MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field
Helen oversees the strategic direction and implementation of MEDA's Economic Opportunities (EO) division in which projects and assignments around the world empower clients (women & youth) to reach their economic potential and avail improved income-generating options. She coaches the EO team in their design and implementation of innovative solutions to the challenges faced by our women and youth clients in participating fully in market systems. Her role includes increasing and enhancing MEDA's networks of private sector firms, institutional donors, and other agencies - both local and international - as partners in our work of building economic gains for clients in challenging environments such as those affected by conflict, cultural constraints, climate-change pressures and dire economic disadvantage. Helen has directly managed several women's economic development programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has expertise in building business operations for enterprises in India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, - and in Canada. Her work centres on the practical application of disciplined business principles in building effective pro-poor programs for marginalized communities around the globe.
As project manager, Kara manages MEDA's work on the SDC funded Chemin Levi Miyo Plus (CLM+) Project (Pathways to a better life) in Haiti with Fonkoze Foundation, the lead implementer. An extension to Fonkoze’s very successful CLM program, this project seeks to introduce more market-driven and business-oriented solutions to addressing the poverty that the program’s women face through facilitating improved technical assistance and market linkages. Kara also supports MEDA’s project in Myanmar specifically focusing on the impact that women’s economic empowerment has on peacebuilding. Kara also provides value chain development expertise; market systems analysis and research; and manages local and international donor relations as required.
Mark Akpan is a financial inclusion and business management professional. He facilitates and coordinates in-country MEDA program activities on capacity strengthening of targeted financial partners to develop youth inclusive, gender responsive and environmentally responsible financial products and services for youths on the Youth, Leadership, Access, Entrepreneurship and Development (YouLead) Project in Cross River State, Nigeria.
Sashi has over twelve years of international development experience in inclusive financial services, credit guarantees, training, and project management in over 30 countries. Prior to MEDA, Sashi worked at USAID in their Office of Development Credit and Office of Poverty Reduction in Washington, DC. She specialized in providing technical assistance to USAID Field Missions in SME finance, housing, microfinance, and municipal finance. Sashi has worked on savings mobilization and investment at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Grameen Foundation, and was a consultant on household financing for water and sanitation in Cambodia. As a consultant for the ADB, Sashi conducted due diligence of prospective partner banks in Central Asia and Asia. She obtained her MSc. in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and her BA in International Development from Vanderbilt University.
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.
Clara joined MEDA in 2014 originally as an intern in Ethiopia. In her current role as Project Manager, she 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. Clara holds a MA in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo and BA in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Kaleab Zelalem is a young lawyer with a business law background and over three years' experience in providing legal assistance to economically disadvantaged women and youth on the issues of child and disability rights in the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. He was the 'Child Safe Certification' intern responsible for designing and implementing the certification and product labeling system for E-FACE. Kaleab is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is currently working as the Junior Textile Value Chain Officer for the EDGET project.
Keisha is a development finance specialist with over thirteen years’ experience in providing strategic managerial and technical assistance to start-up, mature and commercial microfinance institutions, NGOs, agricultural enterprises and government entities in West Africa, Afghanistan, North America and the Caribbean. She is currently the Project Manager responsible for Financial Inclusion in the DFATD-funded YouLead Project which is improving economic opportunities for young women and men in Nigeria’s Cross River State.