Tiffany Cheng Nyaggah | Executive Director, Co-Founder
Through her work at Dignitas Project, Tiffany has expanded the program from five school partners in Mathare Valley to more than forty schools. In the past two years, Tiffany and her team launched several new programs, including its flagship initiative, the Leadership Institute Program. Prior to Dignitas Project, Tiffany worked at Harvard University as a researcher with the Public Education Leadership Project studying leadership and organizational change in partnership with urban school districts. Her case studies on entrepreneurial efforts in the education sector have been published in books and currently used in graduate courses in business and education at Harvard and Stanford University. She began her career as a teacher, admissions counselor, and school developer in Oakland public schools and later worked in Boston public schools. She has consulted on a number of youth-led and faith-based organizing activities promoting education equity in urban communities. Tiffany holds an Ed.M in School Development from Harvard University and a B.A. in Cultural Psychology/Education from Wellesley College.
Chanel Ryall | Senior Director
As the Senior Director, Chanel focuses on systems building and providing leadership capacity to support Dignitas' growth and operational expansion. She believes that program efficiency and fostering effective teams are important ways of enabling the organization's mission to impact children's lives. Chanel comes to Dignitas Project with over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, during which she has undertaken a broad range of roles including project/grant management, funding requisition, project design, monitoring and evaluation, communications, and finance. Previous positions include senior management roles with Hagar Cambodia and World Vision in both New Zealand and Australia, her country of origin. Chanel holds a Masters in International Development from Deakin University and a BA in Economics and Finance from RMIT.
Carolyne Owala | Special Needs Teacher Leader
Born in Nairobi and raised between Nairobi and South Nyanza, Carol has experience working with children who have special needs. As a teacher leader, she advocates for early intervention and empowers teachers and families in order to address developmental and cognitive delays in students. Carol also provides coaching and professional development to preschool teachers to enable them create a nurturing environment for critical early year learning and development where all children work and play together. Prior to working with Dignitas, Carol worked with Little Rock Inclusive Centre in Kibera as a class teacher. She has also worked with Makini School as an assistant teacher. Carol holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education (Montessori Method) from Premise Africa and a certificate in Special Needs Education from Kenya Institute of Special Education.
Lilian Nyaranga | Instructional Coach
Lilian Nyaranga has over ten years of experience in teaching, supervision and mentoring in schools. She taught mathematics and chemistry at Keveye and Alliance girls' high schools producing remarkable results. She has a deep passion for equitable access to education for all students irrespective of their backgrounds. As an Instructional Coach, Lilian hopes that her interactions with other teachers will lead to quality education for marginalized children. She holds a B.Ed. (Scie) from Egerton University and is currently pursuing M.Ed. in Curriculum Development at Kenyatta University. As a graduate student her research interests involve understanding the social dynamics in the diverse classroom and how it can enhance students' achievement in mathematics.
Shete Wangira | Instructional Coach
Shete Wangira believes building leadership, management and pedagogy in schools in poor and marginalized communities. He is a trained teacher and has worked as a teacher and administrator in several schools in Kenya and Tanzania as the Academic Dean at Loyola High School, Tanzania and as a lecturer in the School of Education at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He holds a Masters in Educational Management from Makerere University, Uganda.
Dara Carroll | Program Quality Officer
Dara Carroll contributes to ensuring program quality through assisting in program evaluation, best practice documentation, and strategic planning. Before joining Dignitas, Dara developed grants and researched opportunities for development through urban farming at the International Rescue Committee - Kenya. She has also acted as a Youth Case Manager at Heartland Alliance Refugee and Immigrant Community Services in Chicago, and Program Manager of Uganda Mental Health Fellowship in Bugembe, Uganda. Dara's passion for community-led social justice movements grew through these experiences. At Dignitas, she is inspired by the efforts of community partners and fellow staff to broaden opportunities for young people in Nairobi.
Gloria Omuya | Program Assistant
Gloria provides critical support in project administration and the communication's team. In addition, she is in charge of engaging visitors and volunteers who come to the organization. Prior to joining Dignitas Project, Gloria attended various short courses including peer counseling and trainings on creative arts and leadership management skills with Lepta Organization and I Choose Life-Africa. She believes that children in marginalized areas have a right to education and is proud to use her skills to support Dignitas Project's mission. Gloria recently completed a Diploma in Public Relations from the University of Nairobi with distinction.
Vincent Macharia | Operations Assistant
Born and raised in Mathare, Vincent coordinates support to activities and projects in schools and the community. Currently, Vincent supervises Dignitas Project's Teachers' Technology Lab, an educational space for teachers and students in Mathare who use technology to illustrate key concepts and hone newly acquired computer skills.
Jackson Mungai | Field Assistant
Jackson was born and raised in Mathare. A graduate of Starehe Boys' Centre, the Youth Film Platform and Princecam Media Institute, he previously worked on freelance projects in media, arts, and entertainment, as well as a member of the Kenya Scouts Association Media team. He believes that access to proper and quality education is something every child should enjoy if the educational integrity of the future generations is to be secured. He currently assists in co-ordination of project activities and school communication.
