Barry Hoffner ~ Founder and Executive Director of Caravan to Class
Barry Hoffner, a former investment banker in emerging markets, traveled to Timbuktu, Mali and attended the Festival au Desert in January, 2010. While there, he had a chance encounter with a village of Tuareg and returned home to California with the idea of rebuilding the village’s educational infrastructure. By the end of 2010, he had organized Caravan to Class as a 501c3, partnered with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) to administer the project, raised funds, and started construction on Caravan to Class’ first school in the village of Tedeini.
Hamadou Toure ~ President of Nord et Development
Hamadou Toure is an engineer of applied sciences with a specialization in rural agriculture. Hamadou spent twenty years working for large western-affiliated NGOs before starting Nord et Developpment (Nor Dev) in 2009. Nor Dev is currently working with a number of Western NGOs providing technical assistance, including the African Development Bank.
Abdoulaye Bouba Toure ~ Head of Operations in Timbuktu, Mali
Abdoulaye Toure, a native of Timbuktu, holds a master's degree in French from the University Mohamed Khider Biskra in Algeria. He has worked on a number of social service projects including an emergency rehabilitation project funded by OXFAM. Abdoulaye has also worked in the area of micro-credit for women in Northern Mali. With Caravan to Class, he continues his work in social service as our supervisor of educational programs in Timbuktu.
El Hadj Djitteye ~ Adviser to Caravan to Class on Education and Media
El Hadj is an International consultant, analyst, historical heritage researcher, journalist, and blogger based in Timbuktu. He writes and reports on issues pertaining to Islamist conflict, politics, culture, education and ethnic conflict in Mali West Africa. He has done work for the BBC, Reuters and the Huffington Post among other news outlets.
El Hadj holds a Masters of Arts in English language and literature from the University of Bamako and is President of the Association of Timbuktu Land of Peace and Culture, working with youth in peace- building activities. You can read his blog HERE.
Doussouba Konate ~ Advisor to Bourse Jackie University Scholarship program
Doussouba Konate graduated with a master's degree in international studies from the University of Montreal, and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Université de Sherbrooke (Canada). After many years of working experience between France and Canada, she decided to return to Mali in order to be closer to her family and to contribute to the development of her country. She worked for Accountability Lab Mali as the head of Monitoring and Evaluation, and is currently the Global Program Officer at Accountability Lab based in Washington, DC.
Doussouba also worked for several international organizations such as Save the Children, UNICEF, and The We Movement (formerly Free the Children). This passionate advocate for children's rights has given more than 30 lectures, and facilitated more than 40 workshops in schools across Canada on topics such as social action, leadership, and self-esteem, encouraging young people to be agents of change. She has also gone to India (Rajasthan) and Ghana (Western Region) to build primary schools.
Her favorite quote—just because the power of education is undeniable:
"To destroy a nation, there is no need for atomic weapons or intercontinental missiles... but only to reduce the quality of its education."