KOMAZA was founded in 2006 by Tevis Howard, who currently serves as Executive Director. Recognizing the unique social and environmental challenges faced by those living in semi-arid, drought prone regions, Tevis decided to focus on the hardest-to-serve families living in remote regions of Coastal Kenya, where rainfall is extremely low, soil is exceedingly infertile and few other organizations are on-the-ground.
As an undergraduate student, Tevis’ academic pursuits frequently brought him to Kenya, where he conducted malaria immunology research at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Labs. As he spent more time in East Africa, he acquired a deep understanding of the social and economic problems facing this extremely impoverished part of the world. Upon realizing the remarkable potential and entrepreneurial spirit of the community, he launched KOMAZA to create income-generating opportunities for smallholder farmers living in Kenya’s infertile and drought-prone regions. He has since dedicated his efforts to growing and strengthening the organization.
Before launching KOMAZA, Tevis built a strong background for himself in the sciences. His work was first recognized while he was only in high school, when he placed third in the Intel International Science Competition. Tevis' work led Forbes ASAP Magazine to include him on its High Tech Teenage All-American Team, describing him as among “the next generation of high tech superstars… an army of prodigies poised to make their mark on the world.” He has also published articles in several major scientific journals.
In 2008, Tevis was awarded the prestigious Draper Richards Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship. With additional support from the Mulago Foundation, the Peery Foundation, Jasmine Social Investments and others, KOMAZA has made great progress to date. Tevis has also been awarded the Rainer Arnhold Fellowship, the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellowship, and the 2010 Social Venture Network (SVN) Innovation Award for his vision and work with KOMAZA.
Originally from Palo Alto, California, Tevis graduated from Brown University with a Bachelors degree in Neuroscience.