Sivan Ya'ari

Founder and CEO

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Sivan Ya'ari is the Founder & CEO of Innovation: Africa. Born in Israel and raised in France, Sivan has been working in Africa for close to 20 years. Her experience on the African continent began while working with a major multinational corporation in 1999. Following two years in the finance world, Sivan worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on diesel energy development. During this period, she identified an opportunity for a more sustainable energy solution, and developed the groundwork for what would become Innovation: Africa. Sivan graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance from Pace University and holds a Master's degree in International Energy Management and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Sivan has received countless awards for her work on behalf of Innovation: Africa from The United Nations, The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, The Wharton School, and the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) to name a few. In 2016, she was recognized by Globes, Israel's leading business magazine, as one of the "40 Under 40 Most Promising Israelis", and by Forbes Israel as one of the "50 Most Influential Women in Israel." In September 2016, Sivan addressed the United Nations General Assembly session on "Israeli Innovation in Africa & Developing Countries," where she highlighted the Israeli developed Remote Monitoring System used to track and monitor energy and water output in remote African villages. In November 2016, Sivan was awarded the "Circle of Excellence Award" from the Israel Bonds National Women's Division. Sivan lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children.

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Sarah Lerner

Executive Assistant to Founder and CEO

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Sarah grew up in California with a strong desire to learn about the many different peoples and cultures of our world. Following a trip to Europe, Sarah attended UC Santa Cruz in California, where she majored in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In her final year of studies, she traveled across Eastern Africa and attended the University of Botswana as a student, researcher and child rights advocate. Following her studies, Sarah moved to Israel and earned her M.A. in NGO Management and Leadership from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to joining Innovation: Africa, she served as Instructional Coordinator and Resource Development Officer at the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) in Israel. In her free time, Sarah enjoys playing with her two dogs, traveling, and practicing yoga.

Bar Riese

Director of Africa Programs

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After completing a two-year military service in her native Israel, Bar went traveling and spent time working and volunteering with local communities in the Brazilian Amazon and Kolkata, India. Eight years ago, Bar moved to New York to attend Columbia University and worked with human rights and conflict resolution non-profits before joining Innovation: Africa, where she was thrilled to combine her Israeli background with her passion for development work. Now back in Tel Aviv, Bar continues to oversee Innovation: Africa's programs across Sub-Saharan Africa. Bar graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in philosophy, is a certified TEFL teacher and has studied six languages. Relocating to Tanzania soon, Swahili is next on her list.

Director of Communications

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Genna grew up in Virginia Beach, but a passion for soccer and Israel brought her to Israel in 2011. Genna played soccer professionally in Israel for 3 years during which time she volunteered with the Peres Center for Peace. Genna joined Innovation: Africa’s Israel team as the Communications Manager in October 2013, and has since developed the iA Volunteer and Ambassador community in Israel, and hosted the organization’s first Israel based events. Genna holds a BA in Communications and Marketing from The Ohio State University and an MA in Political Science from Tel Aviv University.

Africa Programs Associate

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An international body, Morag was born in South Africa, grew up in Botswana with her heritage lying in Zambia and Scotland. With a life's mission to address the various forms of inequality across Africa, Morag completed her MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University where she focused on sexual violence in African settings. Alongside her work with women's rights, Morag has also worked closely with various causes, mainly advocacy for the refugee cause in partnership with the UNHCR; the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda and Botswana, and child trafficking in the United States. A true foodie and yogi-wannabe, Morag is delighted to work with Innovation: Africa in the Africa Programs Department.

Office Manager

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Stacey grew up in Scotland, but a passion for travelling led her to attend UC Davis in California where she majored in Geology and History. She later moved to Israel to attain a Master’s degree in Holocaust Studies. She gained hands on experience working with non-profits through volunteering with Invisible Children and Amcha. In June 2015, she joined Innovation: Africa’s New York team as the Office Manager. In her free time she enjoys karate, krav maga, and dance.

