Kathleen Colson is the founder and CEO of The BOMA Project and when not traveling in Africa (where she is known as Mama Rungu), she works at BOMA’s headquarters in a renovated barn in southwestern Vermont. Katheen is also the CEO of African Safari Planners, a tour company that designs custom itineraries to East Africa for groups and individuals www.africansafariplanners.com
“The BOMA Project works to alleviate poverty by assisting in the building of self-sustaining communities amid a rugged and beautiful landscape,” writes Judith Ellis of The Huffington Post. “The conditions are harsh and all of the illnesses associated with poverty and dirty water are rampant. Yet Kathleen returns often to Kenya, living among the people in order to bring change to desolate situations. It does not take much to be in awe of Kathleen, this mother of three children who leaves the comfort of her Vermont farmhouse to fight poverty in the most remote parts of Africa.”
BOMA is one of the first organizations to have a micro-finance program with measurable outcomes for pastoral, nomadic women in Africa. BOMA does this work amidst challenging conditions in a region larger than the country of Ireland. There are no paved roads, no banks, no post offices, and no petrol stations. Kathleen and her team must travel roads that are regularly attacked by bandits and livestock raiders, making bodyguards necessary. The villages have no electricity or running water – only an occasional paraffin lamp. Ninety percent of the women that BOMA works with cannot read or write. To date, The BOMA Project has launched 11455 businesses in northern Kenya that provides an income for 3768 women who support over 19,400 children.