Team

AllCool BlockRTP FundCenter for Reinventing the PlanetImaginePeace on Earth

Kent Epperson

Kent Eppersonis Director of Traffic Solutions for Santa Barbara County Area Governments and an alternative transportation and climate champion for Santa Barbara County. Kent has been a Cool Block advocate in the greater Santa Barbara area. His Cool Block roles include alternative transportation strategies and community and local governmentengagement.

David Hoffstatter

David Hoffstatter,founder/CEO of a publicly traded tech company, is an impact investor in social infrastructure technology. He has expertise in market development and transformative business models. David is an active impact investor and serves as founder, advisor, director or chairman to a number of projects and organizations focused on convergence towards whole systems. David is on the RTP Fund team.

David Gershon

David Gershon, co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute has been called “the number one expert on social change.” He applies his visionary leadership and social change expertise to designing second order change solutions for cities, countries and the planet that enable the seemingly impossible to become possible. 

In 1986 David organized, at the height of the cold war, the passing of a torch of peace around the world. The First Earth Run, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund directly engaged twenty-five million people and 45 heads-of-state in 62 countries. Over a billion people watched the torch via the media circumnavigate the globe. For 86 days wherever the torch of peace went all wars stopped and the world was united as one. Since then this modern day mythic story embodying humanity’s noblest aspiration for peace on earth and the oneness of humanity has continued to be told all over the world.David is author of twelve books, including the award-winning Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World and the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life as You Want It. 


Hedirects Empowerment Institute’s Center  for Reinventing the Planet which empowers social entrepreneurs from around the world to design and implement second order change social innovations. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT,  and Johns Hopkins and served as an advisor to the Clinton White House and the United Nations on empowerment and second order change.

David has dedicated his life to empowering humanity to believe we can create the world of our dreams and designing the strategies and tools to help us make this a reality. He is putting this aspiration and second order knowledge into action through a bold plan to change the world called: “Reinventing the Planet.”

Empowerment Institute:Co-Founder and CEO

Center for Reinventing the Planet:Founder and CEO

Cool Block:Team Leader

Imagine:Team Leader

POE by 2030 Game:Team Leader

Kristin Hoffman

Kristin Hoffmanis a singer-songwriter-musician and activist. Her music has been heard on major record labels, film and television, and she has performed throughout the world. A strong advocate for peace and the environment, Kristin has appeared internationally at environmental concerts and conventions. Kristin will be developing the sound track for the Peace on Earth Game and serving as music director for our annual celebratory events.

Kristin Hoffmann is a Julliard trained singer-songwriter-musician with extraordinary artistic range. Her music has been heard on major record labels, film and television, and she has performed throughout the world, collaborating with musical luminaries on projects ranging from individual albums to grand symphonic productions.

A strong advocate for peace and ocean conservation, Kristin has appeared internationally at environmental concerts and conventions, TEDx San Francisco, The Emoto Peace Project concert in Tokyo, and with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. In August, 2016, the symphonic version of her “Song for the Ocean” was performed at Sydney Opera House by a choir of 800 Australian children. In 2011 she became the singer for Bella Gaia, a multimedia theater experience created in conjunction with NASA.  Kristin writes a monthly song and blog for Gandhi’s BE Magazine, addressing worldly issues through the vehicle of music.

Kristin’s songs reflect her personal luminosity, her warmth, and her talent for bringing out music’s healing power.

Center for RTP Team:Singer, Music Producer

Thelma Orleans Thompson

Thelma Orleans Thompson is a results oriented, self-motivated, optimistic individual with a passion to serve humanity in general and contribute to the social development of Ghana in particular. Her professional experience spans in the areas of teaching, socioeconomic development, program development, and management and policy analysis at ABANTU for Development.

Thelma holds master’s degrees in social policy analysis from the University of Ghana and environmental management and policy from the University of Cape Coast, as well as a bachelor’s degree in sociology with linguistics from the University of Ghana, with professional courses in both project planning and management.

Equipped with great negotiation, communication, and interpersonal skills, Thelma is an advocate for women’s empowerment, child well-being, and substantive community development. She loves to sing, listen to hymns, and watch movies. She is married and has four children: two boys and two girls.

ABANTU for Development

ABANTU for Development is a women’s rights organization working to promote women’s agency in development processes in Ghana and in Africa as a whole. ABANTU is an NGO established in 1991 by a group of African women living in England. It has extended its reach by establishing autonomous regional offices in Eastern and Western Africa. The Ghana office, ABANTU for Development, Regional Office for Western Africa, is currently in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and focuses on gender and governance, gender and climate change, and gender and peace building, which are key areas of development as contained in the Twelve Critical Areas of Concern in the Beijing Platform for Action.

Fatima-Zahra Laaribi

Fatima Zahra Laaribi was born in Marrakech, Morocco. She graduated from Cadi Ayyad University, where she received a bachelor’s degree and a diploma in business management. Prior to working at the social-development nonprofit High Atlas Foundation (HAF), Fatima Zahra worked at a law firm as well as working as an accounting assistant at the company Conseille Gest PLUS. Since 2012 she has worked as the office manager at HAF, where she helps coordinate all of HAF’s various activities from the central office in Marrakech as well as managing HAF communications with local, national, and international partners.

High Atlas Foundation

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) aims to make sustainable prosperity a reality. Founded in 2000, HAF is a Moroccan and U.S. not-for-profit organization and since 2011 it has held special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The local development of predominantly rural impoverished Moroccan communities is based on a participatory approach that advances the realization of national and global initiatives to promote sustainable human development. This aim is made a reality through projects encompassing promotion of organic agriculture from nursery to market, improvement of school environments, attention to health and sanitation, and environmental resource management. Since 2003, HAF and its partners have planted more than 2 million trees as part of a campaign to plant one billion trees in Morocco. HAF and community tree-planting efforts benefit 5,000 households (about 45,000 people) throughout eleven Moroccan provinces. http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/

Salwa Shili

Salwa Shili has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication studies from the Institute of Press and Information Sciences at the University of Manouba in Tunisia and a master’s degree in media sciences and technologies (interactive media and new content) from the Mediterranean School for Advanced Studies at the University of Pavia in Italy. Salwa specializes in communication, project management, web content development, and the management of training programs. She has deep and wide experience with the private sector, having worked for more than twelve years with many national and international companies as a web content editor, web analyst, communication consultant, and coordinator or project manager. She is currently a training and development manager. She has proven skills in designing training programs, facilitation, leadership, and monitoring as well as in the evaluation, appraisal, and review of a training program’s effectiveness and success.

Salwa Shili is catalyst of hope, inspiration, and motivation. She has the stamina, determination, love, and passion to redirect the lives of marginalized youth and women who are living in disadvantaged circumstances, and she enjoys helping them rediscover their value and find the beauty and the greatness inside them in order to create healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities as they rewrite their destinies.

Jasmine Foundation
Think. Engage. Empower

The Jasmine Foundation (JF) is an “action research” CSO that has established itself as an innovative NGO working to study social challenges in Tunisia and come up with creative solutions. Jasmine Foundation has extensive experience in programs  that engage vulnerable or  marginalized  youth.  

JF specializes in civic education for youth  in marginalized areas,  using non-formal education and youth-led trainings to engage youth and women in civic life and public  decision-making, particularly at the local level, by giving them the tools, skills and confidence they need.

JF also has developed extensive experience in successfully translating scientifically rigorous research into  policy relevant outcomes and programming. JF has significant experience in organizing and mediating public dialogue and forums, research methodologies and fieldwork, writing policy briefs, and helping local actors conduct outreach.

