Forum on New Challenges and Opportunities for Multisectoral Governance .
Event | June 14, 2023
On June 14-15, 2023, we hosted a hybrid forum exploring governance challenges across key development sectors including locally led development, water governance, environmental governance, and accountability and rule of law.
Successful governance systems demonstrate inclusive, people-centered administration that is transparent and accountable. This two-day interactive forum featured representatives from local governments, leading local and international organizations and thought leaders, USAID, and implementing partner programs discussing how to improve governance systems across different development sectors and the role of locally led development.
Locally Led Development in the Context of Governance
Progress Beyond Programs: What It Means for Accountability and Rule of Law
USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
Laura Pavlovic is a deputy director of the Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Center in USAID/Washington, which leads technical assistance training evidence and learning to advance USAID’s global DRG efforts. She began her USAID career in 2005 in USAID’s East Africa regional mission, where she managed USAID’s post conflict transition assistance program in Burundi. She has also served overseas in Ukraine, Serbia, and the Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. As the division chief of the Cross-Sector Programs Division at the DRG Center, she oversaw Agency efforts to integrate DRG principles and practices across sectors. Ms. Pavlovic has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as editor in chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and has published on media development and transitional justice challenges in the Balkans.
Senior Advisor, Democracy and Governance
Dr. Peter Vaz is a local governance and capacity building specialist with more than 20 years of experience in decentralization, multi-sectoral governance, local government transformation, and institutional capacity-building. He joined Chemonics’ democracy and governance practice after serving as chief of party in Vietnam for the USAID Strengthening Provincial Capacity Activity. As chief of party for the Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative in South Africa, Peter managed the upgrade and expansion of rape care management centers and provided institutional support to the National Prosecuting Authority to sustain the centers. From 1996 to 2010, he supported South Africa’s decentralization and local government transformation process. Peter also has experience conducting research for the World Bank on local resource mobilization and poverty alleviation strategies in West African countries, and on the gender impact of structural adjustment. He holds a PhD in International Economic Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Senior Vice President, Europe and Eurasia
Tetyana Dudka is the senior vice president of Chemonics’ Europe and Eurasia regional business unit. She joined Chemonics in 2009 and brings more than 20 years of experience leading and supporting development programs in Europe and Eurasia, with a technical focus on market systems development, competitiveness enhancement, institutional reforms, public-private partnerships, investment and trade promotion, enterprise integration, and trade association development. Tetyana served as a chief of party and deputy chief of party for Chemonics’ Local Investment and National Competitiveness project and as a senior project management advisor on Chemonics’ Strengthening Tuberculosis Control, both in Ukraine. She then served as a project management director, and later as the operations director, for the Europe and Eurasia region. Prior to joining Chemonics, she served in a variety of roles on economic growth projects in Ukraine including as vice president for international project development at the Regional Business Assistance Center. Tetyana has a M.S. in computer systems for data processing and management from Kharkiv State Technical University of Radioelectronics in Ukraine.
Lejla Ismail Kolenovic
Senior Specialist, Democracy and Governance
Lejla Kolenovic Ismail is a senior specialist with Chemonics’ democracy and governance practice. She specializes in anti-corruption, governance, and civil society programming and research. Lejla has more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing democracy and governance programs, primarily in the Western Balkans. Prior to joining Chemonics, she served as a democracy and governance program specialist at USAID Kosovo, as a decentralization and minority rights policy officer in the Office of the EU Special Representative, and refugee outreach officer for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo.
