STAFF


Amani Matabaro Tom

Founder and Executive Director, ABFEC

 

Amani Matabaro Tom founded Actions pour le Bien être de la Femme et de l’Enfant au Congo (ABFEC), Action Kivu’s Congolese partner organization, when his cousins, Kahumba and Mirenge took refuge in his home after both were raped in 2006 by Rwandan rebels known as the Interahamwe.

Amani and his wife Amini Bukanda wanted to find a way to provide a sense of purpose and self-worth for Kahumba and Mirenge as well as way for them to sustain themselves economically. Amini was an accomplished seamstress, and training them in sewing skills seemed the best solution. When word spread about what Amani and Amini were doing for their cousins, other victims of sexual violence asked for training, and the Kivu Sewing Workshop was born.

Amani was born in eastern Congo and like millions of others, is also a victim of the nation’s violence. Both of his parents were killed in the late 1990s during the many waves of fighting there. Amani finished his education with help from his elder brother, Ephraim, and then earned a degree in Applied Pedagogy with a concentration in English Language Teaching Methodology and Translation. He has worked as an educator and interpreter for numerous international organizations including Johns Hopkins University, Boston University, United Nations Multi-National Force in the Congo (MONUC), the International Rescue Committee, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum and with Yahoo’s News’ war reporting project, Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone.

Pamphile Muhigwa Mburugu

 

ABFEC co-founder and board member Pamphile Muhigwa Mburugu grew up in Bukavu, where he completed his university degree in Financial Management and Accounting.  Wanting to use this skill-set to pursue his passion for human rights for children and women, he continued his education, taking training in providing support for disadvantaged youth and the rights of children and women in post-conflict settings.

When he learned that Amani and Amini were looking for ways to train women in vocational skills to earn income, he joined their team, and through their collaboration of talent, compassion, and education, ABFEC was created. Pamphile designed and implemented the Community Based Microfinance program and financial literacy training that ABFEC  administers when microfinance funds are available, and is an active board member, helping shape the vision of ABFEC’s work in Congo.

As women and children are the innocent victims of the successive wars and ongoing conflict in Congo, Pamphile’s continued passion, skills, and commitment shine a light of hope for the communities Action Kivu supports through ABFEC.

Staff members in Congo

 

Nsimire Mihigo

Head of the Sewing Program

Ntakwinja Mukengere

Seamstress Assistant

Chantal Cibembe Rwagaza

Seamstress Assistant

Marhonyi Namegabe

Head of the Literacy Program

Cikuru Buhendwa

Education Program Assistant

Mukengere Muderhwa

Agronomist

Mirindi Lukabukira

Assistant Agronomist

Horthense Maramuke

Program Director

Jeanine Munyerenkana

Head of the Family Planning Program & All Together Against HIV / AIDS

Sifa Matembera

Psychosocial Program Assistant

Bahati Mihigo

Head of the Microfinance Project

Benjamin Mudekereza

Program Director & Logisitcs – Mumosho Women’s Center

Beatrice Mubulanyi

Main Cook for the Women’s Center

Basa Lugo

Night Security Guard

Action Kivu’s Board of Directors

Catherine Haight

Catherine, a co-founder of Action Kivu, is a film editor who has worked on multiple television series and feature films for studios such as HBO, 20th Century Fox, & Warner Bros.  Projects she has been involved with include Transparent, Afternoon Delight, Girls, New Girl, and Mozart in the Jungle.  Raised in New Hampshire with dual French and American citizenship, she now makes her home in Los Angeles.

Mo Hyman

As the co-founder and Executive Director of College Access Plan, a non-profit that prepares underserved students to succeed in college, Mo brings to Action Kivu’s work in Congo her expertise in fundraising and her core belief that all students, regardless of socio-economics, geography, or background, have the right to equal access to education.  Mo obtained her MA in English from the University of New Mexico and a Masters of Public Administration from USC. Eight summers leading adventure trips for high schoolers at a camp based in Michigan fueled her love of nontraditional education; nearly two decades in the classroom as a community college professor at Pierce College and Pasadena City College in the Los Angeles area built her passion for educational equality and access.

Shatreen Masshoor

Shatreen joins Action Kivu’s board after serving as an intern with us in eastern Congo. While there, she put into practice her Master’s from Yale University in African Studies with a focus in Anthropology and her related work in Reproductive Biology, HIV and AIDs in Africa, Sexual Violence and War, and experience as a Yale Global Health Fellow to help Action Kivu identify community needs and implement reproductive health services for the women we partner with in Mumosho.  Her previous experience as a rape crisis counselor at the Milford Rape Crisis Center and her fluency in French and Swahili, as well as her cultural sensitivity and previous work in Liberia gave her great insight to help the women in Congo. In a region where rape is a common weapon of war, and domestic violence a daily norm, she interacted with the women with great care and respect, working within the restrictions of a poverty-stricken community, where access to healthcare is extremely difficult to find.

Kevin Sites

Kevin is an award-winning journalist and author who has spent the past decade covering global war and disaster for ABC, NBC, CNN and Yahoo! News. Dubbed by the trade press as the “granddaddy” of backpack journalists, Sites helped blaze the trail for intrepid reporters who work alone, carrying only a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit and transmit multimedia reports from the world’s most dangerous places. His first book, In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars shares his effort to put a human face on global conflict by reporting from every major war zone in one year. Sites was selected as a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.  Originally from Ohio, he now lives and teaches in Hong Kong.

Rebecca Snavely

Rebecca, Executive Director and co-founder of Action Kivu, began her career in the film industry as an assistant to producers and directors on feature films including What Women Want and Legally Blonde 2.  She currently freelances as a writer and casting director, and worked for two years as a Web producer and staff writer for Los Angeles Times entertainment.  Rebecca has traveled with documentary teams to Ethiopia, Kosovo, and Serbia.

JD Stier

Born in Georgia, USA to a civil rights attorney father and a mother deeply connected to her church, JD was raised with a respect for social justice and fighting inequality.  JD has fought for social justice, environmental protection, and youth affected by gangs and drugs throughout his life.

While studying at the University of Wisconsin, he traveled to Africa with his housemate and friend Kou, a former Lost Boy from Sudan, on his homecoming trip in 2002. Through that and numerous trips back to east and central Africa, JD grew to know and increasingly fight for the people he came to call friends and the communities he now considers an extension of his home.

JD has held leadership positions within numerous campaigns, including the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign, leading to a Presidential Appointment in the White House in 2009.

After serving in the White House JD was tapped to lead the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign.  Under his leadership, the campaign increased public pressure on the electronic industry to further address their role in cleaning the conflict minerals supply chain. In 2012, Raise Hope for Congo highlighted Congolese activists, including Amani, in the I Am Congo documentary series. The campaign also initiated a gold campaign calling on the jewelry industry to lead the way to a clean gold sector in eastern Congo.

He is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, advocating for solutions to the crisis in eastern Congo.  He asked Apple for increased leadership addressing conflict minerals; partnered to raise awareness of the crisis in Congo; and asked President Obama to increase his engagement in eastern Congo. As the founder and President of Stier Forward, in March of 2016 JD launched the #StandWithCongo Campaign, a human rights movement for transparency in Congo mining, where people can learn more, engage, and give to local Congolese NGOs.

JD has forged a friendship and partnership with Amani, spending time together throughout eastern Congo as well as in Washington, D.C.  JD holds Action Kivu and Amani in the highest regards and is deeply passionate about supporting Action Kivu’s life-saving community-building work.

 

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