Meet the Team


The Transfer Project relies on researchers, policymakers and programme implementers to work together to improve social cash transfers. By providing rigorous evidence, findings from our research and impact evaluations can inform policy decisions and improve programme effectiveness. As a team, we work together from different institutions, utilizing expertise and insights of colleagues across several continents. Click on the organizations below to view the staff working in different areas (listed in alphabetical order by surname):

Staff based at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)

Sara Abdoulayi
Social Protection Officer

Sara Abdoulayi is a Social Protection Officer at FAO’s Regional Office for Africa, based in Ghana. Prior to joining FAO, Sara held positions as a Social Protection Specialist at UNICEF Ghana, and as the UNC-based Project Manager for the Transfer Project. She has worked in in Eastern, Southern, and Western Africa, and her technical expertise covers a range of topics, including M&E, impact evaluation, rural poverty reduction and economic development, entrepreneurship, climate change, food systems and agroforestry. Sara holds Masters’ degrees in Business Administration and in City and Regional Planning from UNC, with concentrations in entrepreneurship, economic development and international development.

Silvio Daidone
Economist

Silvio joined FAO PtoP team in July 2012 from the University of York, where he was Research Fellow at the Centre of Health Economics. He is specialized in impact evaluation, productivity and efficiency analysis. He has significant experience in the design and analysis of impact evaluations of social protection programs and rural development interventions. As part of the Transfer Project, Silvio studied how cash transfers affected livelihoods of beneficiary households, their productive activities, labor allocation, risk management and food security and nutrition. Dr. Daidone's CV  @DaidoneSilvio

Benjamin Davis
Strategic Programme Leader

Benjamin Davis is Leader of the Strategic Programme to Reduce Rural Poverty at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He has extensive experience in social protection, social policies and agricultural economics. He has previously served as Deputy Director of the Agricultural Development Economics Division at FAO and he was team leader of the From Production to Protection (PtoP) project. He has also worked as Social Policy Advisor for the UNICEF Regional Office in Eastern and Southern Africa and as a Research and Post-Doctoral Fellow at IFPRI. Benjamin Davis holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and a Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Ana Paula de la O Campos
Economist

Ana Paula de la O Campos is an Economist and Advisor for Strategic Programme to Reduce Rural Poverty at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She has extensive experience in the area of rural development, social protection and gender and women’s empowerment issues. She has contributed to several initiatives in FAO with other partners including the From Production to Protection (PtoP) project, the Gender and Land Rights Database, the Rural Income Generating Activities Project (RIGA). She currently oversees the work of FAO on multi-sectorial policies and strategies for rural poverty reduction and the analytical work in relation to rural poverty and livelihoods.

Alejandro Grinspun
Senior Economist

Alejandro Grinspun is Senior Economist in the Social Protection team of FAO’s Economic and Social Development Department. Alejandro joined FAO in 2017 from UNICEF, where he had led the work on social policy including child poverty analysis, public finance and social protection in South Africa and Tanzania from 2009 to 2016. Before working for UNICEF, Alejandro held various technical positions with UNDP, both in headquarters and the field (HQ Bureau for Development Policy 1993-2002, IPC Brazil 2003-2005, UNDP Mexico 2006-2009), where he was engaged in social policy research and analysis, technical advice to governments, support to intergovernmental processes, and policy dissemination and influencing. A national from Argentina, Alejandro holds an M.Phil. in public policy from Columbia University. He has authored, coordinated or led in the publication of a number of articles, books and technical reports on poverty, social protection and social policy over the years.

Mari Kangasniemi
Economist

Mari joined FAO’s social protection team in August 2016. Her research includes works on several aspects of labour markets, such as an evaluation of development cooperation with unions in Zambia and empirical studies on topics such as migration, job satisfaction and productivity as well as building a microsimulation model for Zambia. Prior to joining FAO she held positions several research institutions in Finland and the United Kingdom, among others in the Labour Institute for Economic Research in Helsinki, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London, London School of Economics and the University of Sussex.  Mari holds a PhD in economics from the University of Essex and an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics, and Master of Social Science from the University of Helsinki.

