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

UNIDO
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.
Ash Carl

Ash Carl

IOM
Chief of Mission
Ash CARL joined as the IOM Chief of Mission to Rwanda in September 2023. Having joined IOM in 2005, Mr. CARL has held a variety of positions including most recently serving as interim Chief of Mission in Nepal, as well as Australia, where he was also the Coordinator for the Pacific. He also served as Deputy Chief of Mission for IOM in Afghanistan over a very tumultuous period for the country from September 2020. He was privileged to establish IOM’s first country offices in the north Pacific where he served as the Chief of Mission/Sub-Regional Coordinator from 2009 until 2014. He has held senior programme management roles in Iraq with both IOM and UNDP. He has also worked with the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Thailand, and as a Head of Office in Indonesia following the devastating earthquake in Yogyakarta and Central Java in 2006.

In addition, Mr. CARL has been deployed on special assignments to Vanuatu, El Salvador and the Philippines to support durable solutions to internal displacement, community-based planning, transition and recovery programming. Mr. CARL has a broad range of experience across a number of migration management-related areas, including humanitarian assistance, climate mobility, disaster risk reduction, labour migration, immigration and border governance, and resettlement, among others. He started his professional career in the migration field with the Department of Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in his home country.

He possesses an Executive Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts (International Relations), Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology and Bachelor of Behavioural Science. He is a solution-focused leader who believes in helping team members harness their unique talents to contribute substantively to the organization’s mission.
Ms Coumba Dieng Sow, FAO Representative to Rwanda

Coumba Dieng Sow

FAO
Representative
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.


Dagmawi Habte-Selassie

Dagmawi Habte-Selassie

IFAD
Representative and Country Director, Burundi, and Rwanda
 
Dagmawi Habte-Selassie is the IFAD Representative and Country Director for Rwanda and Burundi where he manages IFAD’s investment and policy engagement in the countries. He has over fifteen years of professional experience working in private finance and international development, with the last ten being with IFAD.

He brings proven experience in structuring financial vehicles to fill specific gaps in the agribusiness financial ecosystem. Most recently, Dagmawi was the IFAD focal point for private equity finance and financial inclusion in Uganda where he led IFAD’s engagement in the Yield Uganda Investment Fund, an innovative impact fund supporting Agri-SMEs in Uganda.

Previously, he worked as a technical specialist working in setting up the Smallholder Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), which aimed to foster a more effective and inclusive ecosystem for agri-SME finance. He also held various positions at the institution in Rome, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, in areas of access to finance, value chain development, strategic partnerships, and policy development. Prior to development work, Dagmawi spent a number of years working in the private sector in pension administration as well as retail management positions in Canada. He holds a Graduate Diploma in International Business Management from McGill University and a master’s degree in management of development from the Università degli studi di Torino.
Dr Brian Chirombo, WHO Representative

Dr Brian Chirombo

WHO
Representative
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.
Dr. Olugbemiga Adelakin

Dr. Olugbemiga Adelakin

UNFPA
Representative
Dr. Olugbemiga Adelakin, a Nigerian National, is a medical doctor with more than 20 years experience in development and humanitarian settings. Before assuming duties as the UNFPA Representative in Rwanda, he was the UNFPA Representative for the DPR Korea.

Prior to this, Dr. Adelakin had worked for UNFPA in Africa, and in the Middle East, where he was the Regional Program Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation overseeing this function in more than 15 country offices in the region.

He also previously worked as Senior Technical Advisor for the Family Health International (FHI360) after working in hospitals as a medical practitioner in his home country. In addition to his Medical degree (MB;BS), Dr. Adelakin holds a Master’s degree in International Health from the University College London; Humboldt University Germany; and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, with a Diploma in Public Health from the Charite Medical School in Germany.

He also holds an MBA degree from the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom. Dr. Adelakin is a strong advocate for effective public policies for the advancement of the SDGs and the ICPD-PoA.
Fatmata Lovetta Sesay

Fatmata Lovetta Sesay

UNDP
Resident Representative
Fatmata Lovetta Sesay has over 20 years of global experience in economic development, sustainable finance, policy program support, and strategic management. She is currently serving as the Resident Representative of UNDP in Rwanda.

