Professor Joel Ongaro (PhD), the President / CEO of Balanced Approach to Life Mission (BALM) International, is a warm and friendly individual with a positive cross-cultural outlook to life – well endowed with, a charming and magnetic personality. Among his colleagues, he is known as an enthusiastic team player who always sees and develops the best in others, whereas, among the less privileged of society he has a reputation of being an all-inclusive mentor and leader.
At the age of 25, Joel left Kenya for studies in India where he spent seven years working as a student salesman every summer in Sweden while attending classes during the year. He studied Biology and Religious Philosophy at Spicer Memorial College, after which he pursued a Master’s Degree in Botany at the University of Poona, India. Shortly after completing his studies, he moved to Sweden with his family before going back to Kenya in June 1986. He spent 7 years teaching in the local universities of Nairobi and Kenyatta.
In 1991, he moved and joined Lancaster University, UK, for a PhD program that he completed and stayed on for over 7 years. After this he moved to Michigan USA, where he started another new chapter in life as a student at Andrews University in Michigan before he got a call from Southern Adventist University where he worked as an Associate Professor.
In 2003 he moved to Raritan Valley College in New Jersey where he stayed until 2007 when he left for Kenya in response to a unique inner urge to serve his country and his local community. This was the birth of his unquenchable desire to give back to the people and the communities that raised him. This explains why he opted for an electoral office and thus for the parliamentary seat of West Mugirango Constituency, Nyamira District, Kenya, in the year Dec.2007.
Currently, Professor Joel Ongaro serves as the chairperson of Shelter Housing Cooperative Society (SHCS)Ltd, a Kenya Registered Diaspora Organization with membership of close to 120 from mainly USA, Canada, UK and Middle East. He is also the co-founding member and President of Balanced Approach to Life Mission (BALM) international- a New Jersey based Not-For-Profit Organization. He is the Vice-chair of a Nairobi based International Center for Research in Sustainable Development (ICRSD), and also an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science and Ecology at Bergen County Community College, New Jersey, as well as Kenyatta University during Summer.