Eric Mwaura joined IIRR in 2010 as the manager for the project ‘Regional Value Chains and Market Capacity Development” funded by the Ford Foundation. He was subsequently promoted to provide leadership to the Food Security and Resilient Livelihoods portfolio in Eastern Africa. He held that position until June 2020 when he got appointed as the Country Director (IIRR Kenya). Eric is inspired by empowering rural communities to graduate from poverty.
“IIRR for me means family – with an object of empowering marginalized rural communities which is the core foundation of any form of an institution to achieve sustainability. Visiting rural communities and the experience of actually seeing how IIRR’s project positively change their lives is a perpetual energizer for me to stay and perform more quality work.” – Alden Secretario, IIRR Finance Director
With Covid-19 forcing children across the world out of education, we must act swiftly anddecisively to protect the rights of the most vulnerable to an education.
IIRR’s innovative and effective Goats4Girls program empowers rural families to safeguard their girl’s future by protecting their education.
Just $100 provides a family with 2 goats and the means to generate enough income to send their girl child to school. Join IIRR today and help us raise $15,000 to send 150 marginalized girls back to school and safeguard theirfutures.
“Go to the people. Learn from them. Build on what they have.” – Dr. Y.C. James Yen
“IIRR means giving those with limited opportunities the chance to enhance their livelihood and fostering development for generations to come. It’s working alongside compassionate and driven individuals to support the goal of equitable livelihoods for rural communities.
As the President of IIRR’s Student Chapter at GSPIA, I hope to spread awareness of the needs of impoverished rural communities as well as work to enhance their livelihoods through advocacy and fundraising initiatives.” – Gabby Sinnott, IIRR Student Chapter President, GSPIA Chapter
“Many girls and parents get surprised by my reading and writing skills. Because of this, some parents have begun supporting their daughters to enroll for literacy classes. We have formed a women’s group and engage with the camp leaders to advocate for all girls to join the PLEFS Program. This is the only way we can prevent child marriages, which is rampant in cattle camps. I plan to take a loan to establish a nursery school near the cattle camp so that I teach the young children who cannot move when the cattle camp moves to another location.” – Mary Hayat, Student in IIRR’s PLEFS Program
“I am happy because I can produce chemical-free vegetables for my family and I can reduce the family’s expense on health treatments” – Keo Sreytouch, Participant in IIRR Cambodia’s Multisectoral Food and Nutrition Security (MFNS) Project
“IIRR’s approach views rural people with dignity and not just as people in need of a handout. And as someone who has lived half of her life in a rural and marginalized community, it is empowering to work with an Institute which doesn’t “Other” the rural poor, but see Us as people with the capacity to be more!”
– Abibah Sumana, IIRR Intern
“I gained a lot of skills and improved my cassava growing techniques. What I have learned from the program (bed preparation, soil fertility improvement, healthy planting materials, fertilizer application, and weed control) are new to me. I was encouraged to shift from applying traditional practices to sustainable ones.” – Tuy Oun, Cassava Farmer from Cambodia
“During my student life, I realized that people are born with unequal accessible resources, and how hard it is for disadvantaged populations to move upward to a better socioeconomic class given this innate inequality. IIRR is a great platform that allows me to help narrow the gap with my skills and knowledge. The enthusiasm, commitment, and professionalism of the staff encourage me at all times and confirm me in my resolution to constantly devoting myself to improving the well-being of marginalized communities.”
– Yuntian Zhang, IIRR Intern
Alden is the Finance Director at IIRR.He joined the Institute in 1997 as a finance clerk. Since then, he has done major contributions in developing IIRR’s financial systems and management. Alden has comprehensive experience in the areas of accounting, auditing, computer programming and demonstrated knowledge in legal laws and operational management. Alden’s educational background and professional achievements include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Risk Analyst (CRA), Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (BSA), Associate Degree in Computer Science and various short-term courses in Computer Programming.