In House Engineer

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Meir is an Electrical engineer and a graduate of Tel Aviv University. Meir worked for Intel Israel, National Semiconductor and for the Israel Electric Company in the Business Development Unit where he was responsible for project design and implementation. For the last year and a half, Meir Co-founded Ulysses solutions, a software company who develops an impact management platform for the developing world.

Robert Khakhosi

Project Manager, Uganda

Robert Khakhosi was born and raised in Mbale, Uganda. After studying sustainable agriculture in KULIKA Charitable Trust, Robert worked as an agriculture extension worker with Heifer International and as an agricultural trainer with World Vision International. Robert has also volunteered as a community health worker with the Abayudaya Congregation and Foundation for Development of the Needy Communities in Mbale, Uganda. Robert speaks fluent English and Kiswahili as well as eight Bantu languages.

Sarah Gimono

Field Officer, Uganda

Sarah Gimono a female Ugandan, born and grew up in Mbale, a Bamasaba ethnic community around Mt. Elgon. Studied in different fields of Uganda and earned a degree in Information Technology. She taught computer skills in a community computer training centre and later volunteered with Uganda Revenue Authority where she worked as secretary e-tax until joining the Innovation: Africa team in 2013. Sarah speaks English, Kiswahili and many bantu languages. She has a passion for supporting vulnerable people and rural communities to enable sustainable livelihood.

Richard Mangali

Agriculture Development Officer, Uganda

Richard Mangali, as our local Agronomist, his expertise lie in agriculture and heath within rural communities across Uganda. Richard trained in Japan under the Japan International Corporation (JAIC). He returned to Uganda as an Agricultural Coordinator for JAIC and with a focus on youth empowerment, trained high-school dropouts in specific agricultural techniques. As our most recent Ugandan team member, his knowledge has already proven to be valuable to Innovation: Africa. Richard’s extensive field work with the Foundation for Needy Communities (FDNC) has equipped him with the knowledge and experience needed to work within our communities.

David "Wakale" Wangale

In-House Engineer, Uganda

David "Wakale" Wangale was first an Innovation: Africa contractor, our go-to water engineer for all water projects. With the number of projects growing so rapidly in Uganda, and with Wakale's outstanding dedication and quality of work, he joined our team as a full-time employee. His background not only lies in Engineering, but as a volunteer and community trainer. Throughout his career, Wakale has made it a point to train and sponsor orphans who may not have the necessary guidance and access to gaining such a skillset.

Robert “Mpagi” Bakulumpagi

In-House Electrical Engineer, Uganda

Robert “Mpagi” Bakulumpagi is the first full-time Electrical Engineer to perform solar installations at schools and health centers with Innovation: Africa. He was born and raised in Kisubi - Entebbe, Uganda. After attaining a certificate in Electrical Engineering, he continued to Karadea, Tanzania and received a Certificate in Solar Power Installation and Maintenance. He worked in a number of companies in Kampala before joining Eastern Sunrise Power Systems Ltd in Mbale located in the Eastern part of Uganda as a Technical Manager. Robert is currently Innovation: Africa's In-House Electrical Engineer. He works hand-in-hand with David Wakale and Meir Yaacoby in the Electrical  and Remote Monitor department. He is fluent in English and many Bantu languages.

Mutisya John

Project Manager, Tanzania

Mutisya was born in northern Tanzania to a Tanzanian Mother and a Kenyan Father. After studying and traveling all over his native country, he earned an accounting degree and began working as a business development services provider with the International Labor Organization. There, he partnered with ActionAid International to support startups and existing entrepreneurs in rural areas to build and implement business plans. It was through this work that he discovered his love of field work in rural communities, and his passion for finding sustainable, business-oriented solutions to the challenges of rural energy and water access. He continued working with ActionAid on issues pertaining to rural education, agriculture, human rights and good governance until joining the Innovation: Africa team in 2012. Mutisya speaks English and Kiswahili fluently.

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