Our People

With 13 offices in 12 countries our staff are drawn from many countries and cultures. They are however united in their aim to produce innovative scientifically based solutions to the issues of water management and climate change.

Leadership TeamExtended Leadership TeamAsiaAfricaEmeritus Scientists
16 staff member(s)

Mark Smith
Director General

Rachael McDonnell
Deputy Director General – Research for Development

Oyture Anarbekov
Country Manager – Uzbekistan

Olufunke Cofie
Country Representative – Ghana, Regional Representative – West Africa

Amgad Elmahdi
Country Representative – Egypt, Regional Representative – MENA

Mohsin Hafeez
Country Representative – Pakistan, Regional Representative – Central Asia

Inga Jacobs-Mata
Country Representative – South Africa, Regional Representative – Southern Africa

Manohara Khadka
Country Representative – Nepal

Simon Langan
Director of Digital Innovation and Country Manager, Sri Lanka

Abdulkarim Seid
Country Representative – Ethiopia, Regional Representative – East Africa

Alok Sikka
Country Representative - India

Pay Drechsel
Senior Fellow/Advisor - Research Quality Assurance

Alan Nicol
Strategic Program Director – Water, Growth and Inclusion

Syon Niyogi
Corporate Services Director

Stefan Uhlenbrook
Program Director, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), Strategic Program Director (IWMI) – Water, Food and Ecosystems

Julie van der Bliek
Director, Partnership and Knowledge Management
9 staff member(s)

Alok Sikka
Country Representative - India

Giriraj Amarnath
Research Group Leader – Water Risk to Development and Resilience and Principal Researcher – Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience

Soumya Balasubramanya
Research Group Leader: Economics and Impact Evaluation

Tamara Jayaratnam
Head of Program Management

Jonathan Lautze
Research Group Leader: Integrated Management of Basins and Aquifers

Matthew McCartney
Research Group Leader - Sustainable Water Infrastructure & Ecosystems

Josiane Nikiema
Research Group Leader - Circular Economy and Water Pollution

Diana Suhardiman
Research Group Lead Governance and Inclusion-Senior Researcher Policy and Institutions

Mark Thomson
Global Head of Business Development

Headquarters – Sri Lanka

35 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Mark SmithDirector General
Rachael McDonnellDeputy Director General – Research for Development
Simon LanganDirector of Digital Innovation and Country Manager, Sri Lanka
Mohamed AheeyarResearcher
Niranga AlahacoonSenior Research Officer – Remote Sensing and Disaster Risks Analyst
Ranjith AlankaraRemote Sencing and Geographic information System (RS/GIS) assistant
Upali AmarasingheSenior Researcher
Giriraj AmarnathResearch Group Leader – Water Risk to Development and Resilience and Principal Researcher – Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience
Indika ArulingamResearch Officer (Social Scientist)
Soumya BalasubramanyaResearch Group Leader: Economics and Impact Evaluation
Marie-Charlotte BuissonSenior Researcher – Development & Agricultural Economics
Hauke DahlIntegrated Expert on Sustainable Scaling
Chris DickensPrincipal Researcher
Pay DrechselSenior Fellow/Advisor - Research Quality Assurance
Nishadi EriyagamaWater Resources Engineer
Surajit GhoshRegional Researcher – Water Risk and Data Sciences Specialist
Ajantha IhalawelaSenior Software Engineer
Mahesh JampaniResearcher
Tamara JayaratnamHead of Program Management
Nilanthi JayathilakeSenior Research Officer
Deepa JoshiGender and Inclusion Lead
Mansoor LehResearcher - Spatial Hydrology
Lisa Maria RebeloPrincipal Researcher (Earth Observation for Sustainable Development)
Javier Mateo-SagastaSenior Researcher and Coordinator-Water Quality
Karthikeyan MatheswaranRegional Researcher - Water Productivity
Matthew McCartneyResearch Group Leader - Sustainable Water Infrastructure & Ecosystems
Lal MuthuwattaSenior Regional Researcher
Syon NiyogiCorporate Services Director
David ShearerDeputy Head, Secretariat for the Commission for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification
Chandima SubasingheRS/GIS Analyst
Avinandan TaronResearcher - Investment and Institutional Analyst for RRR Business Development
Mark ThomsonGlobal Head of Business Development
Stefan UhlenbrookProgram Director, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), Strategic Program Director (IWMI) – Water, Food and Ecosystems
Julie van der BliekDirector, Partnership and Knowledge Management
Naga Manohar VelpuriSenior Researcher

South Asia

Anand

2 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Neha DurgaResearcher - Water & Energy
Shilp VermaSenior Researcher – Water-Energy – Food Policies

