Michael Jacobs, Chief of Party(COP) mjacobs@mercycorps.org

Michael Jacobs is Chief of Party for PRIME. By profession, he is a range ecologist with over 27 years of experience working with communities and institutions to identify and help resolve complex socio-environmental conflicts. He has published on plight of pastoralists in rangelands of Africa and the Middle East, is coauthor on the impacts of conflicts on biodiversity and protected areas and a management plan for Awash National Park, Ethiopia. He authored a management plan for brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Michael earned his doctorate degree at Utah State University, researching the effects of fire and grazing on vegetation dynamics in grasslands of Omo National Park, Ethiopia. He also worked in a Community Reserve for Lowland Gorillas in the Congo. His most recent positions involved resolving issues related to the extensive livestock production and rangelands for herders and farmers in Afghanistan as Chief of Party for the Pastoral Engagement, Adaption and Capacity Enhancement (PEACE) Project, and curriculum development for the John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology (JG-MUST) Project in South Sudan.

Jeton Starova , Livestock Production and Marketing Advisor, IR1 Leader , jstarova@mercycorps.org

The Livestock Productivity and Marketing Adviser and PRIME Intermediate Results Leader, Mr. Jeton Starova is a seasoned development worker, with more than twenty years of experience in agriculture, agribusiness and rural economic development. With practical experience in managing and providing technical input in implementation of projects funded by diversified donors in Southeast Europe, Central Asia and East Africa, Mr. Starova specializes in facilitative market systems development for accelerated livelihoods improvement and poverty reduction among agricultural and livestock producers and communities. While focusing on development of the competiveness of extensive and intensive livestock and agricultural value chains and market systems, Mr. Starova has hands on experience and proven good track record in integrating access to finance, enabling business environment, value added rural industries development, local and national policy and institutional reform, natural resource management and enhanced marketing for comprehensive economic and social development in transitional and post conflict context.

Sisay Awgichew, Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Advisor, IR2 Technical Lead, sisay.awgichew@care.org

Sisay Awgichew is Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Advisor for PRIME. Professionally, Sisay has a Natural Resource Management background with over 15 years of proven experience working with communities including over eight years in providing technical and management leadership. His past experiences include working on development programs for different International NGOs such as CARE, ChildFund, ActionAid, Mercycorps, and other local NGOs in the areas of natural resource management, food security and livelihood, WASH, peace-building, and resilience programs in pastoral and agro-pastoral regions of Ethiopia. Sisay has diverse mix of experience working in partnership with communities and government stakeholders in different capacities from facilitating community capacity-building processes at the grassroots level to managing and coordinating development programs with international organizations. As a member of the Senior Management Team, Sisay technically leads the operations and implementation of the natural resource management and climate change adaptation component of PRIME. He provides support, technical input,guidance, and technical leadership to IR2 technical staff in the PRIME consortium.

Netsaalem Bahiru, Alternative Livelihoods Advisor, IR3 Leader, nbahiru@mercycorps.org

Netsaalem Bahiru Gebrie: Is currently, serving as Alternative Livelihood Advisor /IR 3 Leader for USAID-funded PRIME project since January 2014, and prior to that he served as Deputy IR Leader where he led field assessments, oversaw strategy and technical activity development, and liaised with partners. Currently, as team leader he manage alternative livelihood activities and provide technical support to teams to help improve access and availability of financial services, increase skill transfer for employment and entrepreneurship, and link job seekers to employment opportunities. As value chain expert and senior manager, he completed Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Portland State University and hold Masters in rural development and agricultural extension- specialized in Communication and Innovation and BA in Economics from Haramaya University. He has attended the Making market Work (M4P) training conducted by Springfield center, in Glasgow, UK. Under Mercy Corps’ OFDA-funded RAIN project (2010-2012), he coached different businesses and facilitated market linkages of several value chains, in addition to organizing multiple successful trade fairs. With Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA)’s entrepreneurship and trade project, he led the development of the rice value chain targeting 8000 farmers. He also managed a project for Germany Based Biofuel Company: Listed at Frankfurt Stock Exchange. His INGO experiences coupled with his private sector management skills and government extension experiences gives him a solid understanding of business and economics that makes him the best entrepreneurial leader to manage business and economic development project. With over 10 years of proven experience in the private sector and international humanitarian organizations, six years of which have been in management and technical leadership positions, he have been demonstrated strong leadership, adroit analytical skills, strategist, works well in team settings, quickly addressing any bottlenecks that may arise.

