This year has been one of growth despite the ongoing challenges of the covid-19 pandemic. The Kepler team has demonstrated resilience and innovation in adjusting to the new reality of study and work in a shifting global landscape. I want to highlight and celebrate three milestones that will have a transformative impact on Kepler’s future. First, in June 2021, we received a significant donation from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett that will accelerate Kepler’s impact for young Africans. Second, we started in-person training in Ethiopia through the Graduate Employment Program with two local partners Nefas Silk Polytechnic College and Addis Ababa Tegbareid Polytechnic College. Together, we trained over 800 young people with 85% of graduates employed within 6 months. In fact, more generally, and despite challenges in the employment market in East Africa
and globally, our employment outcomes in Rwanda remain high with 80% of recent bachelor’s degree graduates and 90% of all bachelor’s degree graduates employed within 6 months. We will continue to create innovative solutions to support students, particularly our refugee students and the most marginalized to secure decent employment. Third, we opened a new office in Canada that will support resource mobilization and we look forward to the new opportunities this brings.
While at the end of last year, we were cautiously optimistic, today, we are excited to get started with 2022. I know I speak for the entire board and all of Kepler’s many stakeholders when I express my deep gratitude to the Kepler team for their dedication and tireless work as they have steered the organization to this much stronger place through all the storms of the past few years.
Thank you all.
What an incredible year this has been! This year, thanks to our incredible team, we served our 3000th young person with 1730 served in 2021 alone. Of the young people served this year, 835 were trained as part of the Graduate Employment Program (GEP) in Ethiopia. Our GEP pilot in Rwanda with IPRC Gishari TVET college saw 100% of students trained get a professional internship. We are excited to see the GEP program grow in Ethiopia and Rwanda. We continue to push for gender parity in our GEP programs. Already, 46% of young people trained in Ethiopia are women and we want to do more.
In July, we signed a partnership with Mastercard Foundation to expand our Iteme preparatory program which prepares refugee and vulnerable students, especially young women, to transition from secondary education to tertiary education, employment or self-employment in Rwanda and Ethiopia. This year, we expanded our existing program that transitionsn secondary school students to tertiary education in Rwanda. In 2022, we will expand Iteme to Ethiopia and launch Iteme+ which focuses on transitions to employment and self-employment in Rwanda.
Our support to refugee students continues to grow as we pilot innovations to empower their success at Kepler and their transition to employment or self-employment. This year, we built a women’s room that allows female students at our Kiziba campus to use as a private space for sanitary reasons or to breastfeed. We also launched a special internship fund that refugee graduates could access to be able to relocate from Kiziba refugee camp if they secured an internship or job outside the camp. An additional stipend is offered to women with children to support childcare costs.
In November, as part of our partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), we graduated 291 students bringing the total number of bachelor’s degree graduates to 662 with 51% being women. We look forward to growing our partnership with SNHU even as we launch our own degrees with Kepler College in Rwanda next year. We are excited to continue to serve students from our newly renovated Kepler Kigali campus, an over four-hectare property purchased this year.
Beyond our direct interventions, Kepler wants to leverage its experience to support the wider education and skilling ecosystem in Africa. We are proud to be part of The Education Collaborative created by Ashesi University to increase higher education outcomes collectively and sustainably. As a member and co-chair of the East Africa hub, in 2021, we became lead on the Systems Change Program, a mentorship program where universities looking to improve employment outcomes are matched with institutions who have a strong systems and employment track record. We look forward to doing more within the Education Collaborative and more directly by providing technical assistance to partner institutions on career services and employability, competency-based education, and teacher training, among other areas.
As well, this year, we took concrete steps towards financial sustainability, receiving over $450,000 in funding through the Future of Work Fund managed by Chancen International. The Fund provides upfront funding for every Income Shared Agreement (ISA) signed by eligible students. Students start paying once they graduate and are working. We will continue to prioritize overall sustainability and look forward to continuing to offer access to quality education and training to our students, especially women, refugees, and the most vulnerable students.
Next year, we accelerate our already growing pace. We will continue to focus on all our students, making sure they succeed at and after Kepler. That is our bottom line, and we thank all our partners and donors for supporting us in this endeavor.
