Meet the Team
Board of Directors
International Advisory Board
Dr. Jonathan Scherch
Founder & Executive Director
Jonathan leads PBR collaborations building on 25+ years of international bamboo development across social, economic, ecological, and technological contexts. His personal, professional, and service / volunteer experience spans 20 countries, reflecting a track record of successful collaborations with individuals, teams, and organizations.
Formerly a professor and Dean, his interdisciplinary academic service spanned multiple US and international appointments. In complement to bamboo interests, his research and field work intersect with innovations of sustainable agriculture and food systems, climate-smart technologies and vanguard engineering applications, and ecological design tactics for advancing resilient communities and economies. Among his credentials, Jonathan holds International Training Certification on Bamboo Industrial Processing Technologies and Machines.
In 2016, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Specialist award in Social Work at Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda. His collaborative work focused on new social work graduate program and regional professional development initiatives. And, he introduced new conversations about practical bamboo resources to address critical issues of poverty, unemployment, refugee relief, environmental protection, and social welfare across Uganda and Africa, South of the Sahara. Subsequently, the programs of Bamboo for Good (B4G) emerged.
A returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Jamaica, 1991-93), his diverse personal and professional experiences have resulted in numerous opportunities for teaching and presenting. In 2007, following an academic sabbatical in China, he offered a Foreign Expert Keynote Address for the International Bamboo Workshop at Zhejiang Agricultural & Forestry University in Lin’an, China. In the USA, Jonathan co-presented “Bamboo and Opportunities in the State of Alabama” for the 2012 National Science Foundation Workshop on Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Green Materials & Products, hosted by the University of Alabama – Birmingham and Tuskegee University. He regularly meets and consults with executive leadership and diverse teams in the interest of performance innovations and inclusive, sustainable results.
Offering leadership to vanguard for-profit and non-profit ventures, he is a co-founder of Resource Fiber, LLC, a founding Board Member of Climate Solutions, and served as Program Vice President for the Northwest Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, among many others. He is a member of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).
Reflecting his deep interests in connecting technological innovations for social benefit, Jonathan has been an avid amateur radio operator and educator for over 25 years, holding an Amateur Extra Class license. He regularly communicates with people around the world, and takes his portable radio station with him for use and demonstration as he travels. He holds licensed call signs of KK7PW in the USA; 5X1O in Uganda; 9X0SS in Rwanda; and JO4FND in Japan.
He volunteers with the Disaster Communications Team of the American Red Cross serving King, Kitsap & North Mason Counties (USA), and with the Auxiliary Communications Service within the City of Seattle’s Department of Emergency Management. His home station and household electrical loads are powered by a solar photovoltaic energy system which he designed and installed in 2006.
Dr. Jonathan Scherch
B4G Regional Director: Africa, Sub-Sahara
Johnson Nkuusi is an Environmentalist with over 15 years working on Bamboo Resources, Forest management and training, community forestry, environmental and natural resources management, Climate Change and Research in Eastern Africa.
He has been involved with multi-national projects on Bamboo Resources, Environment,Forestry and Agricultural sector in Region.This expertise has been developed through his senior roles on projects from ICRAF/ The World Agroforestry Centre as Dissemination Facilitator and Bamboo Scientist, Consultancy, working with Public institutions, Private sector, NGOs and B4G.
He was trained and benefited several International Training Courses from China on Bamboo Resources.
He has been very instrumental in promoting bamboo in Uganda ,Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania , Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He collaborated with several institutions and NGOs to promote bamboo resources in the above mentioned countries. He has been training communities and extension services on bamboo cultivation and domestication, propagation techniques, nursery establishment, plantation management and utilization .He is so creative, motivated and has superb interpersonal skills.
Johnson Nkuusi is currently Co-Director of Bamboo for Good (B4G), Uganda and Eastern Africa.
Dr. Janestic Twikirize
Director / B4G East Africa
Dr. Janestic M. Twikirize is a senior Lecturer at Makerere University Department of Social Work. She is a founding co-director of the Bamboo4Good project and has been coordinating project efforts in Uganda since 2016. Dr. Twikirize is also social development specialist with rich experience in development research. She has provided consultancy services to a number of government and nongovernmental organizations working in different sectors both in and outside Uganda. She has been at the forefront of promoting professional social work in East Africa to more effectively contribute towards sustainable development.
Her research and published works revolve around indigenization of social work and social development, social, economic and environmental justice and gender. She has published over 20 journalarticles and book chapters, edited two books and made more than 30 international conference presentations in the last 6 years. She is internationally recognized as a developmental social work scholar, with particular expertise in social service workforce development.
