Rachel Stephen, Executive Director
Rachel Stephen grew up in the Iringa Region in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development from the University of Iringa (formerly, Tumaini University, Iringa). She has 10 years of experience implementing and coordinating behavioral changes, income-generating activities, legal aid, health education, and WASH programs in rural Tanzanian communities. She coordinated a WASH program (Usafi wa Mazingira Tanzania-UMATA) for Plan International Tanzania (INGO) from 2016-2020. The program focused on improving sanitation and hygiene through behavior change using the Community Led Total Sanitation approach (CLTS) to Equality and Non-Discrimination (EQND), MHM, and Gender Inclusion in communities and schools (SWASH). She is a national facilitator for MHM, as well as a member of the MHM Coalition in Tanzania, and very passionate about empowering women and girls through education. Her special passion is to give Menstrual Health and Hygiene much greater importance and recognition, and it brings her great satisfaction to see the people she is serving adopt and benefit from the intended changes.
Anuciata Benasius, Director of Operations
Anuciata Benasius joined Maji Safi Group as a Program Manager in March 2019 in support of our efforts to promote health and disease prevention in the Rorya District. Prior to joining MSG, Anuciata led market-based sanitation interventions with SNV in the Msalala, Kahama, and Geita Districts. She has over 5 years of experience with WASH project coordination and management, menstrual hygiene health promotion, women’s empowerment, HR management, facilitation, and trainings, and she is a certified lead coach in business management. Anuciata has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Mzumbe University in Morogoro. She is passionate about impacting the health, education, and future of rural girls. She is a shining example of a young Tanzanian woman on the rise!
Dr. Bwire Chirangi, Board Chair
Dr. Bwire Chirangi is the chief medical officer at the Shirati KMT Hospital and one of MSG’s very first mentors. Part of MSG since its founding, Dr. Chirangi continues to support the organization with medical and administrative advice. Since the middle of 2021 Dr. Chirangi has been the Acting Executive Director at MSG and has taken particular interest in our WASH in Health Care Facilitiy focus area. He is currently writing his dissertation for his doctorate from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Dr. Chirangi has a tireless work ethic and is the driving force behind so many health improvements in the Rorya District and Mara Region more widely.
Bruce Maj Pelz, Founder and US President
Bruce grew up in Boulder, Colorado. He attended the University of Colorado where he received honors for his B.A. in Environmental Studies. Bruce wrote his honors thesis on The Future Environmental Views of Children across Cultures and Socioeconomic Class. As part of his research, he surveyed students in five Tanzanian primary schools and two American elementary schools. While attending college, Bruce studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning. In 2010, Bruce assisted in managing daily operations for The Paul Hewitt Care for Africa Foundation, an Australian NGO. He has also taught at an inner-city Denver public school about environmental science and sustainable living.
Pendo Messanga, Accountant
Pendo Messanga grew up in Tarime in the Mara Region. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance at Ardhi University. She studied for her A-Level at Morogoro Secondary School and her O-Level at Kowak Girls Secondary School in the Rorya district. During her studies, Pendo Messanga did fieldwork at the Tarime District Office as an accountant and later worked on field research at Renovex Consultants, located in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam. Prior to joining Maji Safi Group, she worked as the Finance Officer and Office Administrator at North Mara Community Trust Fund located in Nyamongo, Tarime District.
Rebeca Oyugi, Senior Program Manager
Rebeca Oyugi is originally from the Shirati area. She did her A-level studies at Ikizu Secondary School and her O-level studies at the very highly respected Kowak Girls’ Secondary School, both in the Mara Region. Rebeca received her Bachelor of Arts in Project Planning, Management and Community Development at the University of Dodoma. After graduation in 2011, Rebeca started working in the Rorya District at KMT North Mara Diocese as a monitoring and evaluation officer for “Pamoja Tuwalee”, a program for orphaned and vulnerable children for whom she visited program beneficiaries in the Shirati area.
After her contract ended in May 2017, Rebeca joined Maji Safi Group as program manager.
George Kwilasa, Monitoring and Development Manager
George Kwilasa is from Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania. Between 2010 and 2013, he completed a Bachelor of Tourism Management at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. George is now the Monitoring and Development Manager at Maji Safi Group. He has over five years of experience with sustainable development, monitoring, and evaluation of humanitarian work. George oversees program and project data systems to produce, enter, and analyze reliable and accurate quality data to enable informed, data-driven decisions to guide Maji Safi Group’s work and development goals. He also participates in grant writing to ensure availability of financial resources for implementing Maji Safi Group’s WASH and disease prevention programs in rural areas in the Mara Region. Before joining Maji Safi Group, George worked in different positions with Governance Links Tanzania for over six years, with Research and Policy Analyst being his last position. He has also helped design monitoring and evaluation frameworks for programs and projects for other organizations and undertaken field assignments for generating field-referenced recommendations for strategic adjustments.
Consolata Ladis, Assistant Accountant
Consolata Ladis was born in the Bukoba Region of Tanzania. In 2009, while in high school she joined the Sisters of Little Servant of Mary in Lusaka, Zambia. In 2013, Consolata returned to Tanzania and gave birth to her first child later that year. After this, she joined Maji Safi Group as a Community Health Educators and got her Community Health Worker Certificate while working for MSG. Consolata is one of our most experienced team members, and in 2021 she was promoted to the management team.
Max Perel-Slater, Founder and Director of Behavior Change and Impact Evaluation
Max Perel-Slater is the Co-Founder and Director of Behavior Change and Impact Evaluation of the Maji Safi Group (MSG). From 2011 to 2021, he led the growth of MSG (as the Executive Director) into a flourishing organization that serves hundreds of thousands of East Africans each year. Max also serves as a technical advisor for UNICEF-Tanzanian, the University of Cambridge, Emory University, and the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub. Additionally, he works for Frontier Design consulting firm as a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Advisor for Habitat for Humanity and the Truist Bank Foundation. Max graduated with honors from Emory University with a Master’s in Public Health and is currently undertaking an accelerated Master’s in Development Practice.
Erna Maj, US Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator
Erna was born and raised in Denmark and immigrated to the US in 1978. She received her undergraduate degree from City University of New York in American Studies and her master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Linguistics and Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL). After raising three sons and working as a language teacher and translator for 20 years, Erna now devotes her time to philanthropy in general and Maji Safi Group in particular. Erna has volunteered for aid organizations in the US, Tanzania, Guatemala, and Argentina. She visits Shirati annually to provide educational instruction and help with the development of MSG teaching materials and methods.