Graduates Benita Gwaneza and Joella Ingabire both studied Healthcare Management with concentrations in Global Perspectives while at Kepler, and they now work at Health Builders, a local NGO dedicated to strengthening health systems and building facilities where access is limited. Their work has triggered a lot of reflection on the significance of healthcare management within the current health climate. They’ve experienced first hand the gaps in healthcare exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of preventative care. Joella and Benita both see education as a pathway to strong health systems and strongly believe that education opportunities in healthcare management can lead to positive systemic changes in the industry.
“As someone in the industry, I’m leading by example and showing people how to act accordingly. We have a long way to go, and we each need to follow the guidelines set by the government. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and work from home if possible. It’s about protecting our family and friends.”
Kepler first started its partnership with Southern New Hampshire University in 2013 to offer SNHU’s accredited online degrees at our site in Kigali. The goal of the partnership is to serve talented Rwandan students who would struggle to pay for higher education. Kepler offers students in Rwanda high-quality support services to help graduates in the transition to employment.
Kepler-SNHU alumni Calene Ingabire, Dany Rugamba, and Belyse Bugingo who work at Moshions, one of Rwanda’s leading fashion brands, shared how their Kepler experiences prepared them for work after graduation: “Kepler gave me the hard and soft skills to accomplish all the responsibilities I have here at work. I meet and speak with a lot of clients on a daily basis. The skills I learned – listening to people, understanding what they really want – that’s something I use from Kepler to work well.” Calene explained. All three hold SNHU Bachelor degrees in Communications with concentrations in business and reflected on Kepler’s grading system, which allows to fine-tune and resubmit assignments, and instills a sense of continuous improvement; even after graduation “we are always learning”.
“The Kepler model is practical. It’s something you can take with you wherever you go, and because it’s competency-based, you can assess your growth both at work and in other areas of life.”
-Dany, Business Manager
“I want to grow professionally with Moshions, in an industry that is growing. As the company grows, I grow – new skills, new learning, new everything in this ever-changing world.”
Belyse, Customer Relations Lead
In 2015, Kepler opened a site at the Kiziba Refugee Camp in western Rwanda in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, the IKEA Foundation, Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The Kiziba camp was opened two decades ago for those fleeing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is currently home to over 17,000 refugees. The Kiziba site allows promising students living in the camp to earn a U.S. accredited degree from Southern New Hampshire University and pursue employment opportunities.
Clarisse Uwamahoro majors in communications with a concentration in business at Kepler – Kiziba, in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. She’s expecting to graduate with her BA and a solid resume just three years after beginning her Kepler journey! Through Kepler’s work-study program, Clarisse was hired as a learning coach to help newer students acclimate to the innovative academic model. She also completed a remote internship with an organization based in the U.S., further honing her professional communications and project management skills. Clarisse accomplished all of this while coping with the challenges of living and studying in the Kiziba refugee camp, she explains,
“There are a lot of people, and it’s crowded, so there’s always a disturbance when you’re studying. But through trying our best, we still learn and succeed.” –
For months during the height of the COVID pandemic, Kepler’s Kiziba campus was closed to maintain public health standards; students could charge electronics twice per day, but were unable to stay in classrooms. Clarisse and her fellow students had to identify quiet places to work on assignments, participate in remote classes, and join internship related meetings. This required applying a lot of the key skills she had been learning, such as prioritization and negotiation.
“Students create opportunities to connect with each other, to provide support and feedback, or help each other understand assignments and directions. At the Kiziba campus, we used to see each other in person, but nowadays I make an effort to connect using Google Meet. And I don’t just connect with the people who have the same internship as me, but with the entire community, here and in Kigali.” –
Gentille Dusenge completed her SNHU bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management with a concentration in global perspectives from Kepler’s Kiziba campus in September of 2020. Now she works as a Community-based Protection Intern at the UNHCR while providing for her family. Working in the humanitarian sector is a dream come true for Gentille, who is now able to give back to the refugee communities where she grew up. She’s been growing into her powerful voice as an advocate for education and gender equity, starting with her election as Student Guild President of Kepler Kiziba and later blooming with her particiption in the first Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.
