Our Team in Rwanda

Mr Ozonnia Ojielo, UN Resident Coordinator to Rwanda

Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo

UN Resident Coordinator
On 10 July, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Ozonnia Ojielo of Nigeria as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Rwanda, with the host Government’s approval.

Mr. Ojielo brings to the position more than 25 years of experience in sustainable development work, including experience overseeing a global portfolio of programmes and projects with the United Nations in Central Asia and Africa that covered four continents. Within the Organization, he most recently served as Resident Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan, after working as Resident Coordinator, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to the Kyrgyz Republic for one year prior to that. He also held other leadership positions at UNDP, including Cluster Director for Governance and Peacebuilding in Africa at UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as Director for Conflict Prevention and Recovery at the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of UNDP in New York, USA. He also took on other senior roles with UNDP in Kenya and Ghana.

Prior to joining the United Nations, he was an attorney, university teacher, journalist and advised truth, justice and reconciliation as well as human rights commissions in Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia and Sierra Leone. He also served as the President of the Centre for Peace in Africa, a regional non-profit in Nigeria, and is the founder and first president of The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, the largest mediation and conciliation organization in Africa.

Mr. Ojielo authored numerous scholarly and technical publications and holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, master’s degrees in strategic and project management from the Paris Graduate School of Management in France as well as in history from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and bachelor’s degrees in history and law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and ASUTECH respectively, both in Nigeria.
Andre Habimana

Andre Habimana

Country Representative
Andre has ten years with the UN System’s Technical Assistance and delivering approaches. Andre has vast experience as an economist from before his time at UNIDO, including from his previously held position as Head of the Planning Department, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) of Rwanda. He has interdisciplinary skills in applied economics, monitoring and evaluation, results-based planning and management, as well as a Master’s Degree in Economics.
Ms Coumba Dieng Sow, FAO Representative to Rwanda

Coumba Dieng Sow

Ms Coumba Dieng Sow, a national of Senegal, holds a Master of Political Sciences in Management of Public Policies from the Paris Institute of Political Studies in France (IEP), a Master of Science in Agroindustry from the National Higher School of Agriculture and Food Industries in Montpellier, France, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Economics from the University of London in the United Kingdom.

She joined FAO headquarters in 2006 as Agricultural Policy Officer in the Policy and Programme Development Support Division in Rome, Italy. In 2013, she was appointed to the Office of the Director-General (ODG) as Attaché de Cabinet being responsible for supporting implementation of activities in the African region. Since 2017, she has been serving as Senior Subregional Resilience Officer/Head of the Resilience Team for West Africa and Sahel in the FAO Subregional Office for West Africa (SFW) in Dakar, Senegal.

Ms Sow started her career in 2002 as Junior Food Innovation trends Analyst, for Exposium, in Paris, France. From 2004 to 2006, she worked as Value Chain Analyst and project manager in the Tea House in Darjeeling, India.

Dr Brian Chirombo, WHO Representative

Dr Brian Chirombo

Dr Brian C Chirombo, a Zimbabwean national, has more 30 years Public Health leadership experience in Government, Academia, International NGOs and the United Nations.

Prior to his appointment in Rwanda, Dr Chirombo was Coordinator for the Communicable Diseases and Health Emergencies and also Team Leader for the HIV Program in South Africa, and before that in Kenya. He was previously Team Leader in the WHO AFRO Inter-Country Support Team for Eastern and South Africa, and before that in WHO Headquarters in Geneva. He earlier worked for Save the Children in Malawi, UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva, GIZ (formerly GTZ) in Eastern and South Africa, and the University of Zimbabwe MPH Program.

Dr Brian Chirombo is a qualified Medical Doctor with a Master’s degree in Public Health.
Edith Heines

Edith Heines

A Belgian national, Ms. Edith Heines has more than 25 years of experience in humanitarian and development assistance. She has worked in a wide variety of contexts implementing and managing complex food assistance programmes for the World Food Programme, previously serving in the Somalia Operation, Cambodia, Headquarters (Rome), Bangladesh, DPR Korea and Nepal. Before this, Ms. Heines worked with “Education for Development” (VVOB) in Gabon and Vietnam. Heines holds a M.A in Psychology and a Postgraduate Programme in Behavioural Therapy
Francesco Rispoli

Francesco Rispoli

Country Director
Mr Francesco Rispoli, a national of Italy, is the IFAD Country Director for Rwanda. Prior to his appointment, Mr Rispoli worked as the Senior Technical Specialist in Inclusive Rural Financial Services at IFAD. Before joining IFAD, he worked with UNDP Kenya and in a consulting firm providing technical assistance to the European Commission.
Mr. Frank Turyatunga, Acting Director and Regional Representative, Africa Office.

