MEET OUR TEAM
MALI OLE KAUNGA
Mali Ole Kaunga is a Laikipia Maasai and the Founder and Director of IMPACT. Prior to this, he founded OSILIGI (Organization for the Survival of IL-Laikipia Maasai Indigenous Group Initiatives) which later became IMPACT. He is also the Founder and Convener of PARAN (Pastoralists Alliance for Resilience and Adaptation in Northern Kenya Rangelands), a coalition of community leaders, natural resources stewards, grassroots organizations and customary institutions. Mali Ole Kaunga has previously worked and consulted with the International Labor Organization (ILO) as an Indigenous Peoples expert for its Africa Program on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (Convention 169).
He has also worked with WIPO on issues of Maasai Cultural Heritage and with UNESCO on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change. He has published articles in different journals on the topics of Indigenous traditional knowledge, Indigenous Peoples and urbanization, Indigenous Peoples’ education and the militarization of Indigenous lands.
While at OSILIGI, Mali pioneered strategic litigation for Indigenous Peoples when he brought forward an international case against the British Government for using Maasai and Samburu lands for military training, as well as for leaving live ordinances that maimed, killed and injured scores of Maasai and Samburu in the grazing fields. He has been involved in lobbying for and advancing the interests of Indigenous Peoples affected by the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project and the Isiolo Mega Dam at national and international levels. Finally, he is a member of the CI Indigenous Advisory Group.
Finance and Administrative Manager
Elizabeth Silakan is from the Ilakipiak Maasai community and a graduate from the Maasai Mara University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management. In addition, she holds a Certified Public Accountants level 4 Certificate. She holds a certificate course on grants management from Strathmore University.
Elizabeth is a keen planner with proficiency in developing budgets and undertaking projects with short deadlines and often seemingly impossible objectives. Since joining IMPACT as a Finance and Administrative officer, Elizabeth has built the image of the organization by ensuring strict adherence and application of the laid down organizational policies, donor regulations, ensuring principle of integrity, transparency and value for money in community development initiatives. Coming from a pastoral setup and aware of the diverse challenges that the community faces, Elizabeth keen to see that the communities’ priorities within IMPACT programs create positive change by promoting project efficiency.
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John Ole Tingoi is a Laikipia Maasai who has been working on human rights advocacy for the last 16 years, advocating for the rights of pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya. He has experience working with the Kenyan government, specifically in the National Registration Bureau and Civil Registration Services.
John developed a passion for land and human rights advocacy, as well as for social transformation of pastoralist communities, with whom he has worked extensively. He has received training in community development, participatory methodologies, intellectual property law and documentation. John has also participated in international negotiation processes and contributed to a number of policy proposals — the first Kenyan Policy on Traditional Knowledge, Cultural Expression and Folklore, the National Land Policy, and article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. He is currently working with IMPACT as a program officer, assisting communities which are undergoing the process of community land registration. In addition to this, he takes part in fundraising and puts together reports for IMPACT partners.
Peace building and Conflict Transformation
Community Land Protection
Elijah Lempaira joined IMPACT as a Program Officer under the Land & Human Rights program. He works closely with pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya.
As a Program Officer, Elijah is passionate about the implementation of the program's main objective — to support Indigenous Peoples in securing their land through stregthening the voices of community land owners and developing advocacy techniques. He also supports several communities in the land registration process, in conformity with the Community Land Act of 2016.
Before joining IMPACT, Elijah worked within several organizations, including the Africa Education Trust (AET). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Communication from The University of Nairobi. In addition to this, he has received a Certificate Course in SPSS, STATA and Advanced Excel from the University of Nairobi.
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Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience
Ramson Karmushu joined IMPACT as a volunteer in March 2016. He later became the Field and Logistics Assistant, before starting to coordinate academic research conducted in collaboration with IMPACT. Ramson has coordinated projects with researchers from McGill University and The University of Sheffield under the I-CAN Project. This work has focused on resource-based conflicts within the counties of Laikipia and Samburu, as well as on a LAPSSET study of the livelihood impacts of the Isiolo–Moyale Highway. He also doubles up as IMPACT’s organizational driver.
Before joining IMPACT, Ramson gained knowledge through volunteering at various organization. In his five years as a volunteer, he joined an out-grower farmers group, where he trained farmers on the handling of chemicals and took part in clerk work. Later, he joined the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and worked in the customer care department before joining Voluntary Services Overseas’ International Citizen Service (ICS) program. He served as an in-country volunteer at a community-based organization in Kilifi, where he performed numerous tasks, including giving environmental and hygiene lessons to primary and secondary schools pupils, as well as encouraging their involvement in casual employment and sports.