To date JF has successfully managed many large projects thanks to a dedicated and skilled team of researchers, project coordinators and assistants as well as an extensive and solid network of volunteers. Since its establishment in 2013, JF has grown a prolific network of allies and collaborators in the private and public sectors alongside civil society.

jasmine-foundation.org/

Robin Elander

Robin Elander is responsible for the recruitment and coaching of Cool Block leaders and management of partnerships in the greater Santa Barbara. She is also the Southern California Director of the Cool Block program and is responsible for helping to scale the program in this region.

Robin is the Director of Global Good Impact, a Santa Barbara-based company dedicated to empowering individuals and building stronger communities. She has over 15 years of experience planning hundreds of community initiatives and events to foster a more connected and thriving community. Robin is also the Executive Director of the Summer Solstice Celebration, one of the largest parades and festivals on the West Coast.

Cool Block Team:Santa Barbara Program Manager

Olanike Olubunmi Olugboji

Olanike Olugboji is a resource conservationist and women’s empowerment advocate in Nigeria. She holds degrees in urban and regional planning. Inspired by her concern for nature and deep sense of equity, she founded the Environmental Management and Protection Network in Nigeria in 2004. While in the field, she became profoundly aware of the lack of attention to women’s roles, rights, and responsibilities in environmental sustainability. Olanike’s passion is engaging grassroots women in natural resource stewarding and peace making, through her organization the Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE), which she founded in 2009. Her online journal Women, Environment, and Society Think-Tank on the World Pulse website is dedicated to raising awareness and spurring action about environmental issues touching women’s lives. Her article about the need for safer affordable cooking options as an alternative to the open-fire stoves used by disadvantaged women in Nigeria appeared in Time magazine in April 2016. Among her recognitions, Olanike was named as one of the top Voices of Our Future correspondents at World Pulse, and she was also a recipient of the Junior Chambers International 2014 Ten Outstanding Young Professionals in Nigeria Award.

Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE)

Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) is a nonprofit organization with a mission of empowering grassroots women and youth with the information, knowledge, skills, and human agency that will help them become natural-resource stewards and peace makers. The organization’s work focuses on the promotion of environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, gender equality, poverty reduction, and peace building in Nigeria and beyond. WISE programs deliver environmental awareness on climate change, conservation, food and water security, peace and conflict resolution, micro entrepreneurship, citizen journalism, clean cooking solutions, and human agency. WISE also networks and lobbies individuals, governmental and intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, and corporate organizations to develop environmentally sustainable initiatives that socially and economically empower women. WISE has initiated and implemented many projects that support women and girls in becoming active leaders in the environmental sector, where they have long been invisible and unheard. To date, WISE has directly impacted more than 7,000 women across rural and urban communities in Nigeria. WISE envisions a safe and just world where green living is achievable for everyone. http://www.wisenigeria.org

Elissa Shamma

Elissa Shamma is a passionate activist from Lebanon who believes greatly in human potential and strives to be an advocate for human rights throughout her work and her life. Since 2007, Elissa has been involved in the civil society sector in Lebanon, with programs aiming at social justice, equality, human solidarity, and improving the lives of people. She puts her soul into working with community members, especially youth and women from underprivileged areas, to build their resilience and achieve agency to infuse the change that they want. She has delivered a wide variety of trainings on active citizenship, communication, nonviolence, peace building, leadership, and conflict resolution. Elissa is a national facilitator with the British Council on a global leadership training program called Active Citizens. She studied graphic design as a bachelor’s degree and holds a master’s degree in culture of human rights and nonviolence from the Academic University for Nonviolence and Human Rights (AUNOHR) in Beirut, Lebanon.

Steps

Steps is a noncommercial company registered under Lebanon’s 677 Civil Record that works to create transformational strategic moments in the process of community empowerment and change. Steps engages with any movement that is working toward social justice, including issues of human rights, gender, nonviolence, and freedoms. The organization works on providing a quality model of change through a specific set of services while seeking to create an environment of critical thinking, appreciation of difference, and creativity. Its services include participatory and interactive facilitation for meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences; participatory focused research; measuring impact and developing quality assurance; developing training materials and curriculum; consultation support; and building and incubating civil-society organizations. http://www.stepslb.org/

John Foran

John Foran is a beloved sociology professor at University of California Santa Barbara specializing in social change movements. He describes himself as a scholar activist and is deeply engaged in the issue of climate change.John taught a 230-person class called “The World in 2050” which had a major focus on Cool Block. It was so successful we are now partnering with him to scale up Cool Blocks in the adjoining campus community of Isla Vista through an initiative called “Cool Eco Vista;” and California universities thorough an initiative called “Cool Universities.”

Carl Palmer

Carl Palmer is the founder of LegacyWorks Group. Carl has led innovative community impact initiatives for the past 17 years. His experience spans impact investing, nonprofit leadership, ecological restoration, strategy development, entrepreneurship, investment management and place-based education. In 2005 Carl co-founded Beartooth Capital, an impact investment firm. Carl is on the Cool Block team focused on scaling and the RTP Fund focused on Cool California financing.

Namrata Kanuga

Since 2012 Namrata Kanuga has worked as the creative project manager at the NGO Kolkata Sanved based in Kolkata, India. Kolkata Sanved aims to harness the power of dance and dance movement therapy to heal, empower, and transform individuals into active citizens and change-makers. In her capacity as creative project manager, Namrata has performed a wide variety of roles at Kolkata Sanved including designing classes, arranging internships, and coordinating contact between faculty and students. As the head of the Sustainability and Resource Center at Kolkata Sanved, Namrata oversees the design of events and workshops, directs the advocacy and campaign performances, coordinates the online academy and library, and is involved with grant writing and budget lineup. She is also involved with the audiovisual documentation of all Kolkata Sanved programs.

Kolkata Sanved

Kolkata Sanved is an NGO based in Kolkata, India, that aims to harness the power of dance and dance movement therapy (DMT) to heal, empower, and transform individuals into active citizens and change-makers. Kolkata Sanved’s Sampoornata methodology, based on DMT for Change, recognizes the creative potential inherent in every human. Expression, creativity, and dance utilized as therapy within the Kolkata Sanved curriculum addresses the unique mental, emotional, and physical needs of survivors of trafficking and violence. Kolkata Sanved believes that all individuals, both from marginalized and from mainstream populations, should live with the dignity and self-respect that can be achieved through DMT. This approach was developed to break the exploitative, patriarchal, and oppressive boundaries that have restricted women and girls in India. Kolkata Sanved aims to build the eco system for DMT for Change across Asia and create leaders and change-makers in the field, especially from underprivileged communities. http://www.kolkatasanved.org/

Chantal Gaines

Chantal Gaines is Assistant to the City Manager in Palo Alto, CA. She serves as Cool Block program manager for the City. Her Cool Block roles include supporting team recruitment, community engagement and city staff liaison. She has a wide experience in city management and community engagement having served in similar roles in Oakland, and College Park Maryland. 

Esther Tawiah

Esther Tawiah is the founder and executive director of Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), with the objective of helping marginalized women and youth to become empowered economically, politically, and socially. In this capacity she has organized two baseline surveys to understand the political participation of women and their understanding of policies in five constituencies in Ghana. She also led entrepreneurship training for women to improve their livelihood.

Esther is a highly motivated self-starter with good organizational skills. Her academic and professional training empower her to be an excellent researcher, capable of providing reliable and up-to-date information. She has excellent organizational and coordinating skills, including a strong ability to organize and coordinate human resources. She also has effective written and spoken communication skills, with specific capability in report writing, proposals, and memos, along with a talent for human and interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence, and the ability to work effectively under high pressure to achieve short- and long-term goals and meet tight operational deadlines. A lover of the arts, she enjoys listening to music, watching movies, dancing, and reading novels.

