John Angier

Founding board member
President and CEO

John Angier is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and an executive at an independent TV and media production company. After graduating in physics from the University of Essex he was a theatre stage manager, and wrote children's science adventures for the stage at the Mermaid Theatre, London. He then produced science programs at BBC-TV in London before moving to WGBH-TV, Boston as a founding producer of PBS's Nova science documentary series. He went on to found a production company specializing in the sciences, nature and the environment.

John's producing career has involved extensive travel in less privileged parts of the world. Witnessing at first hand the struggle for daily living that confronts so many people, he decided to direct his efforts to helping improve conditions in at least one of the places whose people had welcomed him when he had arrived as a filmmaker. He brings the same approach to this work as that needed for successful producing: personal contact is essential, local people are partners and colleagues; and all projects are collaborations.

David Berenson

Founding board member

David Berenson is an award-winning film and video editor, with a long and successful career in the production of science and nature documentaries, first at WGBH-TV, Boston and then at an independent production company. After his move to the independent community, he became interested in the challenges of project and financial management. Projects successfully undertaken range from the design and installation of technically innovative video production facilities, to the financial management of complex, multi-million dollar broadcast series with several partners and global reach.

David's contribution to the Pemba Foundation is in financial and systems management. We recognize that the success of our projects depends critically on collaborations and partnerships which, to run smoothly and efficiently, require close tracking and tight management — both of which are David's specialties.

Carl Safina

Founding board member

Carl Safina's writing about the living world has won a MacArthur "genius prize," Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals.

His seabird studies earned a PhD in ecology from Rutgers; he then spent a decade working to ban high-seas drift nets and to overhaul U.S. fishing policy. Safina is now the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean.

His writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, Audubon, and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post,, and elsewhere. Safina is the author of ten books including the classic Song for the Blue Ocean, as well as New York Times Bestseller Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. His most recent book is Becoming Wild; How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends.

Linda Harrar

Founding board member

Linda Harrar is an independent producer who has spent her career making documentaries on global health, development and the environment — filming in 35 countries and on all seven continents. Currently she serves as Senior Program Manager of WGBH Boston's Green Media Innovation IdeaLab and in WGBH's development department.

A staff producer on the PBS NOVA series for a dozen years, Linda produced the first international documentary on the Antarctic ozone hole and a portrait of biologist Stephen Jay Gould. She served as Senior Producer for the Race to Save the Planet series, and Senior Content Director of Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge. As an independent producer, she has produced films on biodiversity, reproductive health, and global water issues. Most recently, she served as Producer and Writer for NOVA's Wild Ways: Corridors of Life.

Linda is a graduate of Cornell University. She is a member of the Filmmakers Collaborative and serves on the Board of World Education, as well as on the Board of the Pemba Foundation.

Pemba Foundation Staff and Volunteers

Nassor Marhun

Pemba Foundation executive director

Nassor Marhun was born and raised in Wete, one of Pemba's three towns. He was educated in local schools, then took computer courses in Dar es Salaam, on the Tanzania mainland. He returned to Unguja, Zanzibar's largest island, to attend the Zanzibar Institute for Tourism and Development, graduating with a diploma.

After working for several years in the tourism industry, Nassor became the Pemba Foundation's key Pemba-based administrator, organizer and manager. Based in Wete and working full-time for the foundation, Nassor travels throughout Pemba to check on foundation projects and manage grants. He stays in touch with vanilla farmers and handles purchasing of their crop each year; visits the farms that use foundation-provided irrigation systems; designs and installs new irrigation systems; manages the foundation's construction projects (like public toilet buildings); and works with the foundation's wide network of local volunteers and contacts, in government and the private sector.

Jeroen de Boorder

Agriculture and livestock adviser

Jeroen de Boorder, shown here in the irrigated passion fruit grove he set up on the Tanzania mainland, started the Pemba Foundation's irrigation project irrigation project, and advises for our business development project. Jeroen is a veterinarian who spent eight years living on Pemba, where he worked on a number of successful agricultural development projects including livestock, beekeeping, and fruit and vegetable farming. Jeroen's wife, Saada, is Pemban and the family, now living in the Netherlands, visits the island frequently.

Jeroen believes that irrigation is one of the most promising ways for Pemba's small-scale farmers to increase yields and incomes. He has a special interest in adapting low-cost, sustainable water-pumping methods to Pemban conditions, hence the wind pump we're testing in one irrigation system.

Jeroen is a volunteer who donates his time to the Pemba Foundation. He speaks Dutch, English, French and Swahili.

Ali Said Hamad

Fisheries scientist and manager

Ali Said Hamad is a highly experienced fisheries scientist and manager, with extensive international training. A Pemba native, he studied fisheries science and conservation at Kunduchi Fisheries Training and Research Institute, Dar es Salaam; Rhodes University, South Africa; and the University of Kent, UK. He is currently on leave from Head of Planning in the Zanzibar government's Department of Marine Resources, Pemba, working with a local NGO to organize octopus conservation programs in several Pemba communities.