Ramson’s goal is to help those around him in any useful capacity, and to the best of his ability while promoting teamwork.
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Sharon has over two years of experience in accounting and procurement. In her early years, she worked with Equinox Horticulture Limited as an Assistant Procurement Officer, where she also doubled as an Accounts Assistant.
Sharon joined IMPACT in 2019 to provide support for tasks related to finance, procurement and the filling system. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from University of Eldoret. In addition, Sharon holds a Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Level 4 Certificate.
Vivienne is a Journalism and Communications graduate from The Multimedia University of Kenya. She worked at Nairobi Institute of Business Studies as a Online studies content creator, and later joined Kenya News Agency for over 2 years as a writer and reporter.
Vivienne joined IMPACT in January 2021 as a communications officer to write and distribute content to promote the organizations brand and activities.
Her passion as a journalist is telling the story of the vulnerable people in the community especially women and children.
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Sabina was born and raised in Marsabit County. She is part of the Rendille community, a Cushitic pastoral nomadic community from Northern Kenya. Before joining IMPACT as an Office Admin, Sabina was working as a cashier at a supermarket in Nanyuki.
Sabina's passion to serve in human rights-based organizations stems from seeing the suffering of her own community, especially in terms of lack of access to services. Upon joining IMPACT, she was assigned the position of an Office Admin in an attempt to contribute to IMPACT’s general goals. Sabina is currently pursuing courses to further improve her skillset.
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Office Administrative Assistant
Sakui Moipon worked as a teacher for two years, teaching at Seiku Primary School in Mukogodo East Ward, Laikipia North Constituency. He believes that the best way to empower his community is through education and he draws his passion from serving in his community. Sakui also previously worked for the Centre for Humanitarian Change (CHC), supporting pastoral women empowerment.
He joined the IMPACT team in February 2020 as paralegal worker serving under the Lekurruki group ranch. Sakui holds a P1 Certificate in Education from Igoji Teachers College.
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Paralegal, Lekuruki community Land
Paralegal, Tinga B community land
In his early years, Raphael Lenaruti worked with Samburu County under the department of Agriculture as a community mobilizer for groups supporting crop production.
In 2018, Raphael joined the IMPACT team as a paralegal worker and since then has been helping several communities in Samburu County to complete land registration procedures as stipulated in the Community Land Act of 2016. On behalf of IMPACT, he coordinates with Samburu County officials and community leaders in matters concerning community land. He currently works with the Tinga B and Loosuk B group ranches, in Samburu West Sub-county.
Raphael believes in strengthening Indigenous communities and setting them on a path towards self-reliance through capacity-building initiatives. Using a modern approach, he seeks to facilitate transformative change within Indigenous communities by ensuring that their voices are heard, recognized and respected.
James Matunge is a pastoral field school teacher by profession. He is passionate about dedicating his knowledge and time to initiate and influence community development initiatives geared towards protecting the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples. James is currently the chairperson of Laikipia North Huduma Sacco and a board member of Loata Sand Dealers.
He joined IMPACT in February 2020 as a paralegal worker serving under the Kurikuri Group ranch, Laikipia North Sub-county. James holds a diploma in Theology from Mount Kenya Bible College.
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Paralegal, Kurikuri community land
Lilian Lelesiit joined the IMPACT team in February 2020 and provides support for community members from the Malaso B Group ranch, Samburu County, regarding the government registration process as outlined in the Community Land Act of 2016.
Before joining IMPACT, Lilian worked as a secretary at Loosuk Secondary School. Her role as a paralegal worker for IMPACT has sparked her interest in community land registration processes and other issues related to land conservation. She is planning to enroll in college to further her studies.
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Paralegal, Malaso B community land
Evans Takare is a trained human rights activist who champions for the rights of marginalized communities in Laikipia North Sub-county. He previously worked as a Change volunteer for the Jielimishe Project, advocating for girls’ education and fighting against female genital mutilation.
Evans joined IMPACT as a paralegal worker in February 2020 serving under Lkiloriti Group ranch, Laikipia North Sub-county. Among other duties, he mobilizes for community meetings between Lkiloriti Group ranch members and helps them navigate government registration procedures on community land.
