a background in sustainable agriculture, community development, project management, grant writing, and entrepreneurship. He is a mentor to several community change makers and young business startups in Cameroon. Chiaga believes that with vision, passion and the right support ordinary people can bring about extra-ordinary positive changes in their communities. He is a critical thinker, level headed and a hardworking individual whose life has remained a great inspiration to many who have interacted with him in one way or other. He is equally an author of seven books and a motivational speaker with a strong passion to see people discover and fulfill their purpose in life.
Alicia White is an award-winning change-maker, social innovator, and environmentalist. Alicia’s work has been centered around climate equity, social innovation, community development, social impact, social justice, and community relations to create a more environmentally sound and equitable future. Much of her experience has been creating solutions, programming, initiatives, and organizations to improve under-resourced BIPOC, and our planet. Alicia has worked in the social impact sector for over a decade in both the public and private sectors.
She is the Founder of Project Petals, a groundbreaking community development, environmental, and educational organization in New York City. Her upbringing in Queens, New York, inspires her innovation, and seeing a divide in the access to resources and opportunities throughout the city where she grew up is a catalyst for her work. To date, Project Petals has directly improved the environments of over 100,000 thousand New York residents. Alicia has created programs and initiatives to improve the environment and make an impact, from New York to Uganda. She has been a Digitally Undivided fellow where she worked on technological solutions to improve environmental outcomes. She has worked on health and social impact initiatives as an inaugural Impact Hub New York Blueprint 2021 fellow, where she worked on initiatives and tech products to reimagine the future of New York City’s most vulnerable populations.
She has spoken at the KELLER CENTER of innovation at PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, PRSA Public Affairs, and Government Section, and countless other institutions on subjects such as climate change, environmental responsibility, social impact, social innovation, social justice, humane social media, women in leadership, and youth leadership. Alicia’s work has been highlighted in media outlets, including ABC, NBC, The Discovery Channel, and The Huffington Post. People Magazine has also highlighted her works in their Resiliency Rising Series highlighting those working to create change throughout the covid pandemic. Drew Barrymore has described Alicia “As someone who has something to teach us all.” Alicia has worked on various media projects to document the environmental and community disparities in BIPOC communities.
Kelvin Nsekwila is a practicing primary school teacher in Isoka District of Zambia. He is also the Founder & Executive Director of a local Non Governmental Organization; Tusekwile Imiti Iikula Foundation whose mission is to provide quality education for the most marginalized and vulnerable children in his community who have no limited access to education by building schools and offering financial support for the young learners to stay in school.
Kelvin is a young, passionate, motivated community leader who speaks to the students, adolescents, teachers and members of the general public on matters concerning entrepreneurship, Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights, early marriages, youth empowerment, spiritual guidance and educational leadership and management. Kelvin has also worked in the private sector as both a senior teacher and a school manager.
Besides being a graduate in the faculty of education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education, Kelvin is also a pursuant of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI Network) courses including; Understanding Human Rights, Community Organization for Action and Servant Leadership- The Deciding Difference.
Kelvin has held a range of leadership positions in the education sector and subsequently won accolades and awards including; Global Goodwill Ambassador, World Literacy Foundation Ambassador for 2020 – 2021 and he is the Provincial Programs Advisor for National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ).
Kelvin has also undergone training as a peace builder by the Rotarian Action Group for Peace under the theme of Non-Violent Communication.
He graduated in 2012 with Bachelor of Social Science in Sociology from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Also holds Teachers Certificate from Milton Margai College of Education & Technology and which therefore count him among the trained and qualified teacher within the Sierra Leone’s Teaching Service.
For passion and curiosity sake, Amara enrolled at the Educational Centre for the Blind where he studied the Braille. He is currently the leading In-Computer Braille Editor in the country and working as the Production Manager in the Accessible Publishing Department of ECBVI.
Some sections of his society came to notice him when several of his poems were voiced-out in two of the local Radio Stations in Sierra Leone, i.e., Star Radio and Skyy Radio Network respectively. His verses encapsulate call for patriotic attitudes as well as the need for national dutifulness.
