The MEDA Team - Operations

Global programs

CATHERINE SOBREVEGA, Country Project Manager, Myanmar

Role at MEDA ‒ Catherine is an international development professional with over 25 years of NGO work experience as senior country and program manager, economic development and microfinance specialist. Catherine has worked on several USAID, USDA, GAC, DFID, EC, DANIDA, UN, CGIAR, IFAD and World Bank-funded projects. She has gained extensive experience in implementing economic development projects geared towards women’s economic empowerment in post-conflict situations. Previously she managed MEDA’s GAC-funded Through the Garden Gate project in Afghanistan. Prior to joining MEDA, Catherine worked for IRC in Bosnia and for CARE in the Philippines, Eritrea, and Afghanistan. Catherine has extensive experience in project proposal development, fund sourcing and donor reporting. In current and previous management roles, has continuously built successful close working relationships with various donors, including the World Bank, GAC and USAID, as well as local government officials and other public and private sector stakeholders.

Experience ‒ Catherine has a Masters in Management, majoring in Project Management from the Atlantic International University in Hawaii. She is a Certified Development Project Manager (CDPM®) from Project Management for Development Organizations (PM4DEV) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Catherine also earned a Management and Industrial Engineer degree, graduating from the Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines.

Languages ‒ English

CLARA YOON, Project Manager

Role at MEDA - In her current role as Project Manager, Clara manages an applied research project that will assess the potential of non-traditional financial services to enable large scale adoption of agricultural innovations among men and women smallholder farmers in South Asia, Latin America and East Africa. The project lessons will inform policymaking and programing on agricultural development.

Experience - Clara holds a MA in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo and BA in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to joining MEDA in Canada, Clara was a MEDA intern in Ethiopia. She worked on the Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation project, she collected client success stories and provided overall program support to project staff. After her return to Canada, Clara worked on a consultancy contract with MEDA providing support to two projects in Ethiopia. Clara has prior experience in South Korea, working with a human rights non-governmental organization.

Languages - Clara is fluent in English and proficient in Korean.

CONY PERALTA, Field Project Manager, Nicaragua

Role at MEDA - In her role as Field Project Manager, Cony leads a team of field staff for MEDA’s large scale, long term agriculture development project in Nicaragua. She is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of project strategies, adjusting course as needed based on interim performance, to achieve life-of-project performance targets.

Experience - Previous roles include Deputy Regional Director for the Central America office of ICOO-Cooperation where she was responsible for the overall management of the sub regional office budget, programs and teams. Cony also worked with World Vision Nicaragua as the Sustainability and Resource Mobilization Director and with World Vision Mozambique performing in various roles. Cony holds both a PhD in Public Health and Master of Public Health from Atlantic International University and a Master in Local Development for Universidad de Valle an Institute for Higher Education and Development Administration in Madrid.

Languages - Fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish

DEVON KRAINER, Project Manager

Devon Krainer is a Project Manager at MEDA specializing in gender lens investing, blended finance, women’s economic empowerment, market systems and impact measurement. Having worked in seventeen countries globally, Devon has a wide range of experience delivering gender inclusive ESG technical assistance to companies and fund managers for sustainable economic growth. Her professional experience spans the private and non-profit sectors including a social innovation think tank, Western Canadian SME and multinational energy corporation. Devon holds an honours bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School and a post graduate diploma in Social Innovation from University of Waterloo.

DMITRIY NIKOLAIEV, Field Project Manager, Ukraine

Role at MEDA - Dmitriy leads the field team for MEDA’s Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP). As Field Project Manager, he is responsible for overseeing daily operations, managing field staff, reporting to donors, and ensuring that the overall objectives of the project are realized.

Experience - As an economic and finance professional, Dmitriy has an extensive background in business and strategic planning, asset management and global financial markets, along with experience working in a variety of industries and sectors. Previous roles include Chief Financial Consultant at Corporate Training Company as well as Deputy Director at Gelios in Ukraine. Dmitriy attended Kiev National University (Shevchenko University) where he earned a Bachelor or International Economics degree and a Master of International Economics degree.

JENNIFER FERRERI, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA - At MEDA, Jennifer is responsible for managing long-term projects and providing technical assistance to consultancies with a specific focus on expanding access to finance, savings mobilization and digital financial services.

Experience - Jennifer has over 12 years of experience in the financial services industry, including investment banking, financial tool development and training, digital financial services and microfinance. Before joining MEDA full-time, she spent a year in Zambia working with MEDA's mobile financial services partner, Zoona, consulting on branchless banking agent network development and training, e-voucher implementation for agriculture and other product development. Jennifer brings experience working with microfinance associations and institutions, designing trainings to build network capacity, track financial indicators and develop business strategy and planning. During her tenure at MEDA she has managed projects focused on linking savings groups to financial institutions, capacity building at microfinance institutions, using electronically delivered subsidies for the delivery of health goods, designing mobile money pilots for agricultural value chains. Jennifer obtained a BS from Smith College in International Relations/Government and an MA in International Development from the George Washington University, with a focus in post-conflict reconstruction.

Languages - Jennifer is fluent in English and proficient in Spanish; she is learning French.

JENNIFER KING, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA ‒ As Senior Project Manager, Jennifer is responsible for developing and managing market-driven projects integrating women small scale producers, farmers or business owners into viable market systems. Jennifer currently manages one of MEDA’s newest women’s projects in Burma (Myanmar).

