Beacon Home Country Mentors

Each current Beacon Scholar at University is paired with a Beacon Home Country Mentor to guide their leadership development and keep them connected to their home country. 

The following are currently Beacon Home Country Mentors:

Kaki Gichuru small

Kaki Gichuru (also known as Rosalind) has 19 years of leadership experience in Consumer, Commercial and Trade Marketing, having worked for The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola SABCO in various leadership roles across 39 countries in Sub Saharan Africa. Prior to that, she worked for The Gillette Company in Boston, Massachusetts where she held various Brand Management roles in the Duracell and Oral-B/Braun Business Units, overseeing brand marketing for the US market. Through her career, she has spearheaded award-winning Marketing campaigns both locally and globally, and was voted as one of Kenya’s “Top 40 under 40” women in 2012. Rosalind has an MBA from Northeastern University, Boston, and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario. Four years ago she transitioned into an executive leadership role within one of Kenya’s leading Banks, NIC Group, where she is currently the Director for Marketing, Communications and Citizenship. She is also Board Member of Junior Achievement Kenya, and recently an accredited and certified Executive Leadership Coach from the Academy of Executive Coaching in the UK. She is passionate about leadership and seeks to impact the next generation of leaders through mentorship and coaching. Kaki is married and has three sons under 6 years.

Andrew KahongeProfessor Andrew M. Kahonge is an Associate Professor at the University of Nairobi (UoN). Presently, he also serves as the Chairman of the Department of Computing and Informatics. He is a computer scientist and did his Bachelor’s degree at UoN. He then completed his Master’s in Advanced Computer Science at the University of Birmingham (UoB) in 2003, and later his PhD at UoN in 2013. Andrew has worked in both the private and public sector. He started as a software developer for a private firm in Kenya, after which he moved to the UK. During that time, he worked part-time for the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, NHS, as a web developer. Later, he returned to Kenya where he started working for the University of Nairobi, where he has been involved in several research projects and consultancies with local and international organizations, such as PwC, UN-Habitat, Algorand, OpenHIE. Andrew has been involved in several research projects in the areas of cybersecurity, health informatics, blockchain and systems integration.

Nguvu KamandoNguvu Kamando is the current Digital Director at Vodacom Tanzania PLC, where he has also served in different capacities such as Executive Head of Network Planning, Regional Director, and Executive Head of Network Performance to mention few. He is a futurist leader and digital expert, with over 21 years of cross functional experience in the telecommunication & mobile finance sector and over 15 years on C- level executive. He is a member of Tanzania Directors, certified by the IoDT. He holds a Master’s degree in Law, (First Class Hons) Information Technology and Telecom Law from the Open University of Tanzania, and a BSc in Engineering (Hons) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He also graduated the Senior Executive Management program Vodacom Advanced Executive Program (VAEP) from the University of the Witwatersrand South Africa.

Dr Utheri Kanayo smallDr Utheri Kanayo studied Education at Undergraduate and Master's level at Kenyatta and Nairobi universities, and then won a full scholarship in 2005 to pursue a PhD in Education at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, UK. She worked as an academic researcher at The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, and later as a Research Manager for Camfed International.  In 2018, three years after her return to Kenya, Utheri co-founded the first Afrocentric school in East Africa, Children In Freedom School (CIFS). CIFS has grown to be a gifted and talented centre, dually grounding children to embrace their Africaness, and become global leaders. She is a Metis fellow, and an ALA Anzisha Education Accelerator fellow. Utheri started as the Beacon Rep in Kenya in 2016, and then became the Regional Representative until 2022 as the programme expanded. She is now the Special Africa Advisor for Beacon and also a Home Country Mentor.

HCM Photo Evelyne KihiuDr Evelyne Kihiu holds a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Bonn and is currently a researcher with the International Potato Center (CIP). She is an Economist with experience in ex ante analysis, impact analysis, and public policy research. Her current research focus is on the areas of agricultural policy; natural resources, ecosystem services and environmental quality; social development; inequality and poverty, and growth and development. Dr. Kihiu is a member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, Environment for Development (EfD) Kenya, an Africa Research & Impact Network (ARIN) Fellow and a participant of the AWARD-ICWAE Mentoring Program.  