Going further, he was detected in the media endeavouring to reminiscence the importance of Civic Education which was absent in the School’s Curriculum for over four decades.
The effort of this Man and his Organization, Civic Questioners, is considered a national assignment for which the government and relevant stakeholders should embrace him since the advocacy and lobbying has helped in the reintroduction of Civics in the Basic Education level.
And now, he has been appointed to serve as Member in the Board of Advisors of The Pollination Project – volunteering from Sierra Leone to help recommend the best ideal Projects that deserve funding.
Tatenda Dzitiro has over ten years experience as a Child and Women Rights Advocate and Protection Specialist. She is a registered lawyer with the High Court of Zimbabwe. She has an undergraduate law degree from the University of Cape Town and a Masters Degree in International Criminal Justice and Human Rights Law from the University of Dundee in Scotland. She is currently studying towards a Doctorate in Public International Law with the University of South Africa.
Tatenda’s job for over ten years has involved producing evidence-based research in South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America and over five countries in the African region, feeding on children and women’s issues. Particularly the analysis of protection laws and policies as well as evaluation of programmes of government institutions and non state actors on the social determinants of gender based violence and making recommendations on how to strengthen the protection systems.
She is the co-founder and current Director of Women Empowerment and Rehabilitation Trust. The organisation has for the past five years provided psycho-social support, legal advice, health and wellness sessions and economic empowerment initiatives to female victims and survivors of gender based violence.
John is a young reformer and global health advocate passionate about health promotion in
low and middle income countries. He was program coordinator for the “Dignified and
non-discriminatory healthcare” program of the International Federation of Medical
Students Associations (IFMSA) in 2018 where he coordinated advocacy to ensure
Universal Health Coverage and equity in healthcare especially among vulnerable groups.
He also represented IFMSA at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva where he
advocated for meaningful youth involvement in health decision making.
He founded Health Compass Initiative (HCI) in 2017, an NGO that tackles non
communicable diseases (NCDs) at grassroots within under resourced settings, ensuring
prevention, early detection and control. Since inception, HCI has reached several
communities with education regarding prevention of NCDs and offered free NCD related
screening services to thousands resulting in early diagnosis and improved quality of life
within mostly indigent communities.
Under his leadership as President, HCI was inducted as a member of the NCD Alliance (a
partner of the UN) and has become a leading voice for NCDs in Nigeria. The
organization received commendation from the director of the department of NCDs of the
WHO who made a live address at the maiden HCI annual summit, acknowledging and
endorsing the immense work done within the organization. More recently, Health
Compass Initiative was welcomed as members of the Global Diabetes Compact of the
World Health Organization, a league of reputable global organizations leading the fight
For his exceptional leadership, he was recipient of the 2022 Young Leader Award of the
Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). John is passionate about the use
of policies to combat NCDs within resource poor settings and aspires to be a public
health physician and health policy maker.
Kosa Jimmy is from Yumbe, northern Uganda. He attended Butabika School of Psychiatric Nursing for his Certificate in Mental Health Nursing. Jimmy then volunteered with Concern World Wide in a refugee crisis and Juba teaching hospital before he worked with Calvary Chapel Midigo.
Jimmy later attended Kampala International University’s School of Nursing Sciences to pursue his Diploma in Nursing. While in Kampala International University, he founded Pentium Health Care Clinic in his rural community in Yumbe district.
Jimmy intends to serve others, contribute to society, grow his human health expertise and learn new skills every other day.
In his spare time, Jimmy enjoys riding motorcycle, watching movies, and reading. He is very excited to be of help to others through fantastic teams of Pentium Health Care Clinic, Kapadia Education Foundation, Little Big Fund and The Pollination Project.