As the first born in a family of seven, Gentille’s father placed his faith, and a great deal of responsibility, on her caring for the family and doing well in school. Her outstanding achievements in secondary school earned her a government scholarship to university; however, she was ineligible to use it due to her refugee status. Five years later Gentille enrolled in Kepler’s tertiary preparation program and gained the skills and confidence to be admitted into the BA degree program. Gentille balanced motherhood and her studies while shining as a leader in the Kepler community. Now that she’s graduated and moved out of the camp, Gentille is eager to find new avenues for giving others the opportunities she has had.
“The very first thing I gained at Kepler was confidence. Now I’m able to express myself and say ‘no’. I used to feel like the small- est thing in the world, but with Kepler, I realized that I’m someone too. I can let people know what I’m thinking and feeling.”
This year has been a challenging year globally for employment but we have remained close to our goal of 90% employment within six months of graduation. In 2021, we plan to accelerate efforts to improve employment around our refugee population.
Graduate Plante Josue Niyomugenga wanted to find a way to combine his artistic interests with a desire to help others. In 2018, he founded AFLIMBA, a rural creative craft space designed to elevate craftsmanship in rural communities and improve livelihoods for rural artisans. The company currently produces vibrant, contemporary fashion products, such as bags and sandals. Plante Josue says Kepler’s focus on professionalism equipped him with the communication skills to confidently navigate an international marketplace. Managing his own business has required a lot of resourcefulness, from making the most of a small space to balancing tight budgets. Plante Josue is constantly putting to use the technology and research skills he acquired at Kepler, where he learned that all the information he needs is out there, he just has to find it. He also credits his public speaking skills to Kepler where he developed the art of successfully pitching business ideas. Learn more about AFLIMBA here.
“I am an artist and a problem solver, so I enjoy finding solutions to challenges. I look to the root causes and stay connected to my goals.”
Adeline Seneza is the Sourcing & Outreach Senior Coordinator at One Acre Fund, a prominent nonprofit organization that sup- ports smallholder farmers in East Africa with the aim of reducing hunger and poverty. Since 2017, One Acre Fund has partnered with Kepler to find qualified candidates for internships and job opportunities. To date, they’ve hired more than 30 interns and 40 entry-level positions from Kepler, many of whom now hold leadership and management positions at the organization.
-“Kepler students are sharp. They’re very open, they’ve got confidence, and they’re very well-spoken. They also come with project management skills from Kepler, which they’re always striving to improve upon. And it’s easy to work with Kepler scholars, because they already know how to work on a team. I’d definitely say that Kepler prepares its students for the workforce; you can tell from their CVs and writing skills alone.”
Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (GEM) works with proven, on the ground partners to offer higher education programs for students affected by forced displacement. GEM provides refugees and other vulnerable populations with the opportunity to pursue a US-accredited BA or AA degree online through their self paced program. Kepler has been a proud SNHU partner since our founding in 2013, and we have been thrilled to participate in the growth of this international community of learners as GEM has expanded with partners in Lebanon, South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi. Watch the 5-minute TED Talk to hear directly from students and the program’s executive director, Chrystina Russell, about how GEM’s flexible, competency-based model sets up graduates for success and empowerment wherever they are.
“Iteme helps students leave the mindset of the impossible and enter the mindset of the possible,” explains African Leadership University (ALU) student and Iteme graduate Elizabeth Kampire who attended Iteme in 2019, after which she immediately landed a scholarship to ALU, where she now studies Global Challenges and Healthcare. The program develops professional competencies, like crafting a compelling CV, essay writing, networking, math, and English, as well as focusing on issues like gender equality and youth empowerment. Elizabeth also credits Iteme for her university preparedness; the program both aided her in scholarship applications, as well as prepared her for the rigors of higher education. She says she, “could write a book about how helpful Iteme was,” and that she found inspiration in her instructors, who were Kepler students from refugee communities themselves.
“That’s a big message for refugees in the camp, who maybe don’t believe they can make it to university. They see someone from their community who went to college, and that person comes back to teach them, encourage them, and help them access opportunities.”
