Dr. Dapo Tomori, Chairman, Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Dapo’s career integrates broad experiences across clinical medicine, academia, biopharma and health care systems and services. He currently works at Genentech, where he leads strategic innovation initiatives in product development.
He has worked in leadership roles in strategy, product development, and innovation at Eli Lilly and Company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Anthem. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
He trained in psychiatry at the University of Michigan and obtained his medical degree from the University of Ibadan, in Nigeria.
He received an MBA degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, and studied International Health Policy at the London School of Economics.
He currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the University of Michigan Depression Center.
Rutendo Urenje, Vice Chair, Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Rutendo was born in, grew up in, and attended high school in Harare, Zimbabwe.
She recently completed a Masters in International Human Rights Law degree at Lund University in Sweden. Prior to this, Rutendo spent five years at Rhodes University, South Africa, studying for a Social Sciences degree and a Law degree. During her studies she worked for the Rhodes University’s Community Engagement office as a student liaison officer. In her own words:
I earnestly have a passion to serve people, especially children who may not have developed the capacities to help themselves.
In Sweden, she actively volunteered at both Save the Children Gotland and Save the Children Lund and was a project leader for the Kids in Transit Project in Lund. She is fluent in both English and Shona, and has working knowledge of French, Afrikaans and Ndebele.
Rutendo is the Managing Editor of African Peace Journal for which she completed a field journalism assignment as well as taught in a village school in South Sudan, Africa’s newest country. She is based in Geneva, Switzerland, where African Peace Journal is headquartered.
Rutendo has recently chronicled a series on refugees and she blogs at Rutendo’s Corner.
Rutendo co-founded African Youth Mentorship Network of which Karim is a Village Elder.
To read the Pencils for Africa Team’s reflections on interviewing Rutendo, kindly click here.
To watch Rutendo’s recent video greeting to the Pencils for Africa Team, kindly click here.
John Kehoe, Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
John began his career at Guittard Chocolate in 2014 as Director of Sustainability after 25 years in the cocoa and international trade and development business.
With the liberalization of Venezuelan cocoa market in 1991, John co- founded and operated a leading cocoa exporting business managing 30% of the county’s exports of premium cacao with clients in the US, Japan and Europe. In 1999, client and colleagues, ED&F Man Cocoa, hired John to restructure a cocoa exporting operation in the Dominican Republic.
In 2002, John returned to the United States, and founded EcoTrade a Specialty Cocoa brokerage and consultancy based in Miami, whose work was considered by many as pioneering a market in the United States for Specialty Cocoa. In 2008, John joined premium chocolate start-up TCHO to help build a branded sustainability platform that included a $3.3MM USAID cooperative development grant working in Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. In 2010 John expanded activities to include Ghana through $640,000 USAID – World Cocoa Foundation grant.
John holds a BA in Economics from Tulane University and attended Venezuela’s IESA Advanced Management Program and the Owner-Directors program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.
John currently leads Guittard’s Cultivate Better sustainability platform with industry leading work in Ghana and Coté d’Ivoire, multiple countries in Latin America as well as Indonesia.
Aaron Kopp, Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Aaron Kopp is an award-winning filmmaker and Emmy-nominated cinematographer who was raised in the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Aaron was awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Doha Film Institute for his feature directorial debut, Liyana, which takes place in the country of his childhood and has played at numerous festivals worldwide including BFI London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight.
Liyana has won 15 awards so far including the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the LA Film Festival, the Grand Prize for Feature Documentary at the Heartland Film Festival, and the Jury Award for Artistic Bravery at the Durban International Film Festival.
Liyana will be screened in Marin County for Pencils for Africa’s Film Festival in fall of 2018.
Carly Yoon, Treasurer of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Carly is the Treasurer of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa.
Her duties include bookkeeping and preparing quarterly financials for the Executive Board.
Carly is also the CEO of Smart Library Bakes Sales.
Portfolio PFA has raised $10,000 over a 30 month period through 11 school fundraisers.
With Charlotte, Lucia, Ella and Shannon, Carly is co-author of the What is Smart? book.
Carly is now working on her second book, entitled A Hand Up Not A Hand Out.
Peter Meringolo, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Peter Meringolo is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A. 1991) and University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D. 1998).
