Our people

Yofafo has an amazing team, dedicated to making sure your volunteering experience is as rewarding as possible. If it is your first time in Africa, we will make sure you are looked after and comfortable. You will be met at the airport, driven to our volunteer complex in Lugazi, experience an orientation day where we introduce you to the basics of daily life in Uganda, and arrange essentials such as SIM cards and internet access.

At the volunteer complex, you will be very well looked after. As well as our project personnel, our staff includes a housekeeper, cook, a security guard and a laundry person. Just be careful, as you may not want to go home!

Valence Lutaisire: director

Valence is the founder and director of the Youth Focus Africa Foundation (Yofafo). Valence likes to meet volunteers personally at the airport; look for this man in the terminal exit, holding a sign with your name on it. He will greet you with a big smile, and if you ask him nicely enough, sing you the Yofafo theme song (to mixed reviews). Valence lost both his parents when he was a child, but through hard work and an unwavering belief in himself, he was able to make it through school and eventually, university. Valence was born in the village of Kitoola and is still the only person from his village to graduate from university. He promised that when he finished his degree in development, he would return to his community and ensure he wasn’t the last one to have a university degree.

Doreen Lutaisire: assistant director

Doreen is not only the best chapati maker in Uganda, she is also the most beautiful and intelligent woman there too. We may be a little biased, but we can guarantee you’ll agree with us once you meet her. Valence and Doreen met when they were both studying a Bachelor of Development Studies at Makerere University in Kampala. Doreen began her career working in child welfare before she joined forces with Valence to not only combine their visions for their communities, but also grow a family of their own. They were married in 2007 and have two children, Jo and Beth. As the assistant director of Yofafo, Doreen is passionate about seeing women’s lives change for the better. Her motivation is to make a difference, no matter how small it seems. When asked about her vision for the future of the microfinance program: “The sky is the limit”, she says. NOTE TO ALL VOLUNTEERS: Doreen really likes (and deserves) pizza, massages and cake. And don’t let her tell you otherwise.

Amy Marshall: media and communications coordinator

Amy turned up in Uganda in April 2012, armed with a small camera, a laptop and lots of lots of cords and buttons for Beth and Jo (Valence and Doreen’s children) to play with. Amy has almost a decade of experience in the Australian media, as a newspaper, radio and television journalist. She swapped the Australian sunshine for the African one to take up a volunteer position to develop a social media plan for Yofafo. She became very recognisable in Lugazi as the short, freckled ‘mzungu’ with the cameras. Amy recommends that when trying to be a social media coordinator in Uganda, you be careful when you are tweeting / uploading photos from your phone and walking: the roads are either muddy and slippery, or rocky and potholed. Despite tripping over a few times, she was so inspired by what Valence and Doreen are already achieving, she just couldn’t let her time with Yofafo end with her placement. She works as Yofafo’s media and communications coordinator from Australia, but has promised Doreen she will be back in Uganda very soon…

Innocent Mwesigwa: child welfare officer

Innocent, the newest staff member at Yofafo, is a recent graduate of Uganda Christian University, where he studied Development. Innocent has been a volunteer with Yofafo in the past, contributing to community outreach. Innocent’s motivation for studying Development came from his passion towards children and local communities. He tells of how Valence has been his biggest inspiration since childhood; especially his passion for people, the courage he had in starting Yofafo, and his vision for the future of the organization. Innocent admires the big vision YOFAFO has for women and children in bringing transformation and hope to the communities. He wants to be part of the global change YOFAFO is involved in and is pleased with his new position as Child Welfare Officer.

Rose: our housekeeper

Rose is just wonderful! She cooks traditional Ugandan dinners, cleans your room while you’re out on a project, loves children (helping Doreen with Jo and Beth), and does numerous helpful things at Yofafo headquarters we don’t even know about. We just know that all our volunteers seem happy. She has been working with Yofafo for 4 years, and loves her job. Rose has also established her own small business selling second-hand clothing. She loves her work with Yofafo, which gives her security with things like rent and her daughter’s school fees. Rose says she is treated particularly well at Yofafo, and has great memories of some of the past volunteers. Rose always greets volunteers with a huge smile, and is a consistent source of cheer at Yofafo.

Ralph Stone: strategy and planning

Ralph was formerly the CIO of a large multinational. Now he is either a long term volunteer, semi-retired or a vagabond. We’re not quite sure. He looks after our IT infrastructure and sometimes gets excited about things like ‘we’re now on a CDN’.  According to Ralph, he designs ‘frameworks for villages’ and also ‘frameworks for web sites and integrated systems’. Anyone? We’re just happy that our web site works. Ralph loves Africa, and routinely goes back and forth between Uganda and his home in Australia . He assists us with our strategic plans and project management. During an April 2012 volunteer tour, he single-handedly disproved the theory anyone can learn to lay bricks.

Harriet: laundry and linen

Harriet just loves laundry, and she is an expert at it! Volunteers drop their laundry outside their door each morning, and it magically reappears each night clean and folded. Even if your clothes are covered in brick dust, she delivers them as good as new; we’re not sure how. Harriet has been working with us for over a year now, and lights up Yofafo headquarters with her beautiful smile every day. Her work with Yofafo has allowed her to start her own side business selling clothing. She previously worked in the tea plantations around Yofafo, but now that she is working with us she has more time for her clothing business and home gardening. Harriet is happy to help with any of your questions about garment care, hand washing is her speciality.