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
CAROLYN BURNS, Research Coordinator
Role at MEDA - Carolyn began her time at MEDA as an external consultant supporting MEDA’s INFRONT program before transitioning to her current role as Research Coordinator. Carolyn provides support to the Global Programs to coordinate and liaise between subcontracted research, monitoring and evaluation and contributing partners and MEDA, primarily related to blended finance projects. She is involved in conducting, designing, coordinating and reporting on the technical support and research undertaken for blended investment and other projects, as well as supporting other projects and business development efforts.
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
CAVELLE DOVE, Country Project Manager, Myanmar
Role at MEDA ‒ Since August 2015, Cavelle has been leading the start-up for the MEDA project “Women's Improved Market Access for Growth and Empowerment” in Myanmar, which will focus on improving the livelihoods of 25,000 rural women in two ethnic states in Myanmar.
Experience ‒ Cavelle has over 20 years’ experience in international and local community development. Cavelle has worked in Malawi as a social and community development worker in communities ravaged by AIDs and poverty. In Canada, Cavelle worked as a provincial Child Protection Worker and community development worker. She also co-chaired a funding initiative through the United Way providing small grants to local community organizations for grassroots initiatives. In Thailand, Cavelle worked with ECPAT, an organization-monitoring child trafficking and since 2004 has worked for the Embassy of Canada as manager of the Canada Fund, a small grants program in operation throughout 4 countries in Southeast Asia. In 2004 Cavelle coordinated relief and development initiatives to tsunami-affected regions of Thailand on behalf of the Canadian government. In addition to her work for the Canadian government, Cavelle has pioneered the start-up of a local NGO known as Imagine Thailand, a social action organization specializing in linking the university and marketplace to marginalized communities. In 2012 Cavelle moved to Myanmar where she co-founded a social enterprise known as Yangonbakehouse, which focuses on developing livelihood skills for women at the bottom of the pyramid. Cavelle holds a BSW from Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and completed further graduate work at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, Philippines. She is a candidate for a Masters in Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University in Thailand.
Languages ‒ English and Thai
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.
DEVON KRAINER, Project Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation
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, Senior Project Manager
Role at MEDA: In her role as Senior Project Manager, Jessica supports MEDA’s work in various projects within the Global region. She is responsible for managing projects and client relationships while delivering both internal and external consulting services and developing new business opportunities.
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, Technical Director, Financial Services
Role at MEDA - Kamran Abdullayev, of Waterloo, Canada is a Technical Director and leads the organizational efforts to advance and maintain its excellence in inclusive financial services. Kamran joined MEDA in 2010 as a Senior Consultant / Project Manager specializing in the areas of rural, agriculture, SME and value chain financing. Kamran has about 20 years of experience in enterprise development, microfinance, and value chains development that includes a direct provision of business development services to small enterprises, market research, design, management and technical backstopping to economic development projects.
Within MEDA, Kamran is responsible for managing technical support to the MEDA programming and consultancy projects for partner financial institutions and SME banks in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. His roles include 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, Technical Director, Investment
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, Associate Director
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.
YANYAN GAI, Project Manager
Role at MEDA ‒ Yanyan joined MEDA in July 2014. Currently as a project manager, Yanyan works extensively on investment grant portfolio management, data analytics and impact evaluation, as well as supply chain analysis. Yanyan is working on Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project and Mountain Lion Agriculture in Sierra Leone.
Experience ‒ Before MEDA, Yanyan worked as a PR & Marketing executive with Ogilvy Public Relations, Microsoft and Embassy of Ireland. She holds master degree in Financial and Economic Policy & International Development from Cornell University and bachelor degree in Sociology from Renmin University of China.
Language – Chinese (Mandarin)