Twelve years ago, the idea of Nuru was launched in southwestern Kenya. When Jake Harriman founded this organization, he had always envisioned Nuru being able to grow and scale to make a significant contribution to ending extreme poverty, especially in areas where groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, and Al Qaeda actively exploit the conditions of poverty to further their cause. Right now, thanks to the support of faithful supporters along the way, Nuru is better positioned than ever to do just that.
Over the last few years, Nuru Founder Jake Harriman has been taking thoughtful and intentional steps to move out of the role of CEO and continue serving from a position on Nuru’s board. Both Jake and Nuru International stand fully ready for this transition, and in fact, Nuru’s new CEO, Aerie Changala, has already been serving in this role in all but name for several months now.
Aerie is no newcomer to Nuru or to its mission. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Burkina Faso, where he was focused on microfinance initiatives with nomadic populations. Aerie received his BA in International Affairs at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy; MA in International Conflict Analysis at University of Kent in Canterbury, UK; and attended Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. He was among the first group of people who joined Nuru back in 2008, and he has worked on the ground for extended periods with our farmers and local teams in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. In fact, when it comes to our model and approach, much of what makes Nuru unique comes from his background and contributions. He is the right person to take Nuru forward in this next phase of growth, as Nuru focuses its efforts more and more on vulnerable and marginalized communities in the Sahel.
Regarding this transition, Jake Harriman shares the following:
“I’ve never been more passionate and excited about Nuru’s mission and where we are heading, and I’m looking forward to continuing to serve with the team as a member of our board of directors. You might be wondering why this change, and why now, as we are celebrating major wins like the passage of the Global Fragility Act, and we are preparing to scale our approach across fragile regions of the Sahel.
Most organizations reach a point where the founder actually ends up holding their organization back. I never wanted this to happen for Nuru, and because of that, I also began working directly with our leadership team to develop strategies to ensure that Nuru would be stronger as a result of my transition. I’m proud to say that Nuru is in the best position it has ever been in as a result of this intentional process. I believe that this milestone in our history is one that should be celebrated. Please join me in congratulating Aerie and celebrating this incredible milestone.”
Nuru International is deeply grateful to the generous supporters that have made Nuru the organization what it is today. Today, there are over 130,000 people whose lives are better because of Nuru’s efforts over the last 12 years.
Nuru International is excited to press forward with the vision of continuing to cultivate lasting meaningful choices in the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the world. Building on the foundation of the last 12 years, Nuru will spend the next seven to ten years working in communities across the Sahel to build “resilience corridors” where farmer communities are able to adapt and grow together in addressing extreme poverty along with the looming threats of a changing climate and the growth of violent extremist organizations.
By Billy Williams
Contact: Billy Williams | info ( @ ) nuruinternational dot org