Since 2012, she has served as Vice President of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa and also represents the Africa region on the International Association of Schools of Social Work and co-coordinates the global agenda for social work, Africa observatory, which among others collects, analyses and reports of the contribution of the social service workforce towards social development in Africa.
Dr. Janestic Twikirize
Director / B4G Rwanda
Jules Kazungu is a Rwandan with over 15 years working experience in forest management and training, community forestry, environmental and natural resources management and research in Rwanda. He has an Msc in Agroforestry and Soil Management for fall 2012 from the University of Rwanda.
He has been involved with multi-national projects in the environment in the areas of forestry, agroforestry and agricultural sector. Their deep expertise is in the agriculture sector includes agriculture extension; agribusiness and agroforestry. This expertise has been developed through his senior roles on projects both for government institutions public, private and NGOs. He have published papers on different topics across the agriculture sector and environmentalism for large international bodies such as the African Development Bank.
Currently Jules Kazungu is the Senior Program Officer from the Rwanda Bamboo Organisation (RBO) and Director for Rwanda, Bamboo For Good (B4G).
Sara brings an interdisciplinary background in environmental science, conservation governance, research and education. She has 5 years of experience working in non-for-profit organizations in Mexico, England and the USA.
Sara has an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford, with a specialization in religion and conservation. In the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Oxford, she researched Eastern Orthodox church forests in the Northern Gondor region of Ethiopia to measure their ecological importance in an agricultural landscape. She also studied the effects of habit fragmentation on endangered hedgehogs in England and their resilience in different agricultural settings.
Sara began working with PBR in 2017 directing their social media outreach. She is particularly interested in sustainable development, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade, responsible sourcing and climate change adaptation.
Grant Writer & Content Development
Sandra’s nonprofit journey began at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in Washington, DC, after an almost 14 year career in the U.S. Air Force. She was the Director for Membership/Programs at NLGJA for 3 years. In 2003, she went back to college, initially to pursue a degree in Communications. After her first semester, however, a natural affinity for writing prompted her to change her degree to English. She graduated with a BA in English, having attended American University in Washington, DC, and completing her degree at SUNY/Empire State College in New York.
Sandra has always been passionate about the welfare of animals and nature. Returning to the nonprofit world to do the work of PBR/B4G is a culmination of that desire to keep nature and animals a priority in conservation by using her writing skills as a means to fundraise toward those efforts. She is a passionate learner of all things earth and ocean. She is also a writer of short stories and working on her first novel.
Hunter is a multidisciplinary designer and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's graphic design program (2016). After finishing his undergraduate degree, he found a job with the World Justice Project (WJP), where he worked for a year. While with WJP, Hunter focused mainly on data visualizations and designed several of their publications. He left WJP to pursue a graphic design career through the founding of his own graphic design studio, Trails Creative Co.
Trails is a full service design studio that provides a tangible environmental impact by donating 5% of profits to the environment as money or time. It’s design for the people and the planet. With similar goals for the environment, this mission led Hunter to join the team of PBR/B4G and promote sustainable and practical bamboo resources.
Dr. Elisebeth VanderWeil
Elisebeth brings to PBR her passion for leverage points for change that benefit holistic thrival and are surprisingly paradoxical and powerful. She has a deep commitment to be of service to her community – reveling in its diversity, evolution, and gaiety. She has over 20+ years of experience and education in leadership, transformation, and systemic change.
She currently works as Education Navigation & Services Lead for SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Mult-Employer Training & Education Fund, supporting healthcare workers in advancing education and careers. She has been an associate dean for a community college, a professor for various universities, a director for a leadership program, a barista because she lives in Seattle, a director for a LGBTQ student center, an information specialist for an environmental consulting firm, a board member for an arts organization, and an Earth Guardian for Burning Man. Elisebeth has done a lot of diverse things for money and love, and the connecting thread has always been learning for systemic development and evolution through the discomfort of change – yes, even the barista gig. She got her doctorate in leadership from Gonzaga University in 2007, an experience which paralleled her alignment with the Burning Man culture of principled creativity and service.
Dr. Elisebeth VanderWeil
Forestry Education / Field Research
Fred Yikii is an Assistant Lecturer (since 2011) in the Department of Environmental Management – School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University. He holds a Bachelor of Community Forestry and a MSc. in Agroforestry of Makerere University. He was a fellow of Land Restoration and Sustainable Land management at the Agricultural University of Iceland in 2009.