Christine Legault
Communications Specialist

Christine Legault is a communications specialist currently supporting the Social Protection and Rural Institutions, Services and Empowerment (RISE) teams in FAO, Rome. Prior to joining FAO, she was a foreign correspondent and television producer in Italy, covering politics, social issues and human interest stories for networks in the Middle East and Canada. Prior to her experience in Europe, Christine worked for Global Television in Montreal, Canada as a television reporter and editorial assistant, and as a graphic designer and project manager in a Montreal-based advertising firm. Christine holds an MA in Social Sciences from the Open University (UK), a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from l’Université de Montreal, and a DEC in Graphic Design from Dawson College (Canada).

Twitter Profile
Noemi Pace
Assistant Professor/ Economist

Noemi Pace is Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice and Economist (consultant) at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. At FAO she is a member of the social protection analytical team in the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division where she conducts impact evaluation analysis of social protection and agricultural interventions. She is also research fellow at the UCL Centre for Global Health Economics, research fellow at the Center for Economic and International Studies (CEIS) at University of Tor Vergata, and Adjunct Research Associate at the Center for Health Policy, Stanford University. Her fields of research are applied microeconomics, experimental economics, health economics and development economics. Click here for her complete profile www.noemipace.com

Pamela Pozarny
Senior Rural Sociologist

Pamela Pozarny is Senior Rural Sociologist in the FAO Regional Office for Africa (RAF) based in Accra, Ghana. She previously worked in FAO’ s Investment Centre in Rome for over 11 years, partnering with World Bank, IFAD, African Development Bank among others, designing large-scale investment programmes focusing on targeting, gender and youth mainstreaming. Pamela is a member of FAO’s social protection analytical team, leading qualitative research in the Protection to Production’ s (PtoP) impact evaluation programme throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to working in FAO-HQ, Pamela worked as Rural Institutions and Land Tenure Officer in RAF. She has worked with USAID, UNDP, NGOs, US Peace Corps, and national universities in Africa for over 30 years. Pamela holds PhD and MA in anthropology, minoring in Farming Systems Research.

Ervin Prifti
Economist

Ervin is an economist with the Social Protection team in the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division of the FAO. He works on research aimed at the generation of evidence and knowledge for policy support in the areas of social protection and agriculture. His work has focused on econometric program evaluation of cash transfer interventions in Sub Saharan Africa and cuts through topics related to labor and commodity markets. He has also covered a lead role in study design and survey implementation. Previously to joining the FAO, he has worked as quant in investment banking and as a research economist in the lobbying industry.

Natalia Winder Rossi
Social Protection Team Leader

Natalia Winder Rossi is a senior social protection specialist currently leading the Global Social Protection team in FAO, Rome, also acting as senior advisor for the Rural Poverty and Resilience Strategic Programmes. Prior to joining FAO, she was the Senior Social Protection Specialist at UNICEF’s Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa, and Social Protection Officer in UNICEF-Headquarters in New York where she led the work on HIV-sensitive social protection and supported the development of a regional framework on social protection and resilience. Natalia has also co-authored UNICEF’s Social Protection Strategic Framework. Prior to UNICEF, Natalia worked at the Inter-American Development Bank designing indigenous development, social development and social protection programmes in Latin America. Natalia holds a MSc in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a MSc in Social Policy Research from LSE.

Staff based at UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti

Richard de Groot, MS in International Economics
Research Analyst

Richard has experience implementing evaluations and quantitative research in collaboration with organizations such as Plan International, UNICEF Cambodia, and the World Bank on topics related to poverty alleviation, human development, and children’s nutritional status. He has extensive experience in quantitative research methods. He started at UNICEF's Office of Research – Innocenti in February 2015. Richard is currently a PhD candidate at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance / UNU-MERIT's Governance and Policy Analysis programme.