New Delhi

9 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Alok SikkaCountry Representative - India
Faiz AlamResearcher - Water Resources/Agricultural Water Management
Smaranika MahapatraResearch Officer – Water Resources Management
Archisman MitraResearcher - Water Resource Economics
Aditi MukherjiPrincipal Researcher
Suman PadheeResearcher – Water Risk Modeler
Aditi SanjayResearch Officer-Economics
Tarul SharmaResearcher – Climate Change and Water Risk Modeling
Yashodha YashodaPost-Doctoral Fellow

Nepal

9 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Manohara KhadkaCountry Representative – Nepal
Luna BharatiPrincipal Researcher/Project Manager
Shashwat DhunganaResearch Officer - Water Resources
Alok RajouriaResearcher
Manita RautSenior Research Officer
Nirman ShresthaResearcher - Agricultural Water Management
Shisher ShresthaNational Researcher - Renewable Energy Water & Climate Change
Gitta ShresthaNational Researcher
Labisha UpretySenior Research Officer – Policy and Water Governance

Pakistan

10 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Mohsin HafeezCountry Representative – Pakistan, Regional Representative – Central Asia
Azeem Ali ShahSenior Regional Researcher: Governance of Water Institutions
Arif AnwarPrincipal Researcher - Irrigation
Khadija BegumGender and Youth Specialist
Tousif BhattiResearcher-Water Management
Sumble GhaniRemote Sensing & GIS Officer
Kashif HussainSenior Field Officer - Agriculture Water
Usman Khalid AwanWater Resources Specialists
Umar LiaqatResearcher - Irrigation
Muhammad Zain AkbarResearch Officer – Policy and Water Governance

Southeast Asia

Laos

2 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Paul PavelicSenior Researcher
Diana SuhardimanResearch Group Lead Governance and Inclusion-Senior Researcher Policy and Institutions

Myanmar

4 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Sanjiv de SilvaSenior Regional Researcher
Phay Ko UProject Coordinator
Palal MoetResearch Officer
Petra SchmitterPrincipal Researcher – Agriculture Water Management

Central Asia

Uzbekistan

3 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Oyture AnarbekovCountry Manager – Uzbekistan
Kakhramon DjumaboevResearcher – Water Management
Zafar GafurovNational Researcher

West Africa – Accra – Ghana

13 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Olufunke CofieCountry Representative – Ghana, Regional Representative – West Africa
Moctar DembelePost-Doctoral Fellow - Spatial Hydrology
Solomie GebrezgabherResearcher - Economics
Everisto MapedzaSenior Researcher - Social and Institutional Scientist
Charles MensahResearch Officer – Livestock Policy and Foresight
Eric NarteyResearch Officer - Recycling and reuse
Josiane NikiemaResearch Group Leader - Circular Economy and Water Pollution
Abena OfosuSenior Research Officer – Innovation Scaling
Charity Osei-AmponsahRegional Researcher - Social Transformation
William QuarmineNational Researcher - Monitoring and Evaluation
Thai Thi MinhSenior Researcher - Innovation Scaling
Esther WahabuResearch Officer - Social Sciences
Sander ZwartCoordinator TAAT - Water Enabler Compact

East Africa – Addis Ababa – Ethiopia

12 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Abdulkarim SeidCountry Representative – Ethiopia, Regional Representative – East Africa
Wolde BoriSenior Researcher – Environment and Development
Mengistu DebelaResearch Officer III
Girma EbrahimRegional Researcher: Hydrogeology and Water Resources
Fitsum HagosResearcher Economist/Social Science
Amare HaileslassiePrincipal Researcher
Dagmawi MelakuResearch Officer II – Agricultural Innovation Systems
Alan NicolStrategic Program Director – Water, Growth and Inclusion
Alemseged Tamiru HaileSenior Researcher - Hydrology/Hydrological Modeling
Meron Teferi TayeResearcher - Transitioning Landscapes
Desalegn TegegneResearch Officer II
Likimyelesh WoldegiorgisResearch Officer

Southern Africa – Pretoria – South Africa

12 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Inga Jacobs-MataCountry Representative – South Africa, Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Bhekiwe FakudzeResearch Officer - Agricultural Economics
Sherwin GabrielScientist II
Jacob GreffithsResearch Officer – Agricultural Economics
Loreen KatiyoGWPSA-Africa Transboundary Water Governance and Environmental Specialist
Shamiso KumbiraiSDG Water Investments Specialist (GWPSA)
Jonathan LautzeResearch Group Leader: Integrated Management of Basins and Aquifers
Manuel MagombeyiRegional Researcher
Greenwell MatchayaSenior International Researcher - Economics/ReSAKSS Coordinator
Patience MukuyuResearcher
Sibusiso NhlengethwaResearch Officer
Karen VillholthPrincipal Researcher

