OPPC Board

Jackson Kaguri

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


CNN Hero Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is the Global Ambassador for Pencils for Africa, a middle school program from which the One Pencil Per Child program was developed.

Jackson was born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi.

At a very young age he demonstrated an unquenchable desire to learn, which led him to graduate from Makerere University in Kampala. During this time he co-founded the human rights organization, Human Rights Concerns, to help victims of human rights violations in Uganda and to educate the public about their rights. In the 1990s he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University where he studied Human Rights Advocacy.


In 2001, Jackson founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of the disease in his hometown. The organization provides free education to children who have lost one or both parents. In addition to two schools, it operates a library, a community agriculture and nutrition program known as Desire Farm, a medical clinic, and a clean water system. It also offers support services to the grandmothers who care for up to fourteen children at a time.


Jackson is the author of A School for My Village where he shares how he built the first school and the struggles he faced during the first few years.

He has been named a Heifer International Hero, recognized in Time Magazine’s ‘Power of One’ Series, spoken to the United Nations about his work, and is a 2012 CNN Hero.

Jackson is the inspiration behind Nicolas’ initiative in pioneering One Pencil Per Child.

Patrick McNicholas

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child

Patrick McNicholas

Patrick McNicholas and Pencils for Africa’s founder, Karim Ajania, have known each other for over 30 years since their friendship as college students at the University of San Francisco (USF). Pat was USF’s Student Body President, while Karim was USF’s International Student President.

Both Pat and Karim worked together in college to strengthen the USF community for which they were both awarded the USF Board of Governor’s Award. After 30 years, Pat and Karim continue to serve the USF community.

Upon graduating USF with a BA in Government, Pat went on to serve as an intern at The White House. He then went on to receive his JD degree from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. Pat is a partner in the Los Angeles firm of McNicholas and McNicholas, LLP (www.mcnicholaslaw.com).

With more than 25 years experience as a trial lawyer, Pat exclusively represents victims in catastrophic injury, product liability, aviation disasters and civil rights. He has tried and settled numerous noteworthy cases including a $44 Million settlement for air crash victims, a $10 Million jury verdict to a construction worker and a $6 Million settlement on behalf of a family for the death of their father while working in an MTA tunnel. Pat has authored articles ranging from ‘Effective Use of Your Expert Witness’ to ‘Preparing an Employment Case for Trial’. He has taught at Pepperdine University and Whittier School of Law.

Pat has consistently been ranked as Top 100 Lawyer in Southern California and won numerous awards for his service within the legal community.


Students in Urban Compass program cofounded by Pat McNicholas 

His service to Education ranges from serving on the USF Board of Trustees to co-founding a nonprofit. Pat is Co-Founder of Urban Compass (www.urbancompass.org) based in South Central Los Angeles. Urban Compass was formed in partnership with Verbum Dei High School and 112th Street Elementary School to combat poverty and violence and make a difference in the lives of children living in Watts.

Watts is an economically depressed area known for its high drop-out rates, widespread unemployment, crime and gang violence – and the rate of violence triples in the hours immediately following the school day. Urban Compass provides a safe, welcoming and innovative environment that challenges young people to navigate a course for a rewarding future characterized by achievement, independent thought and social responsibility. Pat serves on the Board of Directors of Urban Compass as a Founding Member.

Muyambi Muyambi

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


Muyambi is an engineer at Clark Construction in the Civil division. Notably his first project was the $1.2B Dulles Corridor Metrorail project (Silver line), which Clark bid for and won in 2013. Muyambi is passionate about the role of infrastructure in development and is part of the team at Capital Rail Constructors building the Silver Line in Virginia.

In addition, Muyambi is also a partnership and branding advisor at The Pearl Dream Inc. – a startup aiming to become Africa’s Disney by connecting African writers and storytellers to a global audience. Muyambi has also received a personal congratulatory letter from President Obama in 2012 when he graduated from college.

Additionally, he is a 2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year and recipient of the esteemed Burma International award at Bucknell University among other awards.

Muyambi is a native of Uganda and holds a dual degree in Civil Engineering (B.S.E.) and Economics (B.A.) from Bucknell University. Before Bucknell, he attended the last two years of high school in Norway at the Red Cross Nordic United World College.

On Saturday mornings, you will find Muyambi on a road bike. He has been lucky to cycle across both the USA and Uganda.

Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


Sarah Dryden-Peterson is Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard University.

Sarah leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies. Her work is situated in conflict and post-conflict settings in sub-Saharan Africa and with African Diaspora communities in the United States and Canada.


She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy. Her research reflects connections between practice, policy, and scholarship and is strengthened through long-term collaborations with UN agencies, NGOs, and communities.

Back in January, 2013, Harvard Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson and Pencils for Africa’s Global Ambassador, Jackson Kaguri had a discussion on Education in sub-Saharan Africa.

To read this discussion between Sarah and Jackson, kindly click here.

Professor Henry Petroski

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


Dr. Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering at Duke University.

At Duke University, he has a secondary appointment as a professor of history.

From 2004 through 2012 he held a Presidential appointment as a member of the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.

Professor Petroski’s current research activity focuses on the interrelationship between success and failure in design. He also has a strong interest in the nature of invention and in the history of technology. Professor Petroski’s research has been sponsored by the Corps of Engineers, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has published seventeen books and hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines, and trade journals.


Besides his history of the pencil, Petroski’s books include The Evolution of Useful Things; The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors; and The Toothpick. His latest book is entitled The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure.


Professor Petroski is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

His numerous honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Professor Elinor Breman

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


Elinor has a D.Phil. from The School of Geography & Environment, Oxford University.

Her thesis examined the drivers of vegetation change at the present-day grassland-savanna ecotone in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Mpumalanga province borders Swaziland as well as the Gaza Province, northeast of Mozambique and Maputo Province, east of Mozambique.


The African Pencil Tree

Elinor has worked in tropical rainforest ecology in Costa Rica, restoration ecology in Madagascar, and run environmental expeditions to Nicaragua.

She is a member of both the Biodiversity Institute and the Oxford Long-term Ecology Lab.

Click here to read a Pencils for Africa interview with Elinor on the African Pencil Tree.

Olivier Bercault

Member of the Advisory Board of One Pencil Per Child


Human Rights Lawyer Olivier Bercault specializes in armed conflicts, refugees and international criminal prosecutions. He leads fact-finding research missions to document human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity; bringing to justice those who commit atrocities.

Mr. Bercault is consultant for Human Rights Watch on the case against Hissein Habré, the international prosecution of former Chad dictator. In December 2013, Human Rights Watch published his book “La Plaine Des Morts” (The Plain of the Dead), a 714-page study indicating that Habré was personally implicated in the massive human rights violations during his rule in Chad from 1982 to 1990. In 2010, Olivier Bercault returned to Iraq on behalf of Human Rights Watch where his research on torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad gained international attention and triggered an official United Nations investigation.


Drawings by Darfur children when Olivier gave them pencil and paper

In 2008 and 2009, Olivier has served as deputy-head of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Mr. Bercault has directed the reporting effort of the United Nations in Iraq regarding human rights violations committed in this country.

Olivier was also in charge of the human rights advocacy work and human rights promotional activity of the United Nations in Iraq. From 2000 to 2008, Olivier Bercault has served in the emergencies program at Human Rights Watch. During these years, he conducted research mission in most of the conflict areas around the globe: Eastern Chad, Darfur, Central African Republic, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka among others. He has investigated and documented widespread abuses committed by governmental forces, rebel and other armed groups.

His research on war crimes, child forced recruitment and crimes against humanity, especially in Darfur have ended up at the International Criminal Court and United Nations Security Council.


While on mission to Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad in February 2005, Olivier Bercault gave children notebooks and crayons to keep them occupied while talking to their parents.

Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed militia, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad. Mr. Bercault brought back hundreds of drawings in the hope that the rest of the world would see the war stories of these children. The drawings have been published by the New York Times and extensively in the world press, on the net, broadcasted on major TV networks in the United States and in the world and showed in exhibitions in New York, in the major cities in the US and in Europe.


In addition to his work on emergencies, Mr. Bercault was responsible for Human Rights Watch from 2000 to 2008 for coordinating the international effort to bring Hissein Habré, the former dictator of Chad to justice. Olivier has also participated as an external expert in the Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo projects of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in New York (2003-2004). He conducted several missions to these two countries.

At the end of the eighties and in the nineties, Olivier worked for the Moscow Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Russian Federation.

To read Karim’s interview with Olivier on the Pencils for Africa website kindly click here.