Bill Massaquoi

Executive Director & Founder

Bill MassaquoiBill was born into a large polygynous family in a remote part of northwest Liberia in 1966. Early in life, he had to learn to fend for himself because of his family's poverty. His desire to get an education was so strong that he walked several miles a day to get to the nearest primary school. Many of his peers gave up on school and joined gangs for protection and food to eat. Bill recalls those days and counts himself “blessed” that he did not fall in with those crowds.

Eventually, Bill managed to graduate from high school and entered the University of Liberia where he majored in economics. His education was interrupted by the Liberian civil war, which raged off and on between 1989 and 2003. When fighting flared up around Monrovia and caused the University to close, Bill barely managed to escape with his life to his home village of Kortulahun in Lofa County. There, he stumbled upon a discarded article on micro-finance called “Banking on the Poor” by John Hatch among the ransacked possessions of former missionaries who used to live in his home village. This article would later prove to be highly influential to Bill.

When peace was restored to the capital city, Bill returned to the University of Liberia and graduated with honors in 1994. After a brief stint at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, he resigned and went on to form a micro-finance agency called LEAP (Local Enterprise Assistance Program), remembering the article that he had discovered when he had fled the fighting.

Over the next eight years, LEAP would raise more than $500,000 and provide loans to over 15,000 women, despite the resurgence of civil strife that would continue until 2003. Bill served as LEAP’s chief executive officer until he turned operations over to a successor and joined World Relief to work in Sierra Leone in January 2003.

About a year later, at the invitation of the US Embassy in Liberia, Bill applied for and won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. There he obtained his Masters degree in International Development in 2007 before returning to Liberia to assist his homeland in rebuilding after its devastating civil war.

Rebuild Africa was founded by Bill with the help of Peter Choo, Gerald Walle, James Choi and Victoria Merriman shortly before he and his family returned to Liberia. Its mission is to support the advancement of education, vocational training and mentoring of the next generation of leaders who will guide Liberia to a better and brighter future.

Bill is married to Bartoe and they are raising four children (Kpambu, Jong, Bildine, and Heila). They live in the Duport Road neighborhood of Monrovia.