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Paralegal, Lkiloriti community land
In his early years, Johanna Minyarit worked for Lolomarik Farm as a mechanic and later was promoted to the position of Assistant General Manager. He has worked as a mechanic for over four years. In addition, Johanna is a competent driver with 3 years of experience. He is also a trained bee keeper, having worked with Africa Bee Keepers (ABK) for a year.
In February 2020 Johanna joined IMPACT as a Mechanic Driver, contributing his rich experience to IMPACT’s operations. Johanna acquired his driving license from the Automobile Association (AA) of Kenya, Meru Branch. Similarly, he holds Grade 2 and 3 Mechanic Certificates from the Nyeri Technical Training Institute and Enti Polytechnic, respectively.
Isaac joined IMPACT in 2020 as a Program Officer-Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. He has spent most of his career working on the governance aspects of natural resources management in Northern Kenya and has wide-ranging experience in the fields of water resource management, landscape and biodiversity conservation, community participatory approaches, advocacy and lobbying. Isaac is passionate about mobilizing people, communities and organizations to tackle our most pressing environmental challenges arising from climate change. It is to this end that Isaac seeks to combine his experience and background in natural resource studies to strengthen pastoralists adaptation and resilience to climate change risks and help the organization becoming a strong institution that delivers great impact.
He has previously been involved in research projects in Mt. Elgon and Cherangany; Kenya Water Towers, and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme, Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). Before joining IMPACT, Isaac was working with Water Resources Authority with three years of experience in the Technical department. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management, Egerton University as well as a certificate in Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Audit, registered and licensed by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) as an Associate Expert.
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“My dream is to leave peaceful footprints wherever I pass, and that someday people will strive to follow those footprints, and hopefully they will be redirected to a peaceful destination.”
James Mema is a graduate from the university of Nairobi with a bachelor of science in range lands management. His passion for environment conservation and integration of both human and wildlife drives him to work hard every day in the hopes of seeing a peaceful north where all communities live together peacefully regardless of the challenges they are facing. Before joining IMPACT, James worked with different organizations in organizational management. His latest project was with the Ol Pejeta conservancy where he actively engaged in monitoring the population dynamics of selecting endangered species under the ecological department. He also worked with the community department where he was able to lead talks with the community on grazing plans, as well as collecting data on peoples' perspectives on conservation around the conservancy. James is currently working under PARAN alliance attached to the IMPACT office Nanyuki, where he is working as an environmental peace fellow, gathering information concerning climate, environmental change, peace, conflict and the impact of COVID -19. James' goal is to come out of this more educated and having left a positive impact on those he has worked with during his time at IMPACT.
COMMUNITY RESEARCH FELLOWS
A long history of research shows that environmental and climate change causes an increase in violent conflicts. However, there is also a new stream of research that suggests that shared environmental challenges can facilitate peace-building between historically conflicting groups.
Northern Kenya is prone to violent conflicts. Historically, these conflicts have often taken the form of inter-communal conflicts over pastures and water. Conflicts in the region are now caused by other factors, such as new investments in conservation or major developments, such as LAPSSET, along with the presence of terrorist groups and proliferation of small arms in the region.
Reports suggest a rise in inter-communal violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictive measures introduced by the governments to curb the spread of COVID-19 – such as the closure of livestock markets & evening curfews – have exacerbated food and livelihood insecurities. Incidences of burglary, cattle raids, and highway banditry have escalated as people have tried to make ends meet during this difficult economic period. Additionally, the militarization of health responses to the virus led to human rights violations as public security officials abused their power to enforce COVID-19-related restrictions.
Impact, together with the Institute of Development Studies, planned a training of young community researchers on research processes and tools to enable them to be effective in managing natural resources-based conflict. Organizations need to learn how to collect and incorporate data into decision making and project development. The Research Fellowship is a one year program which aims to Support Grassroots Environmental Peace-building Movements in Northern Kenya and understand the impacts of Covid-19 in fragile and conflict affected regions.
Josphine Lesirite is a trained project planning manager, specializing in field work and monitoring, documentation and reporting.
Joining IMPACT in March 2021 as a field researcher conducting interviews and submitting the questionnaire to the coordinator.
She is so passionate on indigenous movement on conflict and peace building. She is currently researching on possible mitigation methods in addressing conflict and peace building in northern Kenya; with aim to enhance peaceful coexistence among indigenous people in the region.