Experience ‒ Jennifer brings to her role experience in community and economic development, marketing and communications, and market development in North America and Sri Lanka. Prior to joining MEDA, Jennifer was the founding Executive Director of Social Venture Partners (SVP) in Waterloo Region, a grant making foundation and capacity development organization. Prior to SVP, Jennifer helped to establish Capacity Waterloo Region (now Capacity Canada) and later managed the organization’s social ventures and storytelling initiatives. Earlier, she worked in Sri Lanka building the organizational capacity of the Rural Enterprise Network, a social enterprise spin-off of Practical Action providing training and market linkages to micro-scale rural producers, most of whom are women, as well as those affected by the Asian tsunami. Her past marketing work has helped non-profits and economic development organizations achieve greater impact by driving forward innovative projects and capturing stories of social change. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo, and an Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management diploma from George Brown College.

Languages ‒ English and learning Spanish

JESSICA VILLANUEVA, Technical Director, Investment

Role at MEDA: In her role as Technical Director, Investment, Jessica has an organization-wide responsibility within the specific technical area of investment to build capacity, develop strategic approaches, document best practices, mentor staff and oversee the provision of technical support to all of MEDA’s programming. A priority is to ensure technical expertise is shared across the organization. In addition to leading this technical area, Jessica also retains Sr. Project Management responsibility for our program in Nicaragua.

Experience: Jessica has over 15 years of management experience in small business development programs and sustainable agribusiness in Latin America as well as field experience providing management and technical assistance to rural and urban financial institutions and projects with an emphasis on microfinance and agribusiness. Jessica holds a Master in Finance from the University of Pacific in Peru and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Languages: English and Spanish

KAMRAN ABDULLAYEV, Associate Director, Financial Services

Role at MEDA - As Associate Director, Kamran leads and manages a team of international development professionals and projects across MEDA’s core technical areas of market systems, financial services, investment and vulnerable populations. Overall, this team is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of economic development projects within the Global region of MEDA’s programming.

His role also includes project management of multidisciplinary teams of international and local consultants, as well as direct technical assistance provision to partner financial institutions in the areas of institutional diagnostics and due diligence, product development, credit risk management, agriculture value chain finance, training, operational audits, delinquency management and institutional restructuring. In these roles, he has successfully supported and managed projects that have resulted in substantial increases in operational outreach and loan capital investments for MEDA’s partner financial institutions, particularly in agriculture SME and farmers lending in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ukraine and Nigeria. Kamran also designed and successfully managed a credit guarantee facility with one of Ethiopia's commercial banks involved in rural agro processing lending.

Experience - Prior to joining MEDA in 2010, Kamran oversaw microfinance operations as COO of FINCA International in Azerbaijan. While at Mercy Corps Azerbaijan he also contributed to strategy design and implementation for a variety of programs in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Africa and South Asia, and gained experience in the needs of refugees and displaced persons. Kamran holds a Master's Degree in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia (UK) and an Engineering-Economics Degree from the Azerbaijan Civil Engineering University. He is a member of the UK Development Studies Association.

Languages - Kamran is fluent in English, Russian, and Azerbaijan. He is also learning Spanish.

KATIE TURNER, Senior Director, Global Programs

Role at MEDA ‒ As the Senior Director, Global Programs, Katie is responsible for developing and overseeing MEDA’s programming in Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and cross-regional. These programs cut across MEDA’s core technical areas in market systems and financial sector development: sustainable agriculture, financial inclusion, investment and blended finance, empowerment of women, youth workforce development, and the business of health. Katie leads a talented and experienced management and technical team on the design and implementation of ground-breaking projects in challenging environments.

Experience ‒ Katie has over 10 years of experience supporting private sector led development projects with a focus on SME investment and agribusiness development . She has strong field experience coupled with extensive knowledge of gender, technology adoption and microfinance as they apply to rural development. Katie holds an Honours BA in Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Post Graduate Degree in International Development. She has worked in Armenia, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Languages ‒ Katie is fluent in English and Spanish. She is learning French.

LARISSA SCHNEIDER, Project Manager

Role at MEDA ‒ Larissa joined MEDA in September 2015 and currently works as Project Manager on the Global Programs Team. Larissa manages the market-based component of the CLM+ project in Haiti which seeks to improve the financial, economic and social inclusion of the most vulnerable women in Haiti’s Central Plateau region.

Experience ‒ Prior to joining MEDA, Larissa worked in Ghana and Uganda, supporting the economic development of women and youth at both the national and grassroots levels through market research and vocational skills management. Larissa also worked with the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) and she was a Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI). Larissa earned her B.A. Honors in International Development from University of Guelph with a specialization in gender and development; an M.A in Global Governance from The Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Global Business Management from Conestoga College.

Languages ‒ English

MAJID MIRZA, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA – Majid Mirza has been working in development and impact investing since he completed his Masters from the University of Waterloo in 2009. As Senior Project Manager, Global Programs, Majid’s primary responsibility has been leading MEDA’s INFRONT (Impact Investing in Frontier Markets) project since August 2016. Majid is also a member of the MEDA’s Investment Technical Team and represents MEDA in CAFIID (Canadian Forum for Impact Investing and Development).

Experience – Majid has a Bachelors in Arts & Business from the University of Waterloo along with a Master in Business Entrepreneurship & Technology. Since 2009 Majid has been working with various impact investing and international development organizations including Acumen, Engro Foundation and The Aman Foundation. Through these assignments he has been exposed to various value chains related within the economic empowerment mandate including Agriculture, SME Development and Vocational Training. Through his career he has also had a chance to work closely with various donor agencies including USAID, DFID, GIZ, World Bank and the Japan Government. 

Languages - Majid is fluent in English and Urdu, and has basic Mandarin and Arabic skills.

NICK RAMSING, Technical Director, Market Systems

Role at MEDA ‒ Nick is responsible for building capacity, developing strategic approaches, documenting best practices, mentoring staff and overseeing market solutions support to all of MEDA’s programming. He collaborates to ensure that technical expertise in this area is shared across the organization. In addition to this, Nick continues to manage projects directly within the Global region of programming.

