Our Team

Dedicated to Creating a Sustainable Impact 

Rural Senses is a social enterprise that originated from research conducted at the University of Cambridge. We operate globally and have offices in the UK, Uganda and Israel.

We are a team of professionals on a mission to improve the lives of people living in low-resource settings, to ensure projects are sustainable, and that project success is defined primarily by its evidence-based impact.

Yau Ben-Or

Yau Ben-Or

Co-Founder and Managing Director

Yau has a decade of experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in multinational projects. Prior to co-founding Rural Senses, he was a business development consultant for impact-driven start-ups, managed AI-health projects at MobileODT and co-founded SolarChange to promote renewable energy. Yau holds a B.Sc. in Biophysics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Master degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Co-Founder and Technical Director

Stephi has over a decade of international development experience, in particular working with rural communities in developing countries. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she now is a Visiting Research Fellow. Her interests are focused on user-centered design of hard infrastructure and improved project targeting. She is an active researcher at the University of Oxford. Stephi has worked on projects for Arup, GIZ, KfW and SVI.

Josephine Tumwesige

Josephine Tumwesige

Uganda Country Manager

Josephine has 8 years' experience in planning, operations and maintenance of telecommunications technologies and their application for education, health and financial inclusion. She is the co-founder and director Faith Initiative Group which helps women- and children-headed households improve their livelihood and nutrition. Josephine holds a B.Sc. in Telecommunications Engineering from Makerere University and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Yair Perry

Yair Perry

Senior Project Manager

Yair has over a decade of experience in product management, product design and R&D. Yair is a graduate of the Pears Program for Global innovation and was part of WaterComms, a start-up working on boreholes supply chain and maintenance. Yair has a Bachelors degree in design (B.Des) and a masters in Design Management from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Barik Sale

Barik Sale

Community Engagement Manager

Barik is originally from Darfur region in Sudan, today living in Israel. He is a social activist, public speaker and community leader. He Co-Founded the African Student Organisation (ASO) in Israel. Barik holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya.

Costanza Conforti

Costanza Conforti

Senior AI Developer

Stanze is a PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on deep learning applications in semantics-related tasks. She interned at Google AI twice.
Since 2016, she collaborates with the Siemens Machine Intelligence group; previously, she worked on Neural Machine Translation at LMU University of Munich.
Stanze also enjoys scientific divulgation and is a strong supporter of the promotion of diversity in STEM.

Wayne C.W. Lau

Wayne C.W. Lau

Strategic Advisor

Wayne is a strategic advisor to Rural Senses

The Team

Yau Ben-Or

Co-Founder and Managing Director

Yau has over 7 years of experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in multinational projects. Prior to co-founding Rural Senses, he worked as a project manager for MobileODT to improve global health and founded SolarChange to promote renewable energies. Yau holds an MPhil in Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Co-Founder and Technical Director

Stephi has a decade of international development experience, in particular working with rural communities. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she is a Visiting Research Fellow. Her interests are focused on user-centred design of hard infrastructure. She has worked on projects for Arup, GIZ, KfW and SVI.

Josephine Tumwesige

Uganda Country Manager

Josephine has 8 years’ experience in planning, operations and maintenance of telecommunications technologies and their application for education, health and financial inclusion. She is the co-founder and director Faith Initiative Group which helps women- and children-headed households improve their livelihood and nutrition. Josephine holds a B.Sc. in Telecommunications Engineering from Makerere University and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

 

 

Upeshika Heenetigala

Policy Advisor

Upeshika has 5 years’ experience designing & managing large scale infrastructure projects in Australia. Prior to joining Rural Senses, she worked at the Greater London Authority on climate change adaptation & sustainable development policy and projects. Upeshika has a B.E (Honours) in Civil Engineering from the University of Melbourne and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Barik Sale

Community Engagement Manager

Barik is originally from Darfur region in Sudan, today living in Israel. He is a social activist, public speaker and community leader. He Co-Founded the African Student Organisation (ASO) in Israel. Barik holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya.

Costanza Conforti

Senior AI Developer

Stanze is a PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on deep learning applications in semantics-related tasks. She interned at Google AI twice. Since 2016, she collaborates with the Siemens Machine Intelligence group; previously, she worked on Neural Machine Translation at LMU University of Munich. Stanze also enjoys scientific divulgation and is a strong supporter of the promotion of diversity in STEM.

Wayne C.W. Lau

Strategic Advisor