Democracy Specialist, Cross-Sectoral Programs Division
USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
David Jacobstein serves as a Democracy Specialist in the Policy Coordination and Integration Division of the Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Center, where he focuses on issues of capacity development, systems thinking, political economy, and cross-sectoral integration. Previously, he worked for Pact and the American Bar Association supporting civil society strengthening and rule of law programming across Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Kreminna City Military Administration
Nataliia Mahogon has been working as deputy head of the Kreminna City Military Administration since 2014 where she actively oversees all organizational matters concerning the Kreminna amalgamated territorial community. During the period of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, she assumed the role of head of the military administration and was involved in delivering humanitarian aid, medications, and food to the conflict zone. Nataliia is involved in coordinating all departments of the city administration, organizing social services and administrative assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs), restoring relocated civil society organizations, and establishing a council for IDPs within the Rivne City Council. She was also involved in creation of humanitarian hubs in Rivne, Kyiv, Lutsk, Dnipro, and Andrushivka (Zhytomyr region) to provide legal consultations, medical assistance, cultural services, and administrative services to IDPs. Nataliia is a key partner of USAID’s Democratic Governance East project, and actively participates in activities aimed at improving lives of her community’s residents. She has received multiple awards from Luhansk Oblast Military Administration for her contribution to the development of the region.
Mayor of Bqosta Municipality in Lebanon
In 2016, Ibrahim Mezher became one of the youngest elected mayors in Lebanon’s history. It was a heavy burden for the 25-year-old, but Mayor Mezher has continued to diligently serve the citizens of Bqosta for the past 7 years. While in office he has spearheaded and supervised a number of projects including USAID’s Community Support Program, which provides engineering support including structural building reinforcements and an elevated water tank. It has been Mayor Mezher’s pleasure to serve citizens, support businesses, and supervise projects in his ancestral village of Bqosta.
Senior Vice President, Middle East and North Africa
Melissa (Scudo) Gasmi joined Chemonics in 2007 and brings more than 20 years of experience managing complex international development programs to her role as senior vice president of the Middle East and North Africa business unit. Melissa served as team leader for the Tunisia Tax and Customs Reform Activity, chief of party on the Asia and the Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices project, and program manager and deputy program manager of the global USAID Financial Sector Knowledge Sharing project. She began her career at Corporate Executive Board as a senior manager of a financial sector program providing strategic research for executives of more than 150 financial institutions worldwide. Melissa also served as a program officer with Grameen Foundation USA, and as Philippines country representative for Innovations for Poverty Action. Her expertise includes mobilizing finance for development and forging public private sector partnerships. Melissa received a M.A. in international development with a specialization in developmental economics from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a B.A. in International Studies, Spanish, and History from Dickinson College.
Director, Water and Sustainable Cities
Barbara Rossmiller is responsible for technical leadership in water, sanitation, and hygiene programming as director of Chemonics’ water and sustainable cities practice. She is a senior water and sanitation, sector governance, and institutional strengthening specialist with nearly 30 years of experience in international development. In previous roles as chief of party, Barbara led comprehensive water sector reform in Jordan and fostered reconciliation through shared resources management in Cyprus. She also specializes in managing complex multidisciplinary programs in post-conflict or politically challenging environments. Her technical experience lies in sector governance, urban water and sanitation services, water resources management, environment and natural resources, cultural heritage and community development. Prior to Chemonics, Barbara served as a water, climate, and natural resources practice area director where she was responsible for portfolio management, business development and thought leadership for a leading international research institute. She has worked in over 20 countries, including long-term assignments in Jordan, Iraq, and Cyprus. Barbara holds an MBA from Duke University and a BA from the University of Minnesota.
Deputy Chief of Party
USAID Water Governance Activity in Jordan, implemented by Chemonics International
Tamer Al-Assa’d is a water utility, governance, and infrastructure expert with more than 20 years of experience working for donors, private, and public sectors. Currently, he is deputy chief of party-technical/senior water utility expert on the Chemonics-implemented USAID Water Governance Activity. Previously, Tamer held several full-time managerial positions with international and local organizations. He is a Hubert Humphrey Fellow in Urban and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA and MSc in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering. Tamer is an author and/or co-author of 29 publications in international journals and conferences.