Iteme (bridge in Kinyarwanda) is an instructional program supporting refugee and vulnerable students across Rwanda to transition from secondary education to college or a career.
In late 2020, Kepler launched our pilot Graduate Employment Program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The program is a partnership between Kepler and two public polytechnic colleges, Nefas Silk Polytechnic College and Addis Ababa Tegbareid Polytechnic College. Kepler’s work in Ethiopia aims to improve the employability of recent graduates by filling critical gaps in soft skills such as communication, technology, problem solving, and professionalism.
Yezbalem Mandefro Mulu is one of ten instructors from public technical colleges in Addis Ababa who participated in an intensive teacher training program as part of Kepler’s Graduate Employment Program. Since 2016, Yezbalem has been teaching in the Electrical department at Nefas Silk Polytechnic College. Prior to this role, she was an instructor at other technical schools for over twelve years. The Kepler teacher training program introduced Yezbalem to competency-based learning and assessment, job readiness curriculum, and more student centered pedagogy. She was also able to develop her technology skills by participating directly in a blended learning model. Kepler designed the training with a focus on practice and feedback, asking trainees to apply new skills immediately. This allowed Yezbalem to actually implement lesson plans and use instructional software in a safe learning environment before teaching students from the college. In the first months of implementation of the Graduate Employment Program, Kepler staff will co-teach and continue to coach Yezbalem and the other instructors.
“In my 15 years of teaching I always taught using lectures and demonstrations. Now, with the Kepler model, my teaching is student centered. All the tasks are performed by the students while I challenge their thinking and give them feedback. I’ve found this helps to truly engage students and achieve the learning objectives.”
Higher education institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa are challenged to address the increasing concerns on access, cost and quality of higher education in the region. In order to respond to this critical challenge by expanding Kepler’s impact on the higher education landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa through a scalable, affordable and quality higher education model, we are at the final stage of the institutional and program accreditation process to establish Kepler College in Rwanda. Through Kepler College, we are excited to start a project management undergraduate program with a vision to launch three other relevant programs including innovation and entrepreneurship with a total student enrollment reaching 1600 in the next five years.
Our vision is to establish an innovative model of higher education by addressing the concerns on access, cost and quality of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through an innovative students’ income share agreement, we will be able to remove financial barriers to access higher education for students from vulnerable communities. Students will not be required to pay in advance for their education; but through a gainful employment. This scalable model will contribute towards enhancing higher education enrollment rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was about 9% in 2019 according to the World Bank and this was much lower than the global average of about 38%.
In order to ensure high employment outcomes, Kepler gives special attention to the alignment of the curriculum, academic offerings, assessment and career support to the labour market needs. Students at Kepler College will be supported to drive their own learning and they will be assessed on their ability to apply their knowledge and skills on various work-like projects. We will also be able to bring students from diverse backgrounds to a similar level by bridging the gap in their school education by offering foundational modules in communication, technology and critical thinking at the start of their education.
Expand our services through newly launched Kepler College & other partnerships
Expand to new geographies
Scale innovative education financing model through Future of Work Fund
Focus countries are;
Offer opportunities to more young people through upskilling programs
Tailored Programs in Rwanda (2021)
In consultation with the government and partners, piloting blended programs that support the TVET ecosystem and government positions with competencies offered by Kepler’s Foundation Program. Working to build a national internship program for critical positions with goal to place Kepler graduates (although open to all graduates in Rwanda).
Graduate Employment Program (Ethiopia, 2021)
Built on Kepler Foundation program to providing communication, technology and professional competencies/soft skills to TVET and university graduates in Ethiopia who are unemployed.
Given our mission to offer high quality education to young people who would not usually access higher education and training, Kepler’s funding model has been heavily philanthropy driven. With shifting donor priorities and the additional strain of the Covid-19 pandemic, over the last three years we have been focused on Kepler’s sustainability and reducing reliance on philanthropy.
A key aspect of our strategy is our partnership with Chancen International, with whom we launched an ethical student financing mechanism in 2018. Eligible students are now able to access Income Share Agreements (ISAs).
