Founder and CEO
Sivan Ya'ari is the Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, a NY based nonprofit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water technologies to rural African villages. She was born in Israel, raised in France, and educated in the United States with degrees in Finance from Pace University and a Masters in International Energy Management and Policy from Columbia University. At the mere age of 20, Sivan identified an opportunity for a more sustainable energy solution, and developed the groundwork for what would become Innovation: Africa. Having worked in Africa for over 20 years, Sivan has vast knowledge, experience, understanding and love for the African continent. Through her work, over 1,000,000 lives in the most remote villages have been impacted, thanks to Israeli innovation. In addition, Innovation: Africa has received many awards, including the Innovation Award from the United Nations. Most recently, Sivan has been recognized as one of the "40 Under 40 Most Promising Israelis" by Globes magazine and one of the "50 Most Influential Women in Israel” by Forbes Israel. Aside from running Innovation: Africa, Sivan also is a prominent business woman in Israel, owning multiple businesses and employs 140 women across the country. Sivan lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and 3 children.
Watch videos to learn more
Executive Assistant to Founder and CEO
Tara was born and raised in heartland of Oklahoma. During her university years, Tara studied abroad in East Africa and the Middle East to become familiarized with third-world development and politics in each region. In the years following, Tara moved to Israel, first as a volunteer and then as a Master's student of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Hebrew University. She is married to an Israeli and they have a daughter together. Joining the team at Innovation: Africa has allowed her to combine her two great loves, Africa and Israel.
Director of Africa Programs
After completing a two-year military service in her native Israel, Bar went traveling and spent time working and volunteering with local communities in the Brazilian Amazon and Kolkata, India. Eight years ago, Bar moved to New York to attend Columbia University and worked with human rights and conflict resolution non-profits before joining Innovation: Africa, where she was thrilled to combine her Israeli background with her passion for development work. Now back in Tel Aviv, Bar continues to oversee Innovation: Africa's programs across Sub-Saharan Africa. Bar graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in philosophy, is a certified TEFL teacher and has studied six languages. Relocating to Tanzania soon, Swahili is next on her list.
Director of Communications
Genna grew up in Virginia Beach, but a passion for soccer and Israel brought her to Israel in 2011. Genna played soccer professionally in Israel for 3 years during which time she volunteered with the Peres Center for Peace. Genna joined Innovation: Africa’s Israel team as the Communications Manager in October 2013, and has since developed the iA Volunteer and Ambassador community in Israel, and hosted the organization’s first Israel based events. Genna holds a BA in Communications and Marketing from The Ohio State University and an MA in Political Science from Tel Aviv University.
Former MK Rabbi Dov Lipman
Senior Advisor to the CEO
Dov Lipman grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Dena, moved to Israel with their four children in July 2004. The author of seven books about Israel and Judaism, Dov rose to national and international prominence for his role in combatting religious extremism in his hometown of Bet Shemesh. He was elected to serve as a member of the 19th Knesset with the Yesh Atid party in January 2013, making him the first American born MK in 30 years. While in the Knesset, Dov held his party's portfolio for the environment and public health, and also became active in Israel's public diplomacy efforts. Dov joined Innovation: Africa's Israel team in October 2017.
In House Engineer
Meir is an Electrical engineer and a graduate of Tel Aviv University. Meir worked for Intel Israel, National Semiconductor and for the Israel Electric Company in the Business Development Unit where he was responsible for project design and implementation. For the last year and a half, Meir Co-founded Ulysses solutions, a software company who develops an impact management platform for the developing world.
Africa Programs Associate
An international body, Morag was born in South Africa, grew up in Botswana with her heritage lying in Zambia and Scotland. With a life's mission to address the various forms of inequality across Africa, Morag completed her MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University where she focused on sexual violence in African settings. Alongside her work with women's rights, Morag has also worked closely with various causes, mainly advocacy for the refugee cause in partnership with the UNHCR; the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda and Botswana, and child trafficking in the United States. A true foodie and yogi-wannabe, Morag is delighted to work with Innovation: Africa in the Africa Programs Department.
Project Manager, Uganda
Robert Khakhosi was born and raised in Mbale, Uganda. After studying sustainable agriculture in KULIKA Charitable Trust, Robert worked as an agriculture extension worker with Heifer International and as an agricultural trainer with World Vision International. Robert has also volunteered as a community health worker with the Abayudaya Congregation and Foundation for Development of the Needy Communities in Mbale, Uganda. Robert speaks fluent English and Kiswahili as well as eight Bantu languages.