Jacobus (Jacob) de Hoop, PhD
Humanitarian Specialist

Jacob joined UNICEF’s Office of Research in August 2015. Jacob’s research focuses on the effects of public policy in developing countries on child labor, education, youth employment, family wellbeing and functioning, and the intersection between these areas. He has experience in the evaluation of cash transfer programs, public works programs, and employment programs in Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining UNICEF, Jacob worked as a research economist at the International Labour Organization, as a post-doctoral fellow at the Paris School of Economics, and as a consultant at the World Bank. Click here for Dr. de Hoop's CV and research.

Maja Gavrilovic
Research Analyst

Maja Gavrilovic is a qualitative researcher in the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Maja joined Innocenti in August 2018 from FAO, where she has led the analytical and policy-related work on gender-sensitive social protection, and ‘cash plus’ programming in rural development contexts. Prior to FAO, she has carried out qualitative research consultancies for UNICEF, DFID, Save the Children, and UN Women on poverty and vulnerability assessments, maternal and child health, and child-sensitive social protection in various countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. From 2013-14, she supported the Government of The Gambia to develop its first National Social Protection Policy 2015-2025. Currently, Maja leads the qualitative components of impact evaluations of cash plus programmes in Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Valeria Groppo, PhD in Economics
Research Analyst
Valeria joined the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti in November 2016. She is contributing to assessing the impact of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa on children’s schooling outcomes and participation in child labour. In particular, she is working on the collection and analysis of new data on children’s schooling and work in Tanzania. She is also supporting the preparation of a mixed-method paper examining the effects of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) on children’s participation in economic activities and household chores. She previously worked as Research Associate for the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and prior to this assignment she has worked for the WTO and the ILO in Geneva, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lusajo Kajula, PhD in Health Behaviour and Promotion
Research Analyst
Lusajo started her consultancy with the UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti in June 2017. She holds a PhD from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands in Health Behaviour and Promotion. Her research interests lie in risky sexual behaviour among adolescents and youth, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Violence against Children (VAW), HIV related stigma, as well as parenting and family interactions. Since 2002, Lusajo has been involved in a number of international collaborations that addressed adolescent and youth sexual behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, she is the qualitative principal investigator of the Adolescent Cash Plus Study in Tanzania.
Angie Lee, MA in Strategic Communication
Communications Specialist

Angie is a Research Uptake Specialist with The Transfer Project. Having worked as a Strategic Planner in creative advertising agencies in Dublin and within the Communications divisions in UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti and World Food Programme, Angie has both private sector and NGO-experience. She has a background in Business & Law, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communication from University of Stirling and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Michelle Mills, MA in International Education Policy Analysis
Research Uptake Specialist
Michelle's research at Stanford University focused on child poverty, rural education and social protection measures in sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on child labour and decent work. In July 2015, she joined UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti and is responsible for the dissemination and uptake of research through the Transfer Project.
Luisa Natali, PhD Candidate in Development Economics
Research Analyst
Luisa joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in January 2016. She holds a Master’s in Development Economics and has previously worked as a research consultant for ODI, IDS, DfID as well as four years at Innocenti. Her main research fields are Development Economics and Policy Impact Evaluation; her research interests lie in social policy and social protection, and in particular in the evaluation of cash transfer programmes, child well-being, poverty and vulnerability analysis, and the economics of gender. She has gained field experience in Zambia, South Africa and Bangladesh. e9686df9-751d-44ab-9e30-97d4d79ac57b @luisanatali

Frank Otchere, PhD in Public Policy
Social Policy Specialist

Frank Otchere is a Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Statistician and Demographer by training, and has worked on several Transfer Project impact evaluations since 2011, including those in Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. His research focuses on household production and expenditure decisions, determinants of household mobility and the intersections between demography and socio-economic wellbeing. He was previously a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), a leading Think Tank based at the University of Ghana, and a research assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of impact evaluations for public policy.