Gender Centre for Empowering Development

The Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED) is a nongovernmental organization that seeks to empower women and youth as a force for sustainable development in our communities. GenCED was established in May 2011 as an independent, not-for-profit research and advocacy organization and currently focuses on the following key areas of development regarding issues affecting women (as identified in the Twelve Critical Areas of Concern from the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action): governance, social interference, entrepreneurship, peace and security, and climate change.

GenCED’s vision is to become a leading grassroots organization that empowers the marginalized—especially women—economically, politically, and financially. GenCED seeks to close the gender deficit in Ghanaian governance by providing political education and sustainable human resources development services to marginalized people, especially women and youth. The organization aims to empower through evidence-based research, advocacy, community outreach, and information sharing.

http://www.genced.org/

Carole Wainaina

Carole Wainaina,is a consultant to Imagine with responsibility for scaling Imagine in Africa and fundraising for the overall RTP plan. Her experience includes working as COO for Africa50, an innovative investment platform for infrastructure development in Africa. She is a well-respected senior executive with more than two decades of global experience in the private and public sectors. Before joining Africa50, she served as the Assistant Secretary General for Human Resources at the United Nations from 2014-2017, leading transformational initiatives for the Secretary General and member states.

Imagine Program Team:Director of Imagine Africa

Gail Straub

Gail Straub, cofounder and executive director of the Empowerment Institute, is one of the world’s leading authorities on women’s empowerment. She codirects the Empowerment Institute’s School for Transformative Social Change, which empowers change agents from around the world to design and implement cutting-edge social innovations. As part of this focus, she cofounded IMAGINE: A Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women to help women heal from violence, build strong lives, and contribute to their community. IMAGINE initiatives are under way throughout Africa, Afghanistan, India, and the Middle East. Gail has been a consultant to many organizations furthering women’s empowerment including the Chinese Women’s Federation, Women for Women International, World Pulse, and the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. 

Gail is the author of five books, including, with her husband, David Gershon, the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It; the critically acclaimed The Rhythm of Compassion: Caring for Self, Connecting with Society; and the award-winning feminist memoir Returning to My Mother’s House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine. She is also a contributor to the anthology Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership

Taking her empowerment work global early in her career, Gail served as the international director for the First Earth Run, a historic planetwide initiative cosponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and ABC Television in 1986, during the height of the cold war. As a torch of peace was passed around the world, 25 million people in sixty-two countries participated and the relay garnered recognition from forty-five heads of state. The event raised millions of dollars for UNICEF that was distributed to the neediest children in the world.

Gail has served in the Peace Corps in West Africa and on many boards including Omega Institute and the Russian American Initiative.

Empowerment Institute Team:Co-Founder, Executive Director

Imagine Program Team:Co-Founder, Executive Director

Reyad Abu Sharaf


Dr. Reyad Abu Sharaf is a cofounder and board member of Tamkeen Association. He worked as a school counselor and then earned a PhD in counseling psychology and mental health. He is now a senior psychosocial counselor at the Jordan River Foundation, working with the foundation’s Child Safety Program as a counselor for the Queen Rania Family and Child Center and serving as a project manager in the foundation’s juvenile psychosocial care and foster care program.

As a trainer in applying psychotherapy techniques and methods, he has worked in the field of crisis counseling, including counseling personnel in trauma. He also offers training courses in subjects including family counseling, human communication skills, self-assertion skills, and strategies of psychotherapy for those who have been sexually abused.

He provides individual psychological sessions and group counseling for women (and adults in general) using many psychotherapeutic approaches but especially cognitive processing therapy (CPT), the thematic apperception test (TAT), and psychodrama. He is keen about working in the humanitarian field as a way of providing support and serving the human community regardless of race, origin, religion, or color.

Tamkeen Association

Tamkeen is a national nonprofit empowerment organization established in Amman, Jordan, in 2017. The association’s mission is to raise awareness about mental health and provide counseling services and psychological rehabilitation for all members of society equally. It promotes the common interests of specialists in the field of social work and psychological support, educates about the importance of psychological services and guidance within the community, provides psychological counseling services for every person in need, and offers specialized training programs to help people develop life skills.

Josie Maran

Josie is founder and CEO of Josie Maran Cosmetics (JMC). Former supermodel turned social entrepreneur, in 2007 she founded her high end natural cosmetics company with the stated goal of changing the world. She has been recognized with many awards for doing this both in the cosmetics industry and through pioneering the field of corporate social engagement – where a company takes responsibility to address a major social problem, invests substantive financial resources and puts its shoulder to the wheel to change the game in that space. Funding of The Cool Block program is part of a larger and comprehensive corporate social engagement partnership JMC has formed with Empowerment Institute called Reinventing the Planet.

Imagine Program Team:Strategic Partner

Mary Alice Onyura

ESVAK Community Development, Kenya

Mary Alice was born on the 26th of December 1957, and raised in a small rural Village of Homabay County in Kenya. Before joining boarding school at the age of ten, she had to walk the twelve kilometers to and from school. Such early challenges prepared her to understand the hardships of the disenfranchised women both in the rural and urban locations. She joined high school at the age of twelve having skipped the sixth class of primary school. Her professional background is in education, psychology, rural sociology, and community development. She was part of the pioneering group of women psychologists at the University of Nairobi. Mary Alice is a lively teacher, deeply empathetic. She believes in the correlation between women’s interior empowerment and economic development. In the course of her career she has worked with extremely disenfranchised target groups such as street children and homeless women. She is a founding director of ESVAK Community Development Initiatives, a national NGO that currently works with the poorest of the poor rural and urban women in small communities through 260 self-help groups in fifteen of the forty-seven counties in Kenya. She is passionate about IMAGINE Kenya and see its potential in transforming women’s lives.


ESVAK Community Development Initiatives was founded in August 2001 and is registered as a national NGO. For the past twelve years ESVAK has worked with poor communities in twenty-three constituencies in fifteen counties. Currently ESVAK partners with 260 self-help groups and ten community-based organizations while accessing a direct target population of over 10,000 through more than fifty community projects in the relevant counties. ESVAK’s current programs include Urban Slum Development; Entrepreneurship and Women & Youth Empowerment; Education for Rural and Marginalized Communities; Civic Education; Research on Clean Cook-Stoves with Johns Hopkins University; and IMAGINE Empowerment Training launched in February 2012. ESVAK has a long track record for working with communities at the grassroots level and as a result has a wealth of community capital. ESVAK has successfully managed resources for thirteen international partners and it has infrastructure in target areas. NGOs from ten European countries and the United States have partnered with ESVAK (among other projects) to build schools, children’s homes, ablution blocks, shelters for the homeless, early childhood development centers, and youth vocational training centers; offer microcredit revolving fund scheme; and carry out research.

Sue Lebeck

A smart city innovation specialist, Sue has a unique talent for integrating technology, sustainability, psychology, media and collaboration to create high performance solutions. She is Chair Emeritus of the City Protocol Task Force, an organization formed to share solutions to common problems cities face around the world. She is also a contributing writer for the MeetingoftheMinds urban sustainability platform, and the GreenBiz sustainable business platform. Formerly, Sue founded InnovatingSMART, a media initiative which celebrates and supports sustainability-driven innovators. Earlier in her career Sue was a software product and program manager and an applied technology researcher for email, the first internet application.

