Koru is a non-profit organization in Mombasa, Kenya that seeks to support and empower marginalized communities and individuals. We focus on gender equality and community development through economic empowerment, life-skills and sexual reproductive health programs. Beneficiaries of our programs include orphans and vulnerable children, sex workers and people living in informal settlements. Koru's experience in implementing community currency programs along the Coast of Kenya is now being taken all over Kenya through, Uchumi Mashinani Foundation.
K.O.R.U. stands for Kenyans Organizing Regional Unity. The name "Koru" also means "spiral" symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace in the Māori tradition. To us it brings a sense of shared experience and sacred appreciation for community, life and growth, which is represented in our motto, 'Tushirikiane' which means 'Let's cooperate' in Kiswahili.
Our goal is to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable. We use approaches such as participatory education and in-depth research and community profiling to understand needs and design programs with meaningful impacts.
Will Ruddick is the founder of Koru and Director of Grassroots Economics Foundation. Mr. Ruddick is a development specialist focusing on East Africa. After completing graduate school researching high energy physics as a collaboration member at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, he found his passion in alternative economics and development work which brought him to Kenya. Since 2008 Will has lived in East Africa and managed several successful development programs in environment, food security and economic development. He is dedicated to connecting communities to their own abundance, and is an advocate for, and designer of, Complementary Currencies for poverty eradication and sustainable development. MR. Will Ruddick has developed three Community Currency Programs in Kenya since 2010 and is the founder of the award winning Bangla-Pesa program and the recently launched Gatina-Pesa in Nairobi. He consults on Community Currencies worldwide and is currently training teams launching two community currencies in coordination with the University of Cape Town's Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit. Mr. Ruddick is also an associate scholar with the University of Cumbria's Institute for Leadership and Sustainability.
Grace Neema Mutemi is a Public Affairs Strategist, Publisher and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). She has vast experience in Sub-Saharan African Development work, including Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Planning and execution; Government, Donor and Investor Relations Management and Strategic Communication. Her experience in the Development Sector cuts across Agriculture and Rural Development, Co-operative Development, Youth Empowerment, Politics and Governance, Policy and Legal Framework and Environment, Water, Sanitation and Health.
Professor Jem Bendell is an advisor, educator, researcher and writer with fifteen years at the forefront of innovations in business responses to sustainable development. With a PhD in international policy, over 100 publications (including four books and four United Nations reports), Dr Bendell is an award-winning international authority on business-society relations, lecturing in fifteen countries. Jem is the Director of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria.
Ahmed Maawy is a Shaper with the Global Shapers Community (Which is an Initiative of the World Economic Forum). Ahmed is also one of the pioneers in the groundbreaking institution that aims to create a world without boundaries, The Amani Institute's Post Graduate certificate in Social Innovation Management. Ahmed Maawy has spent more than 10 years developing web, mobile, and enterprise software as well as being a project manager for a number of software products and projects.
Jacky Kowa is a native Kenyan and has dedicated her career to working on women's rights and health issues. She is a specialist in behavior change communication and using theater as a tool for change and mobilization.
Esther Achola has been working with female sex workers to provide health and peer education. She is a trained (SGBV) Sexual Gender Based Violence para-legal and educator for women and children. Read More about Ester here.
Lydia Anyango is Community Development and Counseling Specialist. She has experience as a Project Coordinator in various youth projects. Lydia has been trained in several Behavior Change approaches by organizations like Population Services International (PSI). She was one of the Chill Campaign peer educators, where she worked with school children. She was a life skills trainer with Life Skills Promoters Kenya and is currently coordinating the MotoMoto program; She loves acting too.
Caroline Dama Caroline has managed large scale development programs and is a strong believer in women's empowerment because they carry the bulk of the responsibilities here in Kenya. Most of these women in are illiterate, support large families and are extremely poor. They lack essential entrepreneurship skills that could help them run successful businesses and they end up spending most of the profits, if any, on basic needs. Dama recently represented Koru as one of Africa's top innovators for her work as a Program Coordinator for the Bangla-Pesa program.
Morgan Richards is Koru's Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting specialist. She completed a master's degree in Sociology in 2012 and came to Kenya as a volunteer shortly thereafter. She's since worked with NGOs for women's empowerment, business development, and environmental preservation. Morgan's focus in these organizations involved improving and managing monitoring, evaluation, and reporting structures, performing baseline and follow-up research for various projects, and grant writing.
Helena Analo is experienced with small business development and children's programs. She has run several successful businesses and is an accomplished manager. In her free time she dedicates her energy to helping orphans and vulnerable children.
Hassan D. Masudi brings in skills in Monitoring and Evaluation, supporting Education Through Listening in our programming, building Gender Based Community Awareness Forums and Conflict Management and Resolution between different community groupings. He has worked in community based projects, partnered with several Government ministries, National and Multinational NGO’s like Family Health Options Kenyan (FHOK), Population Services International (PSI), APHIA II, APHIA Plus – Nairobi Coast, ACTION Aid, Y-PEER, Canadian Society for Training and Development, PATH International and Kwacha Africa. Hassan carries with him extensive experience, knowledge and exposure in the field of community based work.
Alfred Sigo manages a community based organization working with on HIV/AIDS initiatives in his home area of Bangladesh, an informal settlement in Mombasa. He has worked in Holland with Dance-4-Life, a worldwide movement that uses dance, music, youth and media icons to create awareness on HIV/AIDS among young people. Alfred was selected as the African ambassador for 2011 owing to his history with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and his contribution to fighting it in his community.
Martin Kimani has been the lead trainer with MotoMoto Circus since 2009, working to engage, support and empower street living youth in Kenya through the medium of Fire Dancing or Poi.
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