Jonathan Nkungu has four years of experience in the nonprofit sector, managing both field and managerial level community based development works. Jonathan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Ardhi University in Tanzania. He is a humble, passionate and consistent person whose dedication and commitment to improving the Environment, WASH and Community Livelihoods remain his top priority. He has a strong academic background in Environmental Engineering with a concrete knowledge in the field of water, sanitation and health engineering. Jonathan has great experience in organization management working with several community development organizations. Previously Jonathan worked as Country Director for the student organization Cambridge Development Initiative based in Tanzania. Together with students from UK universities and Tanzanian universities, he led 60 students to deliver four year-round programs in Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Health. Highlights include the design and installation of the world’s first biogas-producing simplified sewerage system and the successful creation of 7 fully funded social enterprise start-ups. Jonathan is alumni of the 2017 Young African Leaders Initiative after successfully completing the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program as a young leader committed to transforming Africa. He was nominated as a Young Water Fellow for the 2018 Global edition of the Young Water Fellowship program organized by Cewas (the International Centre for Water Management in collaboration with Young Water Solution) due to his proven commitment and innovative ideas to improve community issues in water, sanitation and hygiene. This diverse set of charity-sector experiences has greatly broadened Jonathan’s horizons and has deeply strengthened his skills in multi-cultural working, collaboration, and social change leadership. He truly believes in the goals and aims of EEDS and is committed to ensuring the organizations’ success.
Christine Nakkazi is a Researcher working with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) a body that oversees and coordinates all agricultural research in Uganda. As an Animal Production Scientist, Christine specializes in animal nutrition, management and welfare. Doubling as a former TPP grantee and volunteer (pre-screener), she is so passionate about creating sustainable solutions at grassroots especially focusing on food security and environmental conservation among vulnerable communities. Christine is inspired daily by her husband and their two sons and a daughter. During her free time, she likes doing charity, visiting nature parks and evangelism.
Mary Liston Liepold set her hair on fire when she was three years old, reading under the covers after lights-out with a swiped cigarette lighter. Her big sister put her out, but she has had her hair on fire about something ever since, and she is still a passionate reader.
As a Secular Franciscan, she is dedicated to peace with justice for all, especially women, children, and the environment. She has spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area, where there’s always another vigil, rally, walk, or demonstration. Before going to work for wages as a writer and editor, she spent 15 happy years as a family daycare provider, during which she also earned a doctorate in American Literature and Linguistics from the Catholic University of America. She has written successful grant proposals for the Child Welfare League of America, Little Friends for Peace, and the DC Peace Team, among others. Now retired after a career with national and international nonprofits, she is a member of Pax Christi USA and Toastmasters International, works with her neighborhood Racial Justice Task Force, coaches English-language learners, enjoys her seven grandchildren and one great-grand, cooks, bakes, reads, does yoga and Pilates, and never gets near the end of her to-do list.
Mashauri Marco is an agronomist, after completing his studies in 2018, he struggled to find better places where he could use his skills to make change in his community, his struggles became fruitful when he was selected to participate in community solution program(CSP) at Ruvuma cooperation union. The organization gave him opportunity to challenge himself in changing the world and he did his best to support agricultural education in rural Community of Ruvuma region.
After finishing CSP program, Mashauri was appointed to be a project coordinator of an agricultural social group called MKOMBOZI (Innovation and creativity research group in the agricultural sector in Tanzania). As a project coordinator he has been working on poverty reduction, human health awareness and environmental protection in his community by promoting sustainable agriculture that respects the environment. His contribution to the training at MKOMBOZI has been a real success. Since it has helped to strengthen his community with technical economic capacity and their responsibility to the environment.
Apart from being project coordinator, Mashauri has also been a self-employed environmental consultant since the summer of 2019. He is involved in numerous consulting projects including hydrocarbon and salinity contamination at Songea municipal. These projects involve innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to planning and project completion. Mashauri has gained a substantial understanding of contaminant behavior, its effects on the environment and mitigative responses. His understanding of contaminant liability issues allows him to respond in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner, he also manages reclamation projects.
With the support of TPP, he recently launched a project that aims to improve cook stoves and replace the traditional three stones stove, but also reduce by 50% the amount of firewood consumption and reduce health risks associated with smoke. He is excited to expand TPP’s network of amazing volunteers and support change maker’s in TPP’s grant application process.
