Meet Our New Board Members

We are thrilled to announce that we have recently appointed five new board members to join our team at Lightup Impact.

We are thrilled to announce that we have recently appointed five new board members to join our team at Lightup Impact.

Meet Our New Members – December 2023

New Lightup Impact Members December 2023

We are delighted to welcome to 25 exceptional grassroots organizations from Kenya and Uganda to our vibrant Lightup Impact Community. Learn more about them in this post.

Our New Giving Program – Be Part of Creating Sustainable Social Change

Lightup Impact Monthly GIving Program

“What can I do to make a difference in the world?” is one of the questions that come into the minds of many of us. “I live far away”, “I’m too busy”, “I’m not powerful enough”. And these are some of the answers we give ourselves. But guess what? Together, and a little bit at a time, we can all make a difference!    Perhaps this is best illustrated by the “Ant Andy and the Storm” story. Andy was one ant of an anthill that, one day, noticed a heavy storm coming. Andy had a sense of urgency, but he alone could not save the anthill, no matter how wise or strong he was. Andy addressed the community to face the challenge: it’s a need to act!  The ants huddled together, which enabled them to survive, and after the storm, they rebuilt a safer home. Lightup Impact’s history with donations Since 2021, and with your support of our crowdfunding campaigns, Lightup Impact has empowered young grassroots leaders in East Africa to create sustainable social change in their communities. Now, we’ve launched our very own monthly giving program to ensure the long-term success of this mission.    Building an ecosystem of successful and sustainable grassroots organizations in East Africa that drive social change is great! But it doesn’t come cheap. Many expenses are involved, from administration to marketing, technology, staff, networking to mobilize resources, and engaging local communities.   In the past, crowdfunding campaigns have been essential in supporting our programs and activities:   “Founder Tour Program 2022”: with the help of 67 donors, we raised    4 327 euros to support 6 grassroots organizations (4 from Kenya, 1 from Uganda, and 1 from Rwanda), each receiving 500 euros to support projects within their communities – benefiting around 200 children, women, and youth. Read more here.   “Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program”:  with the support of 100 donors, we raised 16 015 euros, which we will use to train the leadership, advocacy, governance, fundraising, and communication skills of 2 grassroots organizations, Usanii Village Africa (Uganda) and Soulevement Lives CBO Kenya. This 1-year program will prepare these organizations to raise resources sustainably. Read more here.   Although these campaigns were incredibly successful, crowdfunding isn’t stable, and without the necessary funds, we cannot help other grassroots leaders create and grow their impact. The entire chain is broken. Why a monthly giving program? A monthly giving program is a recurring, convenient, impactful donation program that offers numerous benefits for donors, Lightup Impact, and our member organizations. Some key advantages include:   Long-term impact and commitment: With monthly giving,  you can make a long-term commitment to a cause and a more significant impact over time, even if your contributions are modest. When added together, these regular donations add up to a substantial sum, which can contribute to the sustainability of a cause(s).  Sustainability and financial stability: Having a steady and predictable income allows us to plan for the future, invest in long-term projects, and budget for and respond to unexpected challenges more effectively.  Reduced fundraising costs and ease of administration: Hosting regular fundraising campaigns and attracting new donors are costly and time-consuming. With a more sustainable income, we can focus on cultivating and retaining existing donors who are passionate about our cause(s). Additionally, automated donation reduces administrative burdens for both parties and ensures a smooth and efficient process that becomes part of a routine.  Flexibility for donors and better donor engagement: By giving small but regular amounts, you can contribute to many different causes you care about without making a large one-time donation. Our regular communication with you fosters a sense of community and reinforces the impact of your contributions. Maximizing impact and encouragement: With more stable funding, we can better plan and execute our projects. When others see the collective impact of a community of monthly donors, it can serve as a powerful motivator for new supporters to get involved.    At its core, a monthly giving program fosters financial stability, long-term impact, and a stronger connection between you (our supporters) and our cause. Where will your donation go? Lightup Impact is committed to transparency and ethical behavior. We have and will continue to clearly communicate our mission and the impact of our programs as we go along.    As a donor, you can expect detailed descriptions of how funds are allocated to specific programs, projects, or initiatives and receive regular updates on any impact created as a result of your donation. We have also made available the budgets for our ongoing or planned programs and activities and our financial reports from past years.     On our blog, you can learn more about our members and their initiatives and find various impact stories of how your contributions can help make a positive change.    We have an open-door policy and encourage donors to ask any relevant questions ( In the future, and according to demand, we will create a FAQ section on our donation page addressing your most common questions.    In general, your donations will go towards: financing our operating costs, making possible our annual conference, Lightup Impact Days, expanding our “Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program”, and our Founder Tour and locally-led Founder Meetups. Read more about this on our donation page. Yes, you can do something to make this world better Every “ant” matters, and every donation helps. Participating in our monthly giving program will help create a stronger and more stable chain, and make you a permanent fixture in our community of changemakers.    Be the change today – join us in our mission and Lightup your Impact with us. Join our monthly giving program A special thanks to Dr. Natasha de França for authoring this article. 