Andrew MahigaAndrew Mahiga is a Tanzanian private sector development professional who has over 12 years of experience working in policy engagement, private sector advocacy, trade facilitation and strategic communications in Tanzania, the U.S. and U.K. He currently serves as a Commercial Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service at the United States Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Prior to that, he was the Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy at the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF). Andrew has worked in private sector, not-for-profit and directly with the Tanzanian government throughout his professional career. He holds a Bachelor’s in International Studies from The City College of New York (CUNY) and an MSc. in Public Policy & Management from SOAS, University of London.

Esther Maina smallDr Esther Maina is a Biochemist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi. Prior to this, she was a CRUK (Cancer Research UK) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Cancer Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. Esther has over 15 years’ experience post-PhD (University of Birmingham, UK), in Medical and Molecular Genetics and Epigenetics during her postdoctoral training at both the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Currently, she is involved in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Nairobi including supervision of both MSc and PhD research projects and mentoring students in all matters S.T.E.M. Esther is also involved in establishing the Oncogenomics’ course in Kenya, in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University. She also leads the Cancer Research mega-consortium on Cancer Biomarkers under the National Research Fund (NRF-Kenya).

Angela Mandi smallAngela Mandi is Stanbic Bank Kenya’s Head of Corporate and Investment Banking – Credit. Her role encompasses risk management of the credit risk associated with lending to Corporate and Investment Banking Clients, ensuring adherence to regulatory and internal governance policies and developing expertise in CIB Credit risk assessment across the CIB space, aimed at sound management of the CIB portfolio of assets. Angela has over a decade of work experience in Investment Banking, Credit Risk Management and Corporate Finance Advisory. Besides working for Standard Bank Group in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa as a Senior Credit Manager, she has worked as an Investment Banking Analyst for Barclays Capital in the US, and in Barclays Bank Group in Kenya, South Africa and Botswana. She has also had stints at KPMG and PwC in Kenya as a Graduate Trainee and Corporate Finance Associate respectively. Angela is a qualified Certified Public Accountant (CPA), She has successfully completed her Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) programme, holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Finance Major), and a Masters of Arts in Economics & Economic Policy Management, both from the University of Nairobi.

George Mgomella small

Dr George Mgomella is an epidemiologist with CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention). Prior to that, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK and a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, UK as recipient of the prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship. George has over 15 years’ experience in clinical medicine, infectious diseases surveillance, epidemiology and global health, working in several sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. George was awarded a doctor of medicine degree by the University of Dar es salaam, Tanzania and a master of public health from Harvard University, USA.  George is also an alumni of the NIH/Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship and is a Certified Public Health professional by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE), USA.

David Mpanga small

David Mpanga is the holder of a law degree from Exeter University. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1993. He was called to the Ugandan Bar in 2000 and appointed a Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public in November 2010. David worked in the chambers of John Mathew QC at 5 Paper Buildings in the United Kingdom where he handled criminal litigation. David returned to Uganda in 1998 and worked with Mugerwa & Masembe, Advocates up to September 2003. In October 2003, David set up AF Mpanga, Advocates now locally and internationally acknowledged as a leading law firm in Uganda and a member of Bowmans, an African legal services group. David has cultivated a specialization in financial institutions law, international commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions as well as oil & gas. He also has experience handling public interest cases in the Constitutional Court and has appeared in a number of landmark cases. David is the Minister for Special Duties in the Buganda Government, a First Nation Institution headed by the Kabaka of Buganda. He is married, to Dr. Phiona Muhwezi Mpanga, and they have three children.