Since 1998, Peter has been a corporate litigation attorney, working at top tier, internationally reputable law firms, including Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Morrison & Foerster. He is presently the managing partner of the litigation firm of Snyder, Miller & Orton, started by former leaders of the Brobeck firm. Peter represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of business litigation, intellectual property, and insurance recovery matters.
Peter is very committed to volunteer work and community service. Among other things, he has volunteered at a drug and alcohol counselling center for teens and performed pro bono legal work on domestic violence and immigration issues.
For several years, Peter served on the Board of Managers for the Embarcadero YMCA. In that capacity, Peter served as the Chair of the Youth Chance High School (“YCHS”) Advisory Committee, a private high school for at-risk youth operated by the Embarcadero YMCA in San Francisco. The YCHS Advisory Committee played a vital role in helping YCHS thrive through an economic downturn — in 2010, YCHS almost closed its doors; in 2012, over twenty young adults graduated with a high school diploma.
Peter, together with PFA Board Member Denise, was one of the editors of the What is Smart? book.
In his spare time, Peter enjoys writing: one of his essays was published in the Loyola of Chicago Law Journal; another was published in Notre Dame Magazine in 2012; and a third won first place in the 2014 Marin County Fair. Peter and his wife, Joyce Raffo, live in Marin County with their three sons, Nicolas, Luke, and Mark, two cats named Smoke and Ash, and one fish named Chewy.
Peter’s son Nicolas is the CEO of One Pencil Per Child.
Peter is a former Executive Board Chair of Pencils for Africa.
Denise Sutherland, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Denise is a former Executive Board Chair of Pencils for Africa.
She has had two children actively involved in Pencils for Africa for several years. It is their commitment to Pencils for Africa and related project activities including African Kitchen Table, Smart Libraries and Two Gates to Africa, that first encouraged her to join as Executive Board member.
Her daughter Shannon, serves on the PFA Advisory Board and is also the CEO of Girl Smart Africa.
Shannon is one of the co-authors of the What is Smart? book, of which Denise served as an editor.
Her son Kyle was a co-director of the Pencils for Africa program during the school year of 2017-18.
Volunteering to support students has been a large part of Denise’s contribution to the local community. She has been on the St. Hilary Catholic Youth Organization board, coached the Cross Country team and she is currently a member of the St. Hilary Parent Advisory Board.
Denise is thrilled to lend her experience to Pencils for Africa and the many lives it touches.
In addition to being active in the community, Denise was a former litigation attorney in San Francisco at Goodman Neuman Hamilton LLP.
She has a B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara, as well as a J.D. degree from Southwestern University College of Law, and spent several years living and working in Germany.
Yema Khalif, Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Yema Khalif, the founder and CEO of YEMA, grew up in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
He knows what it is like to live without clean running water, good schools and job opportunities, much less TV or online shopping. Born in a family of 8, his parents could barely afford school fees, so Yema had to drop out of high school two times even though he was getting good grades.
“I thank my mom for forcing me back to school because I had given up,” he recalls. “She was able to pay for me to finish school by selling off my dad’s cool stereo and gas cooker.”
Through a scholarship from Road to Freedom (RFS), an organization that empowers and educates children living in extreme poverty, Yema came to the US to study Communications and Media at Dominican University of California, where he recently graduated summa cum laude with an MBA.
Knowing what a difference his family and the scholarship made in his life, Yema’s mission is to support the education of vulnerable girls in Kibera slums. To combine his passion for design, athletics and helping other kids back home in Kibera, Yema created the sportswear company YEMA, LLC. He founded the company in the San Francisco Bay Area with his friend and Dominican University classmate Rawad Abou Hassan. YEMA, LLC designs and sells high quality and fashionable sportswear and donates US$5 of every purchase to RFS. Each US$5 donated to RFS is enough to buy a textbook, three meals or a school sweater. RFS is sending kids from the slum to school, where many of the kids’ problems are addressed in one place, holistically.
The kids gain a family in each other, a bed, a uniform to wear, medical care, three meals a day, clean water to drink, safety from violence and assault, and an elite education. Through receiving an education, as well as the opportunity to live in a supportive environment, RFS students are able to break free of the cycle of being “stuck” in the Kibera slum, the largest slum in Africa.