Joshua Kariuki | Part-Time Accountant
Joshua Kariuki is the Managing Partner at Business Link Solutions, which provides administrative support, accounting, and financial management services to both private sector companies and non-profit organizations in Kenya. At Dignitas Project, Joshua manages financial accounting and provides support to ensure proper internal control systems are utilized. Joshua completed his university education at USIU-Africa, where he graduated with a degree in accounting. He is currently finalizing his Association of Chartered Accountants (A.C.C.A.) qualifications.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Kimathi Kamencu | Trustee
Kimathi works as an independent consultant in the city of Nairobi. He is the Secretary of the Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship, and currently serves as its Acting Executive Director. He is also the Secretary of the Protecting Life Movement, which advocates for the upholding of the sanctity of life. He has participated in numerous community development and empowerment initiatives through advocacy and the provision of legal aid. He holds an LLB. (Hons) from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and a Diploma from the Kenya School of Law.
Steve Kariithi | Trustee
Steve is the administrative pastor at Mathare Worship Centre, Naioth Ministries, which serves the people of Mathare as well as other parts of Kenya through its branch affiliates. He worked with Dignitas Project during its founding years as the Country Director and played an instrumental role in launching the organization's first program. With over ten years experience in the community development sector working in a variety of roles and organizations, Steve now heads a community-based organization that uses education, business, and prayer as tools to empower families and transform society in Kenya. He holds a B.A. in Community Development from Daystar University.
Smita Sanghrajka | Trustee
Smita is currently a consultant working in development with sixteen years of post qualification experience. She has had significant consulting success working with public sector, donor agencies, private foundations and non-governmental organisations. Smita has contributed to the progress and achievements of programmes and organisations in a variety of sectors including health, governance, land, urban development, human rights and community development. Before embarking on her independent consultancy career, Smita was a Director within KPMG's Public Sector and Development division in East Africa. Smita is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
Dr. C.S. Sheth | Trustee
Bio coming soon!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bobby Lee | Co-Founder, Chairman
Bobby has previously served as an executive pastor as well as a corporate executive of a manufacturing company. He is currently the founding/lead pastor of Convergence, a new church in Oakland, California. Bobby has extensive experience and education in leadership, strategy, and organization design. His passion is for leadership empowerment of the emerging generation. Bobby is pursuing an Master's degree in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and holds an MBA from University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.
Tim Sesler | Member
Tim is a seasoned attorney with extensive regulatory skills from diverse in-house experience from the financial, insurance, and automotive industries. He currently works as corporate counsel at the Automobile Club of Southern California where he manages insurance marketing, privacy issues, and security breaches. Tim holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, a JD from UCLA, and a B.S. from Kansas State University. He and his wife live in Costa Mesa, CA, and have four daughters.
Min Tak | Member
Min is a former church planting pastor and has spearheaded non profit projects in Cambodia. He currently works as an attorney in San Jose. Min holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and J.D. from Loyola Law School. He lives with his wife and two kids in Fremont, CA.
Sean Carlson | Treasurer
Sean Carlson has over 15 years experience in both public and private accounting and currently heads up the tax department for a large venture capital firm located in Menlo Park, CA. He is a licensed CPA in the state of California and is a member of the AICPA and the California Society of CPA's. He holds a B.S. degree from North Park University in Chicago, IL and a Master of Science in Taxation degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, CA. He currently resides in Oakland, CA with his wife and daughter and enjoys golf, day trips to Napa and hanging out with his pug.
Wendy Robison | Member
Wendy Robison is an advanced doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Most recently, Wendy worked as the Director of Development Operations for Citizen Schools, where she helped design a national expansion strategy, conducted programmatic and financial sustainability assessments, and led the development of systems and operations for national and regional fundraising. Wendy's international work focuses on issues of educational access, teacher quality, and systemic reform in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East. For three years, she helped manage a U.S. government-funded primary education program in Afghanistan. Wendy graduated with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Religious Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and Islam from the University of Virginia. She holds an Ed.M from the International Education Policy program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Helen Westmoreland | Member
Helen Westmoreland is the Director of Program Quality for the Flamboyan Foundation, a private family foundation based in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., with the mission of improving educational outcomes for children in public schools and public charter schools. Her areas of expertise include evaluation, family engagement, out-of-school-time, community organizing, and systems-building. She recently spent two weeks with Dignitas Project on the ground in Nairobi to help develop an evaluation system linked to program outcomes. Helen received her master's degree in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education and her bachelor's degree in Spanish from Duke University.
Monica Higgins | Member
Monica Higgins joined the Harvard faculty in 1995 and is currently an associate professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education (HGSE) where her research and teaching focus on the areas of leadership development and organizational change. Prior to joining HGSE, she spent eleven years as a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School in the Organizational Behavior Unit. While at Harvard, Monica's teaching has focused on the areas of leadership and organizational behavior, self-assessment and career development, entrepreneurship, and strategic human resources management. Monica lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael, and three daughters, Sarah, Rebecca, and Mikayla.