Meet Our New Members – November 2023

New Lightup Impact Members Grassroots Organizations

We are delighted to welcome to 25 exceptional grassroots organizations from Kenya and Uganda to our vibrant Lightup Impact Community. Learn more about them in this post.

Skills Development and Innovation Program – Meet the Participants

Skills development with Lightup Impact

Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement are set to start our Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program in November 2023. This program aims to strengthen the skills and capacity of these organizations to promote their growth, visibility, and sustainability. Get to know the selected organizations by exploring their profound missions and achievements so far, and learn more about their expectations of participating in our newest program. Usanii Village Africa: Painting a peaceful future Since its foundation in 2020, Usanii Village Africa’s mission has been to create a peaceful world for children and youth through art. Bernard Molho, the founder, was inspired by the potential of art during his time in the Leadership Development Programme (Honors College) hosted by Uganda Christian in 2016. While joining the program, he was asked, “What do you want to do for your community, and why?” This got Bernard thinking about how he could make a real difference. He was already a fine arts teacher, so he knew the power of art to make people think and imagine. This became more than just a school program for Bernard; it became a way to help his community. In 2020, there were floods in Kasese district, and as many as 100 thousand people suffered, including Bernard’s family. Girls, especially, faced more challenges, like not being able to afford health kits during their periods and being sexually exploited to acquire sanitary pads. This motivated Bernard to start Usanii Village Africa. First, they made sure girls got what they needed for their periods through organizing a fundraiser with friends and well-wishers. Then, they talked to the community to better understand additional challenges and find ways to help. Now, they use art to change how people think and act, making things better for everyone. School children supported by Usanii Village Africa, pictured above, showcasing the organization’s efforts in establishing a community library and information center in Kasese District. The initiative aims to create access to educational resources and provide a safe space for children and youth to discover, learn, and realize their potential. Usanii Village Africa is involved in several impactful initiatives that have contributed significantly to social change:   Supported by The Pollination Project, Usanii Village Africa actively engages artists to raise awareness about plastic pollution.  Their distribution of sanitary pads and plans to manufacture reusable ones underscore their commitment to addressing period poverty and stigma.  Poetry and visual arts serve as powerful mediums to amplify their message.    Usanii Village Africa envisions the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program as a gateway to enhancing their needs assessment strategy, governance style, and leadership capabilities. The organization aims to fortify its foundation, fostering sustainability and impactful social change.   Community involvement is integral to Usanii Village Africa. They plan to collaborate with art-focused organizations, envisioning a future where young people are empowered through vocational training, access to information, and environmental advocacy.  The organization plans to perform risk assessments and develop SMART objectives to ensure the longevity of its programs. Usanii Village Africa is committed to continuous learning, offering incentives, follow-up training, mentorship, and regular program evaluations. “I am greatly inspired by the fact that with artistic expression, I feel like my point of view is being heard and taken into consideration by the people around me. This has, as a founder, been an inspiration to get more involved in Usanii Village Africa as an initiative and continue to offer leadership with no pay for my time in addition to the personal resources.” – Bernard Molho Soulevement Kenya: Nurturing minds and transforming lives Soulevement Kenya, a registered community-based organization, is on a mission to provide holistic mental wellness for children and youth in Kisumu County and Western Kenya. Their individual-centered approach seeks to revolutionize mental health care in the community.  Gloria Achieng’, co-founder of Soulevement, captured alongside two of the children they support, engaging in a therapeutic painting session to promote mental health. Through programs like Jihimarishe and Tubonge, Soulevement has touched the lives of over 2 000 children and engaged 600 youths and women in skill training. Their Story Yangu initiative continues to inspire hope through online stories, emphasizing the importance of mental wellness.  Soulevement anticipates multifaceted growth through the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program, including career advancement, improved performance, and personal development. Technical and soft skills enhancement, along with organizational acumen, are at the forefront of their expectations.  Community engagement is a cornerstone of Soulevement’s approach, sporting collaborations with institutions like Kisumu Children’s Remand Home and Compassion International. Their goal is to significantly increase access to mental health services in rural areas by 2025. Soulevement’s focus on continuous learning, incentives, follow-up training, mentorship, and program evaluation underscores its commitment to sustaining impactful initiatives. “My work is guided by the principles of providing unbiased services to the people in my community. I aim to foster a positive, inclusive, and informative environment for children and the community. I am motivated by assisting my community in obtaining the needed information through education, promoting learning, and facilitating effective communication.” – Gloria Achieng Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement are scripting stories of change in East Africa, using art and mental wellness as instruments of empowerment. As they embark on the Skills Development and Innovation for Impact Program, the echo of transformation rings loud.    Learn more about Usanii Village Africa and Soulevement by visiting their websites. 

