Multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary to the core—global in outlook and approach—our authors are steeped in the challenges of delivering development solutions in the field. They are committed to sharing our innovation and experience to inform international development practices worldwide.
Adam Fivenson is a human-centered design specialist and innovation strategist at DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration. His work spans the intersection of technology, data, and design and centers on participatory approaches to design in frontier markets. Adam led the design and development of the award-winning MiMuni transparency and citizen engagement platform in Guatemala, and is currently forking the open source code and human-centered design approach to Kabul and four other Afghan municipalities.
Addie is a Strategic Projects Manager within DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration, providing new business and project management support, often for new and non-traditional donors. During her seven-year tenure with DAI, she has also supported a diverse portfolio of USAID-funded governance and economic growth projects in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. From 2014-2018, Addie served as Program and Operations Manager in Jakarta for the regional ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security (PROGRESS) project in Indonesia, managing a team of staff to oversee project operations, compliance and financial management. Addie earned a B.A. in International Management and French from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and then launched her career in international development through a Fulbright Scholarship to examine the impact of micro-lending on women’s economic empowerment in Morocco. A native English-speaker, she is also proficient in French and conversational in Spanish, Moroccan Arabic and Indonesian.
Alejandro Solis currently works as DAI’s ICT specialist for Latin America Region, developing Centro Clima as the Regional Information Center, Coffee Cloud (Coffee Farmers and Technicians Solution), Clima Pesca (Climate Information for Fisheries), and Hidro Clima (Tool for Small Hydroelectricity Generators). He has extensive experience working on development projects across Central America and the Caribbean. Alejandro has implemented projects for the Inter-American Development Bank, NASA and World Bank in the areas of Climate Change and environmental ICT applications.
In 2015, Alejandro was nominated as an MIT “Innovators under 35” candidate in Central America. Recognized as a strong leader who inspires confidence and motivates and influences custumers, peers and co-workers, Alejandro’s commitment and dedication derive from his strong desire to improve upon and simplify technologically advanced systems and use them to create a better user experience resulting in a better adoption of the ICT tools and services generated.
As manager of the Digital Advisory portfolio within DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration, Anand Varghese works with clients to develop digital strategies, design and implement digital-focused activities, train staff on the use of digital platforms for development, and identify local partners. Since 2016, he has served as a technical advisor to the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in Accra, Ghana, where he helps young technology entrepreneurs develop digital solutions for the local agricultural sector. He also teaches a course on ‘Digital Development: Innovative Use of Technology in Emerging Markets’ at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Prior to joining DAI, he served as Senior Manager at the PeaceTech Lab at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Anand played an integral role in creating and launching the Lab, the Institute’s first nonprofit spin-off in its 30-year history. Anand has managed various technology-related development projects, including the first nationwide mobile phone-based survey in Afghanistan, workshops for youth activists on crowdsourced mapping tools, and partnerships with universities to integrate young engineers into conflict management. Anand speaks regularly at international conferences and has authored studies on topics at the intersection of digital technology and international development. He hails from Bangalore, India. He has an MA in democracy and governance from Georgetown University, a BA in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University and a BA in media studies, English literature and psychology from Christ College, Bangalore University.
Since 2014, Chloe Messenger has worked for DAI in Europe, both in business development and project management for clients including the European Commission, the U.K. Department for International Development, the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As Senior Consultant in DAI’s Europe office, Chloe works across business units and donors to help integrate new technologies into development work. Chloe has hands-on experience of research into digital technologies and innovation in Malawi, and recently conducted “Frontier Insights” research in rural areas of Malawi. She has provided training on digital for development and human centered design to donor clients in the UK and Ghana, as well as to in-house DAI staff. Chloe has a Masters’ Degree in Politics, Security and Integration from University College London.
Galia Nurko is an Associate Digital Specialist at DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration. Galia has spent her career working at the intersection of communications and international relations. She is particularly passionate about the impact of technology on society. Prior to working for DAI, she severed as the Director of Media Relations for the Embassy of Israel to the United States, Project Consultant at the Institute for Integrated Transitions and a Graduate Policy Fellow at the Information Technology and Information Foundation. She has conducted research on how technology affects access to services and jobs, as well as what are some of the challenges posed by digital finance solutions in emerging economies. Galia has an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and B.A. in history from The Ohio State University.
