BOMA CEO, John Stephens, Hands Over Leadership to Sam Owilly


Founded 15 years ago to eliminate extreme poverty among pastoralist women in Kenya, BOMA has since transformed the lives of more than 450,000 participants in multiple countries and is on a growth trajectory to lift 3 million people out of extreme poverty by 2027. BOMA’s mission is to provide the people and governments of Africa’s drylands with economic inclusion programs that increase resilience to multiple crises. BOMA is a registered 501(c)(3) in the United States and a Kenyan NGO. Learn more.

January 10, 2023

NAIROBI — The Board of Directors and Staff of The BOMA Project, Inc (“BOMA”) express their profound gratitude to outgoing CEO, John Stephens. His four-year tenure as the second CEO in BOMA’s history has been remarkable.

Under John’s leadership, BOMA has almost tripled in revenue and realized an eight-fold increase in participants in the past four years, becoming a major provider of poverty graduation programs, and a trusted partner to donors and governments.

BOMA not only survived the pandemic, but grew during it. During John’s tenure, BOMA secured its two largest grants, a transformative non-restricted grant from Mackenzie Scott in 2021, and in 2022, a foundational investment from IKEA Foundation in BOMA’s “Green REAP” program, that empowers ultra-poor pastoralist women to overcome the challenges of climate change on their livelihoods.

“I came to BOMA originally as a foundation partner, then board member and finally CEO,” says John Stephens. “It’s been an incredible journey and an absolute honor to lead this organization. Of the many wonderful experiences I had during this time, none are better than the time spent in the field with our staff and participants. Our staff, and especially our Mentors, are the power behind our programs, and their tireless work towards achieving our mission is simply incredible. But it’s BOMA’s participants, their strength and resilience and hope for a better day ahead is what I will remember most.”  Stephens added, “I leave BOMA with absolute confidence in the team to continue the work, and faith that the many women still living in extreme poverty will achieve prosperity.”

The BOMA Global Board of Directors thank John for his contributions to the organization and pursuit of its mission.

John proudly hands over leadership of BOMA to Interim CEO, Sam Owilly. Sam is a recognized leader with more than 15 years of experience in building and leading large and high-performing teams and a respected subject matter expert in business strategy, organizational management, poverty graduation/economic inclusion, climate adaption and resilience building, livestock market systems and rangeland resource management in Kenya and Eastern Africa.

“The appointment of Sam as BOMA’s Interim CEO is a reflection of our commitment to local leadership and growing as an Africa Centric organization. We are delighted to have an inspirational Proximate Leader like Sam take on the helm on this organization that he has already been a key part of building up and scaling” says H. Perry Boyle, Jr., Chairman of BOMA Board of Directors.

Working together, Sam and John and BOMA’s team of over 400 people brought over 30,000 enrollees into BOMA’s programs in 2022, impacting over 200,000 lives. BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneurs’ Access Program (REAP) and its variants have addressed ultra-poverty for over 300,000 people in the past 13 years. BOMA continues to innovate its programs and expand its impact. BOMA’s poverty graduation approach has been proven to materially benefit the economic and social status of marginalized peoples.

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