Previously, she has worked as the Senior Economist for UNDP in Ghana and The Gambia and held various senior roles in South Sudan, Eritrea, Botswana, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Zambia and more, along with significant contributions to UN Women's East and Southern Africa Regional Office.

She also has hands-on experience in public service, having served in Sierra Leone's Ministry of Finance and Office of the Vice President. With a PhD in Development Economics and a background in law and economics, she combines academic rigor with practical experience.

Passionate about women's economic empowerment, Fatmata has advised on national development strategies and led strategic initiatives across diverse regions. Fatmata is married with three children, and she enjoys dancing and sports!
Mr. Frank Turyatunga, Acting Director and Regional Representative, Africa Office.

Frank Turyatunga

UNEP
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.
Ms. Hind Hassan Abdalgalil

Hind Hassan Abdalgalil

UNAIDS
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
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

UNCTAD
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
Representative
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.
Lindsey

Julianna Lindsey

UNICEF
Representative
 
 
 
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).
Kawtar Zerouali

Kawtar Zerouali

UNCDF
Deputy Director, Nature Assets Team
 
Prior to joining UNCDF, Kawtar served in a number of positions within UNDP including Deputy Resident Representative in Djibouti and KSA, Regional Innovation Advisor, Gender Advisor and Regional Programme Manager for the Youth Leadership Programme. Her work also encompasses serving as a Specialist on National Dialogue/Civil Society Strengthening, supporting the Constitutional Process in Tunisia from 2012 to 2013. With over two decades of extensive international development experience across various regions; Kawtar brings a wealth of knowledge in policy and programme development, social innovation, transformative leadership, and strategic partnerships. Her background includes roles at the global, regional, and national levels, with a particular emphasis on Systems Transformation, Power Dynamics, Gender Equality, Youth Leadership, and Financial Inclusivity.
Kawtar holds a master’s degree in Organizational Management and Sustainable Development from World Learning’s School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vt and a Bachelors in Economic Sciences from University Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco. She is a Moroccan national and speaks English, French and Arabic.
UN Volunteers, Regional Manager East and Southern Africa

Lucy Ndungu

UNV
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

UN ECA
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.
Mr. Andrea BAGNOLI

Mr. Andrea BAGNOLI

WFP
Country Director
Andrea Bagnoli became the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director in Rwanda in August 2023.
He has worked with WFP since 2001, gaining extensive experience in international
development, recovery operations and emergency preparedness and response through many field deployments.
Prior to his current posting, he served as WFP Country Director in the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (2021-2023), in the Kyrgyz Republic (2017- 2021) and Deputy Country Director in Tajikistan (2013-2017).
He also held the positions of Head of the Emergency Preparedness Unit in WFP Headquarters
in Rome (2007-2012), Head of Area Office for North and East in Haiti (2003-2007) and Programme Policy Officer in Mozambique (2001-2003).
Prior to WFP, Andrea worked at the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations and a Master’s Degree in Peacekeeping: Civil-Military Coordination.
He is an Italian native speaker and he speaks fluently English, French and Portuguese.
Mr. Michael NGABIRANO

Mr. Michael NGABIRANO

OHCHR
Senior Human Rights Advisor
Prior to this assignment, since 2021, Michael served as Senior Human Rights Advisor in Lesotho. From 2018-2021 Michael was the Head of the Child Protection Unit in the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), responsible for child protection programming, advocacy, coordination, monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children.

He previously served as Human Rights /Protection Officer with UN peace missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sudan and South Sudan; and with UNDP and OCHA in Kenya; as well as with OHCHR in Geneva. Moreover, he also worked with the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Michael has more than 20 years of work experience in the areas of human rights, rule of law, judicial reform, access to justice, alternative dispute resolution, protection of civilians and coordination of humanitarian response.

Michael is a national of Uganda and holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University in Uganda.
Ndèye Aissatou Masseck Ndiaye

Ndèye Aissatou Masseck Ndiaye

UNHCR
Representative
 
 
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

UNESCO
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.