Tia Palermo, PhD
Social Policy Specialist

Tia joined UNICEF's Office of Research – Innocenti in November 2014 from Stony Brook University (State University of New York), where she was an Assistant Professor. She oversees projects relating to social protection and equity in low- and middle-income countries focusing on cash transfers and impact evaluations of interventions to combat poverty and exclusion of children. Her research agenda focuses on linkages between social protection and health, including health-seeking, adolescent health, gender-based violence, and mental health. Click here for Dr. Palermo's CV. @TiaPalermo

Amber Peterman, PhD
Social Policy Specialist
Amber joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in February 2015 and focuses on adolescent well-being and safe transitions to adulthood. Amber brings significant experience in large-scale surveys and impact evaluation in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. With a background as a quantitative public health researcher, Amber is interested providing policy-relevant evidence related to the intersection between gender, health and human rights including linkages between gender-based violence and reproductive health to economic empowerment. Amber previously worked as a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC, and as an Assistant Research Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. Click here for Dr. Peterman's CV. @a_peterman
Leah Prencipe, MPH (Master’s in Public Health)
Research Analyst

Leah has experience providing support to large-scale impact evaluations related to children’s education and nutrition in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Bangladesh, among others. Leah’s currently examines the ability of social policy to improve health outcomes among children and adolescents in Tanzania, including outcomes related to sexual behaviour, mental health, and violence. Leah previously worked as a Researcher at American Institutes for Research in Washington DC, and as a consultant at the World Bank. She joined UNICEF's Office of Research – Innocenti in March 2015. In 2018 Leah joined the Department of Public Health (Social Epidemiology) as a PhD student at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Click here for Ms. Prencipe's CV.

 

Elsa Valli, PhD in Economics
Research Analyst

Elsa started at UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti in January 2017. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Sussex where she also obtained a Master’s in Development Economics. Her research interests lie in poverty and vulnerability, children’s health status, and in the impact of social programmes on households and children outcomes. In the past she worked as a consultant on research projects for ODI, Scaling Up Movement, EU, UNRWA, USAID, and IDS on poverty dynamics, food security, nutrition, agriculture, social protection and education mostly on Sub-Saharan countries but also Middle East, India and Latin America.

Jennifer Waidler, PhD in Economics and Governance
Research Analyst

Jennifer joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in July 2018. She holds a PhD in Economics and Governance from Maastricht University and a Master’s in Public Policy with a specialization in Social Policy Design from the same university. Jennifer has worked on a variety of migration and social protection related projects for several institutions including UNU-MERIT and its Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (based in Maastricht, The Netherlands), The World Bank, The European Commission, and the Centre of Excellence in Food Security in South Africa. She has rich experience in designing, evaluating and analyzing large scale household surveys and her main areas of interest/ expertise include multidimensional poverty measurement, effects of migration and remittances, and impacts of cash transfer programs on outcomes such as food security, subjective well-being, and expenditure behavior.

Staff based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)

Gustavo Angeles, PhD
Senior Research Advisor
Gustavo is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. He is a health economist with experience in program impact evaluation, household and facility surveys, and socioeconomic measurement. For over 20 years he has provided technical assistance to evaluate social and health programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Previously he was Director of the Center for Evaluation Research and Surveys of Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, and Deputy Director of the MEASURE Evaluation project. Click here for Dr. Angeles' CV.

