Innovation: Africa has staff in New York, Israel, Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania. Meet our team here:
Founder and President
Sivan Borowich Ya'ari is the founder and president of Innovation: Africa. Born in Israel and raised in Nice, France, Sivan traces her roots back to the African continent where her father was born in Algeria and her mother in Tunisia. Sivan first traveled to Africa as part of her work for a multinational clothing company, verifying compliance issues in the company's African manufacturing facilities. Sivan was immediately moved by the pervasive poverty she witnessed and began to look for ways to transform and improve the lives of African people. Following a brief stint as a mortgage banker, Sivan joined the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 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.
While studying art and literature at New York University, Rachel took some time to study and teach in West Africa, where she founded a small non-profit for street children. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in individualized study, she decided not to get her Ph.D. as planned, and traveled the world instead, before returning to her native new york and joining the Innovation: Africa team. Rachel has worked with various non-profits promoting the arts, education, and human rights. She has taught English on three continents and has traveled to over 30 countries.
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. Nearly seven 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. Bar graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in philosophy, is a certified TEFL teacher and has studied six languages. Swahili and Chichewa are next on her list.
Emma is a dog loving vegetarian who lives in the West Village, and has a passion for all things Israel, Africa and the environment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Goucher College, and spent her Sophmore year studying Ethnomusicology in Grahamstown, South Africa, where she discovered what would be a life altering passion and connection to the African continent. Prior to joining the Innovation: Africa staff Emma was a long time volunteer, and worked at UJA-Federation in the Caring Commission. Emma is currently completing her Master's in Human Rights at Columbia University with a concentration in Female Child Soldiers in Africa and Post-Conflict Implications.
to the Founder and President
Yael Misrahi was born in Sacramento and grew up in Jerusalem and Cleveland. Yael obtained her BA from Wellesley College with a major in International Relations and Political Science and recently completed her MA (Cum Laude) in Government with a specialization in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from the IDC Herzliya. Yael also spent one year at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she specialized in International Relations and ran the social programming for the LSE Israeli society. Yael's experience in international development began when she spent one year in India as an American Jewish World Service World Partners Fellow volunteering at the Centre for Social Justice, a grassroots socio-legal human rights NGO in Gujarat. At CSJ, Yael compiled a manual for human rights educators and trainers of educators. Following her time in India, Yael worked for a renewable energy company in Ohio, backpacked throughout Latin America, and led several college alternative spring breaks for AJWS in Nicaragua. Today, Yael is the Executive Assistant to Sivan Yaari, the President and Founder of Innovation: Africa and is in charge of Israel outreach and special programming.
Dr. Samson Wamani
Health Development Officer, Uganda
Our resident medical expert, Dr. Sam was born in the Budaka District of Uganda. He has a diploma in clinical medicine and public health from Kampala International University, and studied comprehensive management of HIV/AIDS at Moi University in Kenya. Dr. Sam worked as the head of the health department for the Abayudaya community for four years in which he set up the first ever health services delivery system. He also served as the clinic officer for Riverside Medical Research Center where he examined and treated patients while working on the center’s strategic planning. Dr. Sam speaks English, Swahili and five local Ugandan languages.
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.
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.
A Malawi native, Alex started his career working as an agricultural research assistant for large scale government development projects. It was during the extensive travel necessary for this position that Alex became committed to working with rural people on sustainable development. Alex has since spent the last seven years working in the tourism industry in Malawi and Zimbabwe, all while volunteering in the fields of education and rural construction. Alex joined the Innovation: Africa team in order to pursue sustainable development full time. He is also pursuing a degree in Health Units Management.
Africa Programs Associate
Field Officer, Uganda
innovation: africa would like to welcome
Innovation: Africa is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that brings Israeli innovation to African villages. Founded in 2008, in six years Innovation Africa has provided light, clean water, food and proper medical care to more than 675,000 people in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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