Founder and Executive Director
Naresh founded Step Up after working as the Economic Development Advisor in Botswana for an international NGO funded by USAID. He saw too many vulnerable young people leaving school with nowhere to go and nothing to do, instead engaging in unproductive behaviors that prevent them from living healthy and productive lives. He recognized that to truly impact a child’s life takes a long-term investment and a relentless focus on creating integrated pathways to education, economic and social equity. After spending his first career as a business, marketing and account executive, Naresh brings a business-like focus on outcomes, execution, vision and strategic leadership to Step Up. Naresh has spent the most recent 10 years living in and traveling between the US and Africa building programs, raising resources and advocating for initiatives that truly impact the lives of youth and young adults.
As the Center Director at Step Up, Mompati is responsible for the day-to-day leadership, oversight and execution of the organization’s mission, program operations, partnership development, fundraising and staff training and development. In his previous role at Step Up, Mompati led the strategy, planning and implementation of ACCESS Education, Step Forward and Parent Support Program initiatives. Prior to joining Step Up, Mompati was a health and wellness peer educator, the Secretary General under the Living and Learning community program and a member of the Society Against HIV/AIDS. He is committed to scaling education, training and mentoring programs that empower children and youth to realize their full potential. Mompati holds a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Botswana.
Bonno comes to Step Up after working as a Programs Officer in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. While at the Ministry, Bonno organized performing arts programs, engaged more than 100 individual artists to showcase their work in exhibits and provided young community members with hands-on opportunities to create visual arts pieces. She is passionate about seeing young people in her community have opportunities to discover talents and use creativity to express themselves. As a Programs Coordinator at Step Up, Bonno works with the team to deepen the arts opportunities available to our Achievers, facilitates daily activities and supports the Parent Support program. Bonno holds a BA with honors in Communication, Media and Broadcasting and also received an Associate Degree in Public Relations, both from Limkokwing University.
Ontibile works with the Step Up programs team to design and implement a range of creative arts, music and project-based learning activities for our primary and secondary school Achievers. While working as a Programs Officer at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Ontibile managed Youth Development Fund projects where young people received grants to start microenterprises. She also organized community cultural events that featured photographic exhibits, visual arts projects and local music talent. Ontibile supports and facilitates ACCESS, Step Forward and Parent Support group programs. She believes access to arts and experiential learning programs are essential components of a healthy community. Ontibile holds a diploma in Public Relations and a BA with honors in Event Management from Limkokwing University.
Dennisk is the Programs Manager at Step Up where he brings expertise in mentoring, youth leadership and nonprofit partnership development. He is responsible for overseeing the design, execution and assessment of our ACCESS Education, Step Forward and Parent Support initiatives. Dennisk also collaborates with the Center Director to identify resource and financial partnership opportunities that deepen the impact of Step Up’s mission. He previously worked on diverse community education and peer support projects with several youth-based NGOs, including Junior Achievement Botswana, Botswana Student Network and Young African Leader Initiative. Dennisk attended Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He also holds certificates in Management Strategies, Workforce Collaboration and Business Start-Up from Young African Initiative.
Keene Mosadimotho Kgalaeng
Marketing and Business Development Coordinator
Keene is from Molepolole and has a deep passion for the work Step Up does to empower children and youth in the community where she was born and raised. As the Marketing and Business Development Coordinator, Keene supports the Center Director to identify local and regional resource and financial partnerships that help to advance Step Up’s mission. She also develops marketing strategies and implements activities that showcase the impact Step Up is having on Achievers and the community. With an interest in economic empowerment, Keene also supports the programs team with implementation of financial literacy and career development activities. Keene holds a BA in Business Management with Honors from Botswana Accountancy College.
Administration and Finance Manager
As the Administration and Finance Manager, Maruping works with the Center Director to plan yearly budgets, manage financial resources and ensure accurate revenue and expenditure reporting. He also helps to develop and streamline operational and human resources processes. Before joining Step Up, Maruping oversaw youth programming and financial management for BBM, a local Botswana nonprofit receiving PEPFAR support through USAID to improve the lives of marginalized youth, including girls and women. Maruping holds a BA in Business Entrepreneurship from the University for Small States of the Commonwealth. He has an Accounting certificate from Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies and has completed financial training from Botswana Accountancy College.
Peace Corps Volunteer
Gracie is a Peace Corps Volunteer focused on Civil Society Capacity Building. She is dually placed at Step Up and a second NGO in Molepolole, Tebelopele. She arrived in Botswana in July 2018 with her husband and began her service assignment at Step Up in October. Prior to arriving in Botswana, she provided life skills, case management, substance abuse and mental health counseling and services to children, youth and families. Gracie most recently worked as a program specialist overseeing the Independent Living program for the State of Idaho. Gracie holds a B.A. in Social Work and Spanish, and a Master’s degree in Management, Community Planning & Social Administration and Clinical Social Work from Northwest Nazarene University. In her free time, she likes to run, read and play games with her husband, family and friends.
Step Up Advisor
Katrin first visited Botswana while pursuing a four-month internship in Gaborone at the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, a political organization that advocates for social democracy and economic development. She has always been passionate about helping vulnerable members of the community and previously volunteered in Germany at an organization supporting young children with mental disabilities. Katrin was instrumental in the design, planning and launch of our first ACCESS programs with grade five Achievers. After spending a year on the ground at Step Up in Molepolole working intimately with our first cohort of primary school students, Katrin has returned to Germany, but continues to closely support and advise the Step Up leadership team. Katrin holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Geography from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, where she also put her theoretical knowledge to practical use conducting fieldwork in Ethiopia and the Philippines.
Allison leads Step Up’s marketing and branding initiatives across social media, email and web platforms. She is responsible for the planning, designing and execution of campaigns and messaging that showcase the impact of Step Up’s work to individual donors, resource partners, philanthropic institutions and volunteers across the US, Europe and Africa. Allison discovered her passion for global health and children’s education while interning for Step Up during the fall of 2018. During this time, she collaborated with the local Botswana team to plan and launch the Parent Support Program, evaluated Achiever assessment results and created the year-end fundraising campaign. Allison received her B.S. in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Becca is the Volunteer Coordinator at Step Up responsible for helping develop and implement a volunteer program that connects US-based students and adults to Step Up, both in the US and in Botswana. Prior to joining Step Up, Becca served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana for two years. She worked as a health volunteer to develop the skills and capacity of children and youth in a rural village located in central Botswana. Some of the work included teaching students about HIV/AIDS using soccer, assisting in the organization of workshops on gender norms, gender based violence, parent child communication, economic empowerment, and multiple concurrent partners; and co-leading workshops for high school girls about teen pregnancy, prevention and contraception, and sexual reproductive health. Becca received a BS in Public Health, a BS in Kinesiology, and minors in Psychology and Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.