James was raised in rural Western Uganda, where HIV/AIDS orphaned him at the age of 10. At 11 he took a bus ride of 300 miles with the hope of telling his story to the President of his country and gaining access to high school. After three months of trying, he finally met the First Lady Ms. Janet Museveni who sent him to a high school in Kampala.

Three years after after high school, he met a generous American couple from Tallahassee, Florida, who brought him to Florida State University.  He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computational Biology and a Master's in Public Health & Public Policy from Florida State University. While at FSU, he served as African Student Union President and global health coordinator for GlobeMed.

James was awarded the 2011 FSU Global Citizen Award from the Center for Global Engagement. He graduated with a second Master's in Sustainable Development & International Policy from the SIT Graduate Institute in Washington, D.C.

Kassaga with the Acumen Global Fellows and staff in New York, October 2015

Kassaga with the Acumen Global Fellows and staff in New York, October 2015

Kassaga's passion lies in social justice, particularly in health and education equity. He is a 2014-15 Acumen Global Fellow, and works for LabourNet in Bangalore, a social enterprise that offers workers a platform to access financial inclusion services and social protection. His work includes development consulting, program management, products design, sales and marketing proposal writing, development projects planning and implementation. 

Previously he worked with the Carter Center's NTD's control program and BRAC.  as one of the leading team members who designed the Master Card Scholars Program. Kassaga also served as a Global Health Corps 2012-13 fellow, working as a program assistant for the poverty alleviation N.G.O. Single Stop in New York City. Kassaga served as the School Partnership Manager for Educate!, an NGO based in Kampala that partners with the Ugandan Ministry of Education to change Uganda's education system through youth leadership and entrepreneurship. 

He is also an Aspen Institute 2014 New Voices Fellow, and has written for the New York Times, Al Jazeera, NPR, and the Daily Beast.

Kassaga with Aspen Institute New Voices Fellows in Washington D.C. November 2014

Kassaga with Aspen Institute New Voices Fellows in Washington D.C. November 2014


  • Development Consultant with 7 years experience work with NGOs, Social Enterprises and Institutions and Government Systems. Writings on development featured in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast.

  • Development Project Design, People and Organizational Strategic Management. Partnerships Management, Communications and Advocacy with a clear bent on social justice for education and health equity.


  • MA in Sustainable Development: Concentration: International Economics, Policy and Management. The SIT Graduate Institute, Washington D.C campus. Fall 2011

  • MPH Public Health and Public Policy. Florida State University College Social Sciences and Public Policy, Spring 2011

  • Computational Biology: Minor in Business Administration.Florida State University, Fall 2009