Frank Turyatunga

Acting Director and Regional Representative, Africa Office
Frank Turyatunga is the Acting Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa Office. Prior to this appointment, Frank was the Deputy Director of the same office where he supervised delivery of all the organisation’s programmes and projects in Africa. He has an enormous wealth of environmental programme and policy implementation experience having served as Regional Coordinator for Africa, Early Warning and Assessment Sub Programme, and previously with GRID-Arendal, a UNEP Collaborating Centre in Norway where he coordinated its Africa Programme. Frank's first assignment at UNEP was as a Programme Officer with its Disaster Management Branch based in Nairobi, Kenya and later Geneva, Switzerland.

Before joining the United Nations, Frank worked as an environmental expert within the Government of Uganda during which he was part of a team mandated to set up the Ministry of Environment Projection and later the establishment of the National Environmental Management Authority. Following this, he worked at the local level as Chief of Party for a USAID funded project on Environmental Protection and Economic Development. During this period, he led a process for the resettlement of communities which had encroached on the Karuma Wildlife Reserve which is part of the Uganda Murchison falls National Park system.
Frank is a Ugandan Citizen who holds an MSc in Natural Resource Management from Edinburgh University, a BSc in Forestry from Makerere University and a Diploma in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
Helene Fors

Helene Fors

Chief of Mission
Ms. Fors has been Chief of Mission for IOM Rwanda since September 2017 and she holds a Master of Laws Degree (LLM) from Uppsala University in Sweden. Over the course of her international career she has worked in Croatia, Iran, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq and now Rwanda.

IOM Rwanda actively supports the Government of Rwanda in all its migration related efforts; implementing projects focused on counter trafficking, immigration and border management, migration and health, return and reintegration of Rwandan nationals and refugee resettlement to third countries, labour migration and human development.

Ms. Hind Hassan Abdalgalil

Hind Hassan Abdalgalil

Country Director
Ms. Hind Hassan Abdalgalil is a national of Sudan. Her experience with UNAIDS spans 18 years in different advisory roles including advocacy, community mobilization and support, resource mobilization, strategic planning and joint programming to accelerate national HIV responses. She has worked in Ethiopia as a Fast-Track Advisor; leading the work on HIV prevention and providing technical support to the Government to re-strategize the HIV Program to bring down new HIV infections and reduce AIDS related death. Prior to working in Ethiopia, Ms Abdalgalil was UNAIDS Country Director a.i in Sudan and extensively engaged with the UN system to ensure an expanded, coordinated and joint UN response to HIV as part of the broader framework of the MDGs and SDGs and was involved in UN Reform processes.
Before that, Ms Abdalgalil has led the partnerships agenda in UNAIDS office in Sudan, working closely with religious leaders, civil society and people living with HIV to ensure their meaningful and effective inclusion and participation in planning, implementation and monitoring of HIV programs. She extensively engaged with government leadership including the First Lady to support Prevention of Mother to Child HIV transmission. Prior to joining UNAIDS, Ms Abdalgalil has worked with the National Population Council within the Government of Sudan providing research support and policy advise in relation to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Ms Abdalgalil holds an advanced degree in Population, Economics and Development from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Ishaku Maitumbi

Ishaku Maitumbi

UN Habitat Africa Regional portfolio Manager responsible for Rwanda
Ishaku Maitumbi is the Senior Advisor within UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Africa, covering Eastern and Horn of Africa Region. He is a chartered Urban Planner (MRTPI) with over 25 years' professional experience in the sector, including more than 15 years with the United Nations. He previously served in Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Somalia, amongst other countries. Prior to joining the United Nations, he was a United Kingdom civil servant in local and regional/central government. Ishaku specialises in urbanization, displacement and local government systems strengthening access to basic services and urban resilience, especially in post-conflict and developing environments. This varied experience is backed up with an MSc in Urban Planning and International Development (Oxford Brookes, UK).
As of January 2023, He was appointed as the new Portfolio Manager responsible for Rwanda.
Jean-Philippe Rodde

