California, USA

Jessica Peyla Nagtalon - Project Director

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As the Project Director, Jessica is responsible for fundraising and donor relations, project administration and reporting. Jessica also oversees the strategic development of NEF, but she receives direct requests and input from the School Advisory Committee, NEF’s Field Officer, the Advisory Board and the beneficiaries. She maintains regular communication with the team in Kenya to ensure the smooth operation of the Scholarship Program at Busijo Secondary School. Jessica has over 15-years experience working with non-profit organizations on issues ranging from recycling and responsible desalination to land conservation, ecosystem restoration and water resources management. For the last 10 years, she has worked with the Natural Heritage Institute in San Francisco, California, where she helps coordinate international water management projects in Africa and Southeast Asia. Jessica holds two Master’s Degrees: an MS in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco and an MS in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam. Her greatest job is being a mother to her young son.

California, usa

Maura Lau - Project & Development Assistant

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Maura Lau is currently a student at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California pursuing her Bachelors in Biology. She has always had a great sense of pride in her community and has enjoyed being actively involved. During her time in High School she was a part of the Youth Activities Council of San Mateo, which entailed developing activities for the youth in her community, among other duties. After High School, Maura attended San Jose State University where she was the Marketing Coordinator for the Student Leadership Conference. After graduating Notre Dame de Namur, Maura plans on advancing her academic career with a Master’s in Public Health. She strongly believes that by implementing a solid knowledge foundation that is accessible to all, it can help limit the spread of diseases, expand minds and bridge the gaps in communities. 

California, usa

Holsey Johnson - Communications & PR Assistant

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Originally from Los Angeles, California, Holsey Johnson, Jr. grew up in a large, single-parent family, where he was raised mostly by his grandmother. He spent many years of his childhood playing basketball. Currently, Holsey is a film student attending the Academy of Art University. He has gained direct experience and knowledge in the film and television world from directing and writing short films to providing production assistance on film sets. His strengths are camera operating, directing, sound recording and post production. Upon completion on his BFA at the Academy of Art, his dream career will fall in the world of sports film and photography. Overall, Holsey brings a very detail-oriented type of approach. He is passionate about doing things correctly and respecting people to the highest degree. Traveling to many different countries and getting a taste of how life is viewed through different cultures has a huge impact on his mental construct. 


Edmond Ogombe, Field Officer


Mr. Edmond Ogombe has served as NEF’s Field Officer since the program was launched in 2012. He is responsible for executing and monitoring NEF’s activities at Busijo Secondary School and providing guidance and support for NEF graduates. Edmond meets with the NEF beneficiaries, their parents/guardians and the School Advisory Committee on a regular basis. He is also the liaison with CABE to ensure financial transactions are completed successfully and receipts are sent to NEF. Previously, Edmond was the local Development Coordinator in Samia District for CABE and a LEAD Mobile Advisor with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in Bunyala Sub-county. These positions have given Edmond valuable experience working with community groups on topics such as agricultural innovations, value chains, livelihood skills, climate change adaptation, and financial and project management. A Kenyan national, Edmond holds a Certificate and Diploma in Social and Community Development from Bumbe Technical Training Institute and Siaya Institute of Technology respectively. Currently, he is pursuing a Degree in Development Studies at Mt. Kenya University. 

(N.E.F School Advisory Committee)

Led by the Deputy Principal at Busijo Secondary School, the NEF School Advisory Committee also includes the Director of Studies and the school’s Guidance Counselor, among others.  It provides coordination of NEF activities and monitoring and evaluation of the academic progress of their students supported by NEF.  The Committee meets at least once per school term with the students and their parents, and they communicate on a regular basis with NEF’s field officer, Mr. Edmond Ogombe.  

(NEF Advisory Board)

NEF has an international, volunteer Board of Advisors that meets at least twice a year and communicates as needed by email or Skype to give input, to react to ideas and questions from NEF staff, to review the progress of NEF beneficiaries and the NEF program in general, and to make suggestions for improvements. Furthermore, because NEF is fiscally sponsored and cannot legally have a Board of Directors, NEF’s Advisory Board carries out some of the same roles, such as fundraising and monitoring NEF’s financial health.