Amelia is co-founder and executive director of the Somo Project. She conceived of Somo while working summers in a school in Kibera, and launched operations and the initial training cohort while still a student at University of California, Berkeley. After graduating with a concentration in development studies and global poverty, she moved to Nairobi full-time in 2016. Her passion for justice and economic opportunity for under-resourced populations dates back to her youth advocating for women’s rights and participating in homeless relief missions on the streets of New York City.
Stella was born in West Pokot and raised in rural Western Kenya. She studied sociology, project management and urban anthropology at Moi University, and is the founder and editor of Lalona Women’s Magazine, an online magazine focused on women’s empowerment. She is also co-founder of Creatives Piazza, a hub for Kenyan women that provides a platform to address gender equity, inclusion, and diversity in the creative space. Stella believes in and works to create sustainable growth in underserved areas.
Loreen’s social impact journey began in 2013 while she was still a first-year student and chose to volunteer at Nafisika Trust, which runs prison rehabilitation programs in Kenya. She developed a passion for creating better and sustainable communities and was served four years as Programs Coordinator at Nafisika Trust. She was awarded an Associate fellow for The Royal Commonwealth Society in 2016, holds a degree in Sociology and Psychology and is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in Social Innovation Management at Amani Institute.
Justus Makau Mulwa
Justus was born and raised in Githurai, an informal settlement on the eastern outskirts of Nairobi. After receiving a journalism degree at the Technical University of Kenya, Justus looked to find a way to give back to his community. With a passion for photographing daily life in his community, he started Gizzim, an organization that teaches refugee and street children the art of photography, giving them a way to both tell their own stories and earn a living.
Irene grew up in Kibera, and witnessed first-hand the immense amount of aid flowing into her community that had very little long-term impact. With a passion for economic empowerment, she pursued a degree at Egerton University, studying economics and history. She worked as an Mpesa sales agent, boosting sales in her region by 70%, and at the national cohesion and integration commission, crafting plans for a cohesive and peaceful coexistence within Kenya.
Steven was born and raised in Kibera, and experienced firsthand the inadequate supply and distribution of water in the community. He started working on creating a business focused on water – working on a solution that is both affordable and sustainable long-term.
After graduating Somo training in 2016, he founded WaterMark Springs. He has also joined Somo as a trainer, sharing his passion for economics and building enterprises.
Joshua was born and raised in the Kibera slums, where he has witnessed his community suffer from diseases like cholera, typhoid, high blood pressure and even loss of lives due to inability to access healthy meals affordably. He started Nutrition Palace, a participant in Somo’s pilot training cohort, as a healthy alternative to the unhealthy, unhygienic offerings of most food kiosks in Kibera. Joshua is also the co-founder of K-Shoes, a social enterprise that partners with skilled artisans from Nairobi’s informal settlements to produce customized footwear, targeting local and international markets and re-investing in the community. Joshua leads Somo’s efforts working with the Kibera community, and supports trainings, outreach and local fundraising initiatives.