Jean-Philippe Rodde

Programme Officer
Jean-Philippe has more than 12 years of work experience in UNCTAD headquarters in Geneva, with activities mainly directed on inter-agency cooperation in the context of the UN System-wide coherence “Delivering as One”. Previous experience includes the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO), the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He has an Advanced University Degree in International Relations with focus on Economics and Development from the Sorbonne University, Paris.
Jennet Kem

Jennet Kem

UN Women
Jennet Kem has more than 27 years of experience in a wide range of gender and human rights issues including Gender-responsive governance, Gender Responsive Budgeting, Advancing Women’s Human Rights; Ending Feminized Poverty and Violence; gender and Juvenile Justice, Gender, Peace, Justice, and Humanitarian Action, amongst others.

She has served as Country Representative for UN Women Burundi in Burundi from 2017-2022 where she contributed to position women in leadership and peacebuilding at local level, fight against malnutrition and agriculture value chains. Before joining UN Women in Burundi, Ms. Kem served as UN Women Country Representative in Sudan from 2015-2017; Senior Policy Advisor on ending violence against Women at the UN Women RO for East and South Africa (2014-2015); Manager of the UN SG’s UNiTE Campaign to end violence against women, leading the secretariat in Addis Ababa to launch the campaign in more than 20 countries-(2011-2014); Senior Gender Advisor for UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) in New York USA (2009-2011); Gender Advisor on Public Finance Mgt and Economic Empowerment for the Commonwealth Secretariat in London (2008-2009); Manager of the Gender Equality Fund for CIDA-Canada (2002-2004) UNIFEM Country Programme Manager in Cameroon-(2004-2008). She started her leadership for gender equality as the founding Director for Women’s in Cameroon 1998-2002).

Jennet holds a DEA and Master’s degree (LLM) in Law from the University of Yaoundé-Cameroon; A Postgraduate Certificate from School of Administration and Magistracy (Cameroon) and is currently a commissioned Ph.D. Research Fellow.

Julianna Lindsey

Ms. Julianna Lindsey serves as UNICEF’s Country Representative to Rwanda, having previously been Representative to Botswana and to SADC. Ms. Lindsey, a national of the USA, has worked with UNICEF since 1998, including as Chief of Advocacy, Communications, Monitoring, and Analysis based in Ghana (2008-2012) and as Deputy Representative in South Africa (2005-2008). She has also worked for UNICEF in the Emergency Operations Division of Headquarters (2003-2005); in Khartoum, Sudan (1998-1999); and as part of Operation Lifeline Sudan based from Lokichokkio and Nairobi, Kenya (1999-2003). In addition, Ms. Lindsey has served as Vice President for Programmes at Women for Women International (WfWI), based in Washington D.C., USA (2013-2015). Ms. Lindsey also worked for the International Rescue Committee in Khartoum, Sudan (1997-1998) and for the German Bundestag (1992-1994).
Kwebena Asante-Ntiamoah

Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah

Mr. Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah joins the Rwanda Country office from his recent assignment serving as the Representative a.i. Malaysia & Country Director a.i. Thailand. Prior to that assignment, Kwabena served as the Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA in Afghanistan. Before that, he served in the same capacity in Cameroon.

Kwabena has over 20 years of working experience in peacebuilding, as well as humanitarian and development work. Kwabena is a national of Ghana and holds a Master of Science degree in Development Studies from the University Bath, United Kingdom, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Sociology with Political Science from the University of Ghana, and a certificate in Leadership from the Columbia University, NY/UNDP virtual academy programme
UN Volunteers, Regional Manager East and Southern Africa

Lucy Ndungu

Regional Manager East and Southern Africa
Ms. Lucy Ndungu (Kenya), Regional Manager East and Southern Africa, joined UNV from the Resident Coordinator’s Office as the Peace and Development Adviser, UN Uganda. Prior to serving with the UN, Lucy worked in civil society in Kenya as the National Coordinator for Partnership for Peace and Security.

Ms. Ndungu has extensive experience in the Eastern, Horn and Southern Africa and the Great Lakes Region, and has consulted widely for UNDP HQ working with the African Union and its Regional Economic Commissions to support the development of enabling policy and regulatory frameworks in their Member States for the development of infrastructures for peace.