Cool Block Team:Cool Block Platform Manager

Pam Ryan

Pam Ryan is the founder of her company Virtual Ringmaster, LLC. Through her more than twenty-five years of administrative experience, she has mastered the art and science of calmly juggling multiple priorities to get the job done. Customer-focused administrative support is Pam’s specialty in her role as a virtual assistant. She spent ten years in Washington, DC, working for two nonprofit trade associations as an executive assistant, office manager, and meeting planner. After relocating to northeast Ohio, she worked for seven years as an executive assistant and customer service representative for a Fortune 100 company. Currently as the administrative manager for the Empowerment Institute, Pam handles a myriad of details including registration, visa requirements, and travel arrangements, and is an executive assistant to Gail Straub. She loves working with the IMAGINE participants from all over the world. Pam holds a BS degree and she has successfully completed AssistU’s comprehensive, industry-specific Virtual Training Program. She has been an active member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals since 1992. When not in her office, Pam’s favorite activity is tending her flower garden. She also likes to spend time admiring the view near a river, pond, or lake any time of year.

Empowerment Institute Team:Administrator

Charne Permall

Currently running her own consulting business, Chasse People Consulting (Pty) Ltd, specializing in human-capital development, Charne Permall holds a master’s degree and is a registered psychologist in Western Cape, South Africa. With more than eight years of experience in the corporate sector, Charne is passionate about developing people and making a difference in the way she leads her clients. Charne received her certification as an Empowerment Workshop facilitator in New York in 2016 and will continue her training in the IMAGINE master trainer certification program. Her passion for people has been matched with the impact of the Empowerment Workshops in developing the youth of South Africa. Charne is honored to contribute to IMAGINE South Africa by working closely with her mother, Laetitia Permall, and their NGO, Cabanga Foundation.

Cabanga

The nonprofit Cabanga organization, based in South Africa’s Western Cape, is codirected by IMAGINE team members Laetitia Permall and her daughter Charne Permall. The word cabanga means to “conceive” or “imagine” in Zulu and SeSotho. The vision of Cabanga is to help youth and parents create new possibilities for their lives and to fortify the family as a system. Cabanga works collaboratively with other stakeholders to equip people to take agency toward a better life. It strives to facilitate access for youth from impoverished communities to career assessments, learning support, and opportunities to enhance their holistic development and well-being. It also endeavors to create spaces where parents can access parenting-skills training and support. The Cabanga organizers believe that it is imperative for people to become the active managers of their own personal and professional development. They hope to grow Cabanga and help create youth development centers across South Africa that will provide youth and parents with the tools to become agents of holistic, positive social change as democratic citizens and contributors toward the global economy.

Miranda Clendening

Miranda Clendening has brought tens of millions of people together around the world in synchronized meditation and unitive events through her leadership of Unify.org. Her skillset includes non-profit management, technology integration, whole-system community development, and large event facilitation. She will serve as Director of Operations for the Peace on Earth game that includes management of the game platform, game development and the large-scale annual events. 

Empowerment Insitute Center for Reinventing the Planet Team:Director of Operations

POE by 2030 Game Team:Game Manager

Theresa McGahran

Theresa McGahran is the IMAGINE Director of Community Learning, where she works closely with IMAGINE-partner nongovernmental organizations throughout the world to support them in achieving mastery as practitioners of empowerment. She has worked in training and development for the past twenty years and her expertise includes coaching, mentoring, and training. A practical and intuitive facilitator, Theresa builds lasting relationships and has demonstrated personal management skills in operations, finance, personnel selection, and performance evaluation. She is certified by the Empowerment Institute and holds a master of science degree in organizational change management from the New School for Management and Urban Studies in New York. A blue-water sailor, Theresa lives in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

Imagine Program Team:Director of Community Learning

Jana Morshed


Jana Morshed graduated from the Institute of Dramatic Arts at the Lebanese University in 1992 and then worked in the field of theater, radio, and television education. Theater led her to social work, where she studied nonviolence and conflict resolution at the Academic University for Nonviolence and Human Rights (AUNOHR) in Beirut.

Steps

Steps is a noncommercial company registered under Lebanon’s 677 Civil Record that works to create transformational strategic moments in the process of community empowerment and change. Steps engages with any movement that is working toward social justice, including issues of human rights, gender, nonviolence, and freedoms. The organization works on providing a quality model of change through a specific set of services while seeking to create an environment of critical thinking, appreciation of difference, and creativity. Its services include participatory and interactive facilitation for meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences; participatory focused research; measuring impact and developing quality assurance; developing training materials and curriculum; consultation support; and building and incubating civil-society organizations. http://www.stepslb.org/

Mandakini Desale


Mandakini Chudaman Desale holds a master’s degree in social work. She works with the NGO Saheli Karyakarta Sangh, in Pune, India, as program manager, after starting with Saheli as an intern nine years ago. Working with Saheli for the past nine years is the most courageous thing Mandakini has done in her life. Given Mandakini’s family background, she found it very challenging to choose a vocation supporting women in sex work. But she saw the work as a great opportunity for her professional and personal development. Each day at the Saheli office, Mandakini encounters new experiences, new exposure to life, and new challenges.

Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh

Since its foundation in 1998, the Saheli Sangh’s vision has been to empower female sex workers in Pune’s red-light district through a collectivization effort. Saheli’s main aim is to enable greater levels of self-protection among sex workers through promoting a sense of togetherness, supporting collective action, and, most important, creating a sense of identity. Saheli encompasses 100 non-brothel-based sex workers and approximately 3,000 women working in the brothels; the collective’s general membership consists of more than 1,000 members. Saheli is the only sex workers’ collective in Pune, and its activities include prevention and education around sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS; self-help groups for women living with HIV/AIDS; networking with government hospitals, clinics, and other NGOs; a community kitchen project; a drop-in center for sex workers; and twenty-four-hour child care for children of sex workers. http://www.sahelisangh.org/

Ibtissam Niri


Ibtissam Niri was born in Marrakech, Morocco, and received her bachelor’s degree in political studies, public law, from Cady Ayyad University in 2013. She received a master’s degree in international relations and diplomatic and consular law from Hassan II University in 2017, and she also recently received a diploma in information technology. Ibtissam has worked with several associations as a volunteer on health, education, and sustainable development. In 2014 she had the opportunity to work with the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) on participatory democratic planning and management of development projects in Mohammedia City. Currently she works in HAF’s Marrakech office in everything related to legal issues.

High Atlas Foundation

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) aims to make sustainable prosperity a reality. Founded in 2000, HAF is a Moroccan and U.S. not-for-profit organization and since 2011 it has held special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The local development of predominantly rural impoverished Moroccan communities is based on a participatory approach that advances the realization of national and global initiatives to promote sustainable human development. This aim is made a reality through projects encompassing promotion of organic agriculture from nursery to market, improvement of school environments, attention to health and sanitation, and environmental resource management. Since 2003, HAF and its partners have planted more than 2 million trees as part of a campaign to plant one billion trees in Morocco. HAF and community tree-planting efforts benefit 5,000 households (about 45,000 people) throughout eleven Moroccan provinces.

With IMAGINE Morocco, HAF builds transformative agency to empower women toward substantive equality. It is through this agency that meaningful change occurs, and economic, social, and political empowerment become reality. Agency also triggers a lasting transformation in the lives of women and enables the emergence of women as real, visible change-agents and pillars of society.

http://www.highatlasfoundation.org

Millicent Joash

Millicent Adhiambo Joash was raised in a humble family in the small village of Tagache in Muhuru Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. Millicent attended Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in botany and zoology. She further pursued a postgraduate diploma in education at Kenyatta University. She is a wife and the mother of four beautiful children. Millicent has worked as a teacher, trainer, credit officer, and now as senior program officer at ESVAK Community Development Initiatives, as well as an assistant trainer at the Kenyan NGO Sanja Women’s Group.

