Jen Harvey, President

Jen is a teacher at Quadra Elementary School, in the Greater Victoria School District. She teaches both dance and music.  Jen has been to Uganda previously when she volunteered for the Jane Goodall Institute, bringing an environmental education program to primary teachers in Kasese.  She was able to visit the school that PODA built and work with the teachers & students.

Jen is the Entertainment Chair on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association. She plays the piano with the Groovin’ Hard jazz band.

Kathy Buettner, Secretary

Kathy is a Policy Analyst for the Ministry of Advanced Education within the Government of BC. She has been a keen supporter and volunteer of PODA before becoming a Board Member this year.  Kathy is currently the PAC Chair for Victoria High School and also volunteers with Kaleidoscope Theatre. She is a sighted guide for blind/visually impaired members of her dragon boat team, Outta Sight, sponsored by the BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association.

Kathy holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Sociology and Education from the University of Victoria, and she is certified to teach ESL.

Barb Gordon, Treasurer

Barb is a small business owner in Victoria, BC. She specializes in providing accounting, work flow assessments and efficiency reviews to small for-profit and non-profit businesses.  She has been on the Board of PODA since 2009 and has made several trips to Uganda.  While in Uganda Barb spends time reviewing existing initiatives and laying the groundwork for future projects.

Barb currently also volunteers with the HeroWork Society. She has a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University. Barb can frequently be found on Galiano Island where her daughter and family live.

Justin Taverna, Director at Large

Justin is the co-founder of First Light Technologies Ltd., a Victoria based company that designs and manufacturers solar and LED lighting products.  With over 15 years’ experience designing off grid solar electric systems, he has previously been involved in PODA as their photovoltaic expert.  Other volunteer projects include providing solar electric design and technical support for Partners in Health in Haiti, and for multiple schools within BC.

Justin earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Montana State University and a B.S. in Physics from Wheeling Jesuit University. When not on the phone spreading the good word of solar lighting, he enjoys spending time surfing in the brisk waters of the Pacific Northwest, and hiking with his family, friends, two dogs and sometimes cat.

Natalie Hunt, Director at Large

Natalie is currently on maternity leave from her role as West Coast Operation Manager for the Green Party of Canada. She first traveled to Uganda in 2005, during which she founded PODA along with her, then colleague, now husband, Peter. Since that time she has been working to develop the organization. She returned to Uganda in 2007 and 2010/11 to continue to work with Bwera community members on joint projects and to develop PODA-Cobra relations.

Natalie holds a Undergraduate Degree in Geography from the University of Victoria, and a Masters Degree in International Development from Simon Fraser University. Natalie’s graduate work was focused on topics of human rights and development. Natalie finds great joy in the role of being mother to two fine little people, Sonnen and Remy, and is passionate about growing food, the outdoors, and in exploring literature.

Peter Hunt, Director at Large

Peter Hunt has been the General Manager and Master Distiller at Victoria Distillers for the past eight years. Prior to that he completed an MSc in molecular biology at UVic and worked for the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre.

Peter first went to Uganda in 2005 with Friends of Mengo Hospital Canada to monitor an HIV treatment project. It was during this trip that he fell in love with Africa and is soon-to-be-wife Natalie. Also during this trip, he connected with Buletwomu Nelson and the Cobra organization in Bwera. PODA was founded in 2007 before the next trip that focused on buying dairy goats and beehives. In 2010/11 Peter worked with a team from Victoria and Uganda to build the secondary school.

Peter also sits on the board of Friends of the Nemaiah Valley and can often be seen toting a camera, chasing his kids or a beautiful landscape.