Emily currently works as the Country Director in the Philippines and is also the Acting Director for IIRR Regional Center for Asia. She provides strategic directions of the Philippine country program and oversees implementation of its flagship program. She has 27 years of work experience mostly in Asia, focusing on research and development, public health i.e. nutrition and clinical nursing, community resilience building, community-managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR), monitoring and evaluation, capacity development and documentation through write-shops.
She finished her Master’s in Public Health under a full scholarship from James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University in Bangladesh.
Isaac joined IIRR in April 2011 where he served as a Programs Manager with the IIRR Uganda Country Program until April 2015 where he was promoted to his current position. He holds 15 years of experience in Organizational Program Development and Management. He has a Master degree in Education Management and Planning as well as Post Graduate Diplomas in Human Resources Management and Project Planning. Isaac also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Isaac has further been awarded International certificates in: Training of Trainers in Adult Learning methodologies, Rights based Programming, Curriculum Development, Strategic Planning, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Community Based Integrated Water Resources Management, and Gender Mainstreaming.
Isaac is an outgoing person and likes learning from his colleagues.
Zerihun joined IIRR in 2007 with over 27 years of experience managing development programs and various other social sector projects. Prior to his Ethiopia Country Director position, he served as Country Director in South Sudan. He holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Addis Ababa University, and a Masters of Arts in Applied Community Change from the Future Generations University, West Virginia, USA. Zerihun loves continuous learning. He can mix with any community and work with any person. Giving is his passion and he is always ready to give his time and his knowledge to help the needy.
Pamela Bella Nyamutoka Katooro is a lawyer and development specialist with a career spanning more than 15 years. She is the Ag. Africa Regional Director for IIRR providing leadership to the Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe Country programs. Before joining IIRR in 2010, Pamela worked with Actionaid and UNDP/UNV. Pamela has a passion for facilitating rights based change programs. She believes in continuous innovation and has led the organization in the design and implementation of several programs that have led to poverty reduction especially in rural areas. She holds an MBA in Organizational Management and Leadership and a Bachelor degree in law. She is also an enrolled advocate in the Uganda courts of Judicature and a member of the Uganda and East African Law Society.
Dane Smith is a consultant on peacebuilding and development, with emphasis on Africa. In 2014 he spent five months teaching peacebuilding as a visiting professor at the Martin Luther King Evangelical University of Nicaragua in Managua. In 2011 and 2012 he served as Senior Advisor on Darfur in the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Ambassador Smith made a dozen visits to Darfur, meeting with government officials, rebel leaders, refugees in Chad, internally displaced persons in numerous camps, civil society and human rights activists, as well as UN and African Union peacekeepers and senior representatives. He played a significant role in the negotiation in Qatar of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur signed in 2011 by the Sudanese Government and a major Darfuri armed movement.
From 2006 to 2010 he was a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, where he authored U.S. Peacefare: Organizing American Peace-Building Operations(Praeger: 2010). He has taught peacebuilding as an adjunct professor at American University. From 1999 to 2003, he served as President of the National Peace Corps Association, which mounts programs in global education, conflict resolution and voluntary service. Smith served as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal 1996-99. In 1995-96 Smith was Special Presidential Envoy for Liberia, while concurrently directing the State Department’s Office of West African Affairs. He was U.S. Ambassador to Guinea 1990-93. He is the recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the Commandant de l’Ordre du Lion Award from the Government of Senegal. Smith and wife Judy began their international careers as Peace Corps Volunteers in Eritrea, 1963-65, then part of Ethiopia.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Alliance for Peacebuilding.
Joel’s experience spans 25 years predominantly in marketing, business development, impact investing, and entrepreneurial management in Southeast Asia. He held various corporate positions in several companies such as Procter and Gamble, Philippine Airlines, before culminating his career as CEO of Franklin Baker. As an entrepreneur he has started up and exited in companies in advertising, in-store media, agri-business and food & beverage distribution. Joel is currently President of Thames International Business School and its college, Entrepreneur School of Asia. He also serves as a Board of Trustee in the Apl.de.Ap Foundation of the Pop Group Black Eyed Peas. Joel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Management from the Ateneo de Manila University (Phils) and a Masters in Responsible Business Practice from the University of Bath (UK)
Joel resides in Manila with his wife Tina and teenage daughter Maxinne. He works mainly in both Manila and Singapore.