Experience ‒ Nick worked as an economic development advisor to Food for the Hungry in East Africa prior to his first stint with MEDA, when he performed as a credit systems specialist in Tanzania and later as a senior microfinance consultant. After 10 years as a senior project manager in information technology industry and a management consultant to U.S. federal civilian agencies, Nick has returned to MEDA to strengthen PSD-Ag’s ICT applications and extend its value chain development methodology. Nick holds degrees in Economics from University of California, Davis and Boston University. He maintains Project Management Professional certification from PMI.

STEVEN HOGBERG, Project Coordinator/Junior Consultant

Role at MEDA - Steve supports Global Programs with research and report writing on projects and fragile states, market research, and proposal development. He is eager to expand his knowledge of market systems, and gain hands on experience developing and implementing agriculture and business proposals.

Experience - Prior to joining Global Programs, Steve worked as a Value Chain intern on the GROW Ghana project in Wa, Ghana where he grew the local soybean value chain on behalf of 20,000 women farmers. Steve has complemented six years of progressive communications, operations, and logistics support to the Canadian Red Cross Africa Team, Environment Canada, and the IDRC with travel to Dakar, Senegal, and the islands of Java and Bali. In addition to work in the development world, he has successfully pursued Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Honours degrees in History and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Languages - English, French at working proficiency and is currently studying Spanish.

Eastern, Southern and Central Africa Programs

ALLISON NAFZIGER, Project Coordinator / Junior Consultant

Role at MEDA - Allison is the Coordinator for MEDA’s Eastern, Southern and Central Africa (ESCA) team. She provides technical support for the Agricultural Transformation through Stronger Vocational Education project in Ethiopia, the Strengthening Small Business Value Chains and Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise projects in Tanzania, and the Invest East Africa project.

Experience ‒ Allison holds a Master of Arts in International Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Eastern University. Her previous experience with MEDA was serving as the Coordinator for MEDA’s Strategic Engagement team. Before joining MEDA, she served as a Microfinance Intern for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in El Salvador and as the Giving Projects Coordinator at MCC’s headquarters in Akron, PA. She also volunteered with Medical Ministry International in the Dominican Republic and studied Spanish in Argentina, Peru, and Guatemala.

Languages - Allison is fluent in English, proficient in Spanish and currently learning French.

ASHLEA WEBBER, Project Manager

Role at MEDA - Ashlea is a Project Manager for MEDA's Eastern, Southern and Central Africa (ESCA) projects. She manages aspects of the Strengthening Small Business Value Chains project and Masava project, both in Tanzania. She also aids in management and provides technical skills on the Agricultural Transformation through Stronger Vocational Education project in Ethiopia.

Experience - Ashlea holds a Master of Development Practice degree from the University of Waterloo and Bachelor of Social Sciences degrees in both Economics and International Economics and Development from the University of Ottawa. Ashlea's international work experience includes conducting her Master's research in Kisumu, Kenya for Millennium Cities Initiative as well as working as a Gender & HIV/AIDS Program Assistant for REFORD in Nkando, Malawi. Ashlea was also an International Development Management Fellow for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada where she was employed as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Coastal Rural Support Program in Pemba, Mozambique. Prior to these international experiences, Ashlea worked with the Canadian Red Cross Society where she began as a Program Assistant for Haiti Shelter and Reconstruction and later became a Program Associate for all of the Haiti Program Operations.

CATHERINE WALKER, Project Manager

Role at MEDA - In this role she is responsible for supporting a number of projects, including the ATTSVE project in Ethiopia and the EPTPSD project in Kenya.

Experience - Catherine first joined MEDA in 2013 to support on MEDA’s TechnoLinks project, focused on utilizing technology to improve access to financial services in Nicaragua. She moved into a Project Coordinator position with MEDA’s Private Sector Development department before joining the Agriculture team as a Project Manager. Prior to joining MEDA Catherine was the Director of Programming for the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, a non-profit based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico focused on increasing access to education for rural children and youth. Catherine has also worked as an independent consultant in the microfinance sector with MEDA partner MiCredito. Catherine holds a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, a Post-Graduate Certificate in International Development from Humber College and a Bachelors Degree from McMaster University. She is currently working on a Certificate in Business Administration at McMaster University.

Languages - Catherine speaks fluent English and Spanish.

DAVID EAGLE, Associate Director

Role at MEDA ‒ As Associate Director, David leads and manages a team of international development professionals and projects across MEDA’s core technical areas of market systems, financial services, investment and vulnerable populations. Overall, this team is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of economic development projects in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. David also directly manages projects and provides technical expertise in agribusiness and seed systems in Tanzania and Uganda.

Experience ‒ Most recently, David led the MEDA Health project that aims to reduce Vitamin A deficiency in Northern Tanzania through the fortification of unrefined sunflower oil with Vitamin A. David has also worked as a consultant on MEDA’s agriculture project that is facilitating new market-based supply chains for certified cassava seed systems in Tanzania. Prior to joining MEDA, David spent 14 years in a private sector business focused on technology and financial services industries in the roles of strategic planning, marketing, implementation consulting and project management. David holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in Peace & Conflict Studies from Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo.

FIONA MACKENZIE, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA ‒ As a Senior Project Manager, Fiona is responsible for managing long-term projects and partnerships within MEDA's Eastern, Southern, and Central Africa Programs. This includes conducting new business development, and delivering value chain and market analysis consulting services. Fiona’s work is currently focused on long-term contracts in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya with Canadian and American partners and donors. Her current portfolio of projects work with entrepreneurs, business owners, and youth to build skills and link producers to sustainable service providers and markets across various sectors.

