With a mandate for inclusive, pro-poor and clean economic growth, we implement sustainable initiatives at scale in market systems and financial sectors – from agricultural finance for women and men smallholder farmers in Nicaragua and Ukraine, to women’s economic empowerment in Myanmar and Haiti as well as Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) investment for job creation and workforce development across frontier and emerging markets.
MEDA has long been recognized for its ability to leverage local partnerships – particularly in the private sector – for lasting change. MEDA enables local institutions, businesses, sectors and eco-systems to thrive, creating opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to both contribute to and benefit from economic growth. With our local partners, for example, we launch and / or build the capacity of microfinance institutions, support lead firms to develop smallholder supply chains and viable markets, integrate women and youth into the mainstream economy, strengthen investment ecosystems and promote innovation in sectors from agriculture to health.
Our expertise and approach enable us to tackle a range of programming in some of the world’s most challenging environments including fragile states, disaster-prone regions and the areas most impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. Our goal is to leave no-one behind, allowing the co-creation of a better future for us all.
MEDA Staff - 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
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
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
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.