Middle East and North Africa – Cairo – Egypt

6 staff member(s)

Full Name Designation
Amgad ElmahdiCountry Representative – Egypt, Regional Representative – MENA
Maha Al-Zu’biResearcher - Agriculture Water Solutions
Marwa AliResearch officer in Water Resources Management and Water Accounting
Adham BadawyNational Research Officer - Water Accounting & Productivity
Ireny KhellaMonitoring and Evaluation Specialist - Sustainable Agriculture
Nisreen LahhamRegional Project Manager
8 staff member(s)
Full Name Designation
Priyanie AmerasingheEmeritus Scientist
Chu Thai HoanhEmeritus Scientist
Palanisami KuppannanEmeritus Scientist
Herath ManthrithilakeEmeritus Scientist
Madar SamadEmeritus Scientist
Tushaar ShahEmeritus Scientist
Bharat SharmaEmeritus Scientist
Barbara van KoppenEmeritus Scientist

Economics and equity

At IWMI, researching underlying economic and social trends helps us understand why people migrate. They also explain the impact of remittances and loss of agricultural labor, as well as consequences of migration on gender roles and food and water security. For instance, communities with higher levels of income inequality, or relative deprivation, may experience greater levels of out-migration compared to consistently low-income communities. In addition, migration changes intra-household gender-labor composition, which can change the access of smallholders to water resources, affecting the functioning of community-based institutions and consequently household and local food security. IWMI also focuses on circular economy, a strategy to recover and reuse waste, to boost food security and understand how interventions can encourage refugee and host communities to retain scarce resources.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Urban & rural transformation

As agricultural opportunities fluctuate in rural areas, migration, particularly to urban areas, is an adaptation technique to secure incomes and alternative livelihoods. Income generated by migrants is often sent back to family as remittances to support communities at home. At IWMI, we assess linkages between rural and urban areas, as well as the role of agricultural knowledge systems and food and water security. We recognize there are complex push and pull factors such as individual aspirations, economic opportunity, social norms, climate variability and government policies which drive migration and affect rural communities, particularly youth. Our work follows a ‘positive migration’ philosophy, framing migration as an adaptation technique and socio-economic choice (in many cases) rather than a problem to be solved, and focuses on establishing safer, more regular migration by supporting changes to migration governance in sending regions.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Covid-19 disruption & adaptation

Covid-19 has caused a rupture in migration logistics and exposed inequities in the migration system, yet drivers of movement remain. Government lockdowns and closed borders due to the pandemic curtailed movement for migrants, posing complex problems for migrant hosting and origin countries. There have been significant economic shocks, with a sharp decline in unemployment for migrants and an inability to send money home through remittances to support family. Some migrants face social stigma for returning home without an income, particularly if families relied on loans to support their journeys. Consequences have been severe for informal migrants who lack government protection in their host countries. Migrants, particularly those living in crowded, lower-income neighborhoods, have been experiencing stigmatization related to the spread of Covid-19. We look at the impacts of Covid-19 on migration governance and rural areas across seven countries, development planning in Ghana, migration challenges in Southeast Asia, and community-based disaster management and resilience building in South Africa.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Water, climate change and agrarian stress

Migration, water and climate stress are inextricably linked to rural development. Water stress and climate variability can act as a driver of fragility, intensifying pre-existing political, social, economic and environmental challenges. Initiatives designed to address migration-related challenges must tackle inequalities and the exclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups; governance opportunities to better manage water and natural resources and technology and innovations to help communities escape socio-ecological precarity and thrive despite climate challenges. IWMI intends to build climate resilience by implementing projects which tackle gender-power inequalities in the face of dynamic, economic-social-ecological challenges. Our work brings together affected communities, institutional stakeholders and social actors to manage water in response to climate variability and agrarian stress, striving to address complex physical and social variables.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender, intersectionality and social inclusion

It is critical to center gender and intersectional identities when unpacking migration phenomena. Gender as a social construct guides social norms and relations, including the decision-making processes and mechanisms leading to migration. We recognize that the intersections between race, age, class, sex, caste and region shape the migrant experience.