Experience ‒ Fiona brings substantial experience to MEDA working with value chains in West and East Africa. Prior to joining MEDA, Fiona consulted to MEDA programming in Ethiopia – particularly in new business development and on projects working within the handwoven textile sector. Prior to MEDA, Fiona spent three years working in the private and non-profit sectors in Ghana. Fiona obtained a BBA with a double major in Finance and Management from Mount Saint Vincent University, and she is currently working on her MA in International Development from the Saint Mary's University. Fiona’s MA research focuses on the effects of non-renewable resource management on social and economic growth.

Languages ‒ Fiona is fluent in English, and has a proficient level of French and Spanish.

GOODLUCK MOSHA, Field Project Manager, Tanzania

Role at MEDA - In his role as Field Project Manager, Goodluck leads a team of field staff on MEDA’s ENGINE project in Tanzania. He is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of project strategies, adjusting course as needed based on interim performance, to achieve life-of-project performance targets. This includes successful management of relationships with host governments, donor agencies, the business community, project implementation partners and subcontractors.

LILIA TVERDUN, Field Project Manager, Tanzania

Role at MEDA: In her role as Field Project Manager, Lilia is responsible for overseeing the Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC) project. This includes management of field staff, and assuming accountability of project results while managing successful relationships with host governments, donor agencies, the business community, project implementation partners and subcontractors.

Experience: Lilia has over 20 years of direct experience in inclusive economic growth, governance, public finance management, SME support and coaching, institutional capacity building and gender advisory services. In addition, she has more than 12 years of senior management experience managing several large scale economic development programs, including work experience in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Montenegro, Russia and Moldova. Lilia earned her Master’s in Business Education with specialization in business training and organizational development from New York University. She also holds a PhD in Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Moldovan and an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability from the University of Cumbria, UK.

Languages: English

LLOYD McCORMICK, Field Project Manager, Kenya

Role at MEDA - Lloyd has 20 plus years’ experience in international development in both North American and Country Field Director roles. He is a strong, collaborative manager and is responsible for in-country oversight and management of MEDA’s MSAWA project in Nairobi, Kenya.

Experience - Lloyd has experience working in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Romania, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia.   In addition, he has a background in microenterprise development, micro-credit and business management and experience with donors such as UN, USAID, and MasterCard Foundation. He has previously done work for ChildFund International, restructuring their West Africa National Offices.

Languages - English

MIKE SARCO, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA - In his role as Sr. Project Manager, Mike is responsible for providing management, technical and consulting services to MEDA projects and to a wide range of clients in the Eastern, Southern, and Central Africa region.

Experience - Mike has over 35 years of work experience in rural development entrepreneurial, NGO, Government and Private Sector positions. For fifteen years he has performed various project advisory roles in Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Liberia and DRC. In post-conflict economies he brought various groups together to address health service delivery issues in Liberia and DRC by working with Private Sector Mining Concerns, the government Ministry of Health and International Donors. These led to Primary and Secondary Health care provision in area's previously not served by either for many years. Mike has worked with small holders in Uganda and Mexico to increase sales and prepare them for export markets. In Zambia he worked with groups using Aleo Vera extracts for medicinal purposes and the residue from extract production to decrease flock loss in commercially grown poultry and Cattle. In 1989 he started a Fresh Herbs production facility that grew from a start-up to sales of USD 2.4 million annually by 1996, and currently has sales over 25 million dollars annually. He brings a practical and innovative approach to assisting the rural poor find profitable solutions to difficult problems in challenging environments. He holds a BA from Eastern Mennonite University and an MBA from James Madison University. Prior to his position as Field Project Manager in Kenya, Mike was a Senior Project with MEDA’s Business of Health department.

Languages - English

NADIRA SALEH, Project Manager

Role at MEDA - As a Project Manager, Nadira is responsible for managing long-term project's on the Eastern, Southern and Central Africa team. She is currently managing MEDA's Masava Project, which aims to address Vitamin A deficiency in rural Tanzania by enabling private sector small and medium enterprise (SME) sunflower oil processors to fortify unrefined sunflower oil with Vitamin A.

Experience - Nadira has significant experience in academic research, specifically in nutrition. Nadira has worked for African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) in Nairobi, Kenya, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa and has consulted for Action Against Hunger (Paris), Catholic Relief Services and Tufts University (Burkina Faso). Nadira earned her Masters of Science specializing in International Food Policy and Economics at Tufts University in Boston and her B.Sc in Health Sciences at McMaster University.

Languages - Nadira speaks fluent English and French as well as basic understanding of Hindi, Urdu and Swahili.

NIKESH GHIMIRE, Technical Director, Financial Services

Role at MEDA: Nikesh provides financial services expertise, management, technical and consulting services to various MEDA projects across all regions of programming. He is responsible for providing technical leadership on current projects and also contributes to new business development including cultivating, managing and sustaining donor relationships. In addition, Nikesh develops annual plans, budgets and strategy and directly manages a large scale project in Kenya.

Experience: Nikesh has experience in leadership roles within the financial services industry specializing in SMEs, channel innovations, project management, marketing and strategic planning. He was previously a Senior Advisor, Financial Channel Innovations at Louis Berger and also held various management positions at Laxmi Bank Limited in Nepal. Nikesh studied at the Kathmandu University School of Management in Nepal where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration.

Languages: English

RACHEL HESS, Senior Director, Eastern, Southern and Central Africa Programs

Role at MEDA - As Senior Director, Rachel leads MEDA's ESCA program,

  • supporting a team of development professionals to implement projects that facilitate sustained change
  • developing program strategy
  • coordinating new business development

Across the region, MEDA delivers business solutions to poverty by drawing on expertise in market systems development, empowerment of women through economic advancement, integration of youth into employment and business, inclusive financial systems development, investment and blended finance.