Chief of Party
USAID Rural Water Supply Activity in Tajikistan, implemented by Chemonics International
Bakhtiyor Inamov has 35 years of academic, public, and private sector experience managing and implementing projects focused on improving services, public administration, and water management. As chief of party on the USAID Tajikistan Rural Water Supply Activity, he works closely with government ministries, local leaders, and utilities to promote public-private partnerships in water supply systems management. As a country representative for Tajikistan on the USAID Central Asia Local Development Initiative, he supported the reforms of the housing and communal services sectors. As deputy chief of party on USAID’s Local Governance Project, he supported the national government in improving legislation on local self-governance.
Maria Olanda Bata
Chief of Party
USAID Resilient Waters Activity, implemented by Chemonics International
Maria Olanda Bata is an environment and natural resources, climate change, disaster risk reduction and food security specialist with more than 18 years of experience in the development sector. Maria currently serves as the chief of party for the USAID/Southern Africa Resilient Waters Program, leading activities to build more water-secure southern African communities and ecosystems. Previously, she was chief of party on the South Africa Low Emissions Development project and the Coastal City Adaptation project in Mozambique. Maria also served as a country representative and national technical manager for USAID’s Famine Early Warning System Network project where she successfully managed several USAID projects on livelihoods, disaster preparedness, and disaster risk reduction. Maria has worked with governmental, academic, and international organizations from Mozambique, southern Africa, and the United States to support more resilient institutions, structures, and communities.
Senior Vice President, East and Southern Africa
Erik Landemalm has over 20 years of international experience focused on East and Southern Africa. Prior to joining Chemonics, Erik spent many years based in Somalia and Kenya, leading international development projects around the region focused on rule of law, legislative and executive institutional strengthening, and supporting civil society organizations for donors including the European Commission, SIDA, and the UN. After moving to the U.S. in 2013, Erik joined Chemonics as a technical consultant and two years later as director for Chemonics’ projects in Somalia, where he provided technical direction and project management oversight for three highly complex governance projects. Before becoming senior vice president, Erik was the senior operations director for the East and Southern Africa business unit for five years. Erik holds a B.S. in international law and a B.S. in political science, both from Örebro University in Sweden. He is also a graduate from Arizona State University’s Leadership and Management MiniMasters program.
Senior Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean
Enrique Rivas is the senior vice president of the Latin America and the Caribbean business unit. He has more than 30 years of experience with social and economic development projects in areas of post-conflict and political instability. He has served as chief of party on six programs, including on the Juntos Para la Prevención de la Violencia (“preventing violence together,”) project in Mexico and the Environmental Management and Forest Governance Support Activity (Bosques) in Peru. He has significant experience developing strategic alliances with private sector actors and local authorities, including indigenous communities, local associations, municipal authorities, and national ministries. He earned a post-graduate diploma in agribusiness from the Technological Institute of Superior Studies in Monterrey, Mexico; and a B.S. in agriculture from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina.
Director, New Business Development, Latin America and the Caribbean
Ariana Szepesi-Colmenares, a citizen security and governance specialist with 13 years of international development experience, serves as Chemonics’ director for new business development in Latin America and the Caribbean, overseeing business development across a technical sectors including rule of law, citizen security, environmental conservation, economic growth, and youth and women empowerment. Previously, Ariana worked as a citizen security specialist with DC-based international governmental organizations and U.S. donors, managing capacity-building projects, liaising with Latin American authorities, and fostering a culture of evidence-based policymaking to advance governance, citizen security, and the rule of law. She also worked with several local civil society organizations to help consolidate democracies in the region, focusing on Venezuela and Ecuador. Ariana holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po Bordeaux.
Chief of Party
USAID Sustainable Environmental Governance Across Regions, implemented by Chemonics International
Peter Doyle has more than 25 years of experience in environmental management, alternative development, and social and community development and currently serves as the chief of party for the Sustainable Environmental Governance Across Regions activity in Indonesia. Previously, as the chief of party for USAID’s Oro Legal program, he led efforts to reduce the negative environmental impacts of unauthorized artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations in 20 municipalities in Colombia through partnerships with government entities, three private mining companies, and 24 small miner associations. He led the successful international validation of a portfolio of eight voluntary REDD+ Projects to generate carbon credits for private sector investors in Colombia. He previously led the USAID Alternative Development Program in Peru and the USAID-funded rapid response watershed rehabilitation and forestry program in Honduras. Peter holds an M.A. in economics from the University of Manchester and a B.S. in economics from City University in London.