Evans Okumu is the founder of Bicycle for schoolgirls in Kenya. He is well versed in gender issues and girl-child empowerment. His focus lays in fostering sustainable, technical and entrepreneurship skills to girls, which enable them access education, a lost opportunity in rural villages. For the past eight years, Evans has been training rural vulnerable girls on how to ride bicycle and do minor repairs and renting the bicycle to vulnerable girls so that they may use in going to school and as a tool in accessing education in western villages of western Kenya. He has also been involved in helping parents and guardians of those girls in starting Agri micro enterprises. He is a World Bicycle Relief certified field mechanic for both buffalo and black mamba bicycles. He has closely collaborated with TPP, a global grant making organization and other partners in distributing bicycle to the vulnerable girls. Evans is a TPP grantee and volunteer as a grant advisor in the same organization. Evans holds a degree in social science from Maasai mara university.
Name: Elphas Omusilibwa Ongong’o
Project Name: Kongoni Community Library, Resource, Recreation, and Empowerment Centre
Vision: Impacting the community through education and empowering them with relevant resources.
Amanda Elyse has a long background in the grassroots animal liberation movement, primarily organizing campaigns against animal testing, fur farming, and animal agriculture. She has also worked as a lawyer providing legal support to animal and environmental advocates, and she has taught law school courses about social movement lawyering and provided community workshops. Amanda is currently the Senior Corporate Campaign Specialist at Stand.earth, where she’s part of an international team working on moving the delivery sector to zero emission deliveries. She lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her partner, rescue dogs and cat, and the little critters that visit their yard.
Melissa Diamond is passionate about catalyzing sustainable solutions for refugee and conflict-affected communities. She holds a Master’s of Management in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, where she was a Schwarzman Scholar, a Master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow, and Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies: Peace and Conflict from the University of Richmond. Melissa is also the Founder of A Global Voice for Autism, an international inclusive education non-profit that supports the development and success of children with developmental disabilities. She is currently the Afghan Talent Lead at Talent Beyond Boundaries, where she leads a national initiative to facilitate skilled job matches for Afghan newcomers in the United States. Passionate about youth empowerment, Melissa is an AstraZeneca Young Health Programme Fellow with One Young World, has served as a Regional Focal Point for the UN Major Working Group on Children and Youth-SDG 4, and has twice served as the Disabilities commitment mentor for the Clinton Global Initiative University. She sits on the Board of Directors for AMENDS, a U.S.-Middle East dialogue and entrepreneurship organization.
Fred Kiserem has a diploma in marketing management and community development and has been living with epilepsy since 2011. While working in Iraq, he started the Kiserem Epilepsy Foundation and was awarded a TPP grant in 2018 to create awareness in his community of Githurai Mwihoko. His organization deals with epilepsy and mental health awareness. Having been raised in Githurai slums and seeing people with mental health discriminated against and struggling to access education and relevant opportunities, I was always determined to make meaningful change through mentorships and offering skills such as tailoring, baking, and beauty for the community. The Pollination Project is changing lives and I enjoys being part of that change process in my community.
Jennifer Rae Myers, PhD, MS, CCC-SLP is the founder and president of the RB ‘A Way With Words’ Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit that provides free expressive arts and communication health programs to underserved communities in the Greater DC and Baltimore Area, USA. Jennifer was selected for a Pollination Project grant in 2020 for her organization’s ‘Clear Mask For Clear Communication’ Initiative to create clear masks for speech-language pathologists and related professionals during the pandemic. In 2022, she was also selected to be part of The Pollination Project’s inaugural Greenhouse Social Innovation Incubator. As a clinical researcher and humanitarian, Jennifer has over a decade of grant writing and reviewing experience.
Monika Soria Caruso
Monika is an emeritus founding board member of Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, a Pollination Grant recipient. The Refuge provides lifelong care to rescued farm animals, educates people about the realities of animal agriculture, and promotes veganism by offering knowledge, support, and community. Her work with the Refuge includes diversity, equity and inclusion, grant writing, fundraising and community outreach.