Together Women Can: Empowering Women and Fighting Cervical Cancer

In the realm of social impact, some partnerships are more than just collaborations; they’re profound alliances working towards transformative change. One such alliance that shines brightly in our network is with Together Women Can (TWC), a passionate advocate and sponsor of Lightup Impact. The birth of Together Women Can TWC’s journey began with a vision to defeat cervical cancer among Kenyan women. Co-founded by our Executive Director, Dr. Valeria Santoro, and Dr. Hrvoje Cvija during their time at Boehringer Ingelheim, this initiative was born from a shared commitment to address a pressing issue. The mission was clear: to make a tangible difference in women’s lives through early diagnosis of cervical cancer and empowerment. A lifesaving debut TWC’s project was nothing short of remarkable. In partnership with Ampath, they launched a campaign that screened over 3 000 women for cervical cancer and equipped five healthcare facilities in Eldoret and its surroundings. Dr. Lydia Mwanzia, who played a pivotal role on the ground, will be sharing insights on community mobilization and outreach for cervical health screening during Lightup Impact Days 2023.  Shifting the power through economic empowerment TWC’s impact goes beyond health. They’ve embarked on an exciting new project in collaboration with Wa-Wa Kenya, focusing on women’s economic empowerment. This project targets Kindu and Mbita sub-counties of Homa Bay County, Kenya. Addressing critical challenges The project couldn’t have come at a better time. In Kenya, cervical cancer screening rates have been alarmingly low, with only 3% of eligible women receiving screening annually. This can be attributed to inadequate sexual health education, limited access to screening facilities, and women’s financial dependence. Wa-Wa Kenya, a LIghtup Impact member organization with a track record in reducing women’s economic vulnerability through skill development, will lead a poultry farming project as an incentive for the cervical cancer screening initiative. Previous slide Next slide The numbers speak The impact of TWC and Wa-Wa Kenya’s partnership is undeniable. TWC’s 2022 cervical cancer awareness and screening outreach touched the lives of more than 3 000 women. Wa-Wa Kenya has empowered over 600 women through professional skills development since 2019. These figures paint a picture of the positive change that collaboration can bring. What lies ahead In 2023-2024, TWC and Wa-Wa Kenya have ambitious plans. They aim to screen over 1 000 women for cervical cancer, get over 300 women vaccinated against human papillomavirus, and help the same number achieve economic stability through poultry farming. The synergy between these two organizations promises a brighter future for countless women. Join us in shaping a healthier future At Lightup Impact, we are honored to partner with TWC on their mission to defeat cervical cancer and empower women economically. The impact of this collaboration is already evident, and together, we’re committed to achieving even more.    Join us at Lightup Impact Days 2023 and witness firsthand how partnerships like ours are creating lasting change. It’s an event you wouldn’t want to miss! Register for Lightup Impact Days 2023