Fiona Britten, Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Fiona is a former Executive Board Chair of Pencils for Africa.
She and her family – husband Will and two young sons Ned and George – moved to San Francisco from Sydney in May 2014.
Prior to having children Fiona was the Executive Assistant to the CEO of JPMorgan in Australia and New Zealand for eight years and prior to that held various senior Executive Assistant roles within JPMorgan, Schroders and the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
Fiona’s passion is education and empowering young people to realize they are capable of reaching their goals with a willingness to never stop learning, a strong work ethic and always treating people with respect, regardless of their job, gender or age. She has mentored many young ladies over the years, many of whom have gone on to achieve their dreams.
Fiona’s involvement with Africa, in particular School For Life, started when Ned was a baby and she and Will attended the inaugural School For Life fundraising ball. Will bought a life size lion for Ned and so began their beautiful relationship with Africa and School For Life!
Will sits on the Board of School For Life and Fiona is involved in many aspects of the charity including strategy and event planning. Fiona also has many contacts in the Sydney and Melbourne business community so has been able to tap into those for fundraising opportunities.
Fiona sits on the Board of the Fundraising Committee for the Grace Gala, which raises funds annually for The Grace Centre for Newborn Care and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The Grace Centre is located within Sydney Children’s Hospital and provides newborn intensive care for critically ill babies, neonatal education, follow up clinic for critically ill newborns and research. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides services to thousands of people with a disability and their families.
The Committee has raised over $5 million for the charities over 5 years.
Chris Mburu, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Chris was born in, grew up in, and attended high school and college in Kenya.
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Masters Program, and is an international human rights lawyer serving as UN Senior Human Rights Advisor in Kigali, Rwanda.
He was previously serving as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, focusing on anti-discrimination work.
A graduate of University of Nairobi (LL.B) and Harvard Law School (LL.M), Chris has worked on human rights, governance, democracy, peace and conflict resolution issues for over 20 years and has served in many countries including USA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Prior to his recent transfer to Kigali, he served the UN in Geneva, Switzerland and as Advisor on Democracy for the UN Regional Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Chris has previously worked with leading human rights organizations and policy think-tanks, including Global Rights, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International. In 2001, while still working with the UN, Chris started Hilde Back Education Fund, a charitable organization in Kenya that supports the scholarship education of bright children from poor families.
He named it after a Swedish woman, Ms Hilde Back, a holocaust survivor who supported his education when he was a poor child growing up in a village in Kenya. The story of Chris and Hilde became the subject of an Emmy-nominated Hollywood documentary film called “A Small Act” which debuted at the Sundance Festival in 2010 and was voted among the Top-10 audience favorites at the Toronto HotDocs Festival the same year. It was featured extensively in the international media. To learn more about this film please go to: www.asmallact.com.
Pat McNicholas, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Patrick McNicholas and Pencils for Africa’s founder, Karim Ajania, have known each other for over 30 years since their friendship as college students at the University of San Francisco (USF).
Pat was USF’s Student Body President, while Karim was USF’s International Student President. Both Pat and Karim worked together in college to strengthen the USF community for which they were both awarded the USF Board of Governor’s Award, USF’s highest community service honor, by the Board of Trustees. After 30 years, Pat and Karim continue to serve the USF community.
Upon graduating USF with a BA in Government, Pat served as an intern at The White House. He then went on to receive his JD degree from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.
Pat is partner in the Los Angeles firm McNicholas and McNicholas, LLP (www.mcnicholaslaw.com).
With more than 25 years experience as a trial lawyer, Pat exclusively represents victims in catastrophic injury, product liability, aviation disasters and civil rights.
He has tried and settled numerous noteworthy cases including a $44 Million settlement for air crash victims, a $10 Million jury verdict to a construction worker and a $6 Million settlement on behalf of a family for the death of their father while working in an MTA tunnel. Pat has authored articles ranging from ‘Effective Use of Your Expert Witness’ to ‘Preparing an Employment Case for Trial’. He has taught at Pepperdine University and Whittier School of Law.
Pat is consistently ranked as Top 100 Lawyer in Southern California and won many awards.