In 2021, Chancen International will be launching the Future of Work Fund, which will be a gamechanger for young Africans who want to access ethical student financing to attend Kepler or another partnering institution.
Statements of Financial Position December 31, 2020 and 2019
Statement of Activities
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
Born in Eastern Cape, South Africa, Vivienne obtained her B.Juris ( cum laude), LLB cum laude at the former University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University) in 1993 and 1995, respectively. She obtained an LLM degree from UPE in 1997 and graduated from the University of South Africa (Unisa) with a Doctor of Laws in 2001 at the age of 29. She is an admitted Advocate of the High Court in SA since Dec 1995 on the non-practising roll. Vivienne taught Law of Payment Instruments, Corporate and advanced corporate law, Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law at UPE from 1995 to 2002. She also curriculated and started IT Law at UPE. Vivienne joined the South African Reserve Bank from 2003 to 2006 as a senior payment system analyst, senior legal consultant and Manager: Financial Safety Net. Vivienne joined Strate Ltd, SA’s central securities repository, where she was the Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for securities and IT legal work, as well as the amendment of the Strate Rules (as regulator of brokers). She joined NMMU as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law in July 2008 until March 2015. From 2009-2015, Vivienne led the national LLB Curriculum Reform project as President of the South African Law Deans Association. She co-chaired the National Summit in 2013 with the late CEO of the Law Society of South Africa, Nic Swart, and being one of the key drafters of the CHE National Standards for the LLB programme, against which all law programmes in SA were reviewed. Vivienne is the DVC Academic at UWC, responsible for leading the academic project at UWC and was the Acting Rector and VC of UWC from 1 Feb to 31 July 2020, incidentally leading the university during the COVID-19 crisis. Vivienne is the current Chair of the SA DVC Academic Forum, founding Africa board member, past Chair of the Cape Higher Education Consortium Board and returning member of the South African Judicial Institute (SAJEI) Council, chaired by the Chief Justice of SA.
Obinna Ukwuani is a pan-African social entrepreneur who is committed to creating value and building human capacity. He is currently the Chief Digital Officer at the Bank of Kigali where is responsible for leading the Digital Factory, the center of excellence for product innovation and development in digital banking. Before joining Bank of Kigali, Obinna worked with Paystack, one of Africa’s foremost payment technology startups, in the areas of business operations and product management.
Obinna founded Makers Academy Africa which encompasses NESA by Makers, a software development training school and studio in Lagos State, Nigeria, and Makers Robotics Academy Rwanda, a comprehensive engineering bootcamp designed to thrust young boys and girls in the world of technology development for problem solving. Obinna is also the Founder & CEO of Brük Oil Mills, a palm oil processing company in Nigeria. Obinna has a degree in Economics from MIT.
For over two decades, Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr. has worked as an International Political Economy advisor to governments, investors, and global Fortune 500 companies on the nuances of navigating and expanding into emerging growth markets. He is also the Founder of Botho Emerging markets Group, an investment and strategy advisory firm with offices in Nairobi, Dubai, and Chicago. Having worked in more than 20 markets across North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, Isaac has an extensive and successful track record in investment facilitation, strategy consulting, and policy advisory across numerous sectors.
Isaac is also an Angel Investor to start-ups based in Africa and the GCC and co-founder of the Amahoro Coalition, a convening of private sector actors committed to championing refugee economic inclusion in Africa. Isaac serves as an advisor to Amp Technologies, and the China-Africa Technology Initiative. He is also a 2014 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow, Trustee of Hanover College, and serves on the Boards of Axis Human Capital Group and The Boardroom Africa.
Pascaline is currently employed by World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) as the Global Programme Manager for Girl-Led Action on Climate Change project. Prior to her joining WAGGGS, Pascaline worked at Rwanda Girl Guides Association as the Executive Director with the main responsibility of developing and implementing strategies aiming to promote the organization’s mission and voice. She has also worked for Girl Effect Rwanda as the Communications Coordinator and other NGO alike.