Lisa Milton is the founder and CEO of AZAP Mobile where she has helped create over 50 applications using social media and user generated content. AZAP has worked with Samsung Electronics, Excelsior Newspaper, and the government of Mexico City to create applications for the Latin American market. Before founding AZAP, Ms. Milton worked as a community organizer in California for 8 years. She advocated for the creation of some of the strongest affordable housing policy in the state, and helped spearhead the effort to establish a high school focused on film in South Los Angeles. In 2005, she was awarded Woman of the Year by the California Legislature for the 22nd State Senate District. Lisa graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University, studied Social and Political Science at Cambridge University, and received her MBA from Wharton. Lisa is an independent voting trustee and joined the board in December 2012.
Mary is a research scientist and former Director of the Institute of Philippine Culture, as well as a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University. She is also a Professorial Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of the Philippines. Her research interests have led to notable publications in urbanization, urban poverty and wellbeing, values, socio-cultural change, civil society, community organizing, gender, children and youth, development and equity. Recent publications include: Making Philippine Cities Child Friendly: Voices of Children in Poor Communities (2005), and Bearers of Benevolence: The Thomasites and Public Education in the Philippines (2001). Active in civil society affairs, she sits on several international and national NGO Boards.
She has served as Regional Director, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (1983-92); Country Representative of the Ford Foundation, Philippines (1992-97), and Consultant (1997-present) to the Philippine Government, United Nations Development Program, UNICEF, UN Centre for Human Settlements, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, AusAID, Nippon Foundation, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Misereor, The Rockefeller Foundation, and others. Dr. Racelis received her AB in sociology and anthropology from Cornell University, New York, her M.A. in sociology from the University of the Philippines, and honorary doctorates from De La Salle University (1985) and Ateneo de Manila University (2003). In 2003-04, she was appointed to the Secretary-General’s Panel on United Nations—Civil Society Relations (“The Cardoso Panel”).
Paul Marquardt is a partner at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Marquardt’s practice covers a broad range of domestic and international transactional matters, including public and private international law and he has represented a number of governments and international organizations in negotiations of international agreements. Mr. Marquardt also has extensive experience in a number of regulatory areas relevant to cross-border transactions and is a specialist in reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
From 1998 to 2002, he worked in Brussels. He received a J.D. and an M.A. in international relations from Yale University in 1994, where he was Book Reviews Editor of the Yale Law Journal, and an undergraduate degree, with highest distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1990. Mr. Marquardt is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the State Bar of Michigan. He is also a member of the American Bar Association and the American Society of International Law. Paul joined as a voting member of the Board of Trustees in 2012.
Peter is a social entrepreneur who was the founder and executive director of ARCHIVE Global – an international NGO that designs homes to improve health. Forbes Magazine named his organization as having one of the eight best sustainability ideas on the planet, and in 2018, Fast Company recognized it as one of the most innovative social good projects in the world. Peter also served as an International Expert Adviser at the World Bank, delivered projects in five continents, and holds two Master’s degrees from the University of Oxford and Columbia University. Devex named him one of the leading international development leaders in Britain. When he isn’t too busy, he enjoys reading and sharing ideas on social innovation with groups around the world.
From December 2012 to December 2017, Anzaldua served as General Counsel and as Special Advisor to the CEO of MetLife. In that role he led the 1,000+ person team comprising the company’s global legal operations, corporate secretary’s office, corporate ethics and compliance group and government affairs operation. He designed and led the execution of the Company’s one-of-a-kind successful legal challenge of its too-big-to-fail designation under the Dodd-Frank Act.
Anzaldua joined MetLife from The Hartford Financial Services Group, where he was Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel. There, he led legal support for the two largest operating divisions (commercial and consumer markets) after a three-year tenure serving as Corporate Secretary and leading the legal teams supporting the company’s general corporate functions, including securities and m&a, tax, intellectual property & technology, bankruptcy and real estate. Prior to joining The Hartford, Anzaldua was a partner with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. He began his legal career with the firm upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 1990.
