Jitegemee has seen some rapid growth and changes over the past year or two, and that includes a number of additions to our wonderful staff team. We’d like to introduce some of the amazing people who have joined us during the past few years, and let you know more about the great work they are doing!
Jennifer Katiwa is Jitegemeeâ€™s Country Director and took over this leadership role in January 2018. Jennifer joined us after working for Windle Trust for more than seven years in Dadaab refugee camp. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nairobi, and will soon graduate with her Master’s in Education also from the University of Nairobi. Jennifer is responsible for managing the Kenya staff and daily operations at our Machakos campus, and our staff and students feel very lucky to have her on our team. Jennifer is not only quick with new ideas and an eye for how things can be improved, but she always does so with a smile or a laugh. Jenniferâ€™s vision for Jitegemee is a great one, and weâ€™re looking forward to many years of progress and growth with her at the helm.
Faith Kiliku joined our team in August 2018 as our Program Officer. She is a graduate of Makerere University in Uganda, and is committed to breaking down obstacles to education for vulnerable children. She works hard to oversee our Primary School support program – working closely with our youngest students and their families. She coordinates the distribution of uniforms, shoes, textbooks, school fees, and other materials our young students need to get in the classroom. Faith also runs our Feeding Program, ensuring our students are fed daily nutritional meals so that can excel in the classroom. Finally, Faith also oversees our Health Program, ensuring that our students receive both health education and medical treatment when necessary.
Our newest team member is Florence Mwanzia, who was seconded to Jitegemee by the Directorate of Adult and Continuing Education and joined our team in January 2019. A professional teacher with the Ministry of Education, Florence helps with all things related to our Vocational Program – and works closely with our Founding Teacher, Alex Mutiso. Whether itâ€™s meeting with students, arranging workshops, or preparing our students for the next step in their careers, we count on Florence as a major source of support.
Although he’s been with us for more than two years, we’d also like to introduce Joshua Muema, our Social Worker. Joshua has a Diploma in Community Development from Thika Technical Training Institute, and is currently working on his Bachelors degree in Community Development at St Paul’s University. Joshua oversees our secondary and post-secondary school support program, as well as the guidance and counseling program. Joshua spends as much time visiting students at school, taking them to university for the first time, and following up on various children that need additional support, as he does in the office. He’s been an invaluable addition to our strong team!
We have no doubt introduced Peter Muasya before, but Muasya is the first Jitegemee university graduate to become a full-time employee. And sometimes we wonder what we did before he joined our team! He is our Operations, Finance and M&E Officer – a true jack of all trades – and joined us shortly after he graduated with a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Nairobi in 2016. He is also a qualified CPA. Muasya oversees our campus operations, works closely with Hiram Kioko, our accountant, and also is a Street Business School Certified Trainer. For more on Muasya’s story, please check out our 2017 Annual Report.
Last, but certainly not least, both Cecilia Mutisya and Veronicah Kioko joined us as Receptionist/Assistants during the past year, and have become a critical and energetic part of our team. Both Cecilia and Vero were Jitegemee students when they were in Primary School, so their first-hand knowledge of our program and community goes a long way in their work.
All these wonderful new faces join some of our longer-term team members, Alex Mutiso – our Founding Teacher for our Vocational Program, who in the last year retired from the Ministry of Education and formally joined our team, and Hiram Kioko – our Accounts and HR Officer, along with Verity Norman-Tichawangana, our Executive Director, who has recently moved from Machakos, Kenya and is now based in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
One of Jitegemeeâ€™s Core Values is Interconnectedness. Perhaps that is why these new staff members have blended so seamlessly into the Jitegemee family. Each has their own duties, but they also rely on each other whenever necessary. All of our staff members play one role or another in our Parent Empowerment Program, teaching Vocational Program classes, or planning events. We call ourselves the “Big Strong Team,” and with our new members, weâ€™re hoping to stay that way for many years to come.