Founder and Director of Mwanzo Proud Farmers, Loyce works to create a support network of rural villages to enhance economic self-sufficiency through diverse cash and food crops in Kenya. Loyce Mbewa Ong’udi is a US citizen and Nyanza Province native. She uses her international business experiences in the development of partnerships with international social business investors and agricultural communities. Loyce’s vision is to combat poverty through the development of sustainable cash crop businesses informed by community-based solutions and the ingenuity and strengths of local peoples.

As a graduate student, Loyce was a Harry Truman Scholar and graduated from the Daniel Evans Public Affairs School at the University of Washington where she focused on leadership development and non-profit management. Loyce has a long history of international non-profit development experience. She has been a keynote speaker at dozens of conferences and events in the US and abroad, focusing on need for employing culturally sensitive capacity building and proven sustainable business responses that alleviate suffering and poverty. In the last twelve years, Loyce's hard work and commitment have vastly improved the lives in her childhood village, as well as thousands of lives in surrounding villages. Her dream is to replicate sustainable farmer-owned models in other resource limited communities over time



I am a freelance professional actor and director, and I also founded and run a small theater company, Thalia's Umbrella (www.thaliasumbrella.org). I was a founder of the Seattle Shakespeare Company, and served as its co-artistic director for six years.

I have a BA in English from Carleton College (magna cum laude) and an MFA in Acting and Directing from Brandeis University. I have lived in Seattle since 1990 with my wife, Cornelia; we have two sons, Tallis and Theo.

Playing cello between theater gigs leaves me somewhat saner than I might otherwise be.



I am a graduate of Lewis and Clark College, where I received degrees in 1983 in English and International Affairs. During my senior undergraduate year, I participated in a 4-month overseas study program in the former Soviet Union, where I had the opportunity to study the culture and improve my Russian language skills. Upon my return to the United States, I entered the Master’s Program in Soviet History at the University of Washington. Prior to completing the program, I worked for six months as a Russian language translator on board Soviet fish processing vessels in the Bering Sea and along the Oregon and Washington coasts.

In 1986 I returned to the Soviet Union continue my language studies in Moscow, where I met my future wife, Iris, a citizen of the former German Democratic Republic, and began studying the language. Over the next two years Iris and I worked through our respective government bureaucracies, receiving permission to marry in late 1988, and for Iris to emigrate in February of 1989. Our son, Lukas, was born in 1995 and will be a senior at Roosevelt High School beginning the fall of 2013.

Since 1989 I have been a member of the federal government, employed with the Customs Service, and since 2003, by the Department of Homeland Security. During my nearly 25 years of service I have worked temporarily at numerous agency offices across the United States and in the former Soviet Union, but kept my feet permanently planted in Seattle’s soil. Outside of work I enjoy reading, attending concerts and theater, and visiting friends and family in Oregon, Kansas, and Berlin, Germany.

I am a long-time supporter of the Rabuor Village Project and Mwanzo Proud Farmers projects, and served a short term as a member of the Rabour Board of Directors prior to its dissolution. I believe deeply in the importance of small-scale projects focused on sustainability, hope, and creation of opportunity for individuals looking to improve their lives.


Development Director

Line is passionate about sustainable development and access to essential services to poor people throughout the world. She is a multilingual professional with a Master’s Degree and experience in sustainable development with concentration in agricultural economics from Montpellier-France and a bachelor’s degree in Tropical Agronomy from the University of Florence-Italy. Line worked with women’s associations in rural areas of Burkina Faso, where she successfully formulated, and implemented strategic model to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of Shea butter trade mark, and product quality certification. As a result of her research the data has been referenced in published articles on “Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP)” in Africa.

Line also holds an MBA in financial management. She has worked for international trade and industry ventures for local and international organizations to increase trade relations between the Pacific Northwest and Africa. Her past experiences among others are, as the head of public relation of “Common People” a non profit organization that provided health assistance to underprivileged people in Cameroon. She led charitable giving drive which raised over $120,000.00. As a result of her leadership, over 650 tuberculosis patients were treated and 130 children received educational and medical support. Line is fluent in French, Italian and English.

Margaux Kendall  

Margaux is delighted to bring her expertise in strategic fundraising to Mwanzo Proud Farmers in her role on the board! Margaux first ventured into nonprofit work when she helped liberate and educate an Afghan woman, Nadia, from her male disguise. Her goal was to help give Nadia the prerogative every woman should have: control over her own life. That experience fundamentally changed her worldview and the course of her career; she never looked back. Upon graduating from Whitman College with a history degree, she moved to Washington, DC to learn the fundraising craft and make a mark on the world. After 4.5 action-packed years working with embassies and the diplomatic and arts communities, she and her husband were ready for the next chapter...so they left their jobs and returned to the West coast. Margaux currently serves as Corporate Partnerships Officer at The Museum of Flight, managing relationships with major corporate supporters. Every day, she has the opportunity to create the key partnerships that empower students stuck in an abysmal school district to let their dreams take flight and pursue careers without giving a second thought to limitations. She looks forward to continuing to empower youth and women through her support of MPF.


Lizbeth Gilbert, MSW

Lisbeth (Liz) Gilbert has served on the board of Mwanzo since 2012, and has worked with Loyce for many years to assist people living in Nyanza Province, Kenya to receive quality education, benefit from necessary health care, and develop sustainable economic opportunities. Among the many reasons Mwanzo holds such a strong hold on Liz's heart is evidence of making a real difference. In this world of many and competing needs, Mwanzo provides changes one person, one family, one village at a time.

Liz received a Master's in Social Work from the University of Washington in 1989 and retired from the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse & Dependency Division after 23 years of service. During her professional career, Liz worked to develop, manage and evaluate programs targeted for marginalized populations. She utilized data to understand system and program performance and create trend analysis. She bring this knowledge and experience to her hard work, and hopes to continue making meaningful contributions in years to come.


Barbara B. Peterson, MA

I am a retired English as a Second Language (ELS) teacher.   I have taught both ESL teachers and students in the United States and in the former Soviet Union.  I have worked with Loyce Ong'udi, Mwanzo's founder and executive director, since the beginning of her work in Western Kenya in 2001.  I strongly believe that the education, training and hope that Mwanzo offers, is empowering these individuals and communities  to reach their long term goals.