For more than a decade, STEMpower founders have been implementing many successful STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in Ethiopia and nearby countries. Pre-university students learn through our hands-on labs, engaging them towards advanced STEM study and careers. STEM enrichment programs bridge genders and ethnicity, fostering peace and development within and among nations.

Our Mission

Solve Societal Problems

Hands-on lab-based STEM education emphasizes real-world problem-solving, creativity, and skill-building empowering youth to engineer their homeland away from stubborn poverty.

Strengthen Nations

Engineering skills complete a country's production value chain, which leads to more exports, fewer imports, and reduced dependency.

Implement Empowerment

Pre-university STEM enrichment enhances education, competency, innovation, and careers on a national scale that "lifts all boats".

Eliminate "Application Bias"

Bring historically-denied access of first-hand STEM lab equipment (not merely books or simulations) to many hundreds of thousands of curious students across sub-Saharan Africa.

Board Members 


Mark Gelfand
Founder | President

Mark Gelfand created STEMpower (and its predecessor the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust) because of a passion for science&engineering, as well as a desire to give forward. His mission is to see all students have access to the same kind of quality STEM education experience that he had in the United States.

After witnessing deserving students achieve success at Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel, he knew that if given the opportunity, students in developing nations could thrive and become scientists and engineers in their communities. Mark is also involved in helping build the industrial capacity of Ethiopian exports though TodayTomorrowVentures. Mark earned his B.Sc. in Physics at Carnegie-Mellon University.


Tim Veldman


Tim has been a presence in the field of impact investments since 2003, primarily with Dutch ventures in Africa. During Tim's seven recent years in Ethiopia, he helped to develop and operate successful companies in the agricultural and manufacturing spaces

Tim is also involved in the education field, where he and his wife-colleague founded the successful Interlakes International School, 45 km south of Addis Ababa.


Shachar Zahavi

Director I Security

A veteran humanitarian aid expert experienced in disaster response and sustainable development, Shachar has led relief missions and built sustainable long-term programs since 1994.  His passion and work has impacted communities in more than 60 countries worldwide. Shachar’s first exposure to humanitarian emergencies was during the Rwanda genocide of 1994, when he led the largest Israeli civilian national campaign to help the Rwandan refugees. Shachar was among the founders of Latet’s (the Israeli "To Give" not-for-profit) international arm. Shachar was also the founder of IsraAID, an international aid agency which he led as Founder, Chairperson and CEO for 16 years. Recently he founded iAID, a global tech aid agency which integrates technology to help communities globally.


Helen Mesfin


Born and raised in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Helen Mesfin moved to the United States at the age of 17 to pursue higher education. She worked her way through college, earning a degree in Business Management, and launching her professional career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry.

A multi-faceted Destination Sales, Marketing and Business Development professional, Helen has over 18 years of experience in the Tourism and Destination Management industry representing major US cities like Washington, DC and New Orleans. She couples her extensive experience with a passion for excellent service, and places values on continuously delivering value long after the deal is closed.


Tamrat Berhanu


Tamrat is an Israeli-Ethiopian technologist and entrepreneur, who has established many agriculture projects in Ethiopia, including our Green Mark Herbs farm, one of the most successful and state-of-the-art farms in Ethiopia.

 Tamrat is a pioneer in promoting Israeli technology and know-how in Ethiopia, and has experience finding the right technological fit, coupled with a knowledge of transfer and foreign direct investment, the result of numerous ventures in Africa.


Abebe Girmay
Director | Treasurer

Abebe Girmay is Countrymanager-Mastercard-EastAfrica in Nairobi, Kenya. Abebe is responsible for country management, business development and expansion and relationships to support business strategy by identifying and introducing innovative payment solutions across the Horn of Africa markets. Before joining Mastercard, Abebe  Vice President for Information Technology at Dashen Bank in Ethiopia. He previously worked in Switzerland Payment Technology Company as Sub-Saharan Africa Project Manager and Information Technology Academia. He holds Master of Science Degree in Software Engineering from HiLCoE School of Computer Science and Technology, and an MBA (GeneralBusiness) from Jimma University, Ethiopia. He graduated with Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from American Academy of Project Management (AAPM®) as well as Certified Bankcard Manager from London Business School in the UK.


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Kidist Gebreamlak
CEO | Executive Director

Prior to these roles, Kidist had been a Program Specialist at the Center for Global Health Impact and the Institute for Leadership Impact at Southern Methodist University. Before that, Kidist worked in project development at the Corporation for National & Community Service, and in consulting and program support for the World Bank Group. She also served as a research assistant at George Mason University and at the Institute for Security Studies.

