Our team of 103 full-time professionals and hundreds of Community Health Workers bring together decades of work experience in global health, research, and operations management.
Hired from the community we serve
Women across all positions
Women in senior leadership
Julius Mbeya serves as our Co-CEO, where he is responsible for driving the mission of the organization and overseeing operations. Julius grew up in a village that also suffered from the dual burden of HIV and maternal mortality, and is compelled to work at Lwala due to its success at drastically improving health outcomes. Prior to joining our team, he worked with MS ActionAid Denmark, UNDP Kenya, and with the World Bank-funded Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project. He has an MA in Political Science & Public Administration from the University of Nairobi, a post-graduate diploma in Healthcare Management from the Kenya Institute of Management, and a post-graduate diploma in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution from the University of Fribourg – Switzerland. “At Lwala, you become your brother’s keeper and your sister’s keeper, even if you do not know these people,” he says. “Lwala’s commitment to the community is not in passing; there is a sense of debt and implication in the community we serve.”
As Co-CEO, Ash directs organization vision, research, and development. As a mother, Ash is particularly passionate about advancing the rights of all women to access dignified reproductive and maternal health care. Ash comes to Lwala from Segal Family Foundation, one of Lwala’s long-term partners. She is a Global Health Corps alum and has worked with organizations including Komo Learning Centres, HELP International, and the U.S. Department of State. She holds an MPA from the University of Washington and BA in Political Science from Brigham Young University. She says “I’m humbled by the opportunity to ally with communities who have declared that it is intolerable for someone to die because of where they are born.”
Leah Agutu Oyugi
Leah is a former traditional birth attendant who became one of Lwala’s first Community Health Workers. “Being a traditional birth attendant, we didn’t have a lot of things to help mothers. We worked barehanded without protection. If there was difficulty, hospitals were not near for help so it often led to death,” she says. “Getting trained as a Community Health Worker affected my life greatly – we were told the dangers of giving birth outside of the facility, and it reduced the mortality of the women and the babies.” Today, Leah is a mentor for other Lwala Community Health Workers and a highly-respected role model in her community.
Winnie heads our education and economic programs and is a key thought leader in the organization. Winnie grew up in the village, just a few steps from where our hospital stands today. After she lost her father to complications from HIV and her mother’s health deteriorated, she struggled to stay in school but was driven to build a better future for herself and her community. Winnie’s first job was an internship with Lwala. She has since risen through the organization, taking on increasingly more senior roles, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Rongo University. “I have Lwala in my heart because of the impact it has had in my community, in my family, and to me,” she says.
Jactone Odiambo Okello
Jactone is the Record Clerk for Lwala Community Hospital. Jactone has been working with Lwala Community Alliance since the beginning – in fact, his family donated the land on which the clinic was built, and he was one of seven volunteers that started Lwala Community Alliance. Jactone was driven to become part of Lwala because he wanted to help his community and those he saw dying from poor health. After attending Lwala Primary School and St. Peter’s High School In Kisii, Jactone became a Guardsman for Lwala, and then a Guard, before becoming the organization’s Records Clerk in 2014. “Lwala has helped the community very much. When we started, the organization was just seven people. Now we employ so many people in the community,” he says. “Lwala has inspired everyone in the community to improve their lives.”
Robert oversees Lwala Community Hospital’s operations, acts as liaison to the Lwala Village Development Committee, and provides counsel as a core member of the leadership team. Robert has over 20 years of healthcare experience at organizations such as at Kijabe Hospital and AIC Health Ministries, and holds an Enrolled Community Health Nursing Certificate from Kijabe Medical Training College and a Diploma in Healthcare Management from the Tropical Institute for Health. He joined Lwala in 2010, when he says, “I fell in love with the place and the desire the community had to improve their livelihoods. I too had a desire to help people improve their lives. I’ve seen life-changing events at Lwala – it is not just a hospital. Families come in with hopeless situations and receive transformative treatment at all of our facilities.”
Doreen Achieng Baraza Awino
Doreen is responsible for guiding our community health programming and is the face of Lwala amongst our strategic partners, including the Ministry of Health. Doreen is passionate about working at the community-level, where community members directly drive impact. Prior to joining our team, Doreen worked at the Fred Hollows Foundation and Plan International on a variety of public health programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Kenya Methodist University and is pursuing her MSc in Health Systems Management. She also holds Certificates in Monitoring and Evaluation from AMREF and Professional Counseling from the Kenya Association of Professional Counselors. Doreen is inspired to work with Lwala because she can engage directly with the community members on health issues. “When I heard about Lwala, I knew I wouldn’t be sitting in an office and thinking of the people abstractly,” she says, “I knew I would be able to talk and engage with people and tap into the knowledge of the community.”
