Last month, Kiva Zip Kenya proudly hosted the inaugural meeting of our Trustee Advisory board. Six top trustees are now taking on leadership roles as board members, creating more cohesion between key players in the program and helping guide its future.
The board will provide feedback on product changes and participate in decision-making on topics such as communication practices, borrower-trustees, and trainings. Together with Kiva Staff, they will meet monthly to discuss best practices surrounding the Zip program and voice constructive ideas for improvement.
Trustees have always been our eyes and ears on the ground, and we are excited to have formal and regular access to their observations as we continue to build this pilot project together. How wonderful that as fellows come and go, there will remain a solid base of informed participants to maintain continuity and quality of Kiva Zip operations.
Below are brief professional backgrounds of the trustees chosen to represent the larger group of roughly 70 trustees and 35 borrower-trustees in Kenya.
Wamuyu Mahinda (The Youth Banner)
The first phase of Wamuyu’s profession started over 20 years ago with her involvement in the Kenya Girl Guides Association. Over the years, she rose to the top of this organization, eventually becoming its Chief Commissioner before she was elected into the World Board of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Associations. This, among other occupations geared towards youth empowerment, has given Wamuyu a unique and intimate understanding of the challenges facing youth today.
She clearly sees the gaps in the current interventions designed to help young people climb out of poverty. From her point of view, merely waving the banner of entrepreneurship at young people is not enough to get them to jump into the deep end; rather what will make them succeed is the presence of an appropriate support structure. It is this insight that paves the way for the second phase of Wamuyu’s work: “Since not all young people can start a successful enterprise, I will start and grow three social enterprises that will each provide work for a minimum of 1000 youth by 2015”. She is now Founder and CEO of The Youth Banner.
Samuel Mwangi (TechnoServe STRYDE)
Samuel Mwangi is the Business Advisor in charge of Aftercare in the Strengthening Rural youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program at TechnoServe. He is a dynamic leadership and business development consultant, keen in working with emerging leaders in economic and social development. He has worked with different organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Norway, Denmark and Austria. He holds a BSc in Botany & Zoology from UoN and a Diploma in Cross Cultural Communication and International Development from Hald International School, Norway. His work has included Entrepreneurship training/research & development and transformational management projects.
Kennedy Odede (Shining Hope for Communities)
Kennedy is an internationally recognized community organizer. Kennedy was born and lived for twenty-three of his twenty-seven years in the Kibera slum, the largest slum in Africa. As the oldest of eight children, he assumed responsibility for his family at the age of ten. The first time Kennedy ever had extra money—20 cents in 2004—he bought a soccer ball and started Shining Hope for Communities. As President & CEO of Shining Hope, Kennedy started The Kibera School for Girls, the slum’s first tuition free school for girls. Under Kennedy’s leadership Shining Hope has also opened a community health clinic, built eco-friendly toilets, and currently operates a community center from which we run extensive community programming such as health care and education outreach, gardens, gender violence support groups, microenterprise for HIV positive women, literacy/computer training, and hundreds of jobs. Kennedy is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow, won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times, and was recently honored by President Bill Clinton. He speaks six languages and is one of very few people from Kibera to ever attend an accredited four-year college (Wesleyan University, US).
Phyllis Kariuki (GVEP International)
Phyllis Kariuki, Financial Institution Support & Liaison Specialist, has over 10 years of experience in Microfinance both as a Technical expert, Consultant and Microfinance Practitioner. Prior to joining GVEP, she was working with the World Council of Credit Unions as Credit/Microfinance Specialist. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy and a bachelor's degree in Education. She is responsible for capacity building of financial institutions, strengthening the financial management capacity of energy SMEs, development of appropriate loan products and facilitating specific lending agreements.
Davis Mkoji (Individual Trustee)
Davis is an Organizational Development, International Relations and Communications Consultant, currently working at KEMRI in the Corporate Relations Department. Davis is also a part time Communication Lecturer at Daystar University.Davis holds an Advanced Diploma in Journalism, (KIMC, Nairobi), Diploma in Public Relations and Personnel Administration (IABE, UK), Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Public Relations) Daystar University, Nairobi, MA in International Studies from University of Nairobi and an Executive MSc in Organizational Development (EMOD) from the United States International University, Nairobi.His key competencies are in Public Relations and Communications, Media liaison, Advocacy, Partnerships and Collaborations, Organizational Development & Consultancy, Strategic Planning & Management. Other interests include International Conflict Management, Communications Strategies for Donor Funded Projects, Diplomacy and International Relations and Community Mobilization & Advocacy.
Pastor Zachary Murimi Muriithi (Individual Trustee)
Mr. Zachary is the Marketing and Business Development Manager in ECLOF Kenya (a microfinance institution based in Kenya with branches all over the country). He has a vast experience in Microfinance having served in Faulu Kenya from 2006 to 2011and in ECLOF Kenya from 2011 to date. In both organizations, he has worked in different positions starting with Credit Officer to the current Head of Marketing and Business Development Department. He is the author of “The Millions in You” a motivational book that has sold thousands of copies. He is also a motivational speaker and a trainer with vast experience having developed over 13 training manuals in different business related subjects. He has also been a pastor for many years and impacted thousands positively with the word of God. Mr. Zachary is married with three children and a philanthropist.