His service to Education ranges from serving on the USF Board of Trustees to co-founding a nonprofit. Pat is Co-Founder of Urban Compass (www.urbancompass.org) based in South Central Los Angeles. Urban Compass was formed in partnership with Verbum Dei High School and 112th Street Elementary School to combat poverty and violence and make a difference in the lives of children living in Watts.
Watts is an economically depressed area known for its high drop-out rates, widespread unemployment, crime and gang violence – and the rate of violence triples in the hours immediately following the school day. Urban Compass provides a safe, welcoming and innovative environment that challenges young people to navigate a course for a rewarding future characterized by achievement, independent thought and social responsibility.
Pat serves on the Board of Directors of Urban Compass as a Founding Member.
Chiluwata Lungu, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Chiluwata was born in, grew up in, and attended high school in Zambia.
Chiluwata recently completed his doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
He has an extensive background in energy and propulsion having developed an expertise in combustion through eight years at the world renowned Georgia Tech Aerospace Combustion Laboratory. He has worked with Siemens Energy and will soon be joining Alstom Power.
Chiluwata is also the Founder and Chairman of the Zambian Institute for Sustainable Development, a non-governmental organization dedicated to empowering its people and transforming Zambia into a prosperous nation, by implementing a multifaceted approach to alleviating poverty. The Institute helps the most brilliant underprivileged students in Zambia through scholarships and a range of programs in personal development, software development and renewable energy. The renewable energy program is focused on engineering solutions for biofuel use which provides an engaging opportunity to turn waste into fuel.
Chiluwata has brought together an operations team of local and global experts, as well as a diverse board of eminent Zambians including the central bank governor and chief executive officers from major corporations, dedicated to the sustainable development of Zambia.
Saki Mafundiwaka, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Saki is an artist, filmmaker, author and international speaker.
He received his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Yale University.
In his book Afrikan Alphabets, Saki includes a Ghanaian pictograph meaning “return to the past”. This is exactly what he did in 1997 when he cashed in his publishing job 401(k) and left New York to open the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) in Harare. (“Vigital” denotes visual arts taught using digital tools.) As a kid growing up in Zimbabwe, Mafundiwaka loved to sketch letterforms he saw in books and magazines, but he didn’t know graphic design was a career option until he arrived in America. “Sometimes you have to leave home,” he says, “to discover yourself.”
He opened ZIVA to pay it forward. “The dream,” he says, “is for something to come out of Africa that is of Africa.” In 2010, he made the film Shungu: The Resilience of a People, a compelling narrative of the strategies ordinary people use to survive in Zimbabwe today.
To listen to Saki’s TED Talk, kindly click here.
To read Pencils for Africa’s interview with Saki, kindly click here.
John Chuharski, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
John’s children are active participants in PFA and Portfolio CSR, through their schools.
It is through their involvement and enthusiasm for the program that raised John’s awareness of the programs and interest in participating himself.
John is a strong believer in contributing to the community, and most of his contributions are to his childrens’ schools by way of volunteering. He is on the Parent Advisory Board, working with the school on technology initiatives and safety, he has been a coach for basketball and track for CYO, and can be seen flipping burgers for the kids on BBQ day.
Having spent two and a half years in Hong Kong in his early career, John is a believer in the tremendous educational benefits of learning about and living among other cultures to help broaden perspective. John has been very impressed with the way the PFA program has blossomed, from it’s educational focus for children to learn about other cultures and global issues, to becoming an agent for change through supporting worthy and vetted programs in Africa.
When he’s not doing school-related activities, John is an executive recruiter for clients in the beverage alcohol industry and natural and sustainable consumer goods industry.
His prior experience spans finance, digital marketing and entrepreneurial ventures.
John’s daughter Emma is a co-author of What is Smart and a former editor of Pencils for Africa.
Dr. Shepherd Urenje, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Dr. Shepherd Urenje currently works as a Senior Programme Specialist at the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD) in Sweden since 2010. Prior to joining SWEDESD he was a Principal Examiner at EDXEL UK (2009), a regional Programme Manager at SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (2004 – 2008), a Research Associate (2002 -2008), a Teacher Educator (1997 -2003) and a high school teacher (1983 – 1996). Karim and Shepherd worked together on a township community service program in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2003, with the high school where Shepherd taught Geography.
