A COMMITMENT TO IMPACT, TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY
The WCF team brings a deep commitment to ensuring the highest level of impact, transparency, accountability and efficiency. WE Charity Canada has a long-standing history of engaging independent third-party experts, including highly regarded legal experts such as a former Supreme Court Judge and respected law and accounting firms, to conduct rigorous evaluations and reviews of operations, finances, governance and impact. These reports have been critical to ensuring the success and efficacy of the organization’s programs. We will be continuing this critical and invaluable practice of ongoing measurement and reporting of work.
INTRODUCING OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DR. STEVE OMENGE JOHNSON MAINDA, EBS
Chairman of Mediheal Hospital & Fraternity Centre
Health care, governance, insurance, risk mitigation, finance, development programming
Dr. Steve O. Mainda, EBS has a wealth of knowledge in finance, insurance, strategic management, and education. He holds a Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from the University of Eastern Africa and has a Masters Degree from Princeton University and a Diploma in Management from Cambridge University, as well as a Diploma in Education from the University of East Africa, Makerere College.
He also has a wealth of experience in various areas. Dr. Mainda served for many years as the Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Authority of Kenya (IRA) 1992-2013. He was also a long-serving Chairman of the Largest Housing Bank in Eastern Africa (Housing Finance Group of Companies). Dr Mainda is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, London, and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, London. He is the Chairman of various companies in Africa, including: Continental Reinsurance Company, headquartered in Nairobi; Shelter Afrique (African Housing Bank), serving 44 Countries in Africa; Resolution Insurance Group; Asante Grain and Mining Company; and Blue Nile Steel Group. He also sits on the Board of the following companies in Africa: Sasini Plc, Ryce East Africa, Tausi Assurance Company Limited, Dubai Islamic Bank Kenya, Mahathi Infra Uganda Ltd, and Tilisi Development Company.
As Chairman and Director of various companies, he brings to the Board international business experience and executive leadership in operations, talent management and governance. WE Charity Foundation will benefit greatly from his 25+ years of experience in management and finance.
In recognition of his distinguished service to Kenya and Eastern Africa, he was awarded Elder of the Order of Burning Spear (EBS) by former President of Kenya, H.E.Mwai Kibaki CGH.
“Having been a long-time supporter of WE Charity Canada and being in Kenya, I have had the privilege of observing the impact of the WE Villages five-pillar development model. Over the years being involved in the organization, I have also seen the work, governance and high degree of accountability that goes into implementing this development model. I am pleased to be co-chairing the WE Charity Foundation, an independent foundation that will continue to drive the financial and governance diligence required to ensure that we make the most effective use of the endowment funds. Together with the other board members and Foundation leadership, I am committed to overseeing the Foundation with transparency and governance that will drive sustainable impact to the communities in Kenya for years to come.”
Former Director of the Toronto District School Board
Education, curriculum development, school board relationship management, finance, operations, human resources
Gerry Connelly is former Director of Education of the Toronto District School Board, Director of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch in the Ontario Ministry of Education, and adjunct professor, York University. She is currently an Education Advisor for The Learning Partnership.
Gerry’s career includes teaching and administration in both rural and urban environments in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, the United States and Ontario, at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. Her accomplishments reach beyond the borders of North America, having worked in South Africa, China and Estonia to provide advice on inclusive schools, teaching and learning, curriculum development and second language learning.
Gerry is the recipient of many awards including the Distinguished Educator Award from OISE/University of Toronto, the Government of Ontario Teacher Dedication Award by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Learning Through the Arts, and the Ontario Supervisory Officers provincial award for Leadership in Public Education. Several other awards have acknowledged her commitment to equity, and community engagement. These include the City of Toronto Bob Marley Award, the Fraser Mustard Award and the University of Toronto Arbor Award. She is the recipient of the Science Teacher of the Year Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award as a Leader in Science.
“It is an honour to serve on the WE Charity Foundation Board with such an impressive group and continuing the amazing work that WE Charity Canada established over the past 25 years. I am looking forward to supporting the Foundation that will continue to serve students, families and communities and make a substantial contribution to their lives. It is important that we focus on the sustainability of the programs established internationally and continuing the work toward empowering the communities we support to break the cycle of poverty through a holistic development model. Having witnessed the impact of WE Charity Canada’s international programs firsthand, I understand the impact of the sustainable development model and am deeply committed to continuing and completing this work in Kenya through the WE Charity Foundation to drive transformative change for generations to come."
Former Founding Chair of Free the Children
EXPERTISE: Communications, commercial real estate, real-estate analysis and development, philanthropy, community engagement and mobilization
PAUL HUGHES, LLP
General Counsel and Chief Business Development Officer at Freshii
EXPERTISE: Law, governance, contract negotiation, corporate governance, ideation, strategy development and execution
SHELMIS WANGUI WAMWEYA, MBA, CPA-K
Finance and Grants Manager at Conservation International
EXPERTISE: Finance and administration, auditing, accounting controls, finance and accounting policies and procedures.
WE Charity Foundation Director – Staff
EXPERTISE: International and community development, communications, cross cultural engagement, stakehoders’ management, budgeting, public speaking, and operations.
Robin Wiszowaty, a motivational speaker, community development worker and author, has devoted her life to helping others. Born and raised in Schaumburg, Illinois, Robin graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Speech Communications. Robin has over 17 years’ experience leading international development teams in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, the DominicanRepublic and Ecuador. Her best-selling memoir, My Maasai Life, documents her experiences living with a Maasai family for a year in Kenya and learning firsthand about community development. Alongside women in Kenya, known as mamas, Robin learned new depths of generosity, community, resilience and what it means to truly take care of one another.
Over the years, Robin’s curiosity about the disjoint between international development theory and fieldwork brought her to various villages, tribes and non-governmental organizations throughout Kenya and neighbouring countries. In Kenya, Robin co-created Kisaruni Group of Schools, which take a cutting-edge approach to education in Kenya, combining cultural core values and education with core academic subjects. As a motivational speaker and leadership facilitator, Robin has addressed audiences in cities across Canada and the U.S. and led hundreds of people on international volunteer experiences.
Alongside her husband, Robin is the proud parent of two sons and currently splits her time between Michigan, U.S. and her adoptive home of Kenya.
WE Charity Foundation Director – Staff
EXPERTISE: NGO Project management and operations, international development, community mobilization, operations efficiency, monitoring and evaluation.
Justus Mwendwa’s greatest passion is helping people realize their full potential through capacity building and leadership development. Justus has over 11 years’ experience working in community development and mobilization in East Africa and has been instrumental in the vision, oversight, development and implementation of various programs that help community members break the cycle of poverty through sustainable solutions that support the communities for generations. With a passion for mentorship, Justus also plays
a key role in creating and mentoring large teams focused on development work in Kenya and expanding community
Justus also worked in Rwanda for three years as a Program Manager, implementing a trauma-healing, peace and reconciliation project in partnership with CORDAID Netherlands. He holds a diploma in Community Development and a degree in Leadership and Management.
Justus lives in Kenya and holds his family dear. He treasures time with his wife and four children.