ESVAK Community Development

ESVAK Community Development Initiatives was founded in August 2001 and is registered as a national NGO. For the past twelve years ESVAK has worked with poor communities in twenty-three constituencies in fifteen counties. Currently ESVAK partners with 260 self-help groups and ten community-based organizations while accessing a direct target population of over 10,000 through more than fifty community projects in the relevant counties. ESVAK’s current programs include Urban Slum Development; Entrepreneurship and Women & Youth Empowerment; Education for Rural and Marginalized Communities; Civic Education; Research on Clean Cook-Stoves with Johns Hopkins University; and IMAGINE Empowerment Training launched in February 2012. ESVAK has a long track record for working with communities at the grassroots level and as a result has a wealth of community capital. ESVAK has successfully managed resources for thirteen international partners and it has infrastructure in target areas. NGOs from ten European countries and the United States have partnered with ESVAK (among other projects) to build schools, children’s homes, ablution blocks, shelters for the homeless, early childhood development centers, and youth vocational training centers; offer microcredit revolving fund scheme; and carry out research.

Izere Vedastine


Izere Mugeni Vedastine is a young mother and orphan raised by the Duhozanye Association in Rwanda. She is a graduate of the National University of Butare, holding a bachelors’ degree in law. As a self-motivated youth leader, she has been working closely with Duhozanye in different events and trainings as a healing tool to regain self-esteem and overcome obstacles that hinder the potential of achieving personal and collective goals. Izere is certified to lead Empowerment Workshops, especially with youth. She sees the effect of the Empowerment Workshop on the daily life of its beneficiaries and observes that it has tremendously changed their lives. Izere believes that in order to develop human capacity aimed at developing community leaders, women in her community need to be empowered.

Duhozanye Asscoiation

The tragic events of the Rwandan genocide in April through July of 1994 left various forms of scars on the genocide survivors. Indeed, the genocide took thousands of lives and broke up the foundations of social relations. Many survivors of the genocide lost beloved family members as well as all their belongings. To various degrees, they have experienced trauma, exclusion, isolation, fear, poverty, and loss of hope for the future. Some have been injured or tortured, while others have been victims of rape and sexual abuse. In November 1994, addressing these complex issues, widow survivors of genocide created the Duhozanye association, which means, “Let’s console one another.” The mission of Duhozanye is to ensure the socioeconomic empowerment of widows and orphans of the genocide in order to integrate them into everyday life, so that they can achieve self-reliance and participate in the development of Rwanda. http://duhozanye.com/

Grace Wornyo Azaonoo

Grace Wornyo Azaonoo is the program coordinator of the Accra-based West African regional office of ABANTU for Development, a women’s rights organization that works to promote gender responsiveness in policies in Ghana and Africa generally and that hosts the civil society organization Gender Action on Climate Change for Equality and Sustainability. She also serves as a program officer in charge of ABANTU’s Young Women’s Mentorship Program. She is a fellow of the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program at the Research Center for Leadership in Action at NYU Wagner (New York University); she advocates as a gender activist; she is a member of the Network for Women’s Rights (NETRIGHT), which focuses on economic justice and women’s land rights in Ghana; and she leads a youth group of more than 200 members in her community that works to harness and grow the talents and potential of local youth by shaping attitudes through trainings that enable young people to impact society positively. Grace holds a graduate diploma in project management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and received her bachelor of science degree in administration (human resource management) from University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

ABANTU for Development

ABANTU for Development is a women’s rights organization working to promote women’s agency in development processes in Ghana and in Africa as a whole. ABANTU is an NGO established in 1991 by a group of African women living in England. It has extended its reach by establishing autonomous regional offices in Eastern and Western Africa. The Ghana office, ABANTU for Development, Regional Office for Western Africa, is currently in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and focuses on gender and governance, gender and climate change, and gender and peace building, which are key areas of development as contained in the Twelve Critical Areas of Concern in the Beijing Platform for Action.

Dina Shafaqouj

Dina Shafaqouj is the IMAGINE consultant for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. As an entrepreneurship and empowerment expert, and a civil society technical assistance specialist, Dina Shafaqouj is a freelance consultant and trainer delivering specialized missions on institutional development, community mobilization, business start-up, and business management. Her experience also includes developing and adapting training tools and modules for community-based productivity projects that address social and economic needs. She has proven skills in programs management, team building, facilitation, group mobilization, leadership, and mentoring.

Dina holds a BS in chemical engineering and possesses certificates from several international organizations: she is a Global Learning Partners trainer of trainers and Certified Dialogue Education Teacher, a master trainer in the International Labor Organization’s Start and Improve Your Business management training program, a trainer with the Empretec integrated capacity-building program of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a certified Empowerment Workshop trainer with the Empowerment Institute, and a founding member of Arab Facilitators Network.

Dina has more than twenty years’ experience working within the nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector. At the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), one of the leading NGOs in Jordan and the MENA region, she has helped Jordanian handicrafts reach export markets, built Jordanian developmental success models, and developed the training and consultancy division of JRF as a resource for NGOs in the Arab region.

Throughout all her work Dina has built a network of Arab NGOs and development specialists in the MENA region. Now Dina works as an NGO technical assistant specialist in one of the U.S. Agency for International Development projects that supports strengthening civil society in Jordan.

Imagine Program Team:Imagine Consultant for Mena Region

Carlen Young

Carlen is passionate about merging the worlds of community psychology, education, and human-computer interaction.  His focus is on increasing civic engagement, creating spaces and opportunities for authentic connection, and facilitating the process of empowerment by structurally building these systems into day-to-day interactions.

As the co-founder of DiviniTree Yoga, and a psychology research associate with the University of California, Santa Cruz, Carlen spent the last decade exploring group dynamics, community building, and the process of empowerment. He has brought the cumulation of this knowledge to Serve Community; as a  member of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle, a project of the Source of Synergy Foundation; and as an advisor to mission aligned incubators and projects focused on aligning new technology with empowered communities.

Center for RTP Team:Director of Web Development

POE by 2030 Game Team:Platform Design, Partner Outreach

Sandra Slater

She is a co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, a grassroots organization that educates and advocates for better housing and transit options in Palo Alto and regionally. She also serves on the City of Palo Alto’s Sustainability/Carbon Action Plan Advisory Committee and is actively engaged in many sustainability initiatives in the City and beyond. Prior to this Sandra founded a design consulting firm specializing in green building techniques. Sandra began her career at the United Nations Environment Programme, and worked closely with Norman Lear to help found People for the American Way.

Cool Block Team:Palo Alto Program Manager, Northern California Director

Leah Auma Okeyo

Founder, PACHO (Positive and Active towards Change Organization)

Leah Auma Okeyo realized her calling as a leader during dark days struggling to attain education with children in her rural community in Kenya and her activism around HIV/AIDS. After turning to the internet to connect to a global community of women, she now uses her voice to inspire others on the worldwide stage. She has traveled to Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Austria, UK, Mozambique, and Turkey to spread her message of empowerment and teach other women and girls how to find their voice. As a certified IMAGINE practitioner and a graduate of the Empowerment Institute in New York, Leah empowers her local community to have the courage to dream, to grow, and to realize their fullest potential. A tech-savvy woman, and a firm believer in connection, she trains other women and girls to express themselves and build their capacity through digital media wherever she goes. Leah is a commanding, six-foot-tall mother of six who radiates integrity and kindness—everyone looks up to Leah! Make yourself at home! Get acquainted with Leah’s gifts and partner with her to change the world for women and children here: www.leahokeyo.weebly.com.