Experience - Rachel has extensive experience with programs designed to reduce poverty through inclusive economic development, both internationally and in North America. With MEDA she has managed programs focused on assisting women to improve production and business skills to more effectively participate in viable market systems. Her specialities include market systems analysis to identify opportunities for greater inclusion of women and other marginalized groups and monitoring of market-based interventions. She has conducted project evaluation, market analysis and project design assignments in a range of international settings and has lived in Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tanzania. She has also directed a Women’s Business Center committed to assisting women to start and grow businesses in south central Pennsylvania. Rachel has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Virginia.

Language - English

SARA ORLEANS-POBEE, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA: Sara provides a high level of technical and business expertise in market solutions, investment, vulnerable populations, financial services, blended finance, SME financial services and private sector industry specific experience. She manages projects and maintains client relationships while delivering both internal and external consulting services.

Experience: Sara has over 18 years of experience working within the Finance/Financial Services industry in North America and Africa. She earned her MBA (Finance) from Schulich School of Business, York University and a B.Sc. Business Administration (Banking and Finance) from University of Ghana. Previously, Sara was the Head of Corporate Finance at Fidelity Bank in Ghana.

Languages: English

STEPHEN MAGIGE, Field Project Manager, Tanzania

Role at MEDA ‒ As a Field Project Manager, Stephen’s responsibilities is to direct the project to make sure that the overall objectives of the project is realised.

Experience ‒ Stephen has over 15 years’ experience in managing agriculture and livelihood projects, started his carrier in Microfinance as a District Microfinance Supervisors with the Rural Financial Services Programme (RFSP), Microfinance Advisor with the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), National Technical Advisor with the Belgium Technical Corporation (BTC) , Country Programme Manager with Catholic Relief Services(CRS)-Great Lakes Cassava Initiatives Project and currently with MEDA-Cassava Project. Stephen has accumulated vast experience in in project formulations, management, implementation, Monitoring and Evaluations, agriculture value chain assessment and upgrading interventions for various sub sectors, offering a wide range of Business Development Services to different segment of the chain. Stephen has a Bachelor in Agriculture General from Sokoine University of Agriculture and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Dar Es Salaam.

THOMAS McCORMACK, Country Project Manager, Ethiopia

Role at MEDA - In his role as Country Project Manager, Tom overseas and manages MEDA’s Value Chains for Economic Growth Ethiopia (VCEGE) project in the field. Tom has worked in various international positions based in Malawi, Tajikistan, Sudan, Mali, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, and Afghanistan.

Experience - Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Public Administration, International Development, from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, USA. He previously had a long career working for Save the Children as well as Mercy Corps International.

Languages - English

West Africa / MENA Programs

ADAM BRAMM, Associate Director

Role at MEDA ‒ As Associate Director, Adam is responsible for economic and financial analysis, value chain analysis, and developing and managing market-driven projects integrating women small scale producers, farmers or business owners into viable market systems. Adam currently manages the USAID’s Libya Women's Economic Empowerment (LWEE) project and the GAC-funded Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in Ghana. He also undertakes various consultancies as they occur.

Experience ‒ Adam has over ten years of experience working in the international development field, both in the US and abroad. For the past six years, Adam has worked at Development Alternative, Inc. (DAI) most recently as a Project Manager, for the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan Sector. His previous roles at DAI included Business Manager, Governance/Economic Growth Sector and Country Coordinator, Health Sector. Adam has also worked as a Proposal Manager at MSD and was an Economic Development Volunteer for the United States Peace Corps based in Bulgaria. Adam has a Master's degree in International Development from the Joseph Korbel School of International Studies and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Anthropology from Lawrence University.

Languages ‒ English

CHOM BAGU, Field Project Manager, Nigeria

Role at MEDA – Chom Bagu is the Field Project Manager of the Youth Entrepreneurship and Women’s Empowerment (WAY) project in Nigeria. In that role he is responsible for successfully managing the implementation of the project’s field activities with a team of 20 people. WAY is a five year, GAC-funded project that will support 16,000 small scale businesses and entrepreneurs to improve their business performance and business environment in the Bauchi state agricultural sector. Targeted value chains are rice, groundnut and soybean and targeted clients are 70% female.

Experience - Chom brings a wealth of experience to MEDA particularly in the community development field, focusing on peace and security. Chom is recognised as an authority on conflict issues in Northern Nigeria particularly those around pastoralist/farmer conflicts and Boko Haram. Through his unique experience, Chom has written many scholarly papers and firmly believes that insecurity exacerbates conflict, and the project’s success in improving markets systems for poor or vulnerable people in places such as Bauchi state ultimately contributes to stability. Chom identifies himself as a feminist community development activist and has led a prior initiative to leverage girl’s voices to end violence in Northern Nigeria. He also is a strong advocate for girl’s presence on the anti-poverty agenda and is an active community member.

Languages – English and Hausa (and more)

EDOUINE FRANCOIS, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA: Edouine’s role includes management of field projects while maintaining client relationships and delivering internal and external consulting services for the WA/MENA region. He provides technical leadership, supporting current projects and cultivating new business development in the region.

Experience: Edouine has over 21 years of experience in International Development, managing and providing a wide range of technical assistance to Financial Service Providers in Africa, Latin America and Asia. He is a capacity building specialist and has led the development of innovative training solutions. Edouine served as Director of Product Development with Freedom from Hunger in Ottawa and also held technical and training roles within the organization. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from INAGHELI, Haiti State University, several certificates as a Microfinance Trainer and is also a Langevin Learning Services Certified e-Learning Specialist.

Languages: English

FARAH CHANDANI, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA ‒ Farah is responsible for promoting improved livelihoods, increased employment and entrepreneurship opportunities through value chain development, and better financial inclusion for young women and men around the world, including research and analysis on these topics. She currently manages the Global Affairs Canada funded Jordan Valley Links project that focuses on women and youth entrepreneurs in food processing, tourism and clean technology sectors. She also manages the financial inclusion component of the Canadian YouLead Project in Nigeria that is led by CUSO.

