Our Staff Members

Founder and Executive Director

Caren Wakoli is a Certified leadership coach, transformational leadership trainer, certified 7-Habits of Highly Effective People trainer, democracy & good governance champion, and social entrepreneur who delights in mentoring young women and men to be able to achieve their greatest potential in life. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF); an organization that focuses on raising young people as positive agents of change in society, through effective participation in governance and decision-making processes. She has over 17 years’ experience of doing youth empowerment work in Kenya and Africa at large. She has taken part in various policy formulation and implementation processes in Kenya and internationally. She serves in various boards, governmental and non-governmental.

Caren has received several recognitions for her commitment to youth and women empowerment, democracy and good governance. She was a finalist in the CEO Global Most Influential Women in Business and Government (Civil Society and welfare category) 2017. She has been profiled as one of the most influential women in East Africa, by the East African Standard Newspaper in 2017. She is one of few African leaders to join the Obama Foundation African Leaders Program 2018. She is a YALI East African Fellow 2014 and Director; East African Acumen Fellow 2014, Spark* Kenya Changemaker 2013 and Young Female Achiever 2006 at the University of Nairobi.

Caren serves on various boards – she is the Chair of the Youth Congress, Board Member at DSW Kenya, YALI East Africa, and Siasa Place. She has previously served on the Government Agency Boards such as; National Council Member – African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM – under the African Union), Uwezo Fund, NACADA and Chaired Nairobi County Youth Oversight Board.

She has a Master’s degree in international studies and Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology, both from the University of Nairobi.

In her free time, she likes to read biographies, watch movies, take nature walks, listen to music and journal.


Stella Nderitu is a Programme Officer at Emerging Leaders Foundation where she is in charge of the Youth Mentorship and Leadership training program.

She is passionate about Young Women’s Participation in Governance and has special interest in their education and participation in Politics and Leadership. She is a mentor to many teenage girls, who she empowers through her community initiative, DadaPower, in Murang’a County, Kenya.​

Stella is an expert in young women participation, youth programs and digital strategies for social change, and has a rich experience years in running Mentorship programmes.

She holds a BA in Political Science and Communication from the University of Nairobi;​Certificate in Political Leadership and Governance from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES-Kenya) and a certificate in Elections Observation from International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC). She is an alumnus of Emerging Leaders Foundation Mentorship program – class of 2014.

Stella Nderitu
Programme Officer

Charles Wafula
Project Coordinator of Tunaweza Project

Charles Wafula serves as the Project Coordinator of Tunaweza Project, which works with youths in counties to enable them engage their county governments better thereby enhancing accountability and service delivery especially on youth related issues.

Charles possesses over 12 years of professional experience, specifically in the areas of program design and management, program evaluation and public policy analysis especially in education, governance, gender and youth empowerment sub-sectors.

Previously, he has worked with both state and non-state organizations including Adam Smith International, UN Women, UNDP, Kenyatta University, Youth Initiatives Kenya (YIKE) among others. Geographically, his professional stints have been in Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

His other competencies are in the areas of research, curriculum development, knowledge management, data analysis (SPSS) and monitoring and evaluation.

Charles holds a Master of Education (Economics of Education) and a Bachelor of Education (Arts) both from Kenyatta University and is currently a finalist student undertaking a Master of Public Policy (MPPA) course also at Kenyatta University.

Stella Cheboi is the Finance and Administrative Assistant at Emerging Leaders Foundation.

She is a blogger and passionate story teller who uses her spare time to engage Rural Primary School Students in storytelling, journaling and reading clubs to help them own and have pride in their stories as well as improve their performance in school. She believes in the power of mentorship and community service. An advocate of the community that is ‘Abled Differently’.

Cheboi is a holder of Higher Diploma in Business Management and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce at The University of Nairobi.

stella chiboi

Stella Cheboi
Finance and Administrative Assistant

josephine otieno

Josephine Otieno
Program Associate – Mentorship and Communication


Josephine Otieno serves as Program Associate – Mentorship and Communication.  She has gone through the ELF Mentorship Program Cohort 3 in 2017, which was a moment of awakening for her. It has also been a journey of self-discovery, mental shift and growth.

I am passionate about economic empowerment of marginalized groups, especially youth and women.

Janet is the Manager, Finance & Administration at Emerging Leaders Foundation, in charge of providing leadership in all aspects of ELF’s budgeting, financial reporting, accounting, administration & procurement. She has over 7 years of experience in financial management of Non for Profit and possess wealth of experience that spans across several competencies including financial management & reporting, accounting operations, auditing, administration, development of operational manuals, training and capacity building.

She is passionate about good leadership and mentorship. She currently mentors young women some of whom are ELF’s mentees and also outside ELF and holds various leadership position in other spaces in the society.

Janet holds an Msc in Finance & Investment Analysis, Bcom Finance from the University of Nairobi. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and has a certificate in Strategic Leadership in Governance from the Pan African Christian University.

Janet Jematia
Manager, Finance & Administration

Sofina Merinyo

Sofina Merinyo
Programme Associate

Sofina holds a degree in Community Resource Management from Kenyatta University and a certificate of Public Management in Social Transformation from Arizona State University. She hails from Taita Taveta County, where she has been involved in the management of the Isanga Project an initiative aimed at increasing education access in Taita Taveta county. Sofina Merinyo is a Programmes associate at ELF. Her passion for leadership and implementation from the frontline enables her to manage, monitor and ensure execution of the program objectives by all facilitators and volunteers engaged in. She is a competent professional who values integrity, excellence and discipline. Sofina has previously worked with TAP Africa as programme coordinator, University of Trier on Afya kwa Wote Project, VSO Kenya, SAPTA and Kenyatta University. She also enjoys engaging in media and events planning and organizaton. She has a passion for good governance and social justice and would like to be in a position to advocate for equal education for all on the continent.