Who we are
We are a small team of makers, builders, and designers who believe everyone has the ability to innovate.
And we are determined to prove it.
And we are determined to prove it.
Bernard Kiwia: Co-Founder & Director of Technology
Bernard Kiwia is a Tanzanian inventor who was inspired by MIT’s D-Lab to launch an innovation center in Arusha, Tanzania. Formerly an electrician and bicycle mechanics instructor by profession, Bernard has spent his last six years creating intermediate technologies for village communities and teaching technology workshops to students and villagers. In 2011, he founded AISE to provide a space for other community members to learn, develop, and create local innovation, and AISE joined forces with Twende in 2015. Bernard has attended and organized the International Development Design Summit numerous times and has also worked with MIT’s D-Lab as a designer-in-residence. Most recently, he worked at Global Cycle Solutions in Arusha as Technology Manager where his bicycle-powered phone charger and motorcycle-powered phone charger were brought to market.
Jim Elsworth: Co-Founder & General Manager
Jim Elsworth is an mechanical engineer with over 50 years of experience with a variety of organizations, including the UN and his own start-up focused on seed treatments. In 2007, he founded Twende to design, produce, and disseminate technologies that could improve the lives of Tanzanian small-holder farmers. He met Bernard in Arusha in 2012 and began collaborating.. Because of similar missions and values, Jim's Twende and Bernard's AISE officially merged in 2015 and have been working together ever since, with Jim focusing on developing conservation agriculture technologies, such a hand-powered ripper.
Deborah Tien: Executive Director
Deborah Tien has been a software technology startup founder in the States; a researcher on love, sex, and marriage in India; and a designer of solar-powered autoclaves in Nicaragua and retina cell phone cameras in the UK. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in astrophysics and now focuses on developing strategy, marketing, and funding.
Chris Mushi: Program Officer
Chris Mushi is a Tanzanian who was born in Hai District in Kilimanjaro Region and raised in Arusha . He is a professional welder and brings a lot of experience artisan, welder, sign-graver operator, draughtsman, and as an assistant instructor. His educational background is based in the field vocational training where he successfully achieved grade 1.
Frank Julius: Workshop Manager
Frank Julias is a Tanzanian, born and raised in Arusha. He has worked with Twende for a duration of four years and knows the workshop and our protocol. He is experienced in making tri-wheel cycles, benches, and cupboard seed planters. His educational background is based in the field vocational training where he successfully achieved grade 1.
Epifania Wilbard: Education Coordinator
Epifania Wilbard graduated with a Bachelor's degree of Rural Development from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), then joined Twende in August 2016 as an intern. One year later, Epifania joined the Twende staff as the Education Coordinator, working directly with schools and youth organizations to organize all the educational programs that happen at Twende.
Jodie Wu: Advisor & Distribution Partner
Daniel Mokrauer-Madden: Advisor & Researcher
Daniel Mokrauer-Madden is very interested in rural development and technology design and dissemination. He helped organize some of the early CCB workshops around Arusha and worked on organizing IDDS Tanzania in 2014. He enjoys playing Frisbee and learning new languages.
Kofi Taha: Advisor & D-Lab Associate Director