Experience ‒ Farah has over 15 years' experience as an International Development professional. Her career began as an Evaluation Officer for Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and since then, has worked as an Analyst and Project Officer for the Regional Africa Program, the Pakistan Program, the China Program and most recently Partnership Programming. Farah earned her Masters of Science specializing in Rural Planning and International Development at the University of Guelph and her B.Sc specializing in Psychology at Queen's University. Her specialties include: women's economic empowerment and gender equality programming; youth programming; and results-based management training, monitoring and evaluation.

Languages ‒ English, French (intermediate), Urdu/Hindi (basic) and Swahili (basic)

FRANCES FORTUNE, Senior Project Manager

Role at MEDA - Frances has many years of project and program management experience, including the management of a variety of small projects of community business to multi-year national and regional programs. In her role as Sr. Project Manager, she is responsible for providing management, technical and consulting services to MEDA projects and to a wide range of clients in the West Africa/MENA regions. She also actively seeks opportunities for new business development and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Experience - Frances lived in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) for 28 years working with NGOs in the areas of conflict transformation and peace building. She managed a consultancy business providing technical expertise in program design, monitoring and evaluation and strategic and tactical guidance to ongoing projects, NGOs and INGOS working in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a Ph.D. student, Global Social Policy with focus on youth informal employment at Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her educational background also includes a M.A., Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia; B. Sc., Geology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Certificate, French as a Second Language from the French Immersion School of the University of Western Ontario at Trois Pistoles in Quebec.

Languages - English and French

HELAL AHSAN-Ul-HAQUE, Country Project Director, Jordan

Role at MEDA: Leading a team of field staff, Helal ensures effective implementation of project strategies for the Jordan Valley Links project in Jordan. This involves both technical expertise as well as staff management, while maintaining and contributing to relationships with host governments, donor agencies, project implementation partners and subcontractors. Helal leads the JVL team in project in planning, mentoring, evaluation, performance and reporting.

Experience: Helal obtained his Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in NGO Leadership and Management from the School for International Training. He has over 31 years of experience in designing, planning and providing leadership to large scale development programs in South East Asia and Africa. Before joining MEDA, Helal was the Chief of Party for a Global Affairs Canada (GAC) funded Food Sufficiency for Farmers program at CARE Ethiopia. In the past, Helal has managed several GAC-funded multi-million dollar projects in Bangladesh (Rural Maintenance Program) and Pakistan (Rehabilitation of Education Sector project, and Community Infrastructure Improvement Project).

Languages: English

INTISSAR RAJABANY, Country Project Manager, Libya

Role at MEDA ‒ Intissar joined MEDA in April 2013. As leader of the project team Intissar is responsible for managing the implementation of MEDA's USAID-funded Libya Women's Economic Empowerment project, which aims to strengthen women owned SMEs through training, support and a matching grants fund.

Experience ‒ Prior to working with MEDA Intissar worked with the British Council and other local and international NGOs on programs that support advocacy and awareness raising in the MENA region. Due to the unique environment in Libya prior to the 2011 uprising Intissar brings with her extensive experience working in international oil and gas companies. She is currently actively involved in community service initiatives in Libya and her main interests are human rights and women empowerment in governance. She has provided assistance to the Libyan interim government with regards to establishing Human Resources best practices in the public sector and centers for civilian reintegration. In addition to being an ardent linguist, Intissar ran her own consultancy business specializing in the oil and gas sector, security and politics in Libya and is a founding member and vice president of the Women in Business Committee – Tripoli.

Languages ‒ Arabic, English and French

JENNIFER DENOMY, Technical Director, Vulnerable Populations

Role at MEDA ‒ Jennifer is responsible for building capacity, developing strategic approaches, documenting best practices, mentoring staff and overseeing how vulnerable populations are included throughout MEDA’s programming. She collaborates to ensure that technical expertise in this area is shared across the organization.

Experience ‒ Jennifer has worked in international development and education for over twenty years. She has managed projects in Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan, Uganda, Sri Lanka, El Salvador and Mongolia, focusing on financial inclusion, skills training and workplace improvement for young people. She has supported financial institutions on product development, client analysis and risk management. From 2009 to 2012, she was facilitator of the SEEP Network’s Youth Financial Services Practitioner Learning Program, a three year action research project that brought together four microfinance organizations to explore appropriate and accessible financial services for young people. Prior to joining MEDA, she worked as the pedagogical manager of a teacher training centre in Germany and a curriculum designer for BRAC's Non-formal Primary Education Program in Bangladesh. Jennifer holds an M.Ed. in International Development and Education from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from McGill University in Montreal.

Languages ‒ English, German and French (intermediate)

MIRA MAUDE CHOUINARD, Project Manager

Role at MEDA: As Project Manager, Mira manages projects in the West Africa, Middle East North Africa region, maintains client relationships, delivers internal and external consulting services and develops new business opportunities.

Experience: Mira has many years of experience in project and business management. She previously worked for Falls Brooks Centre and Fundación Cuero y Salado managing coastal community development projects in Honduras, that focused on biodiversity restoration, kitchen and community gardens and market development. Mira also started and manages a small business, a boutique in Farnham, Quebec. She attended the University of British Columbia where she earned a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, as well as Humber College earning a Graduate Certificate in International Development.

Languages: English, French and Spanish

NICOLE HEANEY, Project Coordinator/Junior Consultant

Role at MEDA - Nicole assists the West Africa/MENA team with market research, business development, proposal development, drafting and editing technical documents, developing marketing materials, backstopping on project activities, and delivering consulting services.

Experience - Nicole is a graduate from the International Development program at Humber College, as well she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo. She has several years’ experience working in the non-profit sector in the areas of grant writing, volunteer coordination, event planning, fundraising and data entry.