Shepherd completed a Doctorate in Development Education at the University of London in the UK (2012), a Master Degree at Rhodes University in South Africa (2005) and undergraduate study at University of Zimbabwe.
His research interests are in the field of Environment and Sustainability Education, ranging from theory, design to implementation, with a focus on improving the practice of teaching and learning. In recent years he has been working on developing cutting edge techniques for teaching and learning that will equip young people with the relevant knowledge and skills for an ever changing world. He is currently working in collaboration with researchers in South Asia and southern Africa.
Véronique de Viguerie, Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Véronique de Viguerie is a multi-awarded French photographer represented by Reportage by Getty, is based in Paris, France.
Having completed a Master’s Degree in Law in France, she studied photojournalism in England.
She spent 3 years living and working in Afghanistan. Since 2006, she is been covering stories around the world in Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Kashmir, Mexico, Algeria, Guatemala, Pakistan, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and several other countries.
“The Oil War in Nigeria” was exhibited in Bayeux festival for the war correspondents.
Véronique’s photos are regularly published in Paris-Match, the New-York Times Magazine, Newsweek, El Pais, Stern, Der Spiegel, Figaro Magazine, Geo, Marie-Claire, Mail on Sunday, the Guardian, l’Optimum and other publications. Véronique was especially noticed for having photographed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pirates in Somalia, the Oil Pirates in Nigeria, the Sicaraias in Colombia, and the MNLA in Mali.
She bravely takes on these challenging assignments and personal projects in some of the most dangerous places on the planet, often working with her French journalist friend and colleague Manon Querouil. In 2006 she published her first book, “Afghanistan, Regards Croises” and in 2011 “Carnets de Reportage du XXIe siècle”. In 2012, she was chosen by HBO to be one of the three photographers to be part of the Witness program for her work on the Arrow Boys in South Sudan.
Véronique de Viguerie and her colleague Manon Querouil Bruneel have just completed a book entitled “Profession: Reporter”.
To explore the website of Véronique de Viguerie kindly Click here.
To read Karim’s interview with Véronique for African Peace Journal kindly Click here.
Purity Kagwiria, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Purity is based in Nairobi, Kenya and is the Executive Director of Akili Dada.
A journalist by profession, Purity has worked on the rights of women since 2004.
As an active member of the feminist/women rights movement, she is committed to analyzing the private and personal spaces and developing strategies that lead to the emancipation of women.
Founded in 2005 to address the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in Africa, Akili Dada is based in Nairobi, and registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Kenya. The organization focuses their programs around scholars and building networks with women’s rights organizations both in Kenya and across Africa. Akili Dada, envisions a world where empowered African women from diverse economic backgrounds are equally represented in leadership roles and decision-making processes in Kenya and across the continent.
Jeff Clark, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Jeff Clark is the Head of Publisher Video Monetization at Google.
Jeff has more than two decades of experience in the media and technology sectors.
He comes to Google through the recent acquisition of mDialog where he was the Chief Revenue Officer overseeing the companies global sales, marketing and business development.
Jeff previously served as Vice President and General Manager of CBS Interactive’s Entertainment division where he was primarily responsible for the network’s flagship property, CBS dot com, and the distribution and management of all online ad-supported video.
Jeff also had senior management experience with Yahoo! and successful start-ups including Dotspotter (sold to CBS in 2006) and Videosurf (sold to Microsoft in 2011).
Leslie Kennedy, Secretary, Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Leslie Kennedy is a brand strategy consultant with an extensive background in advertising, marketing and consumer research. She has provided guidance to many global brands including Microsoft, The Wall Street Journal and Tim Hortons. Prior to being an independent consultant, Leslie was Planning Director at Goodby Silverstein and Partners and Mullen Advertising.
She has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and enjoys mentoring students as an advisor at The Miami Ad School San Francisco.
Her involvement in Pencils for Africa started with her children, as she is the proud mother of Colin (CEO of Scramble for Africa) and Carly (CEO of Portfolio PFA).
As Leslie’s husband, Min, is a first generation immigrant from Korea, the family has always placed high priority on global travel and perspective. Their service work began many years ago during a trip to Cambodia where they were fortunate to meet a volunteer from Friends of the Orphan Children Organization (FOCO) in Siem Reap.