PACHO (Positive and Active towards Change Organization)
Founded by Leah Okeyo and other women who are passionate about creating change in their rural community, PACHO works with women, girls, and communities in rural Kenya to empower them with resources that educate them on HIV and related rights issues, raise their voices through digital media, use their crafts skills for community service and generating income, and support women, girls, and orphans to continue with their education and lead fulfilling lives through trainings and support networks. PACHO’s programs are run at both the local and national levels. PACHO’s vision is to build an Empowerment Center that will help empower women with skills and income. The skills and entrepreneurship training center will include a bakery, an IT center where women will learn to use the Web 2.0, a tailoring and jewelry-making section, and a safe house for abused and battered women and children. For more info and to support PACHO please visit http://leahokeyo.weebly.com/pacho.html.

Jon Ramer

Executive Director and founder of Compassion Games International, conceived and implemented the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities that now has over 400 participating communities. He founded the Compassion Games in 2012 that has empowered millions of people to do good works. Through his global networking skills, social change game technology and synergy platform, (SINE), Jon will recruit and organize partner organizations for the Peace on Earth by 2030 movement. 

POE by 2030 Game Team:Director of Partner Organizations

Yogesh Vaishnav


Yogesh Vaishnav is a development-sector professional with a graduate degree in science and with postgraduate studies in journalism and mass communication. He has more than twenty years of experience in the development sector as a gender activist at the grassroots level. Yogesh is one of the founding members of Vikalp Sansthan, a nonprofit organization established in 2003 in Rajasthan, India. The organization works toward ending gender-based violence and creating social equality for all; it focuses on training youth to become agents of change. After serving as secretary of Vikalp Sansthan for more than ten years, Yogesh now handles multiple key portfolios in the organization, including program management. He has been involved in activities including participatory training, module and resource material development, media and communication, documentation, advocacy, lobbying, networking, project management, monitoring and evaluation, and design and production of radio programs. He has been India’s national committee member of the “We Can End All Violence against Women” campaign launched by Oxfam in England.

Yogesh’s key areas of interest are gender, child marriage, masculinity, sexuality, and engaging men and boys in ending all violence against women. He lives in Rajasthan with his family.

Vikalp Sansthan

Founded in 2003, Vikalp Sansthan is a nonprofit organization committed to ending gender-based violence against women. The organization aims to create a violence-free society based on equality, justice, and peace. Working in nine districts of Rajasthan State in India, Vikalp Sansthan engages with youth to empower them as change-makers to achieve social justice. Vikalp Sansthan’s organizational strategy focuses not only on empowering women and girls but also on sensitizing and engaging men and boys in the process of creating gender-just society. Vikalp Sansthan runs various campaigns to end gender-based violence, domestic violence against women, and child marriage. These unique campaigns use participatory approaches in engaging the community—including youth, community leaders, religious leaders, police, and government officials—to help with problem identification and implementation of solutions. In its mission to end child marriages not only in Rajasthan but also in India generally, Vikalp Sansthan works with many national and international partners. For more details, visit http://vikalpindia.org/

Aziz Royesh

Azizullah Royesh is board member and civic education teacher at Marefat High School (MHS), the educational branch of the Kabul-based nonprofit Marefat Civil Capacity Building Organization. As a top-ten awardee of the Global Teacher Prize 2015, Aziz joined the Empowerment Institute certification program in January 2016. Aziz has studied privately in the field of Farsi literature, the history of Islam, the holy Quran, civic education, and civil rights. He has authored and coauthored a series of textbooks on humanism, human rights, democracy, and interpretation of the Quran that are taught at Marefat High School. Currently he teaches interpretation of the Quran with a humanistic approach at MHS. Aziz Royesh was one of the Yale World Fellows in the class of 2010 and a fellow of Reagan-Fascell at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 2011–2012. He wrote his autobiography as his research paper at NED and published its Farsi version in 2013. The book, titled Let Me Breathe, portrays three decades of change and development in Afghanistan between 1979 and 2012. The acclaimed book The Last Thousand (2016) by Jeffrey Stern tells Aziz’s story and the story of Marefat High School.

Marefat High School and Marefat Civic Capacity Building Organization

Founded in 1994 in the refugee camps of Pakistan, Marefat High School (MHS) is the educational branch of Marefat Civil Capacity Building Organization (MCCBO). Both MHS and MCCBO are tax-exempt nonprofit entities registered in the ministries of education, finance, and economics. The main focus of MCCBO is education, with a democratic and human-rights orientation. The school started its activities in Kabul just after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. As of 2016, Marefat High School was home for 3,600 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Around 43 percent of the students were female. One of the most successful parts of the Marefat program is adult education, in which adults, mainly women between the ages of fifteen and forty-eight, attend an accelerated learning program. Most of the students have passed their course of studies from first to ninth grade in less than four years. Music, art, Radio Marefat, professional training in audiovideo, electricity, radio, journalism, and a monthly magazine are the extracurricular activities in the school. All programs and activities of MCCO are led and supervised by a board of trustees consisting of influential community members including university professors, businessmen, and civil society activists. www.marefatschool.org

Makanjuola Obisakin

Makanjuola Obisakin was born in Nigeria and received his BA in English education from the University of Ife in 1986. Currently he is working toward his doctorate in education. Makanjuola has worked as a teacher and as a secondary-school principal. He is an Empowerment Workshop facilitator with his wife, Busayo Obisakin, at their NGO, Women Inspiration Development Center in Nigeria. Makanjuola was the first IMAGINE trainer to bring the Empowerment Workshop to men, leading the way for many other IMAGINE countries to begin their work with men who support women’s empowerment.

Women’s Inspiration Center

Busayo Obisakin founded the Women Inspiration Development Center (WIDC) in 2008. Along with a group of women colleagues called Vigilantes Against Violence, Busayo set out to curb the violence against women and girls. The mission of the Women Inspiration Development Center is to improve the physical, economic, and social status of Nigerian women and girls, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives free of violence. WIDC provides a safe haven along with an ongoing network that empowers women and girls to discover the real purpose of their lives and to create new possibilities without fear or intimidation. The Empowerment Workshop is a central part of WIDC’S curriculum. When the mission of WIDC is fulfilled, Nigeria will be a safe place for women and girls. https://www.betterplace.org/en/organisations/womeninspirationnigeria

Tasnim Chirchi


Dr. Tasnim Chirchi, a social scientist specializing in political sociology, holds a PhD in sociology from the Université du Québec in Montreal. She has taught sociology and anthropology both in Canada and in Tunisia and is the director of the Jasmine Foundation for Research and Communication. The Jasmine Foundation works on issues of governance in the context of democratic transition as well as on the participation of women and youth in this transition.

Dr. Chirchi has a deep understanding of the Tunisian context and expertise in policy analysis, including local governance, youth engagement, and women’s political participation. As a social scientist with extensive experience of and contacts in both civil society and academic fields in Tunisia, she is regularly consulted by international partners, political actors, and civil society organizations; she also delivers workshops and trainings for women and youth on participation in public life and has contributed to several publications, writing on civil and political engagement by youth and women.

Jasmine Foundation
Think. Engage. Empower

The Jasmine Foundation (JF) is an “action research” CSO that has established itself as an innovative NGO working to study social challenges in Tunisia and come up with creative solutions. Jasmine Foundation has extensive experience in programs  that engage vulnerable or  marginalized  youth.  

JF specializes in civic education for youth  in marginalized areas,  using non-formal education and youth-led trainings to engage youth and women in civic life and public  decision-making, particularly at the local level, by giving them the tools, skills and confidence they need.

JF also has developed extensive experience in successfully translating scientifically rigorous research into  policy relevant outcomes and programming. JF has significant experience in organizing and mediating public dialogue and forums, research methodologies and fieldwork, writing policy briefs, and helping local actors conduct outreach.