Caroline Chepkorir Biegon is a young lady of many traits. One that stands out the most is entrepreneurial skills. She has been running her business her since she was in Campus. She’s also a farmer and runs economic empowerment forums for young women. She understands that once a woman is empowered the whole society is. She has also been a grant advisor with the pollination project since February 2020, it has an amazing opportunity for her learn as well as work with other advisors to award grants to outstanding projects.
Professionally she is an interior designer, a profession that has trained her to always think outside the box and look for functionality, sustainability and realistic aspect of projects
Her skill as a business person, working mainly with women has taught her team management, financial management, servant leadership as she has to lead by setting good example . She has learned , strategic planning, forecasting and psychological counseling where she encourages these women that they can change their stories and as well as those of their families. Being a farmer has tested her patience but she has learned that farming needs a lot of team work and professional guidance from experts.
She’s very passionate about women empowerment and because of this, she’s the president of a women’s Community based organization that are planning of bee keeping projects ,trees nursery project among others. She’s looking see many women able to fend for themselves as well as their children whose main need now is education.
Although not actively involved in it at the present, Almira describes her heartwork as conservation in two areas: indigenous cultural heritage and natural resources. She believes that “our ancestors have always been dependent on their natural environment, and the demise of one spells doom for the other.” Aside from receiving a TPP grant for a livelihood program for women in coastal areas, she has also received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant for Art and Anthropology Project: Portrait of the Object as Filipino, an international artist exchange. Believing that art and cultural projects are valuable expressions of identity, she has developed programming and exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. She was founder of 10,000 Kwentos (“Stories”) at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, a model of direct community engagement with the museum’s Philippine ethnographic collection, and a co-writer for a grant for the digitization of these objects. Another initiative close to her heart is co-founding The Balete Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of the habitats of endemic species in the Philippines, especially in areas that are inaccessible due to armed conflict.
Georgia Bernbaum first became interested in social welfare and justice in grade school. By age
eleven, she had started The Dance Happy Project, an initiative bringing improvisational dance
classes to vulnerable youth. A dancer herself, Georgia recognized the transformative power of
dance and its effect on her sense of agency. She knew it could be an important support to
underserved populations in her community. Funded in part by a Pollination Grant (2014),
Georgia collaborated with dance professionals to develop a six-week curriculum intended to
empower participants and inspire them to be change agents in their own lives.
For two and a half years, Georgia oversaw multiple Dance Happy cycles at the Coalition for the
Homeless of Central Florida. In 2015, regional leaders in arts and fundraising nominated her for
the David R. Roberts Youth in Philanthropy Award, and, in 2017, The Walt Disney Company
named her a Disney Dreamer and Doer. After Dance Happy, Georgia worked for several
nonprofit organizations, all focused on promoting youth service and activism, as a writer,
educator, and program developer.
Currently, Georgia is a Bonner Scholar at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia,
double majoring in History and Politics and minoring in Poverty Studies. Now in her sophomore
year, she has focused her studies and service on the economic impacts of social and political
inequalities. This led her to join the Blue Ridge Mile Clinic as a Student Advocate. A partner in
Virginia’s Drive-to-Work initiative, Blue Ridge Mile helps low-income and previously incarcerated
individuals gain or restore their driving privileges which, in turn, demonstrably improves their
Georgia is very much looking forward to serving as a Grant Advisor for TPP’s Economic
Empowerment Panel. This role allows her to support the organization that first seeded her effort
in a meaningful way, and the work will provide needed context to her academic pursuits.
Rachel has over 25 years experience directing non-profit and public sector health and education programs. She holds a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in community led projects and has been a supporter of youth-directed programming for most of her career. She also produced a film called “Elias’ Stand,” which has been seen over 1 million times around the world, about her son who is a vegan activist. This film was made possible in part from a grant from The Pollination Project. Rachel is pleased to give back to TPP by providing support to other organizations in need of support.