Roberto León Gómez
Chief of Party
USAID/Colombia Amazon Alive Activity, implemented by Chemonics International
Roberto León Gómez is a sustainable development expert with nearly 30 years of experience promoting biodiversity conservation, improving natural resource management, and implementing complex environmental initiatives for various international donors in Latin America. He currently serves as the chief of party on the USAID Amazon Alive Activity, which focuses on reducing forest degradation, deforestation, and other environmental crimes through strengthened governance and monitoring activities. Previously, Roberto was the director of innovative conservation models for Paramos and Forests Conservation Task Order under the USAID Paramos and Forests Activity in Colombia. As the deputy director for local development at Fundación Natura, he oversaw the implementation of donor funds to improve sustainable value chains and livelihoods. Working in the environment and natural resources sector in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, Roberto has engaged indigenous peoples in conservation and green economic opportunities, developed climate change mitigation strategies, and designed climate-smart agricultural practices. Roberto holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a master’s degree in environmental economics and natural resources from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia.
Team Leader Green Corruption; Senior Advisor for Central and Eastern Europe
Juhani Grossmann joined the Basel Institute in April 2020. Prior to joining the Institute, he spent nine years leading anti-corruption and good governance programs in Indonesia, including with the CEGAH project. During his five years in Ukraine, Juhani organized the largest election observation mission to-date, fielding over 1,000 international observers to monitor the 2004 presidential elections and uncovering widespread election fraud. After the ensuing Orange Revolution, he advised the new government on strengthening its anti-corruption reforms through extensive research on corruption patterns in customs, healthcare, education and licensing. This led to the enactment of over 80 local-level reforms, including the Ukraine’s first access to public information law. Juhani previously worked on civil society and political party capacity building in Russia. Juhani holds a master’s degree in public management from Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and a master’s in international conflict resolution and a bachelor’s in political science from Landegg International University in Switzerland.
Senior Social Scientist
USAID Biodiversity Division, Center for Environment, Energy and Infrastructure
Kyle Rearick is a senior social scientist with the USAID Biodiversity Division in the Center for Environment, Energy and Infrastructure. Kyle supports USAID biodiversity programming by providing technical assistance on the inclusion of social safeguards, democracy, rights and governance approaches and evaluation and learning in activity design and management. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin and an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan.
Chief of Party
USAID Inclusive Justice Activity, implemented by Chemonics International
Alejandro Ruiz-Acevedo currently serves as the chief of party on the USAID Inclusive Justice project in Colombia, after concluding his stewardship of the preceding Justice for a Sustainable Peace project. He is an experienced chief of party and development specialist with more than 19 years of experience supporting institutional strengthening programs and local initiatives in politically unstable and post-conflict areas, with a focus on access to justice, human rights, and local governance. Alejandro has worked in different capacities with organizations such as the UN, GIZ and USAID in countries including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Colombia. He has also taught program and project management as a professor at various universities in Colombia. He holds an M.S. in comparative politics from Sciences Po, Paris; an M.S. in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, and a B.S in policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. He has advanced level project management certifications from Prince2 and UNOPS.
Senior Vice President, Asia
Dr. Efraín Laureano, a senior natural resources economist with more than 30 years of experience managing USAID development programs, currently serves as the senior vice president of Chemonics’ Asia business unit. Previously, Efraín was the chief of party for the Philippines Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience Project (B+WISER), leading the team in the development and implementation of the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System. He has also served as chief of party for Chemonics projects in Bolivia, the Caribbean, Honduras, Mongolia, and Nicaragua. He has led the introduction of innovative digital development solutions across a variety of topics, including customs payments, e-VAT, online company registration, and natural resource management. Additionally, Efraín has worked as a director in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Prior to working at Chemonics, he worked as an economist for USAID in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Efrain holds a Ph.D. and a M.S. in natural resources economics from Michigan State University.
