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We Empower Women After War

The African Women Rising staff, board, advisors, and directors are made up of individuals who are passionate about global women’s empowerment. Our board members and advisors are experts in various fields. Our staff in Uganda are from the communities where they work and their experience is critical to our success.

Meet the Team

Functional Adult Literacy

Meet the core team for our literacy centers. This group are in charge of 44 centers, guiding 80 facilitators that teach close to 2,000 students.


The Field Crop and Permagarden program teams work closely together. Patrick (third from left) is our energetic leader and passionate about bringing the best programing possible to the over 5,000 women in our agricultural programs. Patrick and his teams work together with 8 assistants and 45 community mobilizers.

Girls Education Program

No, Nighty is not alone! The rest of the GEP team was conducting trainings for teachers on photo day. Nighty is part of a team of 4 assistants and 40 mentors, working together with 1,500 girls in 12 schools.


Irene (third from left) started as a community mobilizer and is now in charge of the whole Micro Finance program. Having worked her way up she knows our program inside and out. Irene skillfully leads a staff of 5 assistants and 15 community mobilizers.


This is the team that keeps us all in check – Sarah keeps the books, Kevin cooks, Ronny is our driver, Irene is finance assistant and Prossy does everything.

Community Mobilizer

Our programs are run by a dedicated team of community mobilizers. They are at the frontline of our work and provide technical support and encouragement to all the women in our programs. All CM’s come from the communities where they work. This includes work done with South Sudanese refugees. 15 of our mentors and CM’s are refugees themselves.


The Girls Education program has 40 mentors that work closely together with the teachers at the 12 schools where we work. Our mentors provide academic support and keep track of all the students to ensure they attend school on a regular basis.


The Functional Adult Literacy program employs 80 facilitators who lead the instruction at our 44 centers. Our facilitators are trained in the REFLECT methodology, an innovative approach to adult learning that emphasizes community participation and social change.

The Founders

Linda Eckerbom Cole | Executive Director

Linda is committed to gender-based analyses and programming of humanitarian and development initiatives in the African context. She has extensive fieldwork experience in community needs assessments, preventive health interventions, and small-scale farming in Guinea- Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, and Uganda. Linda has a Master’s degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the Friedman school of Nutrition, Tufts University. She is the co-author of “Women, Girls, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)” with Dyan Mazurana, published in “Women and Wars,” edited by Carol Cohn. Linda is the recipient of the 2014 Leah Horowitz Humanitarian Award.

Thomas Cole | Senior Technical Advisor

Thomas has spent more than 20 years in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, community development and humanitarian response work with significant field experience across Sub-Saharan Africa. His focal areas are in urban agriculture, post-conflict recovery, organic horticulture, agricultural extension, permaculture, natural resource management, and livelihoods. Thomas currently works as an agroecology and drought management advisor for global USAID food security programs and provides technical support for numerous communities recovering from conflict. Previously he worked as the Africa Region Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor for Save the Children. He has a Master’s degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University and is a 5-time world Frisbee champion. He has recently released Aloes of Uganda: A Field Guide.

Board of Directors

Thomas Cole
Independent Consultant in Agriculture and Livelihood

Karla Mora
Founder and managing partner of Alante Capital

Joy Margolis, Esq.
Founder and owner of Joy for Creators, Strategic Business Advisor

Ashley Blevins
Activist and Marketing Consultant

Brook Eiler
Founder and owner of Harvest Santa Barbara

Carrie Randolph
Executive Director, Leading from Within

Advisory Board

Betty Ochan
Member of Parliament, Uganda

Tobias Stillman
USAID Spring Project

Jordan Tappero, MD
Director of Global Health Protection, Center for Disease Control

Hilal Elver, PhD
Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, UN

John O. Niles
Lecturer in Global Carbon Science and Politics

Bonita Birungi
Early Childhood Care & Development Specialist, Save the Children

Dyan Mazurana, PhD
Research Director at Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

Kofi Taha
Associate Director, International Development Innovation Network, MIT

Sherry Villanueva
Marketing & Trend Consultant, Entrepreneur

Robin Deshayes
President, Miltonian Capital Management

Ton van der Leeden
Development Director, retired

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