Systems Change Through Collaboration: Making More Health

In an era where collaboration fuels innovation and impact, Lightup Impact proudly unveils a transformative collaboration with Making More Health (MMH). This alliance signifies a collective commitment to crafting a healthier world through systems change where individuals, communities, and even animals can thrive. Shared value for a healthier world MMH is dedicated to holistic sustainable development. They’ve championed a unique approach through the System Changer Network (SCN) Kenya, a coalition of eight local NGOs working in unison, sharing skills and catalyzing change. This network embodies MMH’s core values and aligns with the global movement, “Shift the Power”, making them ideal partners with Lightup Impact as sponsors of our annual conference,  Lightup Impact Days 2023.   We are thrilled to announce that four outstanding NGOs from SCN Kenya will share their accomplishments in a panel discussion at the event titled: “System Changer Network: How Local NGOs Create Change Together.”   These remarkable organizations include:    Tendo Social Development Group Positive Exposure – Kenya Wa Wa Kenya Mukuru Angaza Film Academy   To delve deeper into the incredible work and stories of these NGOs, explore their blog posts. Unveiling the collaborative force: SCN Kenya and Making More Health At Lightup Impact Days 2023, the spirit of empowerment will take center stage. On 11 September (Day 1 of the conference), panelists from SCN Kenya will discuss the platform their network provides for like-minded and well-matched local NGOs working with different communities and specializations to exchange knowledge and collaborate to develop solutions that go beyond the scope of an individual NGO. SCN Kenya is a unique resource that NGOs can leverage to foster innovative solutions, find strategic partners, and increase their collective knowledge.    Join panelists Cavin Odera (Wa-Wa Kenya), Sam Agutu (Tendo Social Development Group), Francis Gikfufu (Mukuru Angaza Film Academy),  and Jane Waithera (Positive Exposure Kenya), and moderator Mercy Kimalat (CEO of Assek) to discover more about the unique approach of SCN Kenya and how you can apply it to empower your own organization to drive positive change. Our collective impact Our collaboration with MMH enhances our commitment to empowering communities from the grassroots up, aligning perfectly with the theme of Lightup Impact Days 2023.    As we approach the threshold of Lightup Impact Days 2023, a resounding call to action echoes – join us in creating a healthier world and explore the vibrant tapestry of collaboration, innovation, and empowerment.    Learn more about the impactful work of SCN Kenya, and become part of this transformative journey. Together, we are redefining norms and paving the way for transformative change to sculpt a future where shared value shapes destinies and empowers generations to come.    The Lightup Impact Team  Join us in shaping a healthier world