Director, Democracy and Governance
Tomas Bridle has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing democracy and governance projects worldwide. Tomas joined the democracy and governance practice from USAID where he served as a senior Advisor at the Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) where he supported USAID missions on program design and budgeting, country cooperation and development strategy, technical evaluation and selection committees, and designing program indicators. Tomas supported the design and implementation of programs focused on anti-corruption and accountability, elections, civil society engagement, gender and youth policies, political economy assessments, political reform, legislative capacity, and support to municipal and local governments. He authored the USAID Policy on Legislative Strengthening, and subsequently supported program designs on budget oversight, transparency and accountability for USAID missions in Serbia, Ukraine, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. As co-chair of the working group on Financing Self-Reliance, he established policy and program guidance to support ending dependency on foreign assistance, in coordination with USAID bureaus and the development community. Tomas has previously served as chief of party and deputy chief of party of legislative strengthening projects in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tomas holds an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Team Lead for the Justice, Rights, and Security Division
USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
Miranda has over 20 years of experience working on democracy, governance, human rights, and rule of law. She currently serves as the Team Lead for the Justice, Rights, and Security Team in USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Center. Prior to this, she served as the Director of the Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Office at USAID in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), leading U.S. efforts to re-engage the justice sector and start new rule of law programming after a decade. She has also served in DRG positions with USAID in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Washington, DC. Before joining USAID in 2011, she worked at the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice’s International Division focusing on issues including legal aid, tribal justice, wrongful convictions, terrorist financing, and trafficking in persons. She has also served as an attorney on several international human rights and U.S. domestic immigration and civil cases; worked in Rwanda on legal education and land rights, and on the conflict and reconciliation portfolios for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sri Lanka. She holds a JD and MA in International Politics with a focus on International Development and Conflict from American University. She is a member of the New York State Bar.
Accountability Lab, Zimbabwe
As the Zimbabwe Country Director, Dr. McDonald Lewanika brings a wealth of experience of civil society work and activism to his role as country director at the Accountability Lab. He joined the lab in May 2020 and largely built the institution from the ground up navigating a difficult political context and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Within the first year the team was also able to introduce several of the Lab’s flagship programs to Zimbabwe including Voice2Rep, Civic Action Teams (CivActs), Accountability Incubator, Integrity Icon and the Film Fellowship. McDonald has a bachelor’s degree in international politics and diplomacy from the University of South Africa, a master’s degree in international development from the University of Manchester, as well as a master’s degree in research and a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). At the LSE he also taught undergraduates and masters students in the Government and International development departments.
Legal and Judicial Advisor
USAID/Ukraine Justice for All
Ashot Agaian is the Legal and Judicial Advisor in the USAID/Ukraine Justice for All Activity. Mr. Agaian has lead the project’s work on people-centered justice and – since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in January 2022 – work on war crimes accountability. His innovative work promoting people-centered justice and strengthening legal education in Ukraine were highlighted in USAID’s ground-breaking 2023 Rule of Law policy. Mr. Agaian also worked with Ukraine’s parliament to draft the country’s first laws on the rights of children during criminal proceedings and in adoptions. He has contributed to curricula and manuals for judges and attorneys on rule of law, juvenile justice, judicial ethics, and conflict of interest, and worked as a pro bono attorney at a legal clinic for rural and underprivileged clients. Mr. Agaian holds a Masters in Law degree from the National University of Ostroh (Ukraine) and an LL.M. Degree in Rule of Law for Development from Loyola University Chicago (USA). He completed online certificate programs in Children’s Human Rights through the University of Geneva (Switzerland) on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a member of the International Association for Court Administration.