Lucy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Maseno University, a Masters Degree in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, and executive certificate in leadership and management from the Northwestern University, Chicago, USA. She is a Fellow of Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa; Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Norway.
Mama Keita, Director of the office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa

Mama Keita

Director of the office for Eastern Africa
Ms Mama Keita is the Director of the office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, based in Kigali. She holds a Masters in Statistics and Applied Economics and a PhD. in economics from the University of Montreal. She has worked in the field of development economics for over 20 years. Prior to her employment at ECA, Ms Keita held positions as Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Guinea and as Economist at the World Bank in Burkina Faso. She was also a lecturer of public economics and development economics in Canada.
Maxwell Gomera, Resident Representative, UNDP

Maxwell Gomera

Resident Representative
Mr. Maxwell Gomera, joined UNDP Rwanda office from UN Environment where he was the Director of the Biodiversity and Land Branch since 2016. Max is a resource economist with over 20 years’ experience in nature conservation and agricultural development.
He has worked on economic development issues, including being part of a team that developed the ‘Global Green New Deal’ for reviving the global economy and boosting employment in response to the financial and economic crisis of 2008.

‘The 2008 crisis offered many lessons. An enduring one for me was the need for us to take time for introspection and make sure that we are building futures for ourselves that have a purpose far greater than the zeroes on a bank balance,’ he said.

Max has worked extensively with governments and corporates from across the world on a range of issues, including tourism development, human rights and wildlife management.

‘Until the people who live with wildlife recognise them as an important resource, the future for wildlife will remain uncertain,’ he said.

Max is a Senior Fellow of Aspen New Voices. He is an accomplished writer and has written for many National and Global mainstream newspapers and media – and is also widely published. He has been a member of many Boards.
Ndèye Aissatou Masseck Ndiaye

Ndèye Aissatou Masseck Ndiaye

Ms. Ndèye Aissatou Masseck Ndiaye, has spent over three decades working in the private and public sectors where she has built up vast experience in Human Resources, Financial and Operations management.

She has worked for the United Nations at both the field level (in Guinea, DRC, Rwanda, Geneva, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire) and at Headquarters level in Switzerland.
She has a wealth of experience in management of large operations, a great mastery of organizational management including change management, and a good handle on relationship management.

She is based in Kigali, where she joined the UNHCR Rwanda in August 2022 as the Representative. Prior to this, she was the Deputy Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa (RBWCA), where she was overseeing 21 country operations and doubling as the head of the Strategic Planning and Management pillar of the RBWCA.

Ms. Ndèye Aissatou is a wife and a mother of one daughter. She has a background in economics, social sciences and management, and studied at the University of Grenoble 1, the University of Besançon and at the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute.
Prof. Hubert Gijzen

Prof. Hubert Gijzen

Regional Director and Representative
Prof. Hubert Gijzen holds a PhD in Biotechnology, and has an established career of over 38 years in both academics and international cooperation for sustainable development. Throughout his career, he has lived and worked in various countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, in a range of senior functions as Full Professor and Chair in Universities, as a Diplomat, Team Leader, Regional Representative, and currently as UNESCO Regional Director and Representative.

Besides his current work for UNESCO, he continues to hold academic positions as full Professor of Environmental Biotechnology at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (since 1995) and other institutions. Hubert has published over 400 articles and books, and presented numerous keynotes in the fields of water management, microbiology, environmental sciences, biotechnology, and sanitary and environmental engineering. He also covered topics on international cooperation, sustainable development, the MDGs, SDGs, big data and climate change. He served in numerous international advisory functions and on Boards of prestigious Institutes and programmes.

Hubert joined the UN in 2006 as the Director of the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific based in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2015, Hubert was appointed as the Regional Director of the newly established UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe. As per July 2021 he has been appointed as Regional Director for Eastern Africa (Nairobi Office), and serves as UNESCO Representative to Kenya, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Uganda, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Somalia. He is the UNESCO Representative to SADC, serves on the UN Regional Directors Team and is member of the UN Regional Coordination Platform for Africa.

Wellington Chibebe

Wellington Chibebe

Wellington Chibebe currently holds the position of Director; ILO Country Office for Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi. He previously held positions of founding President of the Union of Railway Craftsmen, General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Chairman of Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition, Steering Committee Member of Global Partnership for Effective Development Corporation and Deputy Secretary-General of International Trade Union Confederation.