West Africa / MENA

Countries of Interest in this Region: Algeria, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen

MEDA Staff - 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

IRENE BURNS, Senior Director, West Africa/MENA Programs

Role at MEDA - As Senior Director of the West Africa/MENA region of programs, Irene provides direction and management to achieve overall success for development of MEDA’s work in that geographic area. She ensures an environment that allows for effective delivery of contracts and consulting assignments, including effective staff management, visiting programs and managing consultants. Irene also encourages MEDA’s technical leadership by ensuring that all team members are actively participating in one of our technical teams and contributing, as appropriate, to consulting opportunities, publications, and industry contributions while exploring new and innovative products and development of tools. In addition to this, she undertakes new business development for the West Africa/MENA team.

Experience - Irene has an extensive background in international development, including an MBA in International Business.  She has 20 years of experience managing and implementing projects in small and medium-sized (SME) enterprise development, value chain competitiveness, capacity building, business enabling environment, and regional trade and investment in developing and transition countries for USAID.  She has worked as a Senior Development Specialist in private sector development and economic growth.  Her extensive experience managing USAID programs includes positions as Chief of Party (COP), Acting Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP), and Team Leader for over 7 years with DAI. She brings a deep understanding of USAID project management rules and regulations, policies and procedures, including financial management and budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, reporting, staff management, operations and management of multiple field offices. Most recently, she was a Director for DAI in Washington.

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)

KAREN WALSH, Field Project Manager, Ghana

Role at MEDA - As the Field Project Manager for the Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in Ghana, Karen is responsible for the successful management of the project in the field. The project is a 6-year, $20 million GAC-funded project which is helping 20,000 women farmers improve the food security of their families in Northern Ghana.

Experience - Karen was the CEO of an international development solutions provider, and has more than 25 years of experience including project management, humanitarian assistance, community reconstruction, workforce development, agricultural business expertise, refugee assistance and rural and urban community development and resiliency. She has worked in Haiti, Lebanon, Turkey, Libya, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Colombia, South Korea and Yemen. Karen holds an MPH from Yale University School of Medicine and a BA, Economics/Politics from Bennington College in Vermont.

Languages - English

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