Fred has over 10 years of teaching experience spanning fields like Environmental Communication, Landscaping and Urban Forestry, Conflict Resolution in Natural Resources Management, and Food Security. He has participated in several exhibitions showcasing forestry innovations and products to various audiences on behalf of the school and as part of his role in community outreach. His current research activities are on food security and wetland policy. Fred also has interest in Landcare activities for sustainable land management and community development.
Eva brings to PBR over 20 years of experience and passion in the fields of community and economic development, biomass resources, sustainable agriculture, and green building. Currently Eva is the Owner/Broker of Infiniti Real Estate & Development, a green real estate company in Seattle WA, that specializes in sales and marketing for residential and commercial properties.
Eva received her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the Evergreen State College during which time Eva spent six months working with the United Nations preparing a policy agenda for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. During her undergraduate and graduate education Eva spent seven years studying and working internationally on using biomass energy and materials for community and rural economic development in almost a dozen countries, including Costa Rica, Japan, India and Brazil.
Eva is a member of the International Living Futures Institute, Cascadia Green Building Council, Eco-Building Guild, and the Global Interdependence Center. She is deeply engaged helping to promote bamboo as a rapidly renewable building resource and how it can serve to promote rural economic development worldwide.
Lance has spent his career working in a niche field where software and technology meet the world of sports and currently serves as President for CDE Software, a Seattle based company.
Lance grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a small town of Port Angeles, WA. The area is known for its views of the Olympic Mountains and rich with hiking and diverse beauty. He began working with computers just prior to Apple and IBM releasing their first personal computers and self studied to began creating various programs on those platforms. Later on, he helped bring a pre-Internet means of email communication called FIDO-NET to the Olympic Peninsula, which led to building websites and then joining the company that he’s now become President. During this time Lance also attended graduate school to earn his MBA and also has served as an adjunct professor teaching computer sciences.
One of Lance’s passion is photography, which the Pacific Northwest provides unlimited opportunities for subject matter. He also greatly enjoys cooking and is involved in various cooking groups around the area. He also is a certified BBQ judge through the nation’s two largest BBQ associations and serves as a volunteer for their technology needs. Another more recent passion is amateur radio operations, where he holds an Extra Class license (call sign K7LER).
Lance met Jonathan at the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club and have served together as board members for the group. He also volunteers with the Auxiliary Communications Service within the City of Seattle’s Department of Emergency Management. He is an ARRL-accredited Volunteer Examiner as part of testing teams administering FCC amateur radio tests as well as an ARRL Volunteer Examiner Test Coordinator supervising testing sessions to new radio operators as well as operators seeking higher class levels.
He’s always been fascinated with bamboo in his younger days and even more so, with the expansion and recognition of bamboo having a great future and what it provides in its sustainability and diverse usage.
Smitha brings a multidisciplinary background of urban and rural community development as well as social science research and has spent more than a decade working in academic and not-for-profit sectors in India, and more recently in North America.
In rural Maharashtra, India, she worked with communities on advancing women’s political empowerment and creation of livelihood programs for disenfranchised women. She led post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal focussed on rebuilding tribal leadership lost as a result of the Tsunami. As a member of Greenpeace India, she worked on strategy and design for international environmental campaigns ranging from climate change, lobbying with industry to phase out toxics, to promotion of sustainable agriculture practices. She has taught Geography at Portland State University and designed curricula at her alma mater, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai, India.
Smitha began work on the PBR project, Morethana Farm, in 2012 and helped organize several on and off-farm workshops, classes and farming initiatives that led to connections in the Sammamish Valley Agricultural District and beyond. She served on the board of Seattle Biochar Working Group.
Smitha continues to involve herself in socio-environmental research and has published several independent and collaborative pieces in international publications. She believes in a greener future and is particularly interested in the social justice aspects of agro-forestry and bamboo research, and in bamboo as a strategic crop for a sustainable world.
Analaura Antúnez Latorre
Co-Founder, · ZHÚ · Innovación en Bambú
Founded in 2015, with two partners, ZHÚ · Innovación en Bambú, an initiative dedicated to promoting and disseminating the benefits of using bamboo through research and development, design services, training and consulting. At the end of the same year founded, along with three partners, Collective Grasses, an organization that promotes the use and appreciation of local plant fibers through various training activities.
In 2011 I won a scholarship to participate for two months in China Bamboo Research Center (CBRC) in a training course on bamboo; culture, processes, technologies and applications, in Hangzhou, China. In 2013 I traveled to Panama City for a week to attend a seminar-workshop on how to build a house with bamboo. Since then I have had the opportunity to teach courses and conferences in various parts of Uruguay and Argentina, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
With a degree in Industrial Design, work experience since 2007 includes various design studios, factories and private companies. Since 2009, served as a teacher and tutor of thesis at the University School Design Center (EUCD, Fadu, UdelaR).
