In this edition, I have the privilege of introducing our newest Community Economic Development (CED) Program Facilitator, Mr. Christopher Isele. Chris has joined Nuru Kenya as of May and took over the responsibility of facilitating the CED program by the end of June 2013.
Chris was born in Chicago and grew up in New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from West Virginia University in Business Administration and has got an MBA from Vlerick Business School in Leuven, Belgium.
Before coming to Nuru, Chris was serving as Director of Microfinance Program of a small organization in Tanzania. He helped poor individuals and families who had came to the area with a hope of gaining work on the surrounding coffee plantations. Chris helped them to gain access to financial services through group savings and credit program and worked to increase their income or develop income streams that were less affected by seasonal changes, through new income generating business ideas, working capital loans, and business trainings. Some clients benefitted through a smoothing of income, which allowed them to better plan and manage their money, while others were able to increase the income of their businesses and used it to more drastically improve their standard of living through home improvements, schooling for children, saving, buying land and other ways afforded to them through the increase in income they were able to achieve.
Before completing his MBA in Belgium and started working for the microfinance program in Tanzania, Chris had spent a year and a half traveling around the world to places like, Honduras, Colombia, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, India, and China. Over time he was able to learn a lot about different cultures which helped him to improve his ability to adapt to new cultures, solve problems, and manage resources. It was through these travels that he was able to identify his desire not just to work internationally, but also to work with people in poverty to access opportunities that could lead them out of their current situations.
In addition, Chris had been involved in developing a local procurement plan and improving local relations for an international company’s work in Ghana, as well as working to improve the financial and organizational plans for SOL International, an NGO working with children in Honduras.
Chris is excited to work with the CED program team to help improve the ability of Nuru farmers to save and to teach them the basics of how the benefits of saving and understanding financial management can help them in improving their lives.
We in Nuru CED team are excited to have Chris onboard. We hope that together with the vibrant CED team he would bring the CED program to the next level.
We wish Chris all the best and look forward to working with him in the fight against extreme poverty in Kuria West District and beyond!