Before joining IMPACT, Josphine gained knowledge and skills through volunteering with Samburu Women Trust, whose role is advancing indigenous women power in decision making and strengthening access to justice and legal aid among indigenous communities.
Aga Rari joined IMPACT team in March 2021 as a Community Researcher to collect data and do research in communities of Marsabit county. Aga holds a Bachelor of science in Disaster Management and International Diplomacy from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Aga is a Humanitarian and passionate in assisting indigenous communities of Northern Kenya in any useful capacity by promoting human welfare and social reforms.
He previously worked as an intern at National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), assisting in the implementation of cash transfers to vulnerable community members in Marsabit county.
Jacinta Sajila is a Masai from Mukogodo West ward in Laikipia North constituency and a graduate from the University of Nairobi with a degree in Bachelor of Arts. She is a result oriented person who is driven by passion to work for communities on various sectors. This passion, past experiences and exposure into community work drew her into applying for the Research fellow position where she would enjoy interacting and engaging with pastoral communities and identify the challenges they face. This too is a learning curve on the cultural aspects of her community that she did not know. She previously worked with Africa Educational Trust in Mukogodo West and East wards which dealt with education for children in marginalized communities.
Issa Mohammed is an ardent believer of volunteerism and believes that by giving back, a man’s value can be measured in society. It is for the same reason that he voluntarily participated in creating awareness about Covid-19 during the first onset of the virus at his home County Isiolo.
His desire is to make a change in society in his own small way. Issa's happiness is when every one around him is happy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental health and public health from the Technical University of Mombasa. He is currently working with Impact trust as a community research fellow to undertake a collaborative research project entitled "Supporting Grassroots Environmental Peace Building in Northern Kenya".
Siad Hassan is a Somali who has been working in Samburu for over five years. He has been conducting Nutrition and Health surveys with the pastoralists communities, mostly those living in the parts of Northern Kenya. He has experience in working with the Kenya government, specifically Ministry of health working as a volunteer in the department of Nutrition.
Siad developed a passion for transformation of pastoralist communities with whom he has worked with. He has received several trainings from different organizations on how to tackle and address challenges facing the pastoralist communities. Before joining Impact, Siad worked with several Non-governmental organization including AMREF AFRICA, UNICEF and World Vision Kenya in conducting several health surveys. He holds a Diploma in Clinical and Community Nutrition from Mount Kenya University. Siad gained knowledge through volunteering and conducting surveys at various Organizations. His goal is to uplift, support and create a peaceful coexistence among the pastoralist communities living in Northern Kenya.
Hani Godana is a Community Resource Management graduate from kenyatta University. She was born and raised in the pastoral community of Isiolo County. She is passionate about uplifting her community through research, advocacy and projects to bring development and eradicate poverty among indigenous communities.
Hani joined IMPACT in March 2021 as a Community Research Fellow. She was motivated to apply for the role because it matched with her passion for working with and alleviating indeginous communities. Before that, she had volunteered at some local organisations including National Drought Management Authority in Isiolo County where she worked with the local communities to fight drought.
Philip Lemantaan joined IMPACT TRUST KENYA as a field Fellow in Samburu County to get more information about how the pastoral communities are dealing with the challenges they are facing in the northern part. The main reason why he decided to work with the community as a field fellow is to get more knowledge about the pastoral communities.
He has worked with several organizations which fostered his interest in working with the community. He also helped carry out a research with IMPACT on locusts in 2019.
Philip pursued a Bachelor of Art in Education at Kenyatta University.
Mohamed Kanu is a son of a pastoralist from the Borana community living in Moyale town, Marsabit County. He is a graduate from the University of Eldoret with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. He is also a registered Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit (EIA/EA) associate expert.
Mohamed is a honest, reliable, organized and result oriented character with strong sense of self-motivation to achieve set goals. He previously worked as an intern at National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and participated in the implementation of the plastic bag ban in Kenya.
Currently, he is a volunteer Program Officer under the Land Tenure Rights Protection program at Indigenous Strategy and Institution for Development (ISID), which is a local NGO and a member of the PARAN Network. Mohamed is passionate about working with pastoral communities in Northern Kenya, helping them to secure their land rights through community land registration process in conformity with the Community Land Act of 2016. He also works with IMPACT TRUST as a community research fellow in undertaking collaborative research entitled "Supporting Grassroots Environmental Peace Building in Northern Kenya". He is motivated by the fact that he gets to learn more about indigenous pastoral communities and the challenges they face, working closely with them to overcome these challenges.