Sivan Borowich-ya'ari

Founder and CEO

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innovation africa staff usa

Sivan Ya’ari is the Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa. Born in Israel and raised in France, she brings twelve years of knowledge and expertise working on the African continent.


Sivan first travelled to Africa while working with a major multinational corporation in 1999. Following two years in the finance world, she worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on diesel energy development. It was during this time that she realized the tremendous need for sustainable energy solutions for Africa’s rural poor, 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 sits on the advisory boards of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF and the Pears Challenge. She is married to David Ya’ari and is the proud mother of three. Sivan lives with her family in Tel Aviv.

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.

Development Associate

Lindsay was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her experiences there, facing extreme poverty, ignited in her the desire to work in international development. After completing an MSc in Mathematics and Finance at Imperial College, London, Lindsay worked in investment banking for 3 years but felt she wanted something more fulfilling. She returned to university, this time the London School of Economics, to complete a Masters in Development Studies. Lindsay has since worked at a variety of non-profits focusing on poverty alleviation in Africa and is delighted to be part of the Innovation: Africa team. She is iA’s first London-based team member. Lindsay lives in London with her husband and two young children.

Dr. Samson Wamani Health Development Officer, Uganda

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 Project Manager,  Uganda

Robert Khakhosi

Project Manager,


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,


Robert Khakhosi Project Manager,  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.

Mutisya John Project Manager,  Tanzania

Mutisya John

Project Manager,

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.

Potipher Banda

Project Manager,


Potipher Banda holds a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) obtained in 2004 at Likangala Secondary School; professionally he has a Diploma in Community Development obtained in 2007 at Skyway University and a Certificate in Project Management from Lilongwe Technical College. Potipher has worked with Build On Malawi as Cluster Supervisor for Complementary Basic Education (CBE) project for two years; in 2011 he joined Micro Loan Foundation where he worked as a loan officer. In 2013 he joined Adolescents Girls Literacy Project (AGLIT) where he worked as a Literacy Coordinator. In March 2014 he joined Link Community Development Malawi (LCDM) as a Project Officer. However, he left Link Community Development Malawi the same year and joined Innovation: Africa as a Project Manager.


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