Ahmed “Kura” Omar, Co-Founder and Kenya Program Director: Kura has earned a diploma in Community Development from Premese Africa Development Institute and a certificate in Information Technology from Kenya School of Professional Studies. He also has three years of training with Village Enterprise. Kura heads up BOMA’s field office in Marsabit Town. He is well-known in the region, having worked and attended school in Laisamis County. He also served as a representative of Honorable Joseph Lekuton, the local Member of Parliament. Responsibilities: Developing and implementing all elements of the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project, managing the project on the ground, selecting and monitoring BOMA Village Mentors.
Katy Grant, Chief of Party / Project Director: Katy has fifteen years of humanitarian experience with UNHCR and UNICEF, focused principally on issues of refugees, gender-based violence, child protection and human rights. She has worked in refugee camps and on borders in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Chad, Kenya and Somalia. Katy has been living in Kenya since 2004, and has extensive experience of emergencyand recovery programming in the Horn of Africa. Before joining BOMA in June 2013, Katy was a consultant with international and local NGOs, and to a variety of UN agencies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oxford University, a Master of Science in International Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the United Kingdom, and a certificate of law.
Meshack Omarre, Field Officer: Meshack is based in BOMA’s office in Marsabit. He is originally from Ngurunit, and aside from his time spent at university, he has lived throughout Northern Kenya. Meshack has a certificate in Public Relations and a diploma in Human Resources, both from the University of Nairobi. He is currently pursuing his degree in Business Administration from Kenya Methodist University.
Fredrick Learapo, Field Officer: Fred is the son of a Karare pastoralist and received his BA in Sustainable Human Development from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi. Prior to BOMA, he monitored various community projects in Laisamis with Community Initiative Facilitation and Assistance (CIFA). He then spent four years in Marsabit with the Kenya Red Cross, first as a food monitor and then as a field officer responsible for registering beneficiaries and writing monthly field reports. Fred has also led focus group discussions in Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction with the Pastoral Integrated Support Program (PISP) to engage locals, measure capacity and assess vulnerability.
Sabdio Doti, Field Officer: Sabdio received a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from Baraka Agricultural College in Molo. She first worked with CARE International as a registration clerk and then with Solidarity International as a food security promoter. Sabdio has served as a community-based monitor with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and more recently with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as a clerk and Deputy Presiding Officer. She also brings monitoring and evaluation experience from Research Guide Africa as an enumerator.
Kendi Fridah, Finance and Administrative Assistant: Kendi graduated in 2010 from Catholic University of Eastern Africa with a Bachelor of Commerce. After a year with Catholic Hospital Wamba, she joined Northern Rangelands Trust in 2011, working first as an accounts assistant and then as a finance assistant. She joined BOMA in October 2013 as a finance and administrative assistant, based in our Nanyuki headquarters. She’s a native of Samburu County in Northern Kenya.
Mariana Turolo, Office Administrator: Mariana joined BOMA in December 2013 as office adminstrator in BOMA’s field office in Marsabit Town. She attended secondary school in Laisamis, attended the Imenti Secretarial and Computer College in Meru, and earned a diploma in computer studies from Digital Computer College. She has worked as an assistant at Marsabit Boys Secondary School, Laisamis CDF, Cyber Com Marsabit and Meru National Park.
Krista McAra, Peace Corps Volunteer: Before joined BOMA as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2013, Krista worked as the assistant director of Alumni Relations at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Flagler in 2008 and a Master of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Alabama in 2011.
Omar Sekotei Naida and Semeji Lekuton are BOMA’s part-time staff in Laisamis District, providing field support and securities for all of our training programs and grant disbursements. Omar is a man of few words, but he anticipates every need, changes a mean tire and has a flair for cooking. Semeji is referred to as the “entertainment mentor” for his gift of making everyone laugh and for his soulful warrior songs.
17 village mentors: Village mentors are the foundation of BOMA’s economic-empowerment program, the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project. They are active residents of their communities with professional experience; as full-time BOMA employees, they are carefully selected, trained and supported by the BOMA staff in Kenya.
