Joanne grew up from humble beginnings in a small town in Kenya, with a single mother and her three older siblings. Her sister passed away at the age of 18 ​​and she later came to understand that it was due to complications of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). Her sister and her have always struggled with SCD without knowing they had it. However, when Joanne was 22 she was correctly diagnosed. Despite all her efforts to live with this condition, she almost lost her life. 

Since that day, Joanne has been an advocate for persons living with sickle cell disease, a champion for women and girls, and very passionate about poverty eradication programs. Being the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Joanne Chazima Sickle Cell Foundation (JCSCF), a non profit organization based in Kenya whose primary objective is to achieve the all-round well-being of persons living with sickle cell disease. 

Joanne Chazima Sickle Cell Foundation operates in line with the World Health Organization’s approach to sickle cell disease prevention and control which supports: (i) primary prevention (genetic counseling and general public knowledge); (ii) early detection via screening to reduce morbidity and clinical care of special groups that is children and pregnant women.

Having been in the field of the social sector, Joanne came to understand that empathy and the drive to make a difference in society as one person isn’t enough. She needed to be better equipped with skills and tools, in order to achieve a greater impact in the field and still run the foundation professionally. That is why she signed up for the Social Innovation Management program at Amani Institute.