Who We Are

Jessica Saffer

After traveling to Uganda in 2010 and 2011 to teach leadership workshops, Jessica witnessed firsthand the children and their families’ work ethic and desire to succeed. The mothers in particular had an undeniable drive to provide the best for their families. As strong-willed and driven as they were, they still seemed unable to break the cycle of poverty. It was clear that the ambition was there, but the resources were not. Recognizing this as an issue that can be helped, she set out to start umama, an organization that does not act as a charitable hand out program, but one that is dedicated to empowering the women of Uganda economically, socially, and spiritually.
Jessica has prior experience working in both public sector International Economic Relations as well as private sector Finance. She graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a degree in Economics.

Stephen Magezi

As he was traveling between remote villages of Uganda, Stephen started seeing patterns and observed that social problems are interconnected— for example, children’s health and education, maternal health and poverty. It seemed that most problems surfaced first with the mothers and then affected the entire family like a domino effect. It was a clear reminder that a mother is a powerful influence over the welfare of future generations as all other earthly causes combined. Stephen was so moved by the plight of women in rural Africa that he decided to partner with Jessica to create an organization that would attend to the need of household incomes, restore hope and dignity to mothers and their families.

Native to Uganda, Stephen found a passion and career in empowering younger generations early on. After receiving certificates of education from Uganda, Stephen worked closely with AGOA, Africa Growth and Opportunity Act — an effort by the US government to help African countries continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. In 2003, Stephen received a government scholarship to study business administration with a focus on accounting. At the end of his 2-year study, he volunteered with numerous local organizations either as a supervisor of accounting systems or providing support to Ugandan youth.

Jayan Nanyonga

Jayan’s passion for working with women developed when she was working with underprivileged children. She noticed that mothers were struggling to provide for their family. Through a deeper interaction with them, she observed that the most common way women give up their power is thinking they don’t have any. She committed herself to assisting and inspiring them to believe in their abilities. Jayan feels privileged to be working with umama because it will enable her to reach out to women in the local community, identify their needs while providing accessible solutions, and help them become more self-confident and economically active. She believes empowering women is the greatest investment she can make to further the kingdom of God, hoping to see women have a voice at the highest level – in business, community, and spiritual life.

Previously, Jayan worked as a coordinator for Empower a Child and as a Tour and Field Manager for View Africa Tours. She has a degree in Business Administration from Makerere University and is currently taking CPA classes.