Greg has spent his career working at the intersection of global development and diplomacy, technology, and the arts. In previous roles, he conducted data driven conflict analysis research at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, designed data collection and analysis tools for the University of Denver’s Global Health Affairs Program, and developed some of the first distance learning courses at the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Academy for Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. He holds an master’s in international studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and bachelor’s in policy, ethics, and conflict from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Inta Plostins brings five years of experience in the international development sector, including nearly 1.5 years at the intersection of digital tools and development. Ms. Plostins currently serves as a Digital Specialist at DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration, where she provides digital advisory services across DAI’s international portfolio of development projects. Previously, at GeoPoll, she worked with partner organizations ranging from USAID implementing partners and foundations to African think tanks and agricultural research institutions on integrating mobile into their technical solutions and program designs. Ms. Plostins has an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and an B.A. (Hons) in History from McGill University. She speaks English, Latvian, and French and has American, Canadian, and Latvian/EU citizenship.
Karim Bin-Humam joined DAI in 2015 to help bridge the divide between cutting-edge technology and the needs of poor and vulnerable communities globally. Karim studied mechanical engineering in the United States and Germany and worked as an engineering project management consultant at BMW in Munich, where he led battery development projects for hybrid and electric vehicles. His passion for international development and desire to aid social impact led him to pursue further studies in international development and economics, focusing on politics and governance in development. His international development work includes communications media with UNICEF in New York, construction management with the United Nations Development Programme in Palestine, and innovation in international development with the Global Knowledge Initiative in Washington, D.C.
From her early research in cultural anthropology to subsequent work in management consulting, Krista Baptista has always been engaged around ways to do things better and empower entrepreneurs to use new skills and tools. Combining this background with an interest in international development led her to DAI and, specifically, to ways that information and communication technology (ICT) and geospatial tools can be integrated into development work.
Before joining DAI, Kristen Roggemann held advisory and business development positions within a variety of mobile-for-development and international development organizations, most recently as the Strategic Partnerships Manager for GSMA mWomen, driving partnership strategy at the intersection of the mobile operator and international development sectors.
Rachel Clad found her way to DAI after years of field-based public health research and program implementation in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. As Project Lead for Peripheral Vision International (PVI) in Uganda, Rachel used digital insights to drive strategy for a health advocacy campaign for Planned Parenthood Global. She has worked with CDC in Namibia conducting health systems analyses and on disease surveillance and quality improvement projects in South Africa and India. She has extensive experience conducting qualitative research in the U.S., where she explored drivers of HIV risk behaviors and the impact of long-term discrimination on health outcomes.
Rob Ryan-Silva is an international development professional with nearly 25 years of experience using systems approaches to achieve development results. Rob joined DAI in 2002.
As Director of the DAI Maker Lab, Rob builds hardware and capacities around building hardware in support of DAI’s projects worldwide. Previously, as Project Director for the five-year, $185 million RESPOND project, Rob worked with government ministries, academia, multilateral organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and donors in Africa and Southeast Asia to create new opportunities to build the capacity to prevent and respond to outbreaks of emerging infectious disease. He has led DAI’s Governance practice, worked on redevelopment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and managed efforts to contain avian influenza. He attributes his success in these disparate areas to an approach that emphasizes understanding the perspectives and incentives of partners and using that understanding to create space for collaborative work toward common objectives.
He has experience working with projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, Egypt, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Pakistan. Prior to joining DAI, Rob managed operations for the Egypt field office of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), and worked for other international development organizations. He has a B.A., political science from University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Throughout her career, Talia has focused on the power of innovation and ICT to transform health outcomes, specifically in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Talia has more than 5 years of experience working in global health for a variety of institutions including USAID Office of HIV/AIDS, the Liberia Ministry of Health, the advocacy wing of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Grassroot Soccer. Talia has a Masters in Global Human Development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she specialized in global health and private sector engagement. She has field experience in Liberia, Kenya and South Africa, where she piloted a project that uses soccer to educate young girls about HIV prevention, gender-based violence, and female empowerment.
Trevor comes from an eclectic professional background that saw the convergence of technology, electro-mechanical engineering, software development, data analytics, and musical performance. Prior to joining DAI, he worked to significantly advance quantitative methodology in conflict analytics at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, maintained complex automatic train control systems for a major public transit organization, and performed spatial analysis in conjunction with near real time remote sensing of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. Complex systems with highly specific and challenging problem sets continue to drive him on his path to solve problems. He earned his master’s degree in geographic information systems and two bachelor degrees in psychology and music performance from the University of Maryland.