Pascaline’s other non-executive director roles include Board member of Pro-femmes Twese Hamwe, an umbrella of 54 civil society organizations aimed at advancing the status of women in Rwanda, Board member African Society of Association Executives, a professional community of association executives and voice of the association profession in Africa.
Pascaline holds a Master of Social Sciences in Gender and Development. Pascaline is a proud alumna of Dallaire Scholarship and Generation Rwanda, which enabled her to attain her educational goals.
Nathalie Munyampenda is the Chief Executive Officer of Kepler. By innovating the university experience and providing targeting upskilling interventions, Kepler graduates distinguished learners and leaders who transform their lives, their communities, and their countries. Over 90% of graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation.
Nathalie is passionate about education and the future of work. Without new pathways in education that provide foundational 21st century skills, meets students where they are (equity) and leads to clear employment outcomes, African countries will lag in terms of the future of work. Kepler is building a global model of accessible higher education and upskilling.
Prior to Kepler, Nathalie was Managing Director at the Next Einstein Forum building Africa's community of scientists, curating the premier science and innovation conference and pushing for science driven industrialization through foresight and policy work.
Nathalie has also worked in the Canadian public and private sectors, and in international social media consulting before working to build the Government of Rwanda’s central communication unit as Coordinator (Director General) in the Office of the Government Spokesperson.
Nathalie has an Honors in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s in Strategic Communication from Seton Hall University.
Prof Baylie Damtie is the Vice Chancellor of Kepler. He oversees the initiation and development of upskilling and regular degree programs at Kepler. He is also leading the region's employability system change program of Ashesi University. Before joining Kepler, Baylie was the President of Bahir Dar University for seven years (2011-2018). During his term, he initiated and led the expansion of PhD programs that increased from 2 to 32, masters from 5 to 134, undergraduate from 45 to 75 and the publications of the University per year reached 586 from just below 10. He also initiated and led the establishment of one of the largest medical schools in Ethiopia with a teaching hospital. Prof Baylie Damtie has also pioneered high skills oversea employment opportunities by forging innovative private-public partnership and enabling about 400 engineering graduates to secure overseas employment per year by establishing ISO certified and IMO recognized Maritime Academy at Bahir Dar University. The Washera Geospace and Radar Science Laboratory at Bahir Dar University, a leading space research laboratory in the region, is also the brainchild of Prof Baylie Damtie.
His educational background includes PhD in Space Physics from the University of Oulu (Finland), MSc in Space Physics from Tromso University (Norway) and BSc in Physics from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).
Christine was most recently the Acting Country Director, Sierra Leone for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a global health organisation committed to strengthening integrated health systems in the developing world and expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. CHAI’s solution-oriented approach focuses on improving market dynamics for medicines and diagnostics; lowering prices for treatment; accelerating access to life-saving technologies; and helping governments build the capacity required for high-quality care and treatment programs. Her role is to ensure strong execution of the country programs to make sure that CHAI’s results meet and exceed targets. Prior to CHAI, she was the Deputy Country Director for Operations at GOAL Sierra Leone. She has also worked in Niamey, Niger for Concern Worldwide as an Assistant Financial Controller. Previously, she worked for an accountancy practice Houlihan and Cushnahan, where she progressed from the Real Estate Accountant to the Financial Controller over a 4-year period. She is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), holds a BA in Accounting & Finance and Master’s Degree in Finance.
Teppo is a Strategic Advisor to the CEO. He supports strategy development for Kepler and oversees the creation of new data and entrepreneurship initiatives. He also supports the Learning and Design team with data analysis for new program design. Previously, Teppo served as the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research and helped guide Kepler’s preparation for launching Kepler College.
Before joining Kepler, Teppo served as the Director of Product Management at Year Up where he led a team creating a blended learning curriculum for professional skills. Prior to that, he was the University Relationship Manager for edX’s European partners. In addition, he was part of the founding team at edX, where he built a team to support all of Harvard’s and MIT’s Massive Open Online Courses. Teppo graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in Particle Physics.