Field Officer, Uganda
Sarah Gimono a female Ugandan, born and grew up in Mbale, a Bamasaba ethnic community around Mt. Elgon. Studied in different fields of Uganda and earned a degree in Information Technology. She taught computer skills in a community computer training centre and later volunteered with Uganda Revenue Authority where she worked as secretary e-tax until joining the Innovation: Africa team in 2013. Sarah speaks English, Kiswahili and many bantu languages. She has a passion for supporting vulnerable people and rural communities to enable sustainable livelihood.
Agriculture Development Officer, Uganda
Ibra Lemye was born in Kaliro district of Uganda, raised and attended high school in Mbale region. Later on, he joined Makerere University and acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering which equipped him with the necessary skills in irrigation, agricultural extension and crop handling for community sustainability. These skills enabled him to work with Smallholder Fortunes and Thermogenn, which is a non-governmental organization. Ibra worked as a Sales Engineer for “EVAKUULA”, a locally made milk refrigerator, which can be used without electricity for small scale farmers rearing animals to earn more from their milk. This increased his passion for working with communities. Ibra later joined Innovation: Africa as a Volunteer in order to pursue his career. Currently, Ibra is working full-time with Innovation: Africa. He speaks English, Kiswahili and most Bantu languages from East and Central regions of Uganda.
Agriculture Development Officer, Uganda
Richard Mangali, as our local Agronomist, his expertise lie in agriculture and heath within rural communities across Uganda. Richard trained in Japan under the Japan International Corporation (JAIC). He returned to Uganda as an Agricultural Coordinator for JAIC and with a focus on youth empowerment, trained high-school dropouts in specific agricultural techniques. As our most recent Ugandan team member, his knowledge has already proven to be valuable to Innovation: Africa. Richard’s extensive field work with the Foundation for Needy Communities (FDNC) has equipped him with the knowledge and experience needed to work within our communities.
David "Wakale" Wangale
In-House Engineer, Uganda
David "Wakale" Wangale was first an Innovation: Africa contractor, our go-to water engineer for all water projects. With the number of projects growing so rapidly in Uganda, and with Wakale's outstanding dedication and quality of work, he joined our team as a full-time employee. His background not only lies in Engineering, but as a volunteer and community trainer. Throughout his career, Wakale has made it a point to train and sponsor orphans who may not have the necessary guidance and access to gaining such a skillset.
Karamoja Field Officer, Uganda (Karamoja Region)
Charles Losike was raised in Karamoja, Uganda and attended both primary and secondary education in Karamoja region. Charles was awarded The Uganda Certificate of Education after graduating secondary school and speaks fluent English, Ngakarimojong, Kiswahili and Ateso languages. Charles has experience working with many organizations such as: The Red Cross Society serving as a Volunteer then later became a staff member, Samaritan's Purse as a Food Distribution Monitor, Concern Worldwide as a Community Health Educator, Mbarara-Mulago teaching hospitals HIV/AIDS joint program, and finally with (M-JAP) as a community HIV/AIDS Counselor, until his current role with Innovation: Africa.
Robert “Mpagi” Bakulumpagi
In-House Electrical Engineer, Uganda
Robert “Mpagi” Bakulumpagi is the first full-time Electrical Engineer to perform solar installations at schools and health centers with Innovation: Africa. He was born and raised in Kisubi - Entebbe, Uganda. After attaining a certificate in Electrical Engineering, he continued to Karadea, Tanzania and received a Certificate in Solar Power Installation and Maintenance. He worked in a number of companies in Kampala before joining Eastern Sunrise Power Systems Ltd in Mbale located in the Eastern part of Uganda as a Technical Manager. Robert is currently Innovation: Africa's In-House Electrical Engineer. He works hand-in-hand with David Wakale and Meir Yaacoby in the Electrical and Remote Monitor department. He is fluent in English and many Bantu languages.
Project Manager, Tanzania
Lerian was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After studying she completed her Advance Diploma in Information Technology at Learnit Institute of Technology. She then began working as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for an NGO, Building Rural Incomes Through Enterprises until she joined Innovation: Africa in July 2017.
Lerian speaks both English and Swahili and some bantu languages.
Project Manager, Malawi
Filipo Mwale was born in Lilongwe, Malawi. He studied International Development and Sociology and studied at The Open University UK. He began working with Innovation for Poverty Action followed by a Program Manager position for Murphy Mucrea Project prior to joining the Innovation: Africa team. Filipo is a father of two kids: a son and a daughter. He speaks fluent English, Chichewa and Tumbuka.
Project Manager - Cameroon
Mercy Tayim is a 6 time Champion of Female Table Tennis in Cameroon and has represented her country in several international Table Tennis competitions. She is also a teacher by training and has taught Biology to High School students for the last decade. She recently graduated from Peking University, China with a Master’s in Management and Public Policy. Currently working for Innovation: Africa enables her to pursue one of her passions -- contributing to improve the living conditions of the less privileged.