Aparna's spent the past six years working in East Africa and India. Using her engineering and public health background, she's shaped and implemented a wide variety of initiatives including the technical design of water and sanitation systems, economic empowerment programs and policy advocacy. Her years of community-level work have cultivated a strong understanding of the shortcomings and strengths of the social impact space and led her to building up LensShift. She's currently persuing an MBA at University of Oxford.
Once I started thinking about misguided endeavors (both in the global development context and beyond) I couldn’t stop seeing the misguided perceptions causing them in nearly every realm/place I looked! I do believe change is possible. But I hope LensShift can do its part to ensure its responsible.
3 places I feel or call home: Nairobi, New Delhi, Portland
Valerie has spent the past 4 years working in Kenya as well as on projects within the East African region. She is currently engaged within the private sector and spent 2 years prior with local two local Kenyan NGO's, addressing concerns on land tenure in the context of poverty alleviations, giving her experience on a corporate level as well as on a community level in urban and rural areas.
LensShift will tell the story of the social impact space from different sides. Allowing people to understand and learn about different perspective. This will allow for better informed actions.
3 places I feel or call home: Cologne, Nairobi
Kathleen has spent many years in volunteer leadership roles with local schools and other organizations, and currently also works as a substitute school librarian. She formerly practiced veterinary medicine, at an exclusively equine mobile clinic. She received her DVM at the University of California, Davis, and her MLIS from the University of Washington.
LensShift is an organization where a small number of people hope to make a big difference by sharing the accumulated knowledge of development successes and failures in order to improve the way social impact work is done.
3 places I feel or call home: Seattle, Berkeley
Since I have left Ghana, it has been my dream to turn around the misconceptions of how the country is portrayed to the outside, which in my view limits the ways in which value is delivered to these societies. LensShift shares the mission of changing the perspective on how to actually do good by offering a platform for critical reflection and some pointers towards effective solutions for development - my cup of tea.
3 places I feel or call home: Kigali, Hamburg, Copenhagen
Mina is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California where she studied Social Entrepreneurship and she is passionate about using tools of business to tackle major social issues. She is currently working in two social impact enterprises that focus on affordable housing, and clean technology. She received her bachelor degree in Sociology from the University of British Columbia.
3 places I feel or call home: Los Angeles, Dubai, Tehran
Rourke is a recent graduate of Occidental College, where he focused on International Development in East Africa. After several stints conducting research in Tanzania and working for microfinance institutions in the United States, he now works as an educator in Northern California. Rourke has identified education as a key reason for his own growth, and seeks to teach others about the fundamental pitfalls of international development.
Having studied global development and lived in East Africa to research consumer economic decisions, Rourke found himself disillusioned by the development arena and sought to contribute to its improvement, rather than perpetuate it. Resources, such as those organized by LensShift, are precisely what opened my eyes to the potential damage caused by development.
3 places I feel or call home: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Arusha, TZ
WeiHsi Hu has worked in the charity sector for the past 20 years. Currently, he leads a strategy and tech development consultancy in the UK. WeiHsi specialises in research, product development, and community engagement strategies. Throughout his career, he devoted his efforts in advocating for social inclusion and engagement of vulnerable populations youth population in policy decision processes both at local and national levels. WeiHsi is also a fullstack developer.
I belive that a cultural and paradigm change needs to happen in the social impact world. To create meaningful social impact, we need to work "with" communities as facilitators, not "doing to" communities as experts.
3 places I feel or call home: Vancouver, Taiwan, London
Kholofelo Kugler is Legal Counsel at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) in Geneva, Switzerland. She provides legal advice,dispute settlement support, and training to developing countries on WTO law. Kholofelo has experience in corporate law and legal and economic policy research. She holds a Bachelor’s in Economics and International Politics, an LL.B degree, and a Master’s in International Law and Economics. She is an admitted attorney in her native South Africa and speaks nine languages.
LensShift’s philosophy speaks to me because we must shape the discourse around development aid/ work to consider it as a means of partnering with local communities to fulfil certain objectives. It is not just “charity work”.
3 places I feel or call home: Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa; Geneva, Switzerland; Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, USA.
Advisory Board member
Paolo spent the majority of his career advising companies on avenues of growth particularly through capital raising, mergers & acquisitions. Leveraging his finance & strategy expertise he co-founded a mobile money based start-up in Tanzania, worked on research projects for the IFC in Rwanda and the World Bank in Tanzania, and is currently advising Hope & Homes for Children on a transformative project.
I believe misguided perceptions are a root cause to many of the fundamental problems in our society and more alarmingly they are self-propagating – LensShift is the only organisation I have seen that will actually tackle this problem head-on.
3 places I feel or call home: London, Rome, Sargodha & Dar es Salaam (tied!)
Advisory Board Member
Ruth is the Senior Campaigns Manager for the global development agency,Restless Development. Previously atChild.org, designing theCharity Apprenticeprogramme and Amnesty International UK, Ruth has specific expertise in public engagement and mobilisation, as well as strategic campaigning and community organising. She sits on the Trustee Board for KickStart Ghana and on the International Steering Committee for the Better Volunteering Better Care initiative designed to eradicate orphanage volunteering. She loves disruptive education, impact-making and tackling the status quo.
To me, if you want to see effective solutions to the most pressing issues facing the world today, you have to make sure that people understand the real reasons why these issues exist and what forces are keeping them in play. Misguided understanding means that we’ll never see truly effective public engagement.
3 places I feel or call home: London, Ho (Ghana), Havana
Advisory Board Member
Shannon has is the Director of Fund Development forRise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization that provides emergency meals and collaborates in the implementation of income-generating small enterprise and agriculture projects in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She previously managed global health project design teams at FHI 360. Throughout her expansive career, she has been able to cross-pollinate lessons learned from her domestic and international community development experience in various roles, enabling her to successfully secure over $300 million in grant funding for nonprofit projects. She is a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow and earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan.
As I worked with development experts on projects, I was troubled by often well-intentioned actions that disenfranchised the communities we aimed to served and seemingly perpetuated the negative aspects of the global aid structure that destabilizes local economies in the long-term. LensShift wants to change that.
3 places I feel or call home: Houston, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; Harare, Zimbabwe