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Edwin Kumfa

Edwin Kumfa is Cameroonian from the Northwest Region, but grew up in the capital city Yaoundé. He has always been inclined in the sciences from primary to tertiary education.  As a trained Environmental and Resource Manager from the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus–Senftenberg–Germany, Edwin had been consulting as a specialist in this field for over 7 years with UNESCO and in the private sector. He has been collaborating with STEMpower since 2016, during his days with UNESCO. He is also a Master’s candidate in Organizational Leadership. He is fluent in English, French and German.

Scientific Advisory Board

STEMpower South Sudan Board

Dan Lacks

Chair, Chemical Engineering


Alice Mudiri

Head Master

Beverly School of Kenya

John Akec

Vice Chancellor

University of Juba, South Sudan

Pauline Riak

Vice Chancellor 

Rumbek University Science and Technology

Christopher T. Rowe


University of Juba

Mou Riiny


Sungate Solar Solutions

Staff Members


Anteneh Fisseha
STEM Operations Manager

Anteneh is Deputy Country Representative at STEMpower. He brings a wide range of experience and accomplishments to his role with STEMpower. Before working with STEMpower he graduated from Addis Ababa University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Information Systems on top of an advanced diploma he received in Electrical Engineering.

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Abel Tefera

STEMpower-Visa Project Manager

Abel Tefera is a well-experienced Project Manager, Public relation officer, Marketing Expert, Educator and Trainer who has an in-depth background ranging from Governmental and Private, to the not-for-profit sector. He has successfully led various volunteer initiatives at the National level as a lead coordinator, under the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the initiative aimed to return Ethiopian deportees from the Middle East; He has also worked as Senior manager, under the Ministry of Education, for the initiative to support IDP students around the country; and Lead Covid Response team coordinator under the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. He is also a host of an Ethiopian based FM radio show discussing digital marketing and modern technological developments. Abel got his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, and his master’s degree in project management from St. Mary’s University. He currently heads the STEMpower-VISA Entrepreneurship and Financial Education Training Project.

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Tesfaye Shiferaw

Foka Center Manager

Tesfaye is an IT expert/center manager at Foka Science and Engineering center. He has worked for Defense engineering college in teaching and department head position of computer engineering department. He also served as an IT expert and center coordinator position for Foka Science and Engineering center. Tesfaye earned his B.Sc degree in Computer Science and his M.Sc in Network and Information Security from Defense Engineering College.


Merkineh Petros

FabLab Centers Coordinator

Merkineh is a Fab Lab centers coordinator at STEMpower Inc.. Prior to that position, he worked as an Electronics and Robotics expert at Hawassa STEM Center. He also worked as a Chief Technical Head at Hawassa Friendship Electro-Mechanical Engineering PLC. He earned his B.Sc. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Hawassa University-Institute of Technology. He also received certificate in EV3 Mind-storm Robotics instructor's certificate and solar energy power installation instructor's certificate from Germany wilpordsired.


Tariqua Bekele

FabLab Attendant

Tarikua is a Fab Lab Attendant at STEMpower Inc. She mainly engaged in supporting the staff's day to day activities. Prior to this role, she worked in Shints Garment Factory at Bole Lemi Industrial Park as a Material Control Engineer. She also worked in Unilever Ethiopia as a Team Leader. She earned her B.Sc. degree in Textile Engineering from Bahirdar University. Apart from job activities, she is a permanent blood donor in Ethiopian Blood Bank.  

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Filimon Zelul

FabLab Electronics Expert

Filimon is a Fab Lab Electronics Expert at STEMpower Inc. He specializes in Systems, Production , Architectural and 3D Designs. He is working on Design, Operations and Maintenance of 3D printers, CNC machines and other related technologies. He has a well-developed technical and creative skills to catalyze the workflow of an undergoing project at STEMpower. His architectural and system design backgrounds helped him to effectively model requirements and easily convert into business and consumer needs as well as coupled with his agile innovation skills led him to be one of the Youngest individuals to join our team.

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Dr. Simenew Keskes

FabLabs Manager

Dr. Simenew served Ministry of Innovation and Technology in different posts including, Innovation Advisor to the Minister, Director General for Academic and Research Institutions Affairs, and Director, on top of his teaching and research post in Addis Ababa Science and Technology University at Associate Professor academic position since 2016. Before, he joined AASTU and MInT; he worked at Dilla University as Founding Dean of Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development and later appointed as Academic Programs Director. He has been working as visiting professor to University of Nihon in Japan. He is involved in different projects including MERS Corona Virus project funded by American National Science Foundation in collaboration with George Mason University in the US and Charitie University in Germany. Dr. Simenew got his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and his M.Sc. in 2007 from Addis Ababa University. He did his PhD in Veterinary Obstetrics and Gynecology under a mobility program among Addis Ababa University, Padova University in Italy, Makerere University in Uganda and Nihon University in Japan. In his research engagements, more than 30 research articles are published in internationally peer reviewed reputable journals.    

