empowering people to strengthen communities

Our philosophy is based in the belief that communities are capable of determining and addressing their own needs. We target projects that generate sustainable income, support education and promote primary health care.

  • V. Bonnie Nezaj: Founder

    Bonnie self-financed her visits to East-Africa to observe what actions grassroots organizations and individuals are taking to tackle the roots of poverty.The purpose of her trip was to create an avenue for their voices to be heard and visions exposed. Inspired by what she saw Bonnie founded Empowering Development Alternatives in 2009 to assist individuals and local organizations in approaching the challenges and solutions for holistic development.

    She has worked with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York, International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva, and is currently working at Endeavor Capital Holdings Group, LLC. Bonnie holds an M.A. from the New School University in International Affairs and a B.A. from Fordham University in Philosophy and Political Science. She is fluent in English, Albanian, and conversant in Italian.

  • Robert Kainamura: Director | Co-Founder

    Rob is the founder of Gates of Gades Capital, a private equity firm based in N.Y. He has 8 years of entrepreneurial experience in finance and informationtechnology. Mr. Kainamura adds to EDA a cultural and educational diversity that stems from his studies and professional experience in different parts of the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Exercising his beliefs in creating a difference in the lives of others, he leverages his technical expertise engaging with nonprofit organizations. Working at the Computer Disaster Operations of the American Red Cross, he was among the first volunteers assisting in New York City's post September 11th recovery. He is fluent in English and French, conversant in Amaharic and Kinyarwanda.

    Rob earned his graduate degree from Columbia University in 2003 where he studied Information Technology. In addition to his formal education, he was awarded four Industry Certifications from Nortel, Lucent, Intelsat and University of Maryland.

  • Fr. Tom Smith: Director

    Fr. Tom is a catholic priest from the Camillian congregation of the Irish Province. In 2000, he started a community based program in Uganda, covering many villages, providing comprehensive care and support to HIV infected clients. From here he launched Nyenga Mobile Clinic that reached the far off villages to bring help and support to HIV/AIDS sufferers and their families. Initially the project was funded by Ireland Aid and the Camillian Order.

    Currently Catholic Relief Services {Aids relief} together with the Camillian Order, fund a fully integrated and comprehensive programme of care and support, with ongoing support supervision of all categories of staff and monthly reporting, details of which are duly forwarded to Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, thus ensuring the highest possible standards of programme implementation B.A. in Philosophy and Latin Literature.

    Fr. Tom holds a B.A. in Divinity, Graduate in Clinical Pastoral Education, plus contemplation of lifes experience. He lives in Jinja, Uganda since 2000.