The Jef Jel Project was started in 1995 by Karim and Kellie Ndiaye to improve living conditions and economic opportunity in Ndangane, a small, rural fishing and farming village within the region of Kaolack in Senegal, West Africa. Karim Ndiaye, a Senegalese citizen of Ndangane, wanted to give back to his community. Kellie spent much of her career as part of the Center for Disease Control supporting HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in West Africa.

After moving back to the U.S., Kellie and Karim were joined by Jennifer Broom, a former Peace Corps Volunteer. The three became been the guiding force behind Jef Jel until Kellie’s death in 2007.  She remains the inspiration for the efforts of the Jef Jel Project.