Analaura Antúnez Latorre
Research | Writer
Elizabeth Kruger is passionate about all things bamboo, and its infinite potential to meet human needs and address ecological issues through its cultivation and processing. She was first introduced to the plant in 1999 at a permaculture bamboo farm in Dominical, Costa Rica. She sustained her love for bamboo throughout a journey in academic education at the University of Cape Town and WITS university in Johannesburg. She developed a specialised interest in environmental anthropology and graduated with a PhD in social anthropology. Whilst applying herself to research and theory, Kruger grew her knowledge and experience around sustainable practices including permaculture design, natural building and sustainable and transformational events production. She continues to pursue knowledge about bamboo in her home-base in South Africa, and across the globe.
Partner, Cape May Bamboo Farms
Based in the US, Cape May Bamboo Farms is the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic States’ largest grower-wholesaler of live bamboo field-dug per your specifications, specializing in Wholesale Bamboo Plants, Bamboo Poles, Bamboo Privacy Hedges, and Guaranteed Bamboo Removal.
Over the last 15 years (having lived and worked in China, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong), I have gathered a vast and extensive knowledge in the areas of product design, quality assurance, ethical sourcing, project management, people management and manufacturing across categories including electronics, gifts, home wares, appliances, furniture and fabrics.
Being passionate about sustainability and the environment, I discovered the incredible benefits and properties of bamboo, which is the fastest growing plant on the planet and at the same time can provide thousands of rural communities with a livelihood. Having done extensive research on bamboo and different processing methods, I have become a specialist in designing and developing bamboo products, knowing how to work with bamboo and how to transform this amazing material into beautiful and contemporary products.
Through my passion for bamboo and its potential to help alleviate deforestation and poverty in rural areas, in 2008 I launched the brand BAMBOA.
BAMBOA’s headquarters and new retail boutique are in the newly renovated PMQ building, located in the heart of Soho, Central, Hong Kong.
South Asia Bamboo Foundation
Kamesh is the founder of World Bamboo Day and is considered to be an authority on bamboo issues in India and South Asia. He is a skilled Bamboo management expert with more than 25 years experience in the bamboo sector. His interests include capacity building, skills, and community development of the communities. He has worked with INBAR, GIZ and accredited consultant with ADB funded project on bamboo in Bhutan.
Kamesh has also contributed to the bamboo development programs of India as the Member of the Apex Committee of National Bamboo Mission of India. He is associated with various policies and planning activates of Government of India with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as Member of the first Bamboo Development Committee in 1999. He has been member of various committees with Ministry of Textiles on Handicrafts and Bio Diversity Board of Government of Manipur. He has also worked with PwC, India as external Consultant on bamboo resources in 2015 for India’s first Bamboo based Indo-Finnish Bio Refinery project planned in Assam. He has also served on Advisory Body of Trade Associations like FICCI on Skills of NE States of India and worked on bamboo policies and regulatory issues with think thank Institutes like Centre for Civil Society (CCS) New Delhi.
Kamesh is the Founder and CEO of South Asia Bamboo Foundation (SABF) a non- profit organisation registered under Indian Trust Act in Guwahati, Assam and is working on bamboo based community and livelihood developments in South Asia. Currently he is consultant to Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram states of India on Bamboo. He has organised many events on bamboo in India and globally such as Bamtech & Bamfest in Guwahati, Agartala and Shillong , India, Bamtech in Accra, Ghana, Bamtech in Bangkok, Thailand, World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok, Global Bamboo Summits in Vietnam and South Korea to promote bamboo for various stakeholders of bamboo sector & networking. Currently he is promoting constructions of bamboo toilets among the communities in NE State of India for promoting hygiene and clean environment. His has been nominated a member of the Governing Council of Furniture and Fitting Skill Council (FFSC) of Skill Sector development in India for bamboo and rattan furniture. Kamesh has also co-founded the Bamboo Global Summit.
Shamini has a unique background in biotechnology and entrepreneurship. She has acquired 5 years of experience working as a business manager for a life sciences market research firm and a project assistant in a biopharma company. Having studied and worked in India, England and the USA, she has earned a good exposure to different cultures and loves to explore.
With Masters degrees in Biotechnology and Project Management from reputed universities in England and the USA, Shamini has the passion to contribute to multiple causes. Her undergraduate degree in India was focused on multiple disciplines in Biotechnology and her research was focused on Molecular Biology. Her under graduation led her to pursue a Masters in Biotech and Entrepreneurship at the University of Exeter, UK. Soon after graduation she had the opportunity to work with a life sciences market intelligence company where she learnt the ropes of running a small business and making it successful. This eventually translated into her moving to the US to further her career and create newer opportunities.