They immediately fell in love with the 55 children within the orphanage and have continued to support them, through the generosity of the St. Hilary School community, with clothing, school supplies and contributions for a much needed water filtration system.
She feels incredibly fortunate that both she and her children have the opportunity to be involved with the PFA community and looks forward to the exciting projects ahead.
Leslie’s son Colin is the CEO of Unscramble for Africa.
Muyambi Muyambi, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Muyambi is currently an MBA student at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
He worked as an engineer for almost four years at Clark Construction in the Civil division.
His first project was the $1.2B Dulles Corridor Metrorail project (Silver line), which Clark bid for and won in 2013. Muyambi is passionate about the role of infrastructure in development and was part of the team at Capital Rail Constructors building the Silver Line in Virginia.
In addition, Muyambi was a partnership and branding advisor at The Pearl Dream Inc. – a startup aiming to become Africa’s Disney by connecting African writers and storytellers to a global audience. He also received a personal congratulatory letter from President Obama in 2012 when he graduated from college.
Muyambi was a 2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year and recipient of the esteemed Burma International award at Bucknell University among other awards.
A native of Uganda, he holds a dual degree in Civil Engineering (B.S.E.) and Economics (B.A.) from Bucknell University. Before Bucknell, he attended the last two years of high school in Norway at the Red Cross Nordic United World College.
On Saturday mornings, you will find Muyambi on a road bike.
He has been lucky to cycle across both the USA and Uganda.
Olivier Bercault, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Human Rights Lawyer Olivier Bercault specializes in armed conflicts, refugees and international criminal prosecutions. He leads fact-finding research missions to document human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity; bringing to justice those who commit atrocities.
Mr. Bercault is consultant for Human Rights Watch on the case against Hissein Habré, the international prosecution of former Chad dictator. In December 2013, Human Rights Watch published his book “La Plaine Des Morts” (The Plain of the Dead), a 714-page study indicating that Habré was personally implicated in the massive human rights violations during his rule in Chad from 1982 to 1990. In 2010, Olivier Bercault returned to Iraq on behalf of Human Rights Watch where his research on torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad gained international attention and triggered an official United Nations investigation.
In 2008 and 2009, Olivier has served as deputy-head of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Mr. Bercault has directed the reporting effort of the United Nations in Iraq regarding human rights violations committed in this country.
Olivier was also in charge of the human rights advocacy work and human rights promotional activity of the United Nations in Iraq. From 2000 to 2008, Olivier Bercault has served in the emergencies program at Human Rights Watch. During these years, he conducted research mission in most of the conflict areas around the globe: Eastern Chad, Darfur, Central African Republic, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka among others. He has investigated and documented widespread abuses committed by governmental forces, rebel and other armed groups.
His research on war crimes, child forced recruitment and crimes against humanity, especially in Darfur have ended up at the International Criminal Court and United Nations Security Council.
While on mission to Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad in February 2005, Olivier Bercault gave children notebooks and crayons to keep them occupied while talking to their parents.
Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed militia, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad. Mr. Bercault brought back hundreds of drawings in the hope that the rest of the world would see the war stories of these children. The drawings have been published by the New York Times and extensively in the world press, on the net, broadcasted on major TV networks in the United States and in the world and showed in exhibitions in New York, in the major cities in the US and in Europe.
In addition to his work on emergencies, Mr. Bercault was responsible for Human Rights Watch from 2000 to 2008 for coordinating the international effort to bring Hissein Habré, the former dictator of Chad to justice. Olivier has also participated as an external expert in the Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo projects of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in New York (2003-2004). He conducted several missions to these two countries.
At the end of the eighties and in the nineties, Olivier worked for the Moscow Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Russian Federation.
To read Karim’s interview with Olivier for this Pencils for Africa website kindly click here.
Joyce Raffo, Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Joyce brings over 20 years of professional experience as a management consultant and start-up entrepreneur to the Pencils for Africa (PFA) Executive Board. Through these experiences, she expresses her love of change, managing effective projects and teams, and bringing efficient processes and new products to market.
Most recently, she co-founded a consumer product company, Fabkins, inspired by her desire to pack eco-friendly lunches for her school-aged children.
Joyce is a passionate volunteer, involved in her children’s school and local community. She has advised school leadership as the Parent Advisory Board President and Parent Guild Treasurer.