IWMI strives to offer transformative approaches and solutions for women, youth and marginalized groups, regarding them as equal partners in our work rather than passive end-users.  For example, within communities that experience male out migration, socio-political systems are restructured to make women, youth and other groups active agents in their own agri-food transformation. Migration patterns contribute to the feminization of agriculture, and women may experience a greater burden of responsibility coupled with an increased ability to access and control resources and policies to build sustainable livelihoods. Acknowledging social complexities helps researchers and communities understand migration trends and address structural power imbalances to build a more equitable world.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Innovation bundles

Farmer-led irrigation development is about much more than installing a pump in a field. It requires access to financing, labor, energy, and input and output markets, so that investments in irrigation translate into sustainable returns. IWMI uses a systemic approach to understand the farming system as well as the factors in the enabling environment that prevent women, men and youth from engaging in and benefitting equitably from farmer-led irrigation. We partner with farmers and the public and private sectors to test contextually relevant innovation bundles that combine irrigation technology such as solar pumps with financing mechanisms like pay-as-you-own or pay-as-you-go, agricultural inputs and agronomic techniques. We also look at ways to improve on-farm water management and nutrient use efficiency and reduce evapotranspiration through digital advances and agricultural extension. We integrate the scaling of innovation bundles into agricultural value chains to enhance the impacts on farmers’ irrigation investments, incomes and livelihoods.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender and social inclusion

The barriers facing women and men in accessing irrigation technologies are not the same. Neither are the benefits. Social, cultural and religious norms influence inter- and intra-household power relations. These, in turn, affect access to resources such as land, credit, information and training. IWMI carries out cross-dimensional analysis of gender and social inclusion in policy, financing, livelihood assets and access, institutional approaches and interventions as well as gender-based technology preferences. For example, we work with farmers, financial institutions and the private sector to address gender-based constraints in credit scoring and enhance women’s purchasing power. But benefitting from farmer-led irrigation does not stop at accessing and adopting technologies; enabling women and resource-poor farmers to participate in input and output markets is equally important to ensure that investments in irrigation result in improved nutrition and economic empowerment. Other ways we enhance gender and social inclusion include tackling agency issues around financial management and literacy, livelihood diversity and social capital as well as access to infrastructure, extension services and market linkages.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Environmental sustainability

Population pressure and increasing water competition in a changing climate require us to take stock of the availability and use of water across scales. Water availability not only influences farmers’ commercial prospects but also irrigation-related enterprises and agri-businesses. Greater water scarcity could jeopardize irrigation and agricultural markets while excessive water use can lead to declining ecosystems, water quality and soil health. IWMI advises development partners and the public and private sectors on all aspects of water resource availability and use through a variety of advanced modeling and remote-sensing products and tools, including Water Accounting+solar irrigation mapping and internet of things. These are complemented by multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the potential of irrigation expansion, taking into consideration environmental flows. With our private sector partners, we are leveraging converging technologies, such as sensors on solar pumps that capture usage data, to encourage better resource management and governance.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Adaptive scaling and partnerships

The ability of farmers to engage in or expand irrigation depends on the prevailing socioeconomic, ecological and political contexts, which are often complex, non-linear and changeable. Overcoming systemic barriers to farmer-led irrigation development while taking advantage of existing opportunities requires scaling processes to be adaptive. This means diverse actors feed off, adapt to, support, cooperate, compete and interact with each other, forming different multi-actor networks and engaging in collective action to undertake various functions in the scaling ecosystem. IWMI works with farmers and public and private sector partners to co-design and pilot contextually relevant innovation bundles and their scaling pathways or strategies, influence policies and accelerate the transition to scale of innovations with demonstrated early impact.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Financing ecosystem

A lack of affordable credit, particularly for women and resource-poor farmers, is one of the main barriers to expanding farmer-led irrigation in low- and middle-income countries. But credit alone is not enough. Financing for irrigation equipment must be embedded in a wider financing ecosystem that bundles credit with inputs and services, market information and access, and technology such as digital payment. In several countries, irrigation equipment suppliers are stepping in to provide financing directly to farmers. In doing so, they increase their own risk. To address this issue, IWMI works with farmers, private companies, finance institutions and development partners such as the World Bank Group to analyze whether credit-scoring tools are inclusive. We also help to identify gaps in the financing ecosystem and de-risk the private sector from testing innovative end-user financing mechanisms that take into account farming system typologies, financial and social capital and crop seasonality.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Human capacity development and knowledge exchange

Scaling farmer-led irrigation requires strengthening human capacity and knowledge exchange among all actors and stakeholders involved. IWMI takes an action research approach, working with national and international research institutions, governments, extension agents and public and private organizations to co-develop the scaling ecosystem and strengthen capacity to drive scaling networks and collective action. We support the development of or reinforce national multi-stakeholder dialogues with the aim of sharing scaling experiences and realizing win-win collaboration, interactive learning and capacity development. Other modalities for capacity development include hackathons, innovation research grants for bachelor’s and master’s students, private sector scaling grants and innovation internships with private companies. These all serve to stimulate local and contextually relevant innovation, close the research-private sector divide and enhance job readiness among young professionals.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

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