Mumo Musuva smallMumo Musuva is an extensively experienced architect and serves as Managing Director of PLANNING Systems Services Ltd. Mumo’s career at PLANNING has focused on building design, urban regeneration and sustainable development. He is also founding director of PLANNING Project Management Ltd, the group’s project and development management arm, and a Trustee of PLANNING’s impactful award-winning Corporate Responsibility initiative: The Community Cooker Foundation. Mumo has broad experience in projects of various types and scales including hospitality, commercial retail, high rise buildings and office buildings, large scale mixed-use masterplans as well as project structuring in conjunction with client teams. He manages PLANNING’s portfolio of projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Dr WinifredDr Winifred Mutuku holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and is the current Head of Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science Kenyatta University. She is a member of the Technical Working Group and Strategic Information Team (TWG/SI) for the National Syndemic Disease Control Council; Chairperson of the Board of Management – Masii Boys Secondary School; a committee member of the Board of Management of both Machakos Boys High and Masii Girls Secondary Schools; the Patron of Kenyatta University STEM Club; a committee member of Kenyatta University Gender Mainstreaming Technical Working Group and a committee member of Kenyatta University Sexual and Gender Based Violence. She has successfully supervised four PhD candidates and several Master’s students.  She has also published over 25 refereed journals articles. She was awarded a grant by KEMRI-Wellcome Trust to carry out research on Modelling dynamics of HIV and another grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to carry out a research on women’s economic empowerment.

Cindy Ondego small

Cindy Lithimbi-Ondego is an international development consultant and entrepreneur. She has previously worked in ecological conservation and management, and spent a large part of her career designing and implementing programmes to uplift the lives of marginalised populations, mainly in education and youth employment. Cindy enjoys working across disciplines and interest groups to bring about social impact. She recently founded MombasaWorks - a coworking and learning space in Mombasa - aimed at supporting social entrepreneurs and independent professionals thrive. Cindy has a MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a BSc in Ecology and Environmental Biology from the University of Leeds. She lives in Mombasa with her husband and two young children and enjoys being outdoors with them, as well as reading autobiographies and about interior design.

Caroline Simba3

Caroline Simba is a UK trained lawyer with over 15 years’ experience and specializing in policy and regulation in telecommunications. In 2010 she was voted as one of Kenya’s “Top 40 under 40” women. Caroline is a member of the ICT Sector Board of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), a private sector platform which engages in high-level public policy dialogue and provides leadership on issues of national importance. She has participated in several policy and law formulation taskforces including the National Spectrum Policy taskforce responsible for developing a progressive spectrum policy for the country. She has been instrumental in facilitating the successful transition of her current employer to the fourth mobile operator in the country and the only entity operating a pure 4G LTE mobile network in East Africa. Caroline is a board member of Ulu Conservancy which seeks to protect the Ulu ecosystem from illegal settlements, wildlife poaching and environmental degradation. She is a member of the Law Society of Kenya and Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM), a Company Secretary, Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public. She is deeply passionate about leadership and seeks to impact the next generation of leaders through mentorship. Caroline is married and blessed with two amazing children.

Darryl Ursin Darryl Ole Ursin is an Actuarial Specialist at Old Mutual Group working from the Nairobi office. His work broadly covers risk management, financial reporting, product development and analytics for General Insurance & Health in East Africa. He has taken key and leading roles in several projects, including the implementation of a new financial reporting standard and most proudly, the design of Kenya's first low-cost community cancer insurance product. Darryl is an exam-qualified actuary with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and an alumnus of the London School of Economics, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science. Darryl was a Beacon Scholar from 2016 - 2019.

Ben Wachira smallDr Benjamin W. Wachira is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi and the Founding Director of the Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation. He serves on the board of the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) and is currently the president-elect. He is an associate editor for the African Journal of Emergency Medicine. He obtained his Diploma in Primary Emergency Care from the College of Emergency Medicine of South Africa in 2007. Subsequently, he pursued his Masters in Medicine specialising in Emergency Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He was admitted as a Fellow of the College of Emergency Medicine of South Africa in October 2011. Dr Wachira has published several journal articles which reflect his research interests in the development of evidence-based universal emergency care in Kenya.

Kariuki WaigwaKariuki Waigwa is a commercial pilot (Captain), flight instructor and flight examiner with the national carrier Kenya Airways which he joined in 2009 as a first officer on the Boeing 737 fleet. He is currently deployed on the Embraer fleet which operates regional flights and he joined this fleet as a Captain in 2012. Prior to that, he worked as a charter pilot and instructor at Wilson regional airport with Kenya School of Flying (KSOF). He completed his initial flight training at KSOF. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, golf and cycling.


If you would like to become a Beacon Home Country Mentor please contact the Beacon Special Africa Adviser.