Anzaldua currently serves as Trustee of the New York City Bar Fund and LatinoJustice/PRLDEF. From 2007-2018, he served on the Board of the Greater Hartford Legal Aid foundation (and as its President from 2015-2018) and from 2014-2018 on the board of MCCA (an organization formed to promote diversity in the legal profession).
James Diao has had a career spanning over 35 years as an investment banker, specializing in risk management and global financing transactions for both equity and fixed income. Most recently, he was a Managing Director at UBS Securities where he oversaw the approval, execution and diligence of all equity new issue transactions in the Americas, and prior thereto had positions at Bear Stearns, Prudential Securities and Brown Brothers Harriman. Mr. Diao received his undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics/Economics from Brown University, and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He has been a voting Trustee since 1999 and is the grandson of Dr. and Mrs. Y.C. James Yen, the founders of the IIRR.
An International Economist and Bank Credit Officer, Jim was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a UNDP-led Rural Development Program in the Rif Mountains of Morocco for three years. This experience sparked his interest in joining the IIRR Board, where he has served as the Chairman of the Finance & Budget Committee for the past twenty years and became Chairman in April 2009. In a long career in the financial services industry, he has held various positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Chemical Bank, The Institute of International Finance, Merrill Lynch, Smith New Court, and Citigroup. He holds a B.A. in Economics and History from Fordham University and has pursued graduate studies in International Relations and Economics at George Washington University and New York University. In addition to Morocco, he has worked in Mexico and Belgium and speaks Arabic, French and Spanish. Jim and his wife, Marcia, have been married for thirty-two years and have three sons.
George SyCip was born in the Philippines and received his A.B. in International Relations/Economics from Stanford University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Aside from serving as a member of IIRR’s Board of Trustees since 2003, George is the Chairman of Give2Asia and serves on the board of the Global Heritage Fund.
He has also served as Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco’s Social Services Department, as well as Director and Treasurer of both the San Francisco Education Fund and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. George also sits on several corporate boards including Bank of the Orient in California, Cityland Development Corporation, Paxys, Inc., Premiere Horizon Alliance Corporation, and Sinag Global Energy Corporation. Prior to setting up his own offices, George had a career in banking, internationally and domestically, including serving as Chief Financial Officer of United Savings Bank, a leading provider of banking services to California’s Asian communities and a major originator of home mortgages during the 1980s.
Emily Cheng is an artist, professor and curator. Emily Cheng’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, with over 50 solo exhibitions including 6 solo museum shows in the US, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. She is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner Foundation Award and a Yaddo Fellowship. Ms. Cheng currently teaches Chinese, Japanese and Korean Art History and Studio Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Among the previous institutions for faculty position are New York University, Cal Arts, Parsons School of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Cooper Union, with guest lectures at Stanford University, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon and Williams College. Cheng’s exhibitions have been reviewed by the New York Times, Huffington Post, Hong Kong Standard, Philippine Star, and Art in America and her work is the subject of a monograph entitled Chasing Clouds, a decade of studies published by Timezone 8.
Ms. Cheng was born in New York City, received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and attended the New York Studio School.
Dr. Bassiouni joined IIRR’s Board in 2011. A veteran humanitarian and emergency expert, Dr. Bassiouni served in the United Nations system for over two decades, primarily working with UNICEF, DHA,OCHA and UNDGO. He was the first-ever Humanitarian Coordinator and the only Coordinator to be appointed by the Secretary-General and the Security Council. Dr. Bassiouni’s expertise cuts broadly across humanitarian affairs and assistance, complex emergencies, conflict and crisis resolution, safety and security, change management, sustainable development, agricultural and natural resource development and management, and his first career in veterinary medicine.
Bassiouni has held several senior positions in the UN including Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes, Chief of Inter-Agency and Response Branches in DHA/OCHA and Coordinator for IASC/ECHA, Rappoteuer to the high level panel on the Humanitarian Response Review and Senior Technical Coordinator for the Joint UN/WB Needs Assessment of Somalia. He has also served as UNICEF’s Representatives in seven countries including Somalia Sri Lanka, Maldives, Ethiopia, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Egypt and Bangladesh. Prior to his career in the UN, Dr. Bassiouni served in senior government positions, including Regional Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the Sudan.
A graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine of Khartoum University, Sudan, Dr. Bassiouni holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as a Parvin Fellowship from Princeton University. In addition to his role on the Board at IIRR, he sits on the boards of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation, the Non-Violent Peaceforce, the Bassiouni Group and the Mary N. Bassiouni Foundation. David joined as a voting member of the Board of Trustees in 2011.
James F. Munsell is a Senior Counsel of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, having joined Cleary as an associate in 1969, become a partner in 1976, and, upon retirement, a Senior Counsel in 2002. His practice focused on domestic and international financial and corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, workouts and restructurings and bank and other public and private financings. He is also a Senior Managing Director of Brock Capital Group, LLC, and Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Partners Group Private Equity, suite of mutual funds. Mr. Munsell has an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics, with distinction, from Cornell University, an LL.B. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, and a Masters of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He also studied Russian while on active duty in the United States Marine Corps and at Columbia.
Stephanie Pullings Hart joined Beyond Meat as Senior Vice President, Operations in January 2018. Prior to her current role, she was the Vice President of Technical & Production for Nestlé USA’s Confections and Global Foods and Ice Cream divisions from March 2016 to January 2018. She assumed her role in Nestlé USA, a subsidiary of Nestlé SA (SWX: NESN), after a three-year assignment as the Executive Director Technical & Production, Nestlé Australia Ltd. from January 2013 to March 2016. Stephanie began her career with Nestlé in 1995 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in manufacturing, research and development, and human resources.
She has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Florida State University and an Executive MBA degree from Benedictine College.
Chrispin Mwatate joined IIRR in 2014. He supervises the implementation of the IIRR-Kenya flagship program entitled: “Education for pastoralists and marginalized communities which support pastoralists’ children, especially girls to fulfill their educational dreams”. Chrispin has a passion for poverty alleviation within marginalized communities and believes that education is the only way to empower them to take leadership in addressing root causes of poverty and gender inequality.
Prior to joining IIRR, Philip was an Operations Officer at the Angel’s Hills Foundation in Tagaytay City, Philippines. As a hotelier, his experience includes supervising and managing the front office, food & beverage and housekeeping operating units. Here he was able to expand his knowledge in procurement, human resources, sales & marketing and facility maintenance. Philip values the promotion of teamwork and leadership among staff members through basketball games. His thirteen years of working experience enables him to contribute in revitalizing the Yen Center including now the farm operation.
Or Thy has been the Country Manager for IIRR Cambodia since May 2012. He has previously worked for Concern Worldwide Cambodia as National Food, Income and Market Advisor and CEDAC (Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture) as Senior Program Advisor.
He obtained his Master of Science, major studies in Rural Development, at International University in Phnom Penh, and his Bachelor of Science, major study in Agronomy, at Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh.
Soil Muzenda joined IIRR in 2016. She is an Agriculture Specialist with more than 20 years in development work as an instructor and lecturer at agriculture colleges and universities, agriculture extension specialist, food security and livelihoods expert. With vast experience in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of livelihoods and food security projects under the NGO sector, she currently coordinates the development of Zimbabwe Country Program and works closely with the Africa Regional Director. Soil holds a Master of Philosophy Degree in Agriculture and Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Agriculture attained at the University of Zimbabwe. She also holds a National Diploma in Agriculture, from Chibero Agricultural College.
Wilson has done extensive social development in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, such as community organizing, coalition-building and capacity development. He has been working in the Myanmar program since 2014, incubating programs and setting up IIRR’s country presence. Wilson holds a Master degree in Environment and Natural Resources Management, with special focus on upland ecosystems, from the University of the Philippines – Open University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the Ateneo de Davao University. His work philosophy has always been to work towards excellence, to innovate and to find optimism amidst the difficulty because the marginalized deserve nothing less.