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Yohannes Bogale 
IT & FabLab Technical Expert

Yohannes is a Website Admin/Fab Lab Technical Officer at STEMpower Inc. Prior to that position he worked as a Computer/Electronics Engineer for more than 6 years. He worked in three different Engineering firms i.e. China Construction and Communication Company (CCCC) at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Terminal 2 Expansion Project, SERDUR Group, a Turkish Engineering/construction company and Fortune Engineering PLC a local Telecom, Power and Systems Integrator company starting from junior to senior positions. Yohannes earned his B.Sc degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Addis Ababa institute of Technology (AAiT). He also has a certificate in Computer Maintenance and Networking from SAT-COM Institute of Technology.

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Biruk Demissie

FabLab Technical  Expert

Biruk Demissie is a passionate individual when it comes to STEM education and STEM related activities in general. After graduating from AAiT in Mechanical Engineering, he immediately started his involvement in STEM education by setting up a tutorial and software training center for engineering students. He taught there for seven years focusing on freshman up to junior year students. His dedication for STEM education led him to write two books on Mechanics which gained popularity among students all over the country. He is also active in research and product design activities. Among the research projects he was involved with include, the design of a 5-Axis CNC machine, the development of a diabetic foot ware and the development of a negative pressure device for severe wounds, all of which he obtained a patent for.

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Tigist Yonas

Finance Officer

Tigist is a Finance Manager Assistant at STEMpower Inc. Prior to this role, she was a finance officer at Emmanuel Development Association. Before that, she worked as a Finance and Administration head of Alliance for poverty eradication and development association and Finance head for Hadiya Development Association. She earned her bachelor of Art degree in Accounting and Finance from Dilla University and Master of Art in Business Administration from Lead Star College of management and leadership. 


Israel Gebru
FabLab Electronics Expert

Israel Gebru is an Electromechanical engineer working as an Electronics Expert at STEMpower-FabLab. Prior to his role, he worked as an Electrical Engineer at Base Tech Engineering PLC, Before that, he worked in different industrial companies as a Consultant and Maintenance Engineer. In the FabLab, he design and manufacture various types of basic science teaching kits for high school students. He acquired the knowledge and experience of working on simple to complex project designing and product manufacturing process. Israel earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electromechanical Engineering from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. 

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Nigist Tilahun

STEM Centers Director

Nigist had been the Director of Hawassa University STEM Center from September 2014 to 2019. Prior to this, Nigist was the head, external and public relations of the Hawassa University for six years.  Nigist had secured her MBA, PGDIM, PGDMM and DIM from Indra Gandhi University, India and BED from Jimma University. She also had a certificate from Aharon Ofri International Training Center, Jerusalem, Israel, on "Education for Science and Math through STEM framework. 


Fasil Woldegebriel


Fasil is supporting STEMpower as organizational development strategy consultant. He has worked for GIZ Ethiopia for more than 10 years in an expert and management positions in the topics of university industry linkages, technology transfer, entrepreneurship and technology and business incubation services for universities in Ethiopia. Fasil did his BSc in electrical engineering at Bahir Dar University in 2002 and MSc in electrical and Computer engineering at Addis Ababa University in 2007.

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Eyob Ayechew

Electronics Expert

Eyob is an Electronics Expert at Foka Science and Engineering center. Prior to that he has more than 10 years of working experience at Ethiopia Air Force in different positions like Electronics and Electricity specialist, Electrical power engineering maintenance supervisor, lecturer and section head avionics department at Air force Academy college, and electronics expert at STEM synergy. Eyob earned his B.Sc degree from Defense Engineering College in Electrical Power Engineering specializing in Electrical equipment design in 2001. 


Bereket Getachew

Executive Coordinator

Bereket Getachew is an executive coordinator at STEMpower Inc. currently living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to her current role, Bereket worked as a legal Advisor for advertisements and a translator of different TV shows at INCOM Trading / EBS Television. Following that, Bereket worked as a producer at LTV. She also served as a Public Relations and Project Coordinator at NGO called Operation Rescue Ethiopia. Bereket studied her L.LB in Law from Mekelle university, her B.A. in Sociology and, her Masters of Arts in Sociology from Mekelle University. She is Certified from International Republican Institute (IRI) in Project Management and in Ethical Coach from NGO Coaching program. Bereket is originally from Ethiopia, she is passionate about traveling and photography.


Yenenesh Girma
General Service

Yenenesh Girma works as a General Service in STEMpower. Prior to this role, she worked as a General Service for a total of 9 years at Foka STEM center. She studied basic computer skills in level 2 TVET.

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