Our Leadership Team


Board members, staff and students at the Girls Center, June 2015

Board members, staff and students at the Girls Center, June 2015


U.S Leadership Team

Nano Chatfield
I grew up in the Northeast spending my summers in Maine where I’ve been living with my family for the past 25 years. I completed an MFA degree in creative writing in 1983 from Vermont College, and am a product and proponent of all-female learning environments as a graduate of Smith College in 1978 with a B.A. in English Literature and Miss Porter’s School in 1974. My teaching career has taken me from Framingham State College and Bradford College in Massachusetts to English as a Second Language classes for immigrants in Portland, Maine to rural classrooms in Tanzania.

From 2005-2010, I served as Chair of the Board of the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, which supports an orphanage and primary school near Karatu, Tanzania. In my extensive volunteering experience in northern Tanzania, I have been inspired by grassroots efforts making a sustainable difference in assisting women and children with overcoming incredible hardships to support their families. I believe in the power of girls and the power of education and am energized by our mission to provide quality education to adolescent girls in Tanzania through supporting locally-based, early stage non-profit ventures.

Beth Currier
When I look out my window in Maine, and I think about why I volunteer for The Girls Foundation of Tanzania, I know ‘It ‘s all about the girls’. I think about each of them, their joyfulness and smiles, the obstacles they’ve overcome in their young lives and their challenges. I want to help them make informed choices to define their own futures and to find worthwhile jobs.
About 10 years ago, I began volunteering in Tanzania, first serving as a Director on the Board of the Tanzanian Children’s Fund and then in 2010 co-founding The Girls Foundation of Tanzania with my wonderful friend Nano Chatfield. We’ve developed a strong team both in the U.S. and in Tanzania as we problem-solve, research, debate and dream about our programing and how best to provide for the girls we’ve chosen to sponsor.
I live in Scarborough, Maine and have a wonderful husband Doug, three children and two grandchildren. I graduated from The Hotchkiss School and Middlebury College. I look forward to my yearly visits to Tanzania to The Girls Center and being with the girls. I believe in volunteering to make my own small world in Maine better as well as the greater world through my efforts in Tanzania. Our program may be small however the impact on the lives of these bright, engaging girls and our community in Tanzania is significant.
John P.M. Higgins
I first visited Tanzania in 2005 when my wife, Nano was volunteering at The Children’s Village when she was Chair of the Board of Tanzanian Children’s Fund. On that visit, we also went on our first safari to the Serengeti National Park which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. I fell in love with birding and I continue to go on safaris and update my log of birds I’ve seen and photographed. I’m up to 723 bird species.
For the first 5 years of Tanzanian Children’s Fund I served as the Treasurer. I initiated and funded a Microfinance Program at The Children’s Village which grew to serve over 250 clients.
After graduating from Harvard University in 1970, I pursued a career in financial services.  Now I own and manage Atlantic Trust, an investment and financial services advisory firm, based in Portland, Maine.
I live in Cape Elizabeth, Maine with my family and am a proud grandfather of 4!

Alma Boylan Garnett

I am a native of New York State with a degree in English Literature and the Philosophy of Religion from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. I was also educated at an International Pensionnat for girls in Switzerland, as well as in Paris at the Universite de la Sorbonne. This foundation has been powerfully instrumental in my career as a Business Executive and entrepreneur. I am the founder of Hunter Panels, LLC - headquartered in Portland, Maine, and now a division of Carlisle Construction Materials. We are the world's leading manufacturer of energy-efficient polyiso insulation panels for use in sustainable construction. We are involved in education and advocacy throughout the design community to encourage the use of green building practices around the world. In August of 2012, I accepted the position of President of Convoy Supply Ltd, with headquarters in Vancouver, British Colombia. Convoy is the largest supplier of commercial and residential construction materials in Canada and is a subsidiary of Soprema, Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of building envelope waterproofing systems.

I am honored and inspired to join The Girls Foundation of Tanzania, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to the hard work ahead for our Foundation and its rewards for the young women we seek to educate.
Laisee Rintel
I grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine with my four younger sisters. I graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in journalism. I worked at Octagon, the global sports marketing firm, where I served for 5 years as the Senior Client Manager for Michael Phelps, the World Champion swimmer. I became the Director of the Michael Phelps Foundation which encourages children to be healthy and active through partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics International. Recently, I joined Likeable Local, a startup company that helps small businesses succeed through social media.
I've always been passionate about working with children, and consider education the greatest gift you can give a young person. In 2013, I took a leave from my professional career to volunteer at the Rift Valley Children’s Village in Tanzania, as well as at Ocean Academy, a nonprofit high school in Belize. My experiences confirmed my belief that the world will be a far better place if we empower youth as problem solvers.