Research and Evaluation
Vilas Gobin, Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation: Vilas was born in Guyana, where he spent much of his childhood. He moved to the UK after high school and began studying medicine at Queen Mary’s University, London. Soon after starting, he realized that he wanted to serve his fellow man in a much broader capacity and eventually moved on to enroll in a degree in Resource Economics at the University of Sydney, where he graduated with first class honors in 2009. Upon graduating, Vilas worked as an assistant lecturer and research assistant at the University of Sydney before starting his PhD in economics at Monash University, Australia. Vilas’ research interests are broad, but he is particularly interested in development and environmental economics, and the development and evaluation of policies and programs designed to alleviate poverty and/or reduce environmental degradation.
Alex Villec, Research Associate (Monitoring and Evaluation) and 2013-2014 BOMA Fellow: Alex Villec holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government from Georgetown University. Prior to graduating in 2013, he worked with a peer-to-peer microfinance platform in Senegal. Alex has also conducted research in Kenya, assisting in the implementation of randomized control trials in financial education and maternal health savings. At home in Arizona, he spent his summers in the solar energy sector as a field installer and project associate to develop third-party financial models for non-profit organizations. He is currently involved in the monitoring and evaluation dimension of BOMA programs as well as the development of business diversification and data collection strategies.
Bernadette Njoroge, Data Administrator and Agents of Change Coordinator: Bernadette graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2011 with honors and a double major in Swahili and Geography and Environmental Studies. Before joining the BOMA staff, she was a volunteer adult literacy instructor at the Fountain of Joy Foundation, where she worked with women living with HIV/AIDS, counseled adults on the importance of basic education, and organized tree-planting projects and environmental clean-ups.
United States Staff
Kathleen Colson, Co-Founder and CEO: Kathleen has more than 20 years in nonprofit fundraising for African causes. She has been in the safari business in Africa for 25-plus years and worked with refugee groups in London for four. Kathleen oversees fundraising and donor cultivation for BOMA, as well as program development. She undertakes several extended trips to Kenya each year to meet with staff and evaluate programs. Kathleen graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.A. in government; as a SLU student, she participated in the Kenya Semester program.
Margaret (Meg) Harris, Executive Director: Meg has 20 years of experience in project management, fundraising and evaluation for international organizations. She previously served as director of philanthropic partnerships at the Salzburg Global Seminar, where she was responsible for donor cultivation, researching new revenue streams, and developing proposals and reports for foundation, government and corporate support. Before joining the Seminar in 1999, Meg worked with Associates in Rural Development (ARD), Partners for International Education and Training (PIET), and the Overseas Development Network. She spent her formative years in Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya and earned a B.A. from Carleton University and a M.A. in Adult Education from the University of Toronto, Canada. Meg is responsible for BOMA’s day-to-day operations.
Kathleen James, Director of Communications and Foundations: Kathleen has worked as an editor and writer for various newspapers, magazines and nonprofits since graduating from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in journalism in 1989.
Stephanie Sheldon-Watrous, Financial Manager: Stephanie has more than 15 years of accounting experience, mainly with nonprofits. She previously served as U.S. Finance Director & Associate CFO at the Salzburg Global Seminar; where she was responsible for all aspects of the finance department, including cash management, grant tracking, budgeting, reporting and the coordination of the annual audit and tax returns. Stephanie graduated from the College of St. Joseph with a B.S. in Accounting & Business Management.
Ansally Kuria, Database Manager and Operations Assistant: graduated from Middlebury College in May 2012 with a double major in Neuroscience and Women and Gender Studies. During her undergraduate career at Middlebury, she completed a fellowship at the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program (March 2012) and attended the Development Project Management Institute at Middlebury’s Monterey Institute of International Studies (May and June 2012). She also co-chaired the Senior Class Gift Committee. Ansally is from Kenya and graduated with an IB high-school diploma from the United World College of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy.