The African SOUP is led by a strong Ugandan team and Ugandan Board of Directors. Our US Executive Director and esteemed US Board of Directors act as a fundraising arm and advise the Ugandan team on matters of financial health and strategy.
The SOUP Team
Jill Kuhn, Executive Director
Jill has spent her career learning how to best serve vulnerable communities through grassroots, context-sensitive approaches. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo, a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education from Delta State University, and a Master of Public Health degree in Population and Family Health from Columbia University. Earlier in her career, she served as a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta region and taught elementary education at a public school in New York City. She has also managed the development of new teachers participating in national-level teacher development programs in urban and rural regions of the United States.
Jill first came to East Africa for several months in 2010 to coordinate an education program in rural Tanzania, then traveled to Uganda in 2016 to evaluate a peer education program implemented by a local NGO. After completing that assignment in Uganda, she moved to Tanzania to serve as the Program Director of a U.S. State Department-funded initiative seeking to incorporate peacebuilding and conflict resolution approaches into community education projects. Jill joined our team in 2019 and is thrilled to be back in Uganda working alongside the dedicated SOUP team toward the achievement of high-quality, accessible education for students in The SOUP’s area of operation.
Rebecca Mirembe, Active Learning Project Director
Rebecca Mirembe hails from Eastern Uganda and is a mother of four lovely children. She has a bachelor’s degree in Education which she attained in 2012 from Makerere University and is studying to obtain her master’s degree in Education Management and Administration at the Islamic University in Uganda. As an educationalist, Rebecca has love for education not just as a discipline but also in giving comprehensive attention to the needs of both the instructors and students. She believes all teachers in Uganda have the ability to provide quality education to the children and only need support and encouragement to do so. Rebecca happily takes up this task and manages to facilitate active learning adoption with help from her team of field officers. Rebecca is a leader within the education community and works continuously to grow and expand her knowledge. For career development she hopes to participate in conferences, workshops, and earn certifications in project management. Her mission is for teachers and students in Uganda to adopt critical, creative, and ethical thinking practices. Rebecca sees these skills to be essential to the advancement of Uganda and challenges Ugandans across educational institutions to join her in this mission.
Emmanuel Muyinda, Community Outreach Coordinator
At The SOUP, we firmly believe that medical care can change the trajectory of a person’s life, especially in developing communities. One of our first Ugandan staff members, Emmanuel (Emma) Muyinda first handedly experienced the benefits of extraordinary health care at a young age. At a mere seven years, Emma suffered from a severe and excruciating infection in his right leg. The extent of damage caused by the infection led to the need for amputation. However, Emma’s disability was not coming to a beginning but rather an end. Recovering in Kampala under the vigilant care of the Red Cross, Emma picked up English as a second language and was inspired by how adequate medical attention transformed the lives of those around him. Emma states, “Losing my leg was one of the biggest blessings in my life”. As a young adult, Emma was employed by The African SOUP due to his bilingual abilities and urge to contribute to his beloved community. Although Emma has worked several positions at The SOUP, his role as the community outreach coordinator and head of “Emma’s Baby Soup” has been the most fruitful.
Gilbert Kisembo, Director of M&E
Co-founder | Country Director
Michael Kaidhiwa has an infectious love of his country and his people. He believes we are all capable of doing great things, “even the little children”. Michael was born and raised in Nabikabala Village, where The African SOUP is located. He reminisces on the days when he would sit beneath the mango trees and watch his nine siblings play soccer with a ball made of banana fibers and rope. He knew his community was capable of doing great things – he saw it in the spirit and the love of his own family. However, his village lacked formal education and his parents spent all their money to send him and his siblings away to school.
After achieving a master’s degree in conflict studies, Michael is now revolutionizing the educational opportunities for hundreds of children in Nabikabala. His mission is to love these children and provide them with an opportunity to create their own future and become the change makers in their community. Michael describes, “we will start in my village first, then one day we can change the entire country – children in Uganda deserve an amazing education".
George Wateta, Director of Operations | Headmaster of The SOUP School
George comes from Kaliro but grew up in Iganga, Eastern Uganda and is married with six children. He has a diploma and degree in education, a degree in social administration and a post-graduate diploma in peace and conflict management. He also has certificates in child development, organizational management, planning, public administration and management, pediatric HIV/AIDS care, and training of trainers in child protection.
His passion for child development started after he graduated with his diploma in education in 2003 and got a job with Compassion International. He felt very fulfilled watching children grow into adults. He joined The SOUP in March of 2014 when the primary school was serving 330 students. He has been a major part in the growth of the school and with the organization at large. He values hard work, compassion, excellence and dignity particularly because he works with vulnerable children and communities. He believes these children hold the future for us and it is his privilege to serve them.
Emma Goldbas, Active Learning Project Program Manager
Emma has lived on the continent of Africa for nearly five years. She came to the continent in 2012 where she served for two years as a youth development volunteer for the Peace Corps in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. She stayed a third year working as a teacher and outreach programs coordinator in the north of Morocco spearheading bi-lingual literacy initiatives for girls from the Rif Mountains. Emma is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where she received a B.A. in Anthropology, International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies.
Emma has a background in conflict resolution where she has worked as a facilitator and counselor for Seeds of Peace, AMIDEAST, Cadi Ayyad University and as an ally trainer at Syracuse University. Her passion as a youth advocate has always led her to youth spheres where she has utilized her international experience, conflict resolution skills, creative arts education, holistic and inclusive English curriculum, life skills development and youth empowerment tactics to ensure the next generation is well-equipped to reach their potential. Emma currently splits her time between Iganga, Uganda where The SOUP office is based and our school in Nabikabala.
Gilbert was previously the Monitoring and Evaluation lead at a Segal Foundation funded organization that works in community development and before that, worked in a CDC/PEPFAR funded project at a top pharmaceutical logistics NGO which supplies HIV/TB commodities within Uganda. He is skilled in program evaluation, system monitoring, leadership, project management, and customer service. Gilbert has an honorary bachelor’s degree and is completing a master’s degree in monitoring and evaluation. He has been formally trained in education design, good clinical practice, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), medical records, data analysis and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems. In his free time, he likes to read captivating biographies, take a nature walk or watch a good Morgan Freeman-narrated documentary over a scrumptious dish of half fried tilapia fish with rice.