She has also enjoyed roles as room parent, admissions tour guide, and new family ambassador. Joyce has also volunteered with San Francisco Bay Area organizations such as Catholic Charities, co-leading an effort to collect necessary supplies for a family relocating to the US with their two children; The Volunteer Center, leading groups of 7th and 8th grade students in community service projects throughout San Francisco; and the Bay Area Discovery Museum, serving for 4 years on its Council, including as a co-chair for its annual fundraiser and Vice President responsible for recruiting new members to its 100-person, all-volunteer group.
Joyce attended the University of Notre Dame, where she met her husband Peter, and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Gender Studies. She lives in San Diego with her husband and three sons, Nicolas, Luke, and Mark.
Joyce’s son Nicolas is the CEO of One Pencil Per Child.
Jackson Kaguri, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
CNN Hero Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is the Global Ambassador for Pencils for Africa.
Jackson was born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi.
At a very young age he demonstrated an unquenchable desire to learn, which led him to graduate from Makerere University in Kampala. During this time he co-founded the human rights organization, Human Rights Concerns, to help victims of human rights violations in Uganda and to educate the public about their rights. In the 1990s he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University where he studied Human Rights Advocacy. In 2001, Jackson founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of the disease in his hometown.
The organization, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, provides free education to children who have lost one or both parents. In addition to two schools, it operates a library, a community agriculture and nutrition program, a medical clinic, and a clean water system, and support services to the grandmothers who care for up to fourteen children at a time.
Jackson is the author of A School for My Village where he shares how he built the first school and the struggles he faced during the first few years. He has been named a Heifer International Hero, recognized in Time Magazine’s ‘Power of One’ Series, spoken to the UN about his work, and is a 2012 CNN Hero.
Back in January, 2013, fellow Pencils for Africa Executive Board Members Jackson Kaguri and Paola Gianturco, discussed ‘The Power of Grandmothers as Effective Community Builders’.
To read this discussion between Paola and Jackson, kindly click here.
Elizabeth Hachman, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Elizabeth happily comes to the Pencils for Africa Executive Board through her oldest daughter’s involvement with the group.
She worked for eight years as Associate Director of Donor Relations and Special Events at California Pacific Medical Center Foundation in San Francisco. Raising over 15 million dollars per year, CPMC Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to develop philanthropic resources for California Pacific Medical Center.
Elizabeth also worked for three years as a Director of Events for Banc of America Securities in San Francisco managing investor events and conferences.
Elizabeth believes strongly in modeling service to her daughters and thus is an avid volunteer for St. Hilary School and Parish. She has served on the Parent Advisory Board for the past three years in different capacities: Chair of the 50th Anniversary of St. Hilary School, Secretary of the Board and Co-Chair of the Angel Fund.
Additionally, Elizabeth has co-chaired the school’s Read Week for the past three years, served as Room Parent and two years as Chair of the Teddy Bear Tea.
Elizabeth attended Santa Clara University, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art.
She lives in Marin County with her husband Tim, and 3 daughters, Charlotte, Cecilia and Caroline.
Cecilia is the Chief Conversationalist for Conservation Conversation.
Obed Kabanda, Executive Board Member of Pencils for Africa
Obed Kabanda is Founder and CEO of Action for Community Development – ACODEV.
ACODEV works in Uganda and Rwanda and is expanding to Malawi, Tanzania and Eastern DRC. Obed envisions a society where children, women and men are healthy and economically productive. He has led ACODEV from a small CBO in 2003 to be a regional NGO now reaching millions of children, youth, women and men and attracting high level resources including from USAID as a result of institutional systems building and collaboration with others.
Obed is a professional Public Health Leader with over 16 years of experience in Organizational Management and Leadership. His work has been awarded.
He recently won the 2015 Angel for Africa Award in the US for support capacity building and mentorship and advising other organizations on the continent. He has won the 2015 Codes Fellowship to be hosted in Mexico, and in 2013 Obed was recognized as the Change Project of the year for Safe Motherhood in Uganda by Save The Mothers International.