Languages - English

ROBERT AUSTIN, Field Project Manager, Ghana

Robert started in his role as Field Project Manager for the FEATS Project in 2018. He is based in Accra, Ghana and was previously providing consulting services for the project’s drip irrigation system. Robert is a Civil and Irrigation Engineer with a Finance MBA and 30+ years’ experience in project management, rural and agricultural development. He has experience managing project teams with a variety of technical expertise.

Partnerships and Innovation

CAROLYN BURNS, Manager, Partnerships and Innovation

Role at MEDA - Carolyn began her time at MEDA as an external consultant supporting MEDA’s INFRONT program before transitioning to Research Coordinator and later her current position as Manager, Partnerships & Innovation. Carolyn provides support to the Partnerships and Innovation team through streamlining business development systems and reporting, proposal process management, and research and analysis. She provides guidance to regional coordinators in business development support and also contributes to the development of the partnerships and innovation department.

Experience - Carolyn has provided external consulting services to Grand Challenges Canada, Sarona Asset Management and Info-Tech Research Group. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Western University and a Master of Science in International Management from Ivey School of Business. In addition, she is a Leadership Team Member for the Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy (WISE), Toronto Chapter.

Languages - English

DANIEL FUENTES, Senior Manager, Business Development

Role at MEDA - In his role, Daniel supports MEDA’s new business development work globally. He contributes to the building of new partnerships and opportunities and acquisition of funding contracts for MEDA’s programming. He is also involved in setting up and advancing the business development infrastructure, systems and resources to enable others to participate fully in the business development process. In addition, he is responsible for contributing technical knowledge and positioning while advancing experience and expertise in all of MEDA’s technical areas.

Experience - Previously, Daniel worked at Pillar Nonprofit Network as the Manager or Social Enterprise and Social Finance. He has experience in implementing professional development programs, coaching services for social entrepreneurs and connections to investors for enterprises interested in achieving social or environmental outcomes. He also has professional experience in management consulting and corporate strategy at Carolinian Canada Coalition and working as a Political Analyst for the Embassy of Mexico in Canada. Daniel earned a Master of Business Administration and Certificate of Entrepreneurship from Ivey Business School, Western University in London, Ontario and a Bachelor of Business Administration (Finance and Economics) from University of Texas in El Paso.

Languages - English and Spanish

LINDA JONES, Vice President, Partnerships and Innovation

Role at MEDA - Linda’s leads a team whose efforts are focused on leading business development partnerships in collaboration with all regions. In addition, she is responsible for coordinating MEDA’s Technical Teams with an emphasis on technical innovation, technical direction and technical positioning.

Experience - Linda is a globally recognized expert in the field of inclusive economic development, with a focus on the integration of vulnerable populations into market systems and financial sectors. Recently rejoining MEDA, Linda has held senior positions at the Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva, the Coady International Institute and Open Text Corporation. As a consultant, Jones has advised on a wide range of bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental development programs, with extensive experience strategic development, field research, building the capacity of program teams, and training policy makers and practitioners through recognized institutions such as the ILO, Boulder Institute and CGIAR among others. Jones has contributed to building the inclusive economic development field as a volunteer in key areas such as: co-founding and chairing the Canadian Forum for Impact Investment and Development; serving as a board member and chair of the SEEP Network (DC); advising the Eurasia Foundation on women’s enterprise development; publishing extensively from articles in peer-reviewed journal to books and reports; and serving as editor of the Enterprise Development and Microfinance Journal. Jones holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Linguistics from McMaster University in Canada where she received numerous awards for academic excellence including a Commonwealth Scholarship and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada graduate fellowship.

Languages - English

NIGEL MOTTS, Director, Business Development, Africa

Role at MEDA - In his role, Nigel has the responsibility to cultivate, network, create, test, and propose new business development partnerships and proposals in the region. His work includes developing business partnerships that engage global businesses and result in profitable, ongoing business models which generate sustainable livelihoods.

Experience ‒ Initially a small business owner in Canada, Nigel has thirty years of inclusive business solutions to poverty experience in the small enterprise and agriculture sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigel has a B.B.A [Wilfrid Laurier University (1983)] and an MSc. in International Rural Development Planning [University of Guelph (1994)]. With MEDA since 2004, Nigel’s previous roles have included Senior Program Manager, Director of Private Sector Development – Agriculture and Senior Director of the ESCA Program. Prior to joining MEDA, Nigel led the SME, Innovation and Technology program at the International Development Research Centre (1995-2001).

Cross-Cutting Services

CALAIS CASWELL, Senior Program Manager, Gender

Role at MEDA - Calais holds responsibility for providing leadership and support to MEDA’s gender programming initiatives as well as developing strategies, delivering training, providing technical assistance and developing resources/tools. She provides support to MEDA’s international project and staff to mainstream and integrate standardized gender programming policies, strategies and interventions.

Experience - Calais is an international development professional with experience in gender programming and socio-economic research and assessment work. Previously, she worked for the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada as a Sector Specialist or Gender and Environment. She holds a Master of Arts in Globalization and International Development from University of Ottawa and an Honours Bachelor of Arts specializing in Women’s Studies and Hispanic Studies from University of Victoria. In addition, she is pursuing her Project Management Professional Certification at Humber College.

Languages - English

CARL ASUNCION, Program Manager, Monitoring and Impact Measurement

Role at MEDA - Carl is a Program Manager, Monitoring and Impact Measurement (MIM), on MEDA’s cross-cutting services team. He is responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting MIM systems for MEDA’s international programming. Carl is involved in developing strategies, delivering training, providing technical assistance, managing databases, developing data collection tools, conducting data analysis, and writing reports.