Shamini moved to Seattle in April 2017 and was very keen to network and carve a niche for herself in the area. Her interests in regulatory affairs, sustainable development and healthy living caught the works of PBR.
Dr. Shyam Paudel
Chief Technical Adviser, Climate Resilient Community, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Shyam, a forester by profession, has over 20 years of international experience in natural resources management and sustainable development. He has PhD in Forest Ecology and Management from University of British Columbia, Canada and M.Sc. in Natural Resources Planning from University of Twente (ITC), The Netherlands. Shyam is also a Registered Professional Biologist (RP Bio) of British Columbia, Canada.
Shyam started his career in 1990 working as a community forestry facilitator with Food and Agricultural Organization to implement newly emerged community forestry policy in Nepal. Since then, Shyam has worked with several organizations including Government, international organizations and United Nations in various capacities. Currently, Shyam is working with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Chief Technical Adviser for Climate Resilient Communities.
Shyam has a long experience in bamboo development. He served as a Senior Programme Officer and Regional Programme Manager (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda) of International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) based in Beijing, PR China from 2002 to 2011. During his tenure with INBAR, he developed and managed bamboo projects more than 15 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He played a key role to promote bamboo as a sustainable and green building material around the world and established a global programme on bamboo housing. Shyam is always passionate about helping local communities by engaging them in the value chain system of locally available commodities, such as bamboo and has continued his contribution to improve bamboo sectors around the world.
Dr. Shyam Paudel
Programme Assistant (Monitoring and Evaluation), United Nations Development Programme
Stephen comes to our International Advisory Board from the United Nations Development Programme in Kenya where he specializes in the Monitoring and Evaluation side of development operations throughout Kenya.
Stephen has also worked with UN-REDD and with the Kenya Organisation for Environmental Education, and we are very excited to have Stephen’s expertise in data analysis and local knowledge on our IAB.
Sub manager, Cerrón Arquitectos SAC
President, Peruvian Bamboo Society (SPB)
Specialist in bamboo architecture
Sub manager, Cerrón Arquitectos SAC
President, Peruvian Bamboo Society (SPB)
Architect, Msc in Ecology and Environmental Management at Ricardo Palma University (Peru). Specialist in International Cooperation for the Development of San Buenaventura University of Cartagena (Colombia, Italy); training and specialization in Technology with bamboo in Colombia and China National Bamboo Research Center -CBRC (China) and International Center of Bamboo and Rattan -ICBR (China). President of the Peruvian Bamboo Society; Ambassador of the World Bamboo Organization, Deputy Manager at Cerron Architects S.A.C; Researcher in the Bamboo Research Circle (CIB – Perú), Professor of the Master of Architecture and Sustainability at Ricardo Palma University (Peru), Professor of Architecture at San Ignacio de Loyola University (Peru), Technological University of Peru (Perú), San Martin de Porres University (2013-2016); Academy coordinator (2009-2012) for the Institute of Sustainable Building at Ricardo Palma University (Peru). Consultant, designer and researcher on bamboo for NGOs (ACCA, YMCA, APDES), private and public institutions (SENCICO, MINCETUR, CENFOTUR)
Speaker and participant in national and international workshops related to bamboo, China, Korea, Vietnam, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panamá, Perú. Full Member by the College of Architects of Peru, to the Technical Committee of Standardization for the development of NTE E-100-bambu. Has designed, supervised and builded different constructions with bamboo in Perú. Author of the handbook: “Construction of Bamboo Structures”, SENCICO, Perú.
Emma is a freelance writer by profession. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Animal Science from Louisiana Tech University, and has a passion for learning, conservation, as well as philanthropy. She is an innovative thinker who brings a boundless amount of energy to B4G, and is excited to be apart of the growth only bamboo can give.
Utsah is a Graphic Designer and a Multimedia Artist from Nepal. She recently graduated from Knox College, Illinois in June, 2018 with a degree in Studio Art and Design.
She has been working as the Head Graphic Designer for the Femme Oasis, an online magazine of the modern day women and femme, since July 2018, where she leads a group of eleven Graphic Designers and dictates the art direction of the magazine.
Utsah grew up in a tight-knit community of Kathmandu where naturally existing colors play with the loud saturation of the ancient culture: her work often resembles such fight between visual dualities: plastic and natural colors, making and breaking of the grid.
Utsah loves the depth and history of typography and often likes experimenting with dissimilar fonts to create a harmonious palette of information. She enjoys working with typography both digitally and using traditional letterpresses.
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