Tilahun Asmare, PRIME Monitoring, Evaluation, research and Learning Manager, Acting IR 4 Leader, tasmare@mercycorps.org

Tilahun Asmare is currently serving as Monitoring, Evaluation, research and Learning Manager / Acting IR 4 Leader for USAID-funded PRIME project since October 2016. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Learning and Knowledge Management advisor and Learning coordinator for the project under Mercy Corps Ethiopia and as Learning, Design and Measurement Manager including PRIME project under CARE Ethiopia. Tilahun holds Masters of Science degree in Economics – specialized in Development Policy Analysis from Mekelle University and BA degree in Economics from Debub/Hawassa university.With 11 years of experience in Ethiopia  international development Field, he has worked closely in coordinating large quantitative and qualitative evaluation surveys and other assessments and in design and implementation of M&E in development projects and emergency response projects. He progressively in World Vision Ethiopia for six years mainly in managing M&E of economic and social development projects, and emergency response projects both at field and national office level. Besides,he has gained experience in Ethiopian government district offices and Federal government ministry in areas of budgeting, planning and M&E.

Vimbai Chishanu (NUTRITION Behaviour Change & Communication Advisor/IR5 Leader)

A development practitioner who has extensive experience working in Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Ethiopia’s development and humanitarian sectors especially in food security; nutrition and health programmes. She is a BSc holder of Nutrition Science degree and MSc in Strategic Management. Currently serves as PRIME’s Nutrition Behaviour Change and Communication Advisor and leads the overall management of nutrition and behaviour centered programming. Vimbai oversees designing compelling informational messages (edutainment), culture-sensitive Information Education Communication (IEC) materials, outreach drama and mass media for PRIME. She technically backstops production of the radio Soap Opera For Social Change ( SOSC) program, to effectively influence behavior change at the individual and community level. Vimbai champions implementation of nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific activities for PRIME with a focus of targeting the first 1000 days window of opportunities for pastoralist communities.

Bethel Tsegaye, Innovation and Investment Fund, IIF Manager, btsegaye@mercycorps.org

Prior to joining Mercy Corps Ethiopia, Bethel worked for various private companies and a university for 7 years within Ethiopia and the UK. In Ethiopia, Bethel worked for a Dutch/Ethiopian travel company as a Marketing Manager for 4 years where she managed a team of travel experts. Her main duties included; negotiating deals, leading market research teams and producing financial reports for management. Her role working within a university in the UK was as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in subject areas including Marketing, Finance and Strategy.

Bethel obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Master of Business Administration – Strategic Management (MBA) with first class honors from University of Plymouth in the UK.  Her thesis was focused on improving the competitiveness of SMEs in Ethiopia, with strong focus on finance and how to bridge the SME financing gap and reduce financial information asymmetry within SMEs in Ethiopia.

Benedict Irwin, PRIME Programme Manager,  birwin@care.org

Benedict Irwin is PRIME Program Manager within CARE Ethiopia. Ben Irwin’s first experience of working with pastoralists was with the Fulani in the grasslands of north-west Cameroon in 1994-96. Be has worked in Ethiopian since 1997 and continues to date. Working with SOS Sahel and FARM Africa leading a number of innovative participatory natural resource management projects. These projects included work in rangelands with Borana, Afar, Somali and Bale pastoralist groups. Each projects employed participatory learning and  actions tools, such as resource mapping, to enable formally trained rangeland managers to work with customary rangeland managers- the key to successful rangeland engagement.