ACODEV Uganda’s Child Protection Model (pioneered by CEO Obed Kabanda) in action
Obed holds an Master of Science in Public Health Leadership and a Bachelors Degree in Community Development and Leadership; a PG Diploma in Leadership Development for Health of the University of North Carolina; and Governance for Health and development of the University of London (SOAS) and trained at University Los Angeles in Management for Organizations through the Nairobi East Africa program. He is a qualified M&E CDC Fellow – Makerere University and has since qualified in other human rights and development related courses.
ACODEV Community Development (pioneered by CEO Obed Kabanda) in action
Obed is a member to various international professional organizations. among them LEADNET, Transformational Leaders Forum, Global Public Health Group, Sustainable Development Africa Group and M&E Professional group. He has served as a board of director for various highly respected National and International CSOs namely; Board Chair White Ribbon Alliance for Safe-motherhood Uganda Chapter (Washington based CSO), Advisory Council member for One World Children’s Fund, Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organizations, and serving as one of the Uganda Advisors for Global Health Corps – East Africa.
ACODEV trainees and community development action participants in Uganda
Obed sits on various national ministry Technical Working Groups namely:
The Reproductive Health Working Group, Health & Rights Working Group all in the Ministry of health (MOH) in Uganda; The National Child Protection Working Group in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MoGLSD) and in May 2015 Obed was appointed to the National Advisory Committee for International Child Rights Convention (CRC) reporting in Uganda.
He has led leadership and capacity strengthening teams at institutional and consultancy level nationally and internationally, most recently in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. He led a 7-member Virtual Leadership Development Program (VLDP) team at ACODEV that won a golden medal award after undergoing Measure Evaluation, MSH-US VLDP Diploma training.
Obed recently worked with others at ACODEV to establish an Africa Centre for Leadership Development (ACLED) that will be a one stop center for training in East and Southern Africa running short tailor made and fellowship Leadership and Governance for Development courses.
Annabelle Chauncy AOM (Order of Australia Medal)
Member of the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa
Annabelle is the Co-Founding Director of School for Life Foundation (SFLF).
Annabelle is a country girl who grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in Canyonleigh in the Southern Highlands, NSW. She attended small primary and secondary schools then studied at Sydney University.
A visit in 2007 as part of World Youth International Overseas Service Project saw 21 year-old Annabelle spend 3 months in Kenya and Uganda, where she undertook aid work. She returned numerous times and in November 2008 to March 2009 she led a volunteer school building project in Northern Uganda. Her experience led her to found SFLF with David Everett in 2008. Having completed her undergraduate Arts/Law degree, gaining some professional experience and meeting David, she made the decision to invest her legal knowledge in the non-profit sector and specifically SFLF. Annabelle’s passion lies in building relationships, managing events, sponsorships and business development.
School for Life is a not-for-profit organisation focused on making a transformational difference to the communities of emerging countries starting with Uganda through providing access to a quality education. It builds educated, sustainable, productivity and profitable communities starting in Katuuso, which focuses on children and adults who have been denied an education.
Katuuso Primary and Vocational School provides high quality education to over 220 primary aged students (including a specialised program for children with disabilities), vocational training to more than 100 adults (agriculture, literacy and tailoring), and clean drinking water, electricity, community outreach and medical treatment to the entire community of more than 1000 residents.
School for Life is now expanding, and will begin construction of another Primary and Vocational, as well as a Secondary School in 2015, to enable more than 1600 students access to high quality education. Annabelle has successfully led a team of more than 30 people to raise more than two million dollars in 5 years. Her role includes management of relationships, business development, fundraising and sponsorship, marketing, media and events. In 2012, Annabelle was listed in the Australian Financial Review & Westpac’s Top 100 Women of Influence and voted Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 2012 Role Model of the Year. Annabelle was finalist in 2 categories of the NSW Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards 2013 for Business Innovation and Young Businesswoman.
Annabelle was introduced to us through Pencils for Africa’s Co-Editor-in-Chief, Charlotte.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, PFA Executive Board Member Emeritus
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu has been a long time supporter of the PFA Founder’s work in African development. To read more, click here for the interview with the Founder of PFA.
Karim Ajania, PFA Founder and Member of the Executive Board
Karim is the Founder of Pencils for Africa.
He is a former school principal of a Massachusetts state charter middle school. Karim was born and schooled in Kenya and holds advanced degrees from MIT and from Harvard University.
To read an interview with Karim for the African Peace Journal click here.