Experience - Carl has a Masters of Science in Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics from the University of Guelph. This applied economics degree helped develop his quantitative data analysis skills and proficiency in software like R, Stata, and ArcGIS. He also has degrees in Biomedical Sciences and in International Economics and Development from the University of Ottawa. Previously, Carl worked on the Agriculture and Food Security program at the International Development Research Centre and managed an urban agriculture program in Cameroon. He also conducted holistic health research in Peru as a Public Engagement Intern.

Languages - Carl is fluent in English, Spanish and French.

DENNIS TESSIER, Senior Program Manager, Environment and Climate Change

Role at MEDA - Dennis ensures environmental sustainability and climate action is integrated and championed within MEDA projects by utilizing tools and resources developed in accordance with MEDA’s environmental management strategy (EMS). The role includes working with team members and partners to communicate developments in climate action and broadly foster a sense of awareness and commitment to environmental sustainability and climate-focus into all our work. Dennis provides training on environmental sustainability, environmental technologies and climate change to all project staff and partners.

Experience - Dennis has 15 years of business and project management experience. A significant portion of his program management expertise stems from his founding and operation of a pioneering non-profit organization and two clean energy social enterprises in East Africa. Through these organizations he gained experience designing, implementing and working in partnership with numerous stakeholders, including donors, bi-lateral and multilateral organizations, INGOs, the private sector, government agencies, community-based organizations and microfinance institutions. Dennis earned a Master of Arts in development studies, specializing in poverty and resource management, from University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, a Honours Bachelor of Arts specializing in International and Comparative Studies from Huron University College and a Certificate in Intercultural Communications and Community Development from CEGEP Marie Victorin in Montreal, Quebec.

Languages - English, French and Kiswahili

JILLIAN BAKER, Senior Program Manager, Monitoring and Impact Measurement

Role at MEDA - Jillian Baker is a development practitioner with eight years of experience in capacity building, project management, and monitoring and evaluation. She currently provides technical support to projects and consultancies on MIM systems and environmental sustainability. Focusing on participatory communication techniques, she has experience in training, developing curriculum, and using both quantitative and qualitative methods to measure and communicate impact.

Experience - Jillian holds a MA in International Communications and Development from City University London and a BA in English Language and Literature. She has worked in Honduras, Ghana, Nicaragua, Mexico, Morocco, Uganda, the US, the UK, Ukraine and Zambia.

Languages - English and Spanish

LEAH KATERBERG, Director, Cross-Cutting Services

Role at MEDA - As the director of Cross Cutting Services, Leah ensures the overall success and effective support to MEDA on cross cutting issues: Monitoring & Impact Measurement, Gender, Climate Change and Environment. She leads the team in planning and implementing leading edge support services with a focus on the introduction of enhanced/new approaches and the utilization of an appropriate mix of methodologies.

Experience - Leah is a former MEDA employee who worked on the ISS team from 2009 to 2012 as a Program Manager in Evaluation and Environmental Assessment. In 2012, Leah and her family relocated to Tanzania where she managed a large contract farming value chain project for TechnoServe serving close to half a million cotton farmers in Tanzania’s western cotton growing region. Leah returned to Canada at the end of 2013, where she established a successful consulting practice serving a variety of private companies and development organizations, including MEDA.

Languages - Leah speaks English, French and Swahili

SARA M. SEAVEY, Senior Program Manager, Cross-Cutting Services

Sara M. Seavey is a Senior Program Manager for Gender in MEDA’s Cross-Cutting Services team and oversees the implementation of gender equality programming, ensuring technical quality assurance, and building internal capacity of staff and partners.

In this role, she develops and manages MEDA's gender equality strategies, developing tools and resources for MEDA’s gender programming. Sara currently supports projects in Tanzania, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Jordan, Ukraine, and Ghana. She also supports MEDA’s Vulnerable Populations working group, which focuses on how to increase women and youth in economic development programs. Prior to joining MEDA, Sara managed complex projects, including mobile data for decision making and digital financial inclusion with USAID’s Global Development Lab, and workforce development in Morocco. She has also worked with women entrepreneurs in Cape Town, South Africa and supported international exchange programs between the U.S. and Asia. Sara holds a M.A. in Social Enterprise from American University and a B.A. in International Development from Connecticut College.

YASIR DILDAR, Associate Director, Monitoring and Impact Measurement

Role at MEDA - Yasir is responsible for managing the day to day operations of MEDA’s Monitoring and Impact Measurement services across all programs.

Experience - Yasir is an experienced researcher and performance measurement specialist with a diverse skill set in monitoring and impact measurement, gender programming, participatory research and analysis. He has produced more than thirty technical research reports and has developed the evaluation systems for a wide range of MEDA programs. He holds Master degrees in Development Studies and Sociology.

Languages - Fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi

Knowledge Management and Information Technology

NATHALIE LUNDY, Data Systems Analyst

Nathalie Lundy is responsible for supporting the development of proposals and other business development activities at MEDA. Nathalie has over six years of experience developing proposals for various branches of government, foundations, corporations and individual donors. She holds an honours B.A. in Anthropology and International Development from the University of Guelph and a graduate certificate in International Project Management from Humber College.

NEIL DENISON, Director, Knowledge Management and IT

Neil brings over 20 years’ experience in the Information Technology and non-profit sectors. For the last 10 years he worked with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions, offering support to MEDA and a number of other organizations. Most recently, he led IT strategy for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Conrad Grebel University College, Stonehenge Therapeutic Centre and One Care Home and Community Support Services. He has consulted on technology and privacy issues in the Health Care sector and designed systems to be compliant with the high privacy and security standards set by the Federal and Provincial governments. Previous to PeaceWorks, Neil was a Technical Lead in Microsoft’s Enterprise Platforms Division where he worked with Microsoft’s Fortune 500 clients. Neil came to Microsoft from Parks Canada where he provided technical support in places such as Banff, Jasper, and Glacier National Parks. Neil holds an IT Management and Service diploma from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), History from the University of Guelph.