Both in his professional and volunteer work, Ali is especially interested in a community-based approach to conservation and regulation. He was a key figure in the establishment of the Misali Island Marine Conservation Area (MIMCA), the success of which was largely due to its thorough integration into the fishing communities that neighbor the island. Ali has published academically on the Misali experience, and also derived a handbook for coastal managers in the western Indian Ocean. After MIMCA, Ali took a leading role in setting up a larger marine protected area, the Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA), and was its first manager.

Ali has been running a community-based turtle conservation and monitoring program for over 18 years, and volunteers in supporting Pemba's communities in need.

Ali collaborates closely with the Pemba Foundation on marine conservation.

Tahir Mussa Omar

Pemba businessman and chief adviser in our small business loan program

Tahir Mussa Omar is one of Pemba's most accomplished entrepreneurs. Trained in land management and valuation, for 15 years he built a successful career at the Zanzibar government's Department of Lands, rising to become head of the Pemba office, a position he held for 8 years. He always knew he wanted to run his own business, however, and in their spare time he and his wife set up a small restaurant. They taught themselves how to make the business work over about 4 years, and in 2004 he left the government to work full-time in the business.

Tahir and his wife have now developed a thriving retail chain, with 2 cosmetics shops and a beauty salon; the original restaurant has been expanded; and Tahir also runs a land management consulting business.

Speaking from hard-won personal experience, Tahir says there is nothing more important in business than financial discipline. Yes you need a good idea, but even the best idea can fail without good financial management. He teaches the recipients of the foundation's small business loans how to apply this lesson in practice.

Tahir speaks Swahili and English.

Mohammed Kombo

Fisheries adviser

Mohammed Kombo has been involved in Pemban fisheries for more than 35 years. Originally from Kojani village on Pemba's east coast, he now lives in Wete, the principal town of north Pemba. Fishing in Pemba is a vital source of income and subsistence for a large part of the island's population. It's estimated that one third of Pembans are directly involved: fishing, boatbuilding, processing, selling; while protein from the sea finds its way into every corner of the island.

Mohammed Kombo has a deep understanding of fishing in Pemba: first as a working fisherman for 30 years, and now as a key manager and administrator. Wete is one of Pemba's main fishing ports, home base for a large number of boats. Mohammed is currently chair of Wete Shehia Fishermen's Committee, the local governing body for fishing; he is also chair of one of the four Pemba Channel Conservation Area's (PECCA) District Committees. PECCA includes essentially all of Pemba's fishing areas. He keeps up to date with Pemban fishing almost every morning, as auctioneer of Wete's fish market.

Mohammed advises the Pemba Foundation on fishing, fishing communities and fish conservation.

Dr. Narriman Jiddawi

Fisheries scientist and communities adviser

Dr. Narriman Jiddawi is a Pew Fellow and respected marine biologist with positions at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam and the State University of Zanzibar. Her scientific work has been extensively published and often blends science, economics and human welfare; she is closely engaged with women's empowerment in coastal communities.

Narriman has collaborated widely in her work: with fishing communities; with senior officials of the national government; tourism businesses; with NGOs that seek to preserve marine resources; and with scientists and students in many parts of the world. She has conducted extensive multidisciplinary research involving both biological and social sciences in marine and coastal areas of East Africa, and has participated in a wide variety of projects that promote marine conservation. She was part of a multidisciplinary team to assess the interlinkages of mangroves, sea grass and coral reefs of East Africa, and the contribution of these resources to the wellbeing of local communities.

Narriman advises the Pemba Foundation's on marine conservation and communities, and for its fisheries program developed the fish catch reporting system to be used by local communities at beach landing sites.

Dr. Saleh Yahya

Coral reef ecoligist and fisheries adviser

Dr. Saleh Yahya is a coral reef ecologist and lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam. Saleh has worked with communities in Unguja to establish no-take areas for bivalves, to enhance income for intertidal fishers, and to develop a community-based fish stock assessments.

Saleh was a founder member of an association for dolphin tourism boat operators in Unguja, has participated in assessments of shark status for the IUCN, and in coral reef monitoring in Tanzania for many years.

Saleh has advised the Zanzibar Government's Department of Fisheries Development, and is an adviser to the Pemba Foundation's fisheries program for which he has developed and conducted field and classroom training for fisheries rangers drawn from their local communities.

Erick Ask

Coastal communities adviser

Erick Ask is an expert in mariculture, specializing in the cultivation of seaweed, widely used to make natural food additives. He first developed his interest in seaweed cultivation when working for the Peace Corps in the Philippines. Since then he has worked all over the world advising seaweed farmers on ways to improve the quality and sustainability of their products and practices.

Seaweed farming is an important source of income for Zanzibar's coastal communities, particularly in Pemba, and Erick developed for them special low-cost, lightweight boats to ease the heavy work of seaweed harvesting. He created a partnership with the New England Aquarium, in Boston, USA, to develop a code of best social and environmental practices for the seaweed farmers of the world to follow.

Erick advises the Pemba Foundation in its relationships with coastal communities.