What’s the story?
Team Kenya was officially founded in 2008 by Valerie Wilson, a geography teacher and senior manager working in a secondary school in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Before establishing Team Kenya, Valerie had been working with the Ndhiwa community since 1999, focusing on school partnerships and curriculum exchange.
Since 2008, Team Kenya have built a strong relationship with the community in Ndhiwa, and Twende Pamoja. Team Kenya work in partnership with Twende Pamoja and together we have transformed the lives of over 60,000 people in Ndhiwa, including 20,000 young girls.
2019 was a year of success and change – we know it is possible to get all girls in school and keep them there, providing safe and quality education, and we need to continue to strengthen, amplify and refine our strategies to Leave No Girl Behind. We also know that educating girls does not happen in isolation, which is why we also work with the local community in Ndhiwa and are constantly researching best practice in international education.
In 2020 we are changing our narrative from “making a difference” to “here’s how transformation really happens and why we need you to support and work with us”. 2020 is a year of transition, of shifting the power, so that we can ensure the continued impact and future sustainability of our work.
Shift the Power encourages organisations to transfer power to the edges. For Team Kenya, this means;
* building the capacity and skills of Twende Pamoja so they become “co-creators”
* continuing to evaluate and refocus our work so that we are adopting the behaviours associated with our values
* making a conscious effort to avoid bias in our language, our approach and our communications with the wider community in the UK and Twende Pamoja.
In 2019 Team Kenya and Twende Pamoja took part in a joint consultation to determine our joint organisational values and how these can be used to drive our programmes forward. Values are defined as “principles or standards of behaviour; judgements on what is important to us”. Our agreed values are;
* Collaboration: “the action of working with someone to produce someone”
* Empowerment: “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”
* Integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”
* Respect: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements”
Meet the team
Valerie is the Founder of Team Kenya, and also our (volunteer) CEO and trustee. Val has over 30 years’ experience in leadership roles in education and international development with a focus on capacity building, strategic development and project management. She was Chair of trustees until August 2020 and has previously been a Trustee at One World Network North-East.
Val’s passion for gender equality, social and environmental justice and commitment to
sustainable development led her to Ndhiwa in 1998. She supported teachers in the community to set up a Learning and Resource centre and registered Ndhiwa Community Empowerment and Development Project as a CBO in 2003. She remains actively involved as Twende Pamoja Treasurer. She is committed to ensuring Team Kenya continues its holistic evidence based approach working respectfully, with integrity and in collaboration with Twende Pamoja to empower the community to Shift the Power and solve deeply-rooted social, political, and economic problems.
Formerly a Trustee and Board Secretary, in June 2021 Lynda was appointed as Chair of Trustees. Her involvement with Team Kenya over the last 10 years has also included working as a volunteer on the joint Team Kenya/Twende Pamoja values project, helping to develop the transition plan to ‘shift the power’ to Kenya and supporting a very successful teacher training project on classroom management and active learning. Lynda was the former Head of Geography at Walbottle Campus and then Gosforth Academy before changing careers to lead the teacher training team at Newcastle College and then becoming the Assistant Principal of Newcastle Sixth Form College. Having retired in August 2019, she is delighted to be able to support the charity in her new role.
Pavandeep is a Team Kenya Trustee. She joined team Kenya in 2013 as a student volunteer with the Newcastle University Team Kenya Society and has been involved ever since. During her time, Pavandeep has taken part in events such as the Great North Run and Hadrians Wall walk to raise money for the charity. She has also organised several fundraising events and until recently, aiding the charity in its grant funding and research initiatives. Pavandeep was born in Kenya and still holds strong connections to her roots. She is passionate about the empowerment of women and is overjoyed to combine these two interests in helping her to serve Team Kenya. By profession, Pavandeep is a Management Consultant specialising in Growth Strategy.
Catherine joined Team Kenya as a Trustee. She has worked across the public and charity sectors. She has been a Chief Executive of a mental health charity. She has managed regeneration projects and a local strategic partnership. She also worked with an international book aid charity which works with publishers and others to support schools, universities, public libraries, refugee camps, hospitals and prisons to supply learning materials and equipment. She has been a Non-Executive Director, School Governor and a Lay Member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Recruitment of Magistrates. Catherine looks forward to a future when all females can freely access education and opportunities which offer them chances to imagine new possibilities and shape their own futures.
Laura joined us as our part-time Grants and Impact Manager. Laura has worked in programme management in the international development sector for over 13 years, managing grants and building the capacity of community organisations. Her experience has been primarily focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Laura has been Trustee of a small international development charity for several years. She will be working closely with our partner in Kenya, Twende Pamoja, to support them with developing and delivering impactful programmes.
Peta is our part-time Fundraising and Operations Manager, with over 4 years of experience in bringing together global communities to empower the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised women and girls. With a focus on community engagement, Peta’s collaborative approach connects people from all walks of life, who share our vision for gender equality for all girls and women in Homa Bay, Kenya. Peta also contributes over 13 years of strategic and operational experience to our dynamic team. Peta believes that all women and girls, especially those facing the worst injustices of inequality, must be actively included in the global movement for gender equality.
Jacky is a Team Kenya Trustee and also supports with grant applications. Jacky has over 30 years’ experience in education, starting her career as a teacher in East Africa and finishing as Deputy Head in a Northumberland High School. She volunteered at our projects in Ndhiwa and has been supporting our grants fundraising for several years.
Terry is our Treasurer. He is a qualified accountant and worked in industry, in particular manufacturing and engineering, over 40 years for various companies, most recently as Finance Director of an engineering business where he was responsible for all finance and most commercial activities. Terry is now retired from full-time work but holds a non-executive directorship with a local design and manufacturing company and is a trustee of two charities in Newcastle and Darlington.
Claire is a Team Kenya volunteer and has previous supported us as a Volunteer Coordinator and Finance Assistant. She was also involved in the planning of our Community Conversations programme in Ndhiwa. Before joining us she worked for 30 years teaching in secondary schools, including 3 years working with VSO in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea.