Board of Directors - US
EdPowerment’s Board is an active management team who have personally interacted with our Tanzanian "family" for years. Moira travels to Tanzania regularly, and when in the U.S. she zooms often with students and staff. Both Jillian and Kerri have spent extended periods of time in Tanzania, while Cocoa McGovern and Stacy Lauren travel to Tanzania annually to strengthen our programs, support our staff and motivate our students.
President & Founder
Moira Madonia devotes her energies to steering the programming, administrative and fundraising tasks that propel EdPowerment. As a businesswoman turned high school teacher, she believes that education is the best means to help others. Her BA in English and history, Certification in Secondary School Education and Masters in Global Management all come into play as she oversees EdPowerment. The mother of three adult children and grandmother of five, she takes great satisfaction from building the relationships, programs and systems that can advance students and locals in this Tanzanian community.
Kerri Gilbert has been vital to EdPowerment since its start. A special education teacher and learning behavioral specialist with an MA in Curriculum and Instruction, Kerri led Connects Autism Tanzania’s (CAT's) groundbreaking advocacy, while coaching KIWOCE’s staff in active and differential teaching strategies. In 2014-2015 she oversaw the installation of Internet and agricultural projects at Kilimahewa funded by a Rotary Global Grant that she secured. After leading another education-based project in Tanzania, she has resumed her career in the U.S. as an Instructional Coach in Illinois.
Jillian Swinford, Secretary
Jillian Swinford, who holds a Master's in Art Education, combines her creative skills with a global approach to learning every day in her classroom at Pulaski International School in Chicago. For many years she brought her skills and creativity to KIWOCE each June for their annual Enrichment Camp. Having spent a year’s leave of absence in 2011-12 to work with our programs in Moshi, Jillian is a knowledgeable and steady guide for EdPowerment.
An executive skills coach in New York City with a Master’s in Education from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard, Stacey works on organizational and learning strategies with our sponsored students and staff. In recent years Stacey has visited our students at universities in Dar es Salaam to better understand their challenges, encourage them and share strategic guidance. When in the States, Stacey stays in contact with students to offer her support and coaching.
A sales professional from the Boston area, Cocoa brings a “get down to basics” approach to diverse tasks with our staff and sponsored students. She loves being with our bibis (grandmothers) and her friendly manner allows her to maneuver easily among the vendors and locals with whom we deal. Her experience with horticulture and animals fuels her interest especially in the agricultural projects of our students and their families.
John was introduced to EdPowerment through his son, Sam, who spent three months as a volunteer after graduating from Rutgers University. A lawyer who works in the corporate sector, John spends hours on this side, checking all our financials and weighing in on organizational concerns. In 2017 John finally made it to Tanzania to get to know the staff and students whom he has followed from the States. This opportunity to connect in person brought to life all those names on our spreadsheets!
Edpowerment’s Tanzanian management has a clear understanding of our work and students. They are personally dedicated to serving this vulnerable population and are committed to providing financial and programmatic transparency. THEY HAVE THE INTEGRITY AND HEART NEEDED TO FULFILL OUR MISSION.
Board Member & Manager, Finance & Administration
A former EdPowerment sponsored student, in 2021 Mary became a Board Member of our Tanzanian NGO presence, Educational Empowerment Organization (EdPowerment). She subsequently took on the role of Finance and Administrative Manager in 2022. Mary possesses the accounting and management skills required to oversee EdPowerment’s many university and college students, while assisting in developing new village-based programs that promote educational access. Mary graduated from the Tanzanian Institute of Accountancy in Dar es Salaam with high honors in 2017 and completed her CPA in 2022. Her dedication, trustworthiness and talent make her indispensable to our mission.
Board Member and Program Manager
In 2022 Godlisten Malle joined Educational Empowerment Organization as its Program Manager. Previously, Godlisten served in various capacities at the Kilimahewa Centre for Education/Open School, most recently as Headmaster. His experience at KIWOCE, as well as his involvement with EdPowerment’s sponsored students while there, uniquely qualify him to lead our program development. He is knowledgeable and insightful about both the Tanzanian educational system and the specific challenges faced by our underserved students. A former math and physics teacher, Godlisten holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and Management from Sokoine University and in 2020 he completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education, First-Class, from Mwenge University.
Operations Assistant and Maintenance Manager
In 2022, Jacob Assenga joined Educational Empowerment Organization as its Operations Assistant and Maintenance Manager. Prior to this appointment, Jacob acted as the Grounds Manager of the Kilimahewa Education Center (KIWOCE) from 2019 – 2021. In this capacity, he oversaw maintenance of the facilities and van and the purchasing of foodstuffs, produce, and other necessities. Jacob brings to our organization a wide-ranging background in local agricultural markets and the workings of local businesses and government. In addition to his activities with EdPowerment, he manages his own pig-farming project. Jacob’s endless enthusiasm and good humor are a source of inspiration to all whom we serve.