Elizabeth directs the team culture, recruits and maintains top talent, and ensures an equitable work environment. Elizabeth was driven to work with Lwala because of her belief that people deserve quality care regardless of whether they are in a rural or urban community. Prior to joining our team, she worked with Save the Children, ICAP with Columbia University, and the University of Nairobi. Elizabeth holds a BA in Psychology and Economics from the University of Nairobi and MSc in Human Resource Economics from Addis Ababa University. She also holds a Higher Diploma in HR Management from the Institute of HR Management of Kenya. She says, “The services our communities receive from Lwala inspire me; it is practical evidence that Lwala’s treatments are transforming lives.”
Wycliffe Okoth Omwanda
Wycliffe is the head clinician at Lwala Community Hospital where he oversees the clinical staff, including counselors, laboratory technologists, pharmacists, nurses, and fellow clinical officers. Wycliffe is inspired to work with Lwala because he has the opportunity to be part of the change the community wants. He explains, “Engaging with the community and our stakeholders is key and you can see in our results that it is working very well.” Wycliffe previously worked with AIDS Relief at Kendu Adventist Hospital and Kenya AIDS Response Program as the lead clinician. He is registered with the Clinical Officers’ Council of Kenya and is a trainer of trainers in TB-HIV co-infection. Wycliffe also received training in Counseling and Programming for Infant and Young Child Feeding from Cornell University, in collaboration with UNICEF. Wycliffe recalls, “A patient story that stands out for me is a man who came to us in 2015. We referred him to a bigger hospital because of the severity of his illness. Two weeks later he came back to Lwala because he felt he was not well taken care of at the larger facility. After some discussion and treatment from Lwala, his condition improved. It demonstrated that bigger facilities with more resources don’t always mean better care and it proved what Lwala could do for its patients.”
Elisha leads our sexual and reproductive health programs, hosts a local radio show, and is the heartbeat of Lwala’s staff. Elisha identified with our mission because, like Lwala’s founders Milton and Fred Ochieng’, he lost his father to HIV/AIDS at 8 years old. Prior to joining Lwala, Elisha worked with the Homa Bay Volunteer Hospital and Suna Nursing Home. He holds a Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Surgery from the Kenya Medical Training College and a Higher National Diploma in Reproductive Health from the Kenya Medical Training College. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rongo University. He explains, “The problems come from the community, and the solutions need to come from the community. I think that is why Lwala is successful, because we involve the community in everything.”
Steve oversees our Community Health Workers and coordinates our maternal and child health program. Steve grew up in the village where Lwala Community Hospital is located and joined our team as an intern during his final year of university because he wanted to bring change to his community. Steve has a BSc in Environmental Health and Public Health from Moi University and a Diploma in Project Management. He is currently pursuing his Master in Public Health from Maseno University. Steve is inspired to work with Lwala because he wants to make an impact on his own community, especially on the lives of the children that he works with.
Rose Adem is Lwala’s Finance Director. She leads the finance team in securing and stewarding grant funding, managing donations, and overseeing financial management of Lwala Community Hospital and the community-based programs. Rose grew up in a village similar to Lwala and is motivated to create opportunities and positive health outcomes for women and families just like her own. She says, “I grew up in the village so I identify with the challenges that happen in the village here, especially with pregnant women. I am awed at how Lwala has changed the story for pregnant women and their children, it is a success story that I want to be part of.” Rose brings years of experience in finance and management. She studied accountancy at Kenya college of Accountancy, then received a BA in Finance and Accounting from Kenya Methodist University and a Masters at the University of Nairobi in Strategic Management. She has also held positions at AMREF, Farm Africa, and the Walter Reed Project in Finance and Administration. Rose is excited to push for increased sustainability and efficiency in Lwala’s financial systems.
Vincent Okoth is Lwala’s Monitoring & Evaluation Manager. He designs, operationalizes, and manages all of Lwala’s data systems, from the individualized data Community Health Workers collect at households to the program evaluation data Lwala collects through robust surveys. Vincent started his career designing roads and dams as an architectural drafting technician, but later went on to study community health and development at Premese Africa in Nairobi and work for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He joined Lwala in 2013 and has since been promoted to the leadership team where he guides the organization’s broader strategy. He loves that his work creates impact through data, explaining “When we set targets and measure progress, we are creating our impact.”
Elizabeth Akinyi leads Lwala’s HIV and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Integrated (HAWI) Program. Elizabeth grew up not far from Lwala’s communities and became interested in water, sanitation, and hygiene after seeing children get sick from preventable diseases in her own neighborhood. She has a Diploma in Social Work and Community Development from Kisii University and is currently pursuing a degree in Development Studies at Maseno University. Before joining Lwala as HAWI Coordinator, she worked as a nurse at Nightingale Hospital and as a WASH Coordinator at Groups of Women in Agriculture. She is proud of Lwala’s ties to the community, stating “the community owns so many of the activities, so together we can be proud of what we have accomplished.”
Joe Wambua is Lwala’s Quality Improvement Officer. A nurse by training, he draws upon his clinical skills to implement a Quality Improvement process at Lwala’s partner health facilities. He leads the Quality Improvement process by evaluating health facility performance every 6 months and collaborating with facility staff to develop detailed improvement plans. He is motivated by the huge improvements he can make with small investments such as training or resource mobilization. Joe has a degree in public health from Jomo Kenyatta University and a nursing diploma from Kenya Medical Training College. Before joining Lwala he worked for Doctors Without Borders and African Population and Health Research Center.
