Elimu has been making futures brighter for over a decade. Through mentorship and education support, Elimu strives to provide alternatives and role models to help children find hope for their future and the skills and resources they need to achieve their goals.
Elimu is the official trade name of Elimu Development Projects. We are based in Ottawa, Canada and our Canadian operations are currently completely volunteer-run. All those involved in management, administration and fundraising volunteer their time and expertise. So, all proceeds raised go direct to Elimu projects.
Overhead costs and administrative expenses have been covered by our founder, Nina Chung, since the beginning. To avoid overhead costs the “office” of Elimu is a virtual set up run from various home offices. So you will only find a P.O. Box address for us in Canada. We have been undertaking projects in Kenya since 2006. We were officially registered as a Canadian charitable organization in 2012. We are also registered in the U.S.A. and Kenya.
Most of the team in Kenya first volunteered for Elimu, some still do. Founder, Nina Chung, spends more than half the year overseeing projects. She has managed to gather an able team who support her vision and are taking Elimu to another level. They are Kenyans who come from the same types of backgrounds as the children we serve. Some remember how it feels to walk more than an hour to school (barefoot so that shoes would not wear out too fast). Some were sponsored to stay in school. They are professionals who give of themselves in the hope of making a better future for their country.
Nina Chung – Founder/President, Born in Guyana (South America) Elimu founder, Nina Chung also has roots that mesh with the Kenyan essence. Her great-grandmother came from Africa to Guyana as a slave. Home is Ottawa, Canada but Nina spends more than half the year in Kenya overseeing projects. She’s totally hands-on with children. From the beginning, she has handled school meetings and doctors appointments. She is still part of regular daily life at Nyumbani Kwetu home. While kids were still little, Nina spent most evenings with them doing homework and tutoring. She considers herself a ‘spiritual mother’ to these kids.
George Brown – Chairperson, lives in Ottawa, Canada. He is a lawyer and social entrepreneur and is currently Principal of George Brown Law. Prior to this, George spent nine years as President of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund (OCLF) as well as 9 years as a City and Regional Councillor in Ottawa. As a Councillor, he served as Chair of the City’s Economic Affairs Committee and the Region’s Environmental Services Committee. As Chair of Economic Affairs, George played a significant role in initiating and developing the Ottawa Entrepreneurship Centre, as well as promoting community economic development throughout the City of Ottawa, including the establishment of the OCLF. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Community Economic Development from New Hampshire Project’s Graduate School of Business (now Southern New Hampshire University) and an LL.B. degree from the University of Ottawa Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in September, 2003. George is a Senior Research Fellow with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation as well as a Part-Time Professor at the University of Ottawa Law School. He is a member of United Way/Centraide Ottawa’s Community Investment Committee.
Jan Wood - Secretary, currently resides in Calgary, Alberta where she owns two marketing-related businesses and is on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Marketing Association. From 2011 to 2014 she lived in Denver Colorado where she worked with OpenWorld Learning, a non-profit organization that supports after school learning using computer programming. From 2009 to 2011, Jan travelled extensively. She lived in Thailand where she taught English at two private international schools and she volunteered for Elimu in Kenya, tutoring for the children of Nyumbani Kwetu, as well as offering planning and development consulting for the establishment of Elimu as a charitable organization. Jan has 20 years in the marketing profession with ten of those at Canada Post Corporation where she specialized in International Product Development and was in various management and leadership roles. She also worked as National Marketing Manager of Travel CUTS (Canadian Universities Travel Services). Jan is passionate about travelling and knows that education comes in many forms and is the key to a better future.
Maureen Monaghan – Treasurer, is a native of Quebec City but has lived in Ottawa for over 35 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Mathematics from St Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She spent her entire 33-year work career with the federal government as an economist and policy advisor in the Energy Sector of Natural Resources Canada, retiring in 2008. Maureen served for two years as treasurer of the Ottawa District Golf Association. She then became treasurer of the Ottawa Heart Institute Auxiliary, a position she held for 20 years. After retiring from the public service, she assumed the position of Managing Director for the Auxiliary. Maureen was also the treasurer of a small investment club for 15 years and has participated in a number of committees in her church, including 3 years on the finance committee.
Jennifer Lavoie – Board Member, brings 20+ years of public relations, fundraising and marketing skills to Elimu. She operates Lavoie Public Relations in Ottawa. She holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, a post-graduate Masters in Management from University of Ottawa, and a certificate in International Community Development from Mt. Royal University. She travels extensively, loves to read, volunteers, and enjoys all sorts of winter and summer sports. With Elimu programs, she greatly admires the community approach to learning, which empowers families and whole communities to build better livelihoods and realize their dreams.
