Rita Lugogo / CHOICE Kenya Director
Rita was born in the southern part of Italy in a town called Terrlizi near the city of Bar. Being 100% Italian is a large part of who she is, although her family immigrated to the United States in 1952, they were never allowed to forget, by her parents, that they were true Italians. Outside the home was American culture, but inside the home everything was Italian. This blending of the two cultures is what has enabled Rita to be truly international.
After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. Degree in Biology, Rita joined the Peace Corps and went to Kenya for the first time in 1969. She has been there ever since! With the sole exception of returning to the US in 1993 to successfully get her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech University in Human Nutrition and Foods, she has maintained her residence in Kenya.
During her time while working with the Peace Corps, she met her husband, Juma Lugogo. They chose to make their home in Kenya. Rita has never regretted this decision. Rita and Juma (who has since sadly passed away) are the parents of three lovely children, Njira, Mwana, and Bebago, all of whom are very successful adults today in their chosen fields.
In 1996, Rita joined CHOICE Humanitarian and has been working with the rural communities of Kinango ever since. Her main goals have been to improve education and to reduce the poverty levels in this area. Kinango is considered one of the highest poverty levels in the country. In her position as CHOICE Kenya Director, she is very active on many school boards. She has been influential in the improvement of the infrastructure of many schools. Indeed, her efforts have helped improve the academic performance of many children.
Rita also helped to establish a microfinance organization (Yehu Microfinance), based on the Grameen Model, which has enabled rural women to access credit to start a business, increase their income levels and help to pay school fees for their children. This very successful program continues to this day to help the rural poor. To date, Yehu Microfinance has a membership of over 40,000 women and continues to grow and expand!
Rita has dedicated her life to the development of the underprivileged in Kenya. As CHOICE Kenya Director, her position allows her to do what she loves best—help people help themselves. She thinks of herself as a facilitator of dreams and gets huge satisfaction in knowing that there may be somebody out there whose dream may have come true because of the assistance of a CHOICE program. What keeps her going and why she would never consider working for any other organization is the knowledge that she and her CHOICE team have and continue to make a difference in the lives of those to whom they serve.
Oreu Kasanju / Chief Financial Officer / Expeditions Coordinator
Sudi Mwakilesho / Health and Environment Officer
Bevington Lenny Jumaa / Community Development Officer
Eunice Mwahanje / Education and Gender Officer
Khamis Juma Kitenje / Human Resources and Administration