Ashley is the Senior Director of Reporting and Humanitarian Initiatives at Kepler. Her team leads Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work across the organization and implements targeted programming for marginalized student populations. This includes Kepler’s tertiary preparation program (Iteme), refugee college guidance counseling, and bachelor degree scholarships. Ashley also collaborates with Kepler’s grant partners and manages external reporting.
As a member of Kepler’s founding teaching team, Ashley has helped design and refine our unique pedagogical model. She has also served as an academic leadership coach and led Kepler’s campus in the Kiziba refugee camp. Ashley enjoys mentoring young educators and supporting them to grow as professionals and leaders at Kepler and beyond. She represents Kepler in the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium, of which Kepler was a founding member, and works closely with our partners at the UNHCR and Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement.
With over 15 years of experience as an educator and advocate, Ashley is passionate about the power of education to unlock potential and break down existing social and economic inequities. Prior to Kepler, she taught and supported other educators in the United States,Central America and the Caribbean. Most recently, she taught and developed blended learning instructional models at an innovative charter school in Chicago. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Anthropology and a Master’s in Teaching, from the University of Chicago.
Jean Marie Vianney is the Country Director at Kepler Ethiopia. He leads the country strategy development and implementation of Kepler programs in Ethiopia, ensuring the creation and development of a strong team, building and maintaining strong partnerships in and out of the country, and ensuring the successful beneficiaries’ skills development and successful transition into decent careers. He led the expansion of Kepler to Ethiopia and the launch of the Graduate Employment Program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Previously, Jean Marie Vianney served as the Director of Careers and Alumni affairs where he contributed in the creation and refining of different career development initiatives for students, supported in building strong employer partnerships that led to the achievement of a 90% employment rate and the first Kepler refugee graduates with full time employment, and he supported in the initiation of the Kepler alumni association that impacts the community. Prior to that, held different academic positions at Kepler, leading the contextualization and delivery of Kepler courses, and he supported the successful expansion of Kepler in Kiziba refugee camp.
Before joining Kepler, Jean Marie Vianney worked with the Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center where he supported cooperatives of smallholder farmers in adopting new agriculture technologies and using agriculture mechanization to increase their harvest. He also worked with the Rwanda Private Sector Federation’s Chamber of Agriculture, working in farmers’ capacity building. Jean Marie Vianney holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from University of Rwanda and is pursuing an MBA in Project Management at Mount Kenya University. He is passionate about youth skills development and career development, and supporting access to quality education for marginalized communities.
Jean Pierre is the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Research Affairs at Kepler. He oversees all academic programs in Rwanda where he ensures the development of strong academic leaders and promotes a dynamic research culture. Additionally, his role is to build an outstanding academic experience for students and to deliver excellent academic and employment outcomes. Prior to his current role, Jean Pierre served as the Founding Dean of Faculty and held several other different roles before that including Academic Campus Director, Lead Course Facilitator, and Course Facilitator.Since joining Kepler in 2013, Jean Pierre has developed and initiated a variety of projects such as establishing the academic advising team, developing systems and tools for effective student support, devising strategies and policies aimed at improving student readiness for the workplace, building and maintaining academic partnerships with other institutions, contributing to improving continuous professional development for the academic staff, and leading the development of the BA Project Management program for the accreditation of Kepler College.Jean Pierre is passionate about innovative and disruptive education models that positively impact disadvantaged communities. Throughout his career, his work has involved teaching as well as development of academic programs and systems to improve student learning experiences among other things. He holds an MBA in International Business from Amity University and a Bachelor of Arts with Education from the University of Rwanda.
Aloys Baziga is the Deputy-Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at Kepler College.
With more than 14 years of experience, prior to joining Kepler in 2018, Aloys was the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Cronimet Mining Gmbh, overseeing the company’s two subsidiaries in Rwanda: Minerals Supply Africa Ltd and Cronimet Metal Ltd.
He also worked in other different senior managerial positions in finance and audit with different companies in Rwanda. His areas of expertise include Finance, Accounting, reporting, taxation, budgeting, cash flow management, auditing, compliance, operations and Human Resources management.
He holds a BBA in accounting with Distinction from AUCA, and he is currently pursuing his MBA. Aloys is also a qualified CMA (Australia) Member and ACCA finalist.