To date JF has successfully managed many large projects thanks to a dedicated and skilled team of researchers, project coordinators and assistants as well as an extensive and solid network of volunteers. Since its establishment in 2013, JF has grown a prolific network of allies and collaborators in the private and public sectors alongside civil society.

http://www.jasminefoundation.org/en/

Nafisatu Yussif

afisatu Yussif is committed to promoting the rights and well-being of women and men, and in particular the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged. She holds a master of science degree in social policy and development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a bachelor’s degree in political science with information studies from the University of Ghana, and a postgraduate certificate in community development from Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.

Since 2011 Nafisatu has been working in gender and development. For some time she worked with the highly regarded West African NGO ABANTU for Development in Accra, Ghana, where she promoted women’s rights and gender equality. Having developed gender expertise over the years, Nafisatu currently works with Solidaridad West Africa as the gender officer for the promotion of gender perspectives across the different commodities and programs of the organization.

Solidaridad West Africa

Solidaridad West Africa (SWA), a member of the global Solidaridad network, is an NGO that specializes in promoting sustainable production across the value chains of cocoa, oil palm, gold, and annual crops such as maize and cotton. SWA works toward a triple bottom line: people and planet along with profit. SWA supports producers and their households and communities to attain economic empowerment, social cohesion, and resilient environments. The organization’s approach is mainly through training, sensitization, and awareness creation in producing communities. SWA also engages with policy makers (to influence policy), producers (to adopt sustainable practices), CSOs (to network, collaborate, and get support for SWA’s work), traditional leaders (for ownership and to get support for SWA’s work in the various communities). Effective promotion of gender is considered prime toward the achievement of Solidaridad’s objectives.

Ernest Niragire

Ernest Niragire is the coordinator of the Rwandan NGO Duhozanye. In this capacity Ernest has spent more than ten years working to empower widows and orphans from the Rwandan genocide to access social and economic welfare, as well as to become more resilient. Duhozanye closely monitors and defends the rights of widows and orphans. The organization promotes economic development, provides shelter to its members, and helps them grapple with loneliness and trauma. As a professional development manager, Ernest is able to work in many different settings, including rural economic development, women’s empowerment, institutional development, and organizational restructuring. Ernest’s professional background includes knowledge in the areas of agribusiness, microfinance, and community saving; enterprise development and innovations; and program-management skills.

Duhozanye Asscoiation

The tragic events of the Rwandan genocide in April through July of 1994 left various forms of scars on the genocide survivors. Indeed, the genocide took thousands of lives and broke up the foundations of social relations. Many survivors of the genocide lost beloved family members as well as all their belongings. To various degrees, they have experienced trauma, exclusion, isolation, fear, poverty, and loss of hope for the future. Some have been injured or tortured, while others have been victims of rape and sexual abuse. In November 1994, addressing these complex issues, widow survivors of genocide created the Duhozanye association, which means, “Let’s console one another.” The mission of Duhozanye is to ensure the socioeconomic empowerment of widows and orphans of the genocide in order to integrate them into everyday life, so that they can achieve self-reliance and participate in the development of Rwanda. http://duhozanye.com/

Louisa Van Romburg

Louisa Van Romburg is a registered social worker who acts as a facilitator and counselor for students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa. She received certification as an Empowerment Workshop facilitator in Amman, Jordan, in 2017 and is now training in the IMAGINE masters certification program. Louisa is proud to be part of a dynamic IMAGINE South Africa team and its organization, Cabanga. Louisa’s empowerment work has predominantly been focused on students at UWC, where the Empowerment Workshop has been integrated into the UWC curriculum as part of a first-year university course to enhance the development of graduate attributes.

Louisa is a lifelong learner who loves working with people, especially the most oppressed, marginalized, and vulnerable in society. She completed her social work degree at UWC in 2015 and graduated in 2016 at the age of 52. She completed her social work internship at Victoria Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa, and was employed as a social worker by the Palliative Care Department at the hospital during 2016. Prior to becoming a social worker, she worked as a hair stylist for nearly thirty years. Her love for learning, growth, and change was the catalyst that led to her participating in an Empowerment Workshop and then becoming an Empowerment practitioner.

Cabanga

The nonprofit Cabanga organization, based in South Africa’s Western Cape, is codirected by IMAGINE team members Laetitia Permall and her daughter Charne Permall. The word cabanga means to “conceive” or “imagine” in Zulu and SeSotho. The vision of Cabanga is to help youth and parents create new possibilities for their lives and to fortify the family as a system. Cabanga works collaboratively with other stakeholders to equip people to take agency toward a better life. It strives to facilitate access for youth from impoverished communities to career assessments, learning support, and opportunities to enhance their holistic development and well-being. It also endeavors to create spaces where parents can access parenting-skills training and support. The Cabanga organizers believe that it is imperative for people to become the active managers of their own personal and professional development. They hope to grow Cabanga and help create youth development centers across South Africa that will provide youth and parents with the tools to become agents of holistic, positive social change as democratic citizens and contributors toward the global economy.

Mona Hassouna

Mona Hassouna Salha, an activist from Lebanon holding both Lebanese and Syrian social identities, believes and advocates for human rights in all her work. Since 2003 Mona has worked in the community and youth development sectors in Lebanon and Syria, as well as in many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Her work has focused on two levels, project development and empowerment, and in these areas she has been a leader in project design, planning, implementation, and evaluation. She has delivered a wide variety of training to people of all ages and backgrounds, on topics including leadership, peace building, conflict transformation, proposal writing, and project management. Mona has been the master regional facilitator with the British Council on two global leadership training programs: Active Citizens and Leadership in Community Development. Mona studied audiovisual journalism at Lebanese University and she holds a master’s degree in NGO management from La Sagesse University, Lebanon.

Steps

Steps is a noncommercial company registered under Lebanon’s 677 Civil Record that works to create transformational strategic moments in the process of community empowerment and change. Steps engages with any movement that is working toward social justice, including issues of human rights, gender, nonviolence, and freedoms. The organization works on providing a quality model of change through a specific set of services while seeking to create an environment of critical thinking, appreciation of difference, and creativity. Its services include participatory and interactive facilitation for meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences; participatory focused research; measuring impact and developing quality assurance; developing training materials and curriculum; consultation support; and building and incubating civil-society organizations. http://www.stepslb.org/

Usha Choudhary

Usha Choudhary is a social activist who has been working for the past seventeen years to end gender-based violence against women and girls. Having founded the Rajasthan-based NGO Vikalp Sansthan with other like-minded social activists, Usha currently serves as both the secretary and the program director of the organization. With postgraduate work in the Hindi language and professional education in rural development, Usha’s education and passion led her to focus on women’s issues, mainly child marriages, girls’ education, and women’s rights. Usha’s seventeen years of dedicated work for women’s empowerment has been recognized at both the national and international levels and her many awards include the Celebrating Being a Woman Award (2012); the Bhaskar Woman of the Year Award (2012); a L’Oreal Paris Femina Women Award (2013); and the Jija Bai Award of the Celebrating Womanhood program (sponsored by Delhi University) in 2014. Currently living in Rajasthan, Usha continues her dedicated work to improve the status of women in Indian society and is contributing to creating a society that is equal and just for both men and women.