Lightup Impact and the East Africa Philanthropy Network Join Forces

Journeying through change is a path best taken hand in hand. As the world rapidly transforms, we at Lightup Impact eagerly embrace the shifts, challenges, and triumphs that lie ahead. In our latest venture, we are partnering with the East Africa Philanthropy Network (EAPN) to co-host our annual conference, Lightup Impact Days 2023.   EAPN is the largest philanthropy support organization in the region and serves as a bridge connecting diverse philanthropic entities in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and beyond. We are united by our shared vision of fostering sustainable communities through responsive and impactful giving. By collaborating on Lightup Impact Days 2023, we are amplifying our collective drive to ignite change and champion innovative solutions that advance philanthropy in East Africa.   Continue reading to find out more about what community, philanthropy, unity, and action in creating sustainable change means to us.  Built on trust, bound by community Lightup Impact embodies the essence of unity,  weaving together over 100 grassroots organizations championing gender and health across East Africa. Our tapestry thrives on trust, forming a web of connections, nurturing partnerships, fostering skills, and providing guidance. Each connection is a promise to stand with our founders, design solutions that prioritize sustainability, and empower women and girls. Amplifying voices, igniting change Grassroots movements, though powerful, have often dwelled in the shadows, their voices unheard and unrecognized. Yet, these movements are key to transformative societal shifts. Our mission is to provide these grassroots heroes with a platform to share their stories. By amplifying their voices, we turn global attention to local issues, ensuring they no longer linger in obscurity but lead global conversations on empowerment and sustainability. A new era of collaboration Traditionally, “collaboration” suggests imbalanced dynamics in the development sphere. At Lightup Impact, we envision a world where every voice – regardless of size or influence – is heard equally. This symmetrical collaboration fosters mutual respect and a shared understanding, enriching perspectives. Uniting visions, amplifying impact The development landscape, brimming with passion, often finds visions at odds. Our role is to bridge these divides, crafting a shared purpose among changemakers. United visions lay the groundwork for collective efforts that magnify impact. Creating tomorrow together In an ever-evolving world, rigid solutions fall by the wayside. We’re dedicated to fostering a space for adaptable, sustainable solutions born from community needs. Solutions that flourish not through imposition but from community hearts, ensuring relevance and longevity. Navigating the winds of change At the core of our upcoming conference lie themes dear to our heart:   Grassroots system change: Beyond buzzwords, this signifies a seismic shift in societal norms. By championing grassroots-led system change, we affirm that real, lasting transformation starts from the ground up.   Youth empowerment: The youth lead today, not just tomorrow. Empowering them is an investment in a future they shape, steering policies and politics. Their vigour, innovation, and passion reshape the world.   Supporting the marginalized: Equitable societies treasure their most vulnerable members. Our focus on marginalized groups seeks solutions for their equal access to health, amenities, and politics—their resilience a beacon of inspiration.   Celebrating our community: Our strength lies in the Lightup Impact community. Through this conference, we spotlight remarkable organizations driving change in East Africa. Their stories echo the potential when communities unite for a common purpose.  Forging a path of unity: a journey beyond boundaries As we conclude this tale of shared dreams, we look forward to our partnership with EAPN – two rivers converging, flowing into an ocean of possibilities.    Lightup Impact Days isn’t just an event; it’s a wellspring of hope and transformation for East Africa. So, don’t miss out. There’s still time to join!    The Lightup Impact Team Secure Your Spot at Lightup Impact Days 2023

Meet Our New Members – July 2023

New Lightup Impact Members December 2023

We are happy to welcome five new changemakers from Kenya and Uganda into the Lightup Impact Community.    These changemakers are leaders of grassroots organizations working in sexual reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, mental health, malnutrition, gender-based violence, and eradication of harmful traditional cultural practices.   With every new addition to our changemaker community, we gain local insights and expertise and expand our ability to create a social impact.    Thank you for choosing our community we are more than excited to have you on board!   Learn more about our newest members below: Kenya Founder: Brenda Alwanyi MyBody is a non-governmental organization that empowers marginalized women and girls to meaningfully participate in designing their own inclusive sexual reproductive health rights and gender-based violence prevention and response strategies, strengthening respect for human rights and body autonomy at the county and national levels. Founder: Mohamed Dika PACE-IN is a grassroots local community initiative, serving the marginalized nomadic pastoralist community of the Merti sub-county in northern Kenya. They transform and empower their community by prioritizing sustainable projects and strategies to eradicate socio-economic disparities and harmful traditional cultural beliefs and practices whose major victims are women and girls.  Founder: Nelima Baraza Paper Hearts is a community-based organization that raises awareness on issues surrounding mental health and connects people with affordable solutions. They also provide training and education on mental health,  supporting gender-responsive policies and programs. They have partnered with an organization that nurtures teen moms and offers therapy in addition to leading mental health topics in their programs. Uganda Founder: Joyce Olana At CHEE, they prevent malnutrition in children under five and those at risk of becoming malnourished and fight poverty in vulnerable communities by focusing on empowering women. Founder: Maria Gorret Nakanwagi Women in Action for Community Empowerment (W.A.C.E) is a grassroots, community-based organization improving the livelihood of women and girls, their households, and the entire community where they live. They do so by facilitating practical, financial, and entrepreneurial skills development. We look forward to creating change together and amplifying our impact!   The Lightup Impact team Get to know the rest of our members!

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We increase the visibility and impact of social organizations with a focus on women’s health and gender equality in Kenya. We support the growth of our founders through tailored mentoring and networking opportunities