Nina Chung – Founder/President, travels between Malindi, Kenya and Ottawa, Canada. Elimu is her full-time work and she offers it on a fully- volunteer basis. Prior to this, she spent 8 years co-managing Savvy Marketing, a professional marketing consultancy that worked mainly in youth and student markets. Nina also worked as Marketing Director at Hostelling International–Canada (formerly Canadian Hostelling Association) where she developed promotions and programs targeting youth and university student markets. Nina has a degree in Anthropology from University of Western Ontario. Along with English and French, she speaks German and Swahili. While in Ottawa, she volunteered at her church working with the disabled community, supporting refugees and mentoring at-risk youth. In 2004, she left Savvy Marketing for a 2-year volunteer posting in Kenya. The work of Elimu began during that time with the small of step of paying school fees for two young boys.
The Elimu Advisory Board is made up of volunteers from Canada, USA, England, Mexico and Kenya who willingly provide their particular expertise to support our projects in Kenya. Advisors are non-voting board members who act in a consulting capacity to the local Boards of Directors.
Suzanne Stoltz – Strategic Communications Advisor, lives in Ottawa, Canada. She is a PR and outreach professional with 20 years experience in the private and public sector. Suzanne brings extensive experience developing and implementing effective communication strategies. With expertise in event planning, media relations and special event planning, she is passionate about using her skills for meaningful communications to help tell Elimu's story. She provides Elimu with guidance on social media strategies, program development and fundraising.
Guy Giguère – Organization Development Advisor, lives in Ottawa, Ontario and works as coach, lecturer and guide to the enterprise community. Trained in NLP, Management, Education, Psychology, he has spent the past 35 years roaming the Work Market, internationally, in both public and private sectors. He specializes in helping people to better perform in their own realities in terms of organizational culture, market and numbers. He’s also an entrepreneur who understands the need to change and evolve within the frame of a business. As a guide, his hobby, he has guide-coached small groups through personal and geographical transitions in remote areas such as the Sahara Desert in Tunisia, the Savannah in Kenya and some Holy Places in India. Guy’s expertise is invaluable in guiding Elimu through the changes and challenges of organization growth and development.
Paul Turpin – Organizational Strategy Advisor, lives in Gatineau, Québec and works as a consultant where his skills power individuals and groups for innovating and developing themselves. Passionate and curious by nature, he leads others to question, to change perspectives, and to systematize in order to discover new avenues to the future. His approach embraces transformation-producing activities. He’s given his approach a name IBILERA a word of Basque origin meaning cadence and stride, which resonates with him, partly because of his own family origins in the Basque countries, but also because it corresponds with his past as a world-class athlete. His support is guiding Elimu to imagine the potential, clarify the properties and environment, be more agile in decision-making and translate shift into sound actions. In his own words, “I’m incredibly proud of the impactful projects Elimu has undertaken in the past two years I have worked with them.”
Tom Craven – Education Advisor; lives in Mombasa, Kenya, and works as the Primary Headteacher at Braeburn Mombasa International School. He worked with Elimu Founder, Nina Chung, as a volunteer with VSO in Kenya between 2003-2005 and was present at the early meetings between Elimu and Upendo School managing committee, where he was able to provide valuable advice from an educational perspective. He continues to provide support and educational consulting to Elimu for all of our projects.
Leanna Verrucci – Marketing Advisor, holds a Masters in Child Psychology. Since graduating, Leanna has worked in a number of industries ― education, publishing, travel and tourism, television and hospitality and consumer packaged goods - in a variety of positions ― marketing manager, director of communications, senior brand manager, reporter, publisher, owner and operator. Currently, she is the Entrepreneurship Manager at Algonquin College’s Ignite Entrepreneurship Centre. Leanna is passionate about education and helping empower youth to be all they can, and want to, be.
Jane Bennett – Special Advisor, lives in Kent, England where she is a Speaker, Motivational Coach and Mentor. She provides advice and direction to Elimu Founder, Nina Chung on issues of program development, relationship management and life skills consulting both with respect to the development of Elimu as an organization and with regards to internal issues relating to Elimu project partners and clients.
Santiago Maza – Film and Video Production Advisor, lives in Mexico City where he is an independent film producer. He spent two months in Kenya in 2011 where he produced videos to document Elimu project developments and created a photographic library of images from all Elimu projects. He continues to assist Elimu’s communication media manager with advice and support. He has also organized fundraising activities in Mexico to promote and support the work of Elimu in Kenya.
Valerie Benetar – Project Administration Advisor, lives in Mexico City where she works with a local non- profit organization involved in capacity building and skills training amongst traditional communities in the impoverished region of Chiapas. Valerie volunteered with Elimu for two months in 2011, assisting with monitoring and evaluation tools for Elimu projects. She also helped to produce formats for Elimu agreements with local project partners. In Mexico, she continues to support Elimu projects through fundraising activities.