Max Perel-Slater, Founder and Tanzania Executive Director
Max grew up in Berkeley, California. He received his B.A. in Environmental Studies & Earth and Environmental Science from Wesleyan University. As part of his degree, Max completed a graduate-level field course in Hydrogeology at Clemson University. The course included well drilling and borehole geophysics. He also studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning and completed an independent research project about the water situation in Shirati. He continued his research the following summer as part of his Senior Capstone Project at the Wesleyan College of the Environment. In 2009, he led the construction of a ferro-cement rainwater catchment system and has worked on similar projects ever since. In 2011, Max worked for the CBO Shining Hope for Communities in the Kibera slum, coordinating a water project and co-leading a summer program for American university students.
Bruce Maj Pelz, Founder and US President
Bruce grew up in Boulder, Colorado. He attended the University of Colorado where he received honors for his B.A. in Environmental Studies. Bruce wrote his honors thesis on The Future Environmental Views of Children across Cultures and Socioeconomic Class. As part of his research, he surveyed students in five Tanzanian primary schools and two American elementary schools. While attending college, Bruce studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning. In 2010, Bruce assisted in managing daily operations for The Paul Hewitt Care for Africa Foundation, an Australian NGO. He has also taught at an inner-city Denver public school about environmental science and sustainable living.
Emily Bull, MSW, Tanzania Director of Operations
Emily is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and received a double B.A. in Psychology and Religious Studies from Austin College. During her undergraduate years, she studied abroad in Madagascar, France, China, and Peru and worked in a Kenyan orphanage. After college, Emily worked in Yuma, Arizona, at the Yuma County Library District’s Nonprofit Resource Center as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). In May 2013, Emily graduated with her master’s in Social Work with a concentration in International Social Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. As part of her graduate coursework, Emily worked for the American Red Cross as a caseworker for international refugees, American Armed Forces personnel, and disaster victims. Additionally, she spent her final graduate school semester in Shirati, Tanzania, working on sustainable development programs with Maji Safi and African Immigrant Social and Cultural Services (now REACH Shirati).
Rebeca Oyugi, Program Manager
Rebeca Oyugi is originally from the Shirati area. She did her A-level studies at Ikizu Secondary School and her O-level studies at the very highly respected Kowak Girls’ Secondary School, both in the Mara Region. Rebeca received her Bachelor of Arts in Project Planning, Management and Community Development at the University of Dodoma. After graduation in 2011, Rebeca started working in the Rorya District at KMT North Mara Diocese as a monitoring and evaluation officer for “Pamoja Tuwalee”, a program for orphaned and vulnerable children for whom she visited program beneficiaries in the Shirati area.
After her contract ended in May 2017, Rebeca joined Maji Safi Group as program manager.
Dorothy Ochieng, MPH, BSN, RN, Female Hygiene Program Manager
Originally from Kenya, Dorothy received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a registered nurse in various hospital settings, including orthopedics, medical oncology, surgical gynecologic oncology, and home health. With a specialization in Global Health, Dorothy received her Master’s in Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2016. As part of her graduate coursework, Dorothy worked in Shirati, Tanzania, to help plan and implement Maji Safi Group’s first Health Screening Program in 2015. She went on to evaluate the program as part of her final coursework. After completing her graduate degree, Dorothy moved to Shirati and currently works as Maji Safi Group’s Female Hygiene Program Manager.
Pendo Messanga, Tanzanian Accountant
Pendo Messanga grew up in Tarime in the Mara Region. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance at Ardhi University. She studied for her A-Level at Morogoro Secondary School and her O-Level at Kowak Girls Secondary School in the Rorya district. During her studies, Pendo Messanga did fieldwork at the Tarime District Office as an accountant and later worked on field research at Renovex Consultants, located in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam. Prior to joining Maji Safi Group, she worked as the Finance Officer and Office Administrator at North Mara Community Trust Fund located in Nyamongo, Tarime District.
Erna Maj, US Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator
Erna was born and raised in Denmark and immigrated to the US in 1978. She received her undergraduate degree from City University of New York in American Studies and her master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Linguistics and Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL). After raising three sons and working as a language teacher and translator for 20 years, Erna now devotes her time to philanthropy in general and Maji Safi Group in particular. Erna has volunteered for aid organizations in the US, Tanzania, Guatemala, and Argentina. She visits Shirati annually to provide educational instruction and help with the development of MSG teaching materials and methods.
Shemaya Okong’o, Cashier and M&E Coordinator
Shemaya Okong’o and his family are originally from the Shirati area in the Rorya District. Shemaya finished his advanced levels of secondary school in 2012 from Makongo High School in Dar es Salaam. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in banking and finance at the Institute of Finance Management in 2015. After graduating, Shemaya worked as the accountant for the cancer research organization EMBLEM and served as the purchasing manager for the NGO Shirati Health and Education Development (SHED).
Linda Stamm, Public Health Advisor
Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland as well as a degree in Economics and Computer Science. She finalized her degrees by carrying out a study on dust-related lung diseases in Zambian miners and by researching the impact of waterborne and water-related diseases on people living in Indian slums. Linda also has professional expertise working in developing countries with both drinking water and wastewater solutions and treatment methods as well as various tropical diseases such as malaria, measles, and dengue fever. Linda has lived in Tanzania since 2014 and joined Maji Safi Group’s team as a Public Health Adviser at the end of 2016 when she moved with her family to Shirati, Rorya, to support us in fighting waterborne and water-related diseases.