Clare Barrington, PhD
Senior Research Advisor
Clare is an Associate Professor of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. She is a social scientist with expertise in qualitative and mixed-method research in diverse settings, including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Her research examines social and structural influences on health and health behaviors, in particular HIV. Dr. Barrington has a Ph.D. in International Health from Johns Hopkins University. Click here for Dr. Barrington's CV.
Averi Chakrabarti
Research Assistant
Averi is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has supported the Transfer Project's impact evaluations in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana. She is interested in research on poverty alleviation programs, human capital attainment and gender issues. Before coming to UNC, Averi worked with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Odisha, India.
Marlous de Milliano
Research Assistant
Marlous is a doctoral student in the Public Policy department, and has been working as a research assistant for the Transfer Project since August 2016. She has supported both the qualitative and quantitative evaluations of the Ghana LEAP 1000 project, and she is planning to use these data for her dissertation. Marlous’ research interests are in the impact of social protection policy on human capital accumulation and community- and intra-household dynamics. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill, she worked for nearly four years as a social and economic policy consultant at the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. She focused on issues concerning social protection, education and (multidimensional) poverty. Currently, Marlous is also a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center.
Sudhanshu (Ashu) Handa, PhD
Principal Investigator
Ashu is Lawrence I. Gilbert Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, and is a human resource economist specializing in household behaviors in developing countries. He has 20+ years’ experience assessing impacts of government poverty alleviation programs in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. He previously served as Chief of Social Policy and Economic Analysis, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti from 2013-2016 while on leave from UNC. Click here for Dr. Handa's CV. @ashudirect

Ashu

Young Ashu ~ 1966 in Tema, Ghana

Research Fellows

Fidelia Dake, PhD
Research Fellow
Fidelia Dake (PhD, Population Studies) is a postdoctoral researcher with research interests in population health, nutritional outcomes, socio-environmental determinants of obesity and non-communicable diseases, social protection (particularly universal health coverage) and health statistics including vital statistics. Over the period of the fellowship with the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Fidelia will work with the Transfer Project team to examine the impact of unconditional cash transfers on early pregnancy and marriage of youth.
Michael Danquah, PhD
Research Fellow
Michael Danquah (PhD, Economics) is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon. Previously, he worked as a Development Policy Analyst at the National Development Planning Commission, Ghana. In 2014, he was awarded the Most Promising Young Scholar at the School of Social Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon. Broadly, Michael’s research has focused on inclusive growth and poverty reduction, economics of education, informality and tax reforms, and efficiency analysis. Over the period of the fellowship with the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Michael will work on cash transfers and urban poverty, and also on integrating multidimensional child poverty, public finance for children and fiscal incidence analysis.
Mphatso Kamndaya, PhD
Research Fellow
Mphatso Kamndaya is a Senior Lecturer at University of Malawi – The Polytechnic. He holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of the Witwatersrand, where he also completed postdoctoral training. He conducts international empirical research in the area of social science and urban health. He has published on adolescent sexual reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa, including structural drivers of HIV/AIDS among adolescents and young people. Dr. Kamndaya has training in applied statistics and mathematics and conducts both quantitative and qualitative research. He has implemented a number of sexual reproductive health research projects using mixed methods.
Ramaele Moshoeshoe, PhD
Research Fellow
Ramaele Moshoeshoe (PhD) is a lecturer of economics at the National University of Lesotho. He obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Cape Town in 2015, and visited the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in February 2016 as a Research Fellow to work on the Transfer Project. Since then, Ramaele and the Transfer Project team have been working on the effects of unconditional cash transfers on schooling and child labour in sub-Saharan Africa. Ramaele’s research interests include education economics, labour economics, health economics, and impact evaluation.
Jacob Novignon, PhD
Research Fellow
Jacob Novignon (PhD, Economics) joined the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti as a research fellow to work on the Transfer Project. Jacob’s research focus over the period will be on the impact of cash transfers on maternal and child health and health seeking behaviors. The research will seek to present cross country evidence from countries such as Zambia and Malawi. Jacob also currently works as a lecturer at the department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. Jacob’s broad fields of specialty include heath economics and public sector economics.
Idrissa Ouili, PhD
Research Fellow
Idrissa Ouili (PhD, Economics) is an assistant professor at the High Institute for Population Sciences at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He also holds a M.Sc. in Statistics and Econometrics and an engineering degree in Statistics. He previously worked for seven years as researcher at the Higher Institute of Population Sciences (ISSP), University of Ouagadougou. His research interests include methods to assess the determinant and inequality of well-being and their effect on education, health and family planning in both developing and developed countries. With UNICEF Office of Research and the Transfer Project, he works on cash transfers and multidimensional poverty of children. Dr. Ouili's CV.