Grace Kuto and her husband Paul are the Directors, the voices, the visionaries and the faces behind the Chwele Community Development project. Both Grace and her husband were born and raised in rural Kenya, and have lived in Portland, Oregon for over 35 years.
Paul Kuto was born and raised in Bungoma County in Kenya, and is a graduate of Portland State University. For a period of over 20 years, Paul worked with local insurance and financial institutions such as Blue Cross, US Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America. He currently devotes his time to development ministry in Kenya. He has also served on the Elders Committee at Tigard Community Friends Church.
Grace Kuto calls Chwele, Kenya her homeland. She is the Co-founder and past President of Harambee Centre, a non-profit organization which connects people of the Pacific Northwest region with people and cultures of Africa. The Chwele Community Peace Centre is one of the programs that Harambee Centre actively supports.
Grace is a Portland State University graduate and has been an employee at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) for the last 26 years.Perhaps one the greatest ways in which Grace has given back to her community is through the publication of her book Harambee! Stories and Recipes from the African Circle. The proceeds from the first edition of this book helped to built the Chwele Health Clinic, that was officially opened in 2000.
A speaker, community leader, philanthropic author, gracious cook, international students’ advocate, and passionate educator, Grace has touched the lives of thousands of students, teachers, families, corporate, and church audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond through her writing, speaking, cooking and renowned classroom tested “Africa is Not a Country” curriculum in partnership with the K-12 Global Education Program of the World Affairs Council of Oregon since 1979.
Also a consistent and recognized voice on African development issues (especially women and children) in the Pacific Northwest region, Grace has in the past regularly co-hosted the Africa Roundtable edition of the “Africa on Fire!” News broadcast on Portland local KBOO Radio.
She and her husband, Paul have coordinated numerous cultural-exchange trips to Kenya and local events across the two continents which have transformed thousands of lives through educational, healthcare, and micro enterprise outreach to empower women, children and their families in self-sustainable projects with a lifetime impact.
Though the Kutos have lived in Portland for over 35 years, they consistently remain devoted to the call of their villages in their homeland. They have worked tirelessly to educate, connect and mutually enrich their African and American communities.