Introducing Brian Viani and Paige Belt, New Leadership Program Facilitators

The Leadership Program welcomes Brian Viani and Paige Belt, the new Program Facilitators for Nuru Kenya and Nuru Ethiopia respectively.

It struck me how far we have come as an organization and in the Leadership Program this past month as I worked with Brian Viani and Paige Belt to on-board them and prepare them to enter Nuru Kenya and Nuru Ethiopia as Leadership Program Facilitators. Brian has replaced Jennifer Chizek in Nuru Kenya as part of Foundation Team 9. Followers of this blog have gotten acquainted with Jen who was the Leadership Program Facilitator this past year with Foundation Team 8 in Kenya. After a successful year, Jen is pursuing other options outside of Nuru. We thank her for her service and wish her the best in all her endeavors.

We are excited to welcome Brian to Nuru Kenya to continue where Jen has left off and look forward to hearing from him on these very pages in the future. Brian has an M.A. in International Relations from New York University and has teaching, research, and curriculum development experiences in Taiwan, Thailand, and Kenya. The Leadership Program is also fortunate to welcome Paige who will be part of Foundation Team 1 in Nuru Ethiopia and will enter the project in the first week of August. Paige has finished her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Bristol with on-the-ground experience in Cyprus, Panama, and Ecuador. We look forward to future posts from Paige as well. 

I am excited for where the Leadership Program and Nuru is headed with these new members of our team. As mentioned earlier, I am also amazed how far we have come since the beginning of the program when we launched with FT6 in Kenya. I did not realize at the time, back in 2010-2011, when I was working with Chelsea Barabas to help set up the foundation of the program all the progress we would make in such a short time. Our local training team in Kenya has grown from three to eleven since the program’s launch in 2011 and they have trained over 250 Nuru Kenya team members in topics ranging from servant leadership to Nuru’s mission and approaches to poverty solutions. The Leadership Program has also worked very closely with Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and Agriculture to launch a new project in Ethiopia, as we are training and building up the first team members while piloting the Program Planning Process and the co-creation of the Agriculture model. Paige will join the team there as they finish this pilot and will be instrumental in iterating and launching this process with the Community Economic Development (CED) Program. As these pieces of the Leadership Program are being executed in Kenya and Ethiopia, I am getting to see how they all fit together strategically from the beginning of a project through management of working models. Next, we will be working hard to devise our role in scaling the project and to develop a criterion for Foundation Team exit in Kenya with the help of Brian and our talented Kenyan team as well as with the rest of the Nuru family. We are well on our way in creating a comprehensive leadership strategy to develop our local leaders to design, launch, manage, monitor, and scale Nuru programs so that more and more people can be freed from extreme poverty in Kenya, Ethiopia, and anywhere else where such a need exists.

Thomas Hong

About Thomas Hong

Leadership Program Director — Thomas has worked in education and leadership development in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. He holds a B.A. in Economics and master’s degree in teaching from the University of Virginia and an MBA in international organizations from the University of Geneva.

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