Mercy Obiero is one of the laboratory technologists at Lwala Community Hospital. In the laboratory, she processes and tests patients’ samples to diagnose illnesses and get patients on the right treatment. Mercy studied microbiology at Jomo Kenyatta University in Nairobi. She has worked in Lwala’s laboratory for six years, where she has consistently pushed for improvements such as formal certifications and new lab equipment to expand the lab’s capabilities. In addition to her contributions in the laboratory, Mercy uses her beautiful singing voice to lead the Lwala staff in reciting prayers and hymns.
With over 12 years of experience in progressive responsibility in scaling NGO operations and organizational management, finance, M&E, & strategy in the East African context, Daniele Ressler is Lwala’s Research, Learning, & Impact Director. As Research, Learning, & Impact Director, Daniele concurrently oversees our global financial systems and directors our monitoring, evaluation, research & learning. She is passionate about community-based, data-driven and innovative solutions to development challenges, particularly within the public health and digital mHealth space; as well as in the generation of impact through rigorous research. “I seek to support locally relevant, high-impact, sustainable and scalable solutions that reflect the voices and interests of communities – and are backed by evidence. At Lwala, we prioritize testing our programs, learning continuously, and sharing results. Real-time data systems and rigorous studies offer us a direct roadmap of how to best serve our communities and save lives.”
Caroline Linda Awuor
Caroline Linda (Carolinda) Awuor is Lwala’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Coordinator. Originally from Kisumu, Carolinda received her Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Sociology from Maseno University. Prior to joining Lwala in 2019, she spent 9 years implementing integrated ECD programs across 5 counties in Kenya with Plan International and Child Fund Kenya. During this time, Carolinda heavily engaged in county-level technical working groups, advising policy reforms to include Early Childhood Development components. She is excited to be part of a team that implements innovative and holistic client-centered care at the community level and that works with peers all across the region to share best practices in implementation. “I am passionate about empowering parents to build strong foundations for their children through focused and intentional parenting. Lwala’s ECD program guides parents to leverage developmental opportunities for their children before they enroll in school.” Currently, Carolinda is completing her thesis for her Master’s degree in Project Planning & Management from the University of Nairobi.
Paul Mboya Asuke is Lwala’s Nutrition Coordinator. He has a BSC degree in Agribusiness Management from the University of Nairobi and worked as a Farm Manager at a midsized agricultural company before joining Lwala. In 2014, Asuke joined Lwala with a desire to leverage his skills as an agronomist to help families suffering in poverty increase their household food production and income through gardening and growing for the market. Asuke is passionate about the fact that adequate nutrition during the first 1,000 days between conception and a child’s 2nd birthday is one of the best investments in a child’s health, education, and wellness. Since joining Lwala, Asuke has enrolled over 1,900 households to the nutrition program, where they receive a holistic package of nutrition support to get on a long-term path to nutrition security. Currently, Asuke is pursuing a diploma in Community Nutrition at the Great Lakes University.
Christine Aoko Odongo
Christine Aoko Odongo is the Head of Nursing Services at Lwala Community Hospital. Originally from neighboring Homa Bay County, Christine received her nursing diploma from AIC Kijabe School of Nursing in 2010 and joined Lwala in 2014 as a nurse for our Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) program. In this role, Christine helped established our HIV community support groups and supported our PMTCT program that monitors HIV-exposed children in cohorts for 18-month cycles. Since her joining the team in 2014, Lwala has consistently seen over 90% of enrolled infants graduating from this program as HIV-negative. In 2017, Christine was promoted to the Head of Nursing. “At Lwala, it’s easy to experience professional growth. Over the years I’ve seen growth in myself, in my team members, and in the hospital. Lwala gives its staff members and its patients the support needed to thrive.” In fact, while actively being Lwala’s Head of Nursing Services, Christine is concurrently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the The University of Nairobi.
Our Global Council is a forum through which our Kenya Board and US Board collaborate. It is comprised of a diverse group of individuals committed to wholeness of life in Lwala & beyond:
Jessie Adams (Chair), Melizsa Mugyenyi (Vice Chair), Stephen Carr (Treasurer), George Srour (Secretary), Fred Ochieng’ (Co-Founder), Milton Ochieng’ (Co-Founder), Constance Shumba, Gladys Onyango, Richard Wamai and Thomas Glanfield.
Our Lwala Village Development Committee is an advisory group comprised of founding members of our organization. These individuals are important community leaders tasked with engaging both the organization and our communities:
Gervasse Nykinye (Chair), Shem Ooko, Charles Obong’o, David Odwar, Perpetua Okong’o, Charles Obunga, John Obunga, Rose Onyango, Samson Mbori, Robinson Mbori, and Musa Odhiambo.