Vikalp Sansthan

Founded in 2003, Vikalp Sansthan is a nonprofit organization committed to ending gender-based violence against women. The organization aims to create a violence-free society based on equality, justice, and peace. Working in nine districts of Rajasthan State in India, Vikalp Sansthan engages with youth to empower them as change-makers to achieve social justice. Vikalp Sansthan’s organizational strategy focuses not only on empowering women and girls but also on sensitizing and engaging men and boys in the process of creating gender-just society. Vikalp Sansthan runs various campaigns to end gender-based violence, domestic violence against women, and child marriage. These unique campaigns use participatory approaches in engaging the community—including youth, community leaders, religious leaders, police, and government officials—to help with problem identification and implementation of solutions. In its mission to end child marriages not only in Rajasthan but also in India generally, Vikalp Sansthan works with many national and international partners. For more details, visit http://vikalpindia.org/

Mona El Gazzar

Mona El Gazzar was born and raised in Egypt where she had a solid education in International Schools and went to Cairo University obtaining her bachelor degree in Commerce.

After finishing her Master Degree in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo while she worked as an assistant professor at the same university; Mona then worked at an International company where she was sent to the UK to acquire experience at the regional office and then was promoted till she left as the budgeting and financial analysis manager. Then got married and moved to USA, lived in LA for 5 years and returned back to Egypt in the year 2000.

Her varied experiences gave her the background and skills to be a leader and organizer which led her to establishing her private construction firm (HBC – House of Building and Construction), building hospitals, railway stations and youth centers in Egypt.

After discovering her passion to help people and make their lives better empowering them by working as IMAGE Egypt director, she finally discovered her purpose of life and is working through Imagine Egypt to achieve this purpose.

Mona’s newly discovered passion, helping people to improve their lives, was the driving force that led her to join the leading Egyptian NGO, the Association for Women’s Total Advancement and Development, where she facilitates the Empowerment Workshops. Mona is a person who leaves a positive mark on all that she does and all the people she works with.

Sting Consultancy

Sting for Consultancy and Design is an Egyptian social enterprise providing training and development consultancy services and creating learning opportunities based on the needs of communities, organizations, and individuals from all age brackets and varying socio-economic backgrounds.

The mission of Sting for Consultancy is to enable individuals and organizations to realize and utilize their full potential and cultivate sustainable change on the personal, professional, and societal realm.

With non-formal education at the heart of all of its programs and projects, Sting for Consultancy has worked so far with a number of national and international partners to advance different social causes, this includes but is not limited to: promoting dialogue and active citizenship among youth from across the country, improving the livelihood of female heads of households from the refugee community as well the host society in Egypt, devising grassroots approaches to promote interreligious relationship building among women, promoting inclusion and intercultural learning and exchange among African refugee students and Egyptian students from the host society, promoting the self-development and empowerment of women and their participation in the public sphere, supporting young entrepreneurs in the design and implementation of social actions that response to societal need.

Brigitte Dzogbenuku


Brigitte Dzogbenuku is the founder and executive director of Mentoring Women Ghana (MWG), which runs programs that inspire and empower young women and girls into making a positive difference in their communities. She won the Fortune/Goldman Sachs Women’s Leadership Award in 2008. Prior to her work at MWG she was general manager of Aviation Social Centre, a fitness and recreational center in Accra, where she introduced various innovative fitness programs and events into this niche industry in Ghana. In 2011, she founded Recreational Facilities Management, a company that later became Helm Management Services Limited, which runs recreational facilities; in this role she managed the Barclays Bank Club House for four years, until September 2015. She has also established Ve Flavour Industries, an edible-palm-oil production and packaging for-profit company that works with women in the Volta region of Ghana, contributing to their socioeconomic empowerment. Brigitte is driven by the Ghanaian woman’s strong will to succeed no matter the odds and has a dream of seeing women in key leadership roles in Ghana.

Mentoring Women Ghana

Mentoring Women Ghana (MWG) is an NGO established in Ghana in 2009 with the aim of supporting the personal growth of young women through mentoring by more mature and accomplished women. Through sports programs, professional interaction, and personal development programs, mentors inspire young women and help them achieve leadership qualities, career direction, and personal and social development through which they can positively impact their immediate communities and beyond. MWG’s vision is a community of empowered women who are contributing to the development of their communities and positively impacting lives of others. MWG has been the flag-bearer of the international Global Mentoring Walk for the past eight years and had mentored more than 320 young women as of 2016. http://www.mwghana.org/en/

Busayo Obisakin

Busayo Obisakin was born into an illiterate family in Nigeria. When she lost her father twenty-two years ago, as the first born in her family Busayo cared for her six siblings. A passionate and highly regarded advocate of gender equality in Nigeria, Busayo has dedicated much of her life work to women’s empowerment. She is founder and CEO of the Women Inspiration Development Center (WIDC). WIDC is designed to help Nigerian girls and women in challenging life circumstances to envision and create new possibilities for their lives, families, and communities. She holds a BS degree in guidance counseling and an MS in administration. For eighteen years she worked as a guidance counselor at the secondary school level and is currently a guidance counselor in the division of students’ affairs, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Busayo has completed World Pulse’s Voices of the Future program where she was an award-winning citizen journalist. She completed the Empowerment Institute Certification program in New York in June of 2010.

Women Inspiration Development Center
Busayo Obisakin founded the Women Inspiration Development Center (WIDC) in 2008. Along with a group of women colleagues called Vigilantes Against Violence, Busayo set out to curb the violence against women and girls. The mission of the Women Inspiration Development Center is to improve the physical, economic, and social status of Nigerian women and girls, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives free of violence. WIDC provides a safe haven along with an ongoing network that empowers women and girls to discover the real purpose of their lives and to create new possibilities without fear or intimidation. The Empowerment Workshop is a central part of WIDC’S curriculum. When the mission of WIDC is fulfilled, Nigeria will be a safe place for women and girls. https://www.betterplace.org/en/organisations/womeninspirationnigeria

Tejaswi Sevakari

Tejaswi Sevakari has done her masters in social work, with medical and psychiatric social work as her specialization. Since 1995 she has worked with women sex workers and has helped to establish a community-based organization, Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh, which is a sex workers’ collective in Pune, India. As the director of Saheli, Tejaswi has presented papers at national as well as international conferences. She has also conducted research regarding sex workers as well as studying the law regarding this population. Training is her passion and Tejaswi has conducted many programs on issues regarding HIV/AIDS, sex work, and community mobilization. She is a certified trainer of the Empowerment Institute USA, and started Empowerment Workshops for women in sex work for the first time in India. She is associated as a community advisory board member for National AIDS Research Institute, and B. J. Medical Collage/John Hopkins- HIV/AIDS clinical trial unit. Tejaswi works as an expert panelist for anti-sexual-harassment committees for several educational institutes and industries.

Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh
Since its foundation in 1998, Saheli’s vision has been to empower female sex workers in Pune’s red light district through a collectivization effort. Saheli’s main aim is to enable greater levels of self-protection among sex workers through a sense of togetherness, collective action, and, most important, creating an identity. At present Saheli encompasses 100 non-brothel-based sex workers, approximately 3,000 women working in the brothels, and the collective’s general membership consists of more than 1,000 members. Saheli is the only sex worker’s collective in Pune and its activities include STI/HIV/AIDS prevention and education; self-help groups for women living with HIV/AIDS; networking with government hospitals, clinics, and other NGOs; a community kitchen project; and a drop-in center for sex workers as well as a day and night crèche for children of sex workers.

Andy Shrader

Andy Shraderis Director of Environmental Affairs for LA Council Member Paul Koretz and a major climate champion for the City having recently help established its Climate Emergency Office. Andy brought Cool Block to LA in 2017 and has helped grow the program and its scaling strategy since then. His Cool Block roles include liaison to the city staff, scaling strategy and community engagement.

Deep gratitude to Josie Maran Cosmetics for their generous financial support of the Reinventing the Planet plan.