Tanzanian Leadership Team
Estahappy W. Mariki
For the last 10 years I have been working and volunteering as a community development facilitator in my local community helping young girls, women, children, elders and people who are HIV+ in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions in Tanzania.
I grew up with my parents and siblings in Singida where I completed my primary and secondary education. At the age of seventeen, I joined Mvumi Medical College in Dodoma where I studied for 3 years for my Clinical and Community Medicine Diploma. In 2008 I joined distance learning with University of Kwazulu for an International Certificate in Children and Youth. In 2011 I earned my Bachelor degree in Social Work at The Open University of Tanzania. I also represented The Open University women to the UN model conference in Rome, Italy in regards to the education and health issues that fellow African women are facing in their countries in relation to the Millennium Development Goals 2015.
I have worked for local and international organizations as a counselor, facilitator, trainer, and policy planner. I have worked for such organizations as The Foundation for Civil Society, Family Health International in Tanzania, TACAIDS (Tanzanian Commission for AIDS), Global Fund under Pact-Tanzania, Population Science Information (PSI Tanzania), Kilimanjaro NGOs cluster on HIV/AIDs and Reproductive health Interventions (KINSHAI in Tanzania), Food Water Shelter (Kesho Leo program in Tanzania), and Africare NGO in Tanzania.
I am very excited to be a part of The Girls Foundation of Tanzania as the Director. I believe that every girl deserves a chance to be educated. I am excited to be working with these motivated girls who are strong role models  at school and in their communities: they demonstrate the value of girls’ education in Tanzania and elsewhere around the world. Together we will make positive changes for girls’ education in Tanzania.

Advisory Board

Cynthia Salten
Tanzania is a magical place for me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be involved, through TGFT, with supporting Tanzanian girls in their efforts to find their strengths and flourish.
My formal education was provided by Wellesley College and the University of Connecticut School of Law. I have been employed as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge, as a teacher at the University of Warwick School of Law in England and at the University of Connecticut law school and, for about 12 years, as a staff attorney at the federal Court of Appeals in Boston. In between bouts of formal employment, I raised my daughter and spent many happy hours volunteering at the schools she attended and with other local organizations.
I first visited Tanzania in 1980 (!). I initially came to see the amazing animals and then returned many times, drawn by the country itself and its people, particularly the children. I volunteered three summers, during my vacation times, at the Rift Valley Children’s Village, where I tutored and played with kids whose resiliency, eagerness to learn and sweetness overwhelmed me. I subsequently was an intern at the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. I spent two weeks in 2010 working with a women’s collective in Moshi where I saw village cooperative banks and microenterprises in action, observing the huge impact that they could make in the lives of women and their families. Last year, I taught a development course, In Arusha, for a Junior Year Abroad program run by Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. My class was made up of six American college juniors and six East African college graduates. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience.
Development experts disagree about almost everything, as far as I can tell, but no one questions the huge impact made by the education and empowerment of women. That is why TGFT is an exciting venture, to which I hope I can make a contribution.

Zara Bott-Goins
After completing a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, I joined the Peace Corps in Niger, where I worked in a rural village of 1,500 people in the far eastern region of the country on well-building projects, agricultural diversification, and girls and women’s literacy and empowerment trainings.
Then as an AmeriCorps volunteer, I worked at the American Red Cross in Los Angeles, California. I taught disaster preparedness to underserved communities, participated in disaster response operations, and assisted with international programs.
I earned a M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy with a concentration in African Studies at the American Graduate School of Paris. I learned about TGFT soon after and started working with the motivated girls in this impactful program. After leaving TGFT, I spent the next two years as the Executive Director of the Maasai Girls Education Fund in Kajiado, Kenya. While I remain involved with these girls’ education programs, I currently work with Djembe Communications, an African-based global communications consultancy.
As The Girls Foundation of Tanzania's first Country Director, I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with these amazing girls and young women in Tanzania. I fondly remember The Girls Center as a place of inspiration, learning, and strength. I hope that through TGFT's work we can also raise awareness about the vital importance of educating girls and women everywhere. 

Faith Khumalo                                    
I grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where I completed my primary and secondary education. At 17, I received a scholarship to study in East Sussex, England where I completed my International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB).  I matriculated to Smith College, an all women’s college in Massachusetts, which is where I met Nano who then introduced me to TGFT’s work. In May 2015 I graduated from Smith with a B.A in Economics and Psychology. I am currently a residential counselor for high school international students in Pennsylvania and will be starting my graduate studies in the U.S. in September 2016 with a focus on international development.
I am passionate about community development and addressing social justice issues such as gender inequality, access to education and healthcare, and the eradication of poverty among others. I was drawn to TGFT because of its dedication to the education of girls and young women from underprivileged backgrounds.
I volunteered at the Girls Center in January 2015 during my winter break. It was an amazing experience to finally meet and interact with all of the girls.  Estahappy, Grace and the girls were very friendly and easy to work with: they all made me feel right at home.  The girls are so eager to learn and have such great personalities! I helped them with their English speaking skills and participated in their self-defense training exercises. I volunteered at the boarding school where 9 TGFT students attend. I consulted with Estahappy on TGFT’s business plan for their chicken project. I also participated in TGFT’s Board of Directors meeting in Arusha, which gave me a broader picture of what the organization is about. Personally being a part of TGFT has been a great experience because it's the kind of work I want to be involved in once I complete my graduate studies.
 I believe that every girl deserves a chance to be educated and nothing gives me more joy than to work with an organization such as TGFT that shares in this belief with such dedication and passion!



Emily Poole Bates
After graduating from Bates College in 2007 with a B.A in Psychology, I volunteered at The Rift Valley Children’s Village, an orphanage near Karatu, Tanzania. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the children and the breathtaking landscape of Tanzania. My volunteer time changed me forever and I knew that I wanted to focus in helping to improve the lives of children and adolescents in Tanzania. From 2008 to 2010 I managed the United States office for The Tanzanian Children’s Fund. After that I spent the next two years working in the office of The Girls Foundation of Tanzania. I now live in Charlottesville, Virginia with my husband and am thrilled to now be a part of TGFT's advisory board and continue to provide hope and opportunities for underprivileged adolescent girls in Tanzania.