The Team


Medi Muyisa – Assistant Director

Medi loves his country, DRC, for all the beauty it contains, including the young people. He is aware that young people have been affected as a consequence of war, hampering their ability to see the future and prepare big visions. But with peace, young people have started to realise that they can do some great things for their country. Medi helped set up an organisation called BADEN Developpment, which works with many children and young people in and around Goma, DRC. Medi’s heart is to teach young people that they are capable of many things, which he sees is also the vision of The Congo Tree. He wants to live out the truth that ‘by our actions that we can change our community and if we change the communities we will also change the world’.

Medi is involved in the international leadership of The Congo Tree, and also leads the DRC Team; overseeing all aspects of our work and strategic development of programmes and partnerships in DRC.

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Sage Dunia – Programmes Coordinator

Sage oversees our programmes, including WYLD, Tree of Life, and other youth development opportunities. Sage coordinators our Facilitator Team and involved in training, equipping and supporting them to run our programmes and meetings. He supports our Leader Mentors, and is in charge of pastoral care of participants. He also leads on our schools work and coordinates prayer support in DRC. 

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Sephora Norbert – Organisation Officer (Intern)

Sephora supports the team with planning and logistics for all of our events – training, conferences and field trips – amongst other things. She’s integral to keeping us moving! Sephora is also responsible for our alumni, helping to arrange events and coordinate training to support their continued personal and professional development.

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Binet Paul – Engagement Officer (Intern)

Binet supports and reports on our young people’s social action and creative enterprises within the community. He works with the DRC team to identify any gaps in the young people’s knowledge or experience and is our contact point for partners who can come in to support further development. He is in charge of social media, and supports our UK team with updates and photos so that we can keep everyone up-to-date with what The Congo Tree is doing!

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Irene Barabula – Finance Officer  (Intern)

Irene supports our DRC team with everything finance.

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Heidi Bentley – Director and Founding Member

Heidi has been involved with youth and community work for over fifteen years, working for various charities including time living in DRC. Her heart is firmly rooted both in DRC and in the UK: whilst she is a keen traveller, Heidi also loves coming back to the UK to family and friends, and a good cup of tea. In her spare time, she loves to sing, surf, ski and arrange wedding flowers!

Heidi leads on The Congo Tree’s strategic development, training and quality assurance, partnerships and funding/fundraising, and oversees the UK and DRC Teams.

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Harmony Ngwamah – UK Supporter Engagement and Secretary to the Board

harmonyFor Harmony, it was a trip back home to Kinshasa in 2017 that sparked a desire to help build a prosperous future for Congo: “I feel called to helping Congolese youth, both in the UK and in Congo, to fulfil their potential and live as useful members of society.” Harmony is an outgoing person who loves to sing, dance, and spend time with friends and family.

Harmony has just completed her Masters in Youth Work and International Development and is volunteering with The Congo Tree to support with fundraising and event planning, and as Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

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Chloe Russell – Grants and Fundraising Lead

Chloe is passionate about providing young people with the tools and opportunities to achieve amazing things. Chloe has a background in working and volunteering within youth development in the UK, and abroad in remote communities. Having witnessed first-hand the extreme effects conflict can have on a country from her operational experience as an Army Officer, Chloe hopes to help support The Congo Tree in it’s mission. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hockey for her local club, and volunteers with the children and youth section to inspire the next generation of young players.

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Ben Bartlett – Co-Chair

Ben has been working in the humanitarian sector for eight years, with four of those years spent in DRC. Passionate about seeing young people leading transformation in their communities from his time with War Child UK, he’s looking to bring his international experience to The Congo Tree. Outside of work he’s a long suffering Newcastle United fan and keen guitarist.

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Lucy Bamforth – Co-Chair

Lucy is a freelance writer and storyteller with more than ten years of experience working in the humanitarian and development sector. She previously worked with Medair, a Swiss humanitarian organisation, in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and throughout the Middle East. Lucy is currently doing her PhD at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, studying the impact of stress on memory in humanitarian crises. When she is not writing or studying, Lucy is a keen marathon runner and absolutely terrified of birds.

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Steve Bavington

SteveSteve is the Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Black Country Group. His career began in sales and business development, moving into marketing and fundraising and various other roles with the YMCA. He contributes to his local hockey team where two of his three children are members. Steve enjoys playing sports, in particular football and table tennis. He brings a wide range of skills to the team, as well as endless and infectious enthusiasm!

Uwezo Baghuma Lele

Uwezo Baghuma Lele is a Congolese sexual and gender-based violence specialist based in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. He holds a Masters in Health and Community Development and has over 14 years of experience in programme coordination and implementation in various settings, monitoring and evaluating projects, as well as advising countries on sexual violence programme management, using the transformative approach to tackle harmful gender norms. He is committed to see the gender equality is promoted in every sphere and especially start planting great seeds with youth, so that the coming days and the world to become a great space for everyone to live. Uwezo is currently the Global SGBV Specialist for Tearfund.

Hywel Gadd

Hywel is a recent graduate, writing his dissertation on the Cobalt mining sector in the south of the DRC. Having previously volunteered at a program designed to facilitate underprivileged children to set and achieve goals across social, academic and career-based spheres, Hywel’s passion lies in youth development.

Ai Mee Salt

Ai has worked in various roles designing and producing audio visual experiences, advocating for accessibility and inclusion at every turn. Aside from a passion for all things STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics), Ai enjoys eating good food, bouldering and making music with friends.

Join our Board of Trustees

We are open to applications to join our Board of Trustees, particularly from those who have worked in International Development, youth programming, finance or fundraising. This could be an interesting and rewarding voluntary role for someone who wants to support an small international development charity! Please email our Director for more information:


Hebdavi Kyeya

Hebdavi has worked in the field of development for over fifteen years and is currently Regional Director, East and Central Africa for Tearfund. He has worked with young people in church for many years and believes whole-heartedly that the youth are the hope for Africa, and that transformation is possible. Hebdavi loves music, is an excellent drummer, and has some mad dance skills! He is also a big adventurer, when he hasn’t got his head in a development economics textbook. As well as being a Manchester United supporter, he has recently discovered a love for volleyball, but what he enjoys most at the moment is spending time with his lovely wife and daughters. He is a Founding Member of The Congo Tree and was a Trustee for 9 years.

“I believe in a better Congo and a better life for my daughter than what I had to go through. To achieve this, we’ll need improved leadership. What better way to do this than to start investing in the youth now so that we have better leadership tomorrow. This is why I embraced the mission and vision of The Congo Tree…”

Muhindo Malunga

Transformed by the love of Jesus Christ, Muhindo is an established leader from the DR Congo who desires to see people equipped, empowered and Africa transformed. He loves playing guitar and reading, especially anything written by C.S. Lewis. He is currently studying a Masters in Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in the USA. Muhindo is a Founding Member of The Congo Tree and was a Trustee for 9 years.