WIEGO Team Bios

Olga Abizaid, WIEGO Communications OfficerOlga Abizaid
Spanish Writer/Editor

Olga is currently managing the translation of WIEGO's institutional website into Spanish and French and providing editorial support in Spanish. She joined WIEGO in 2011 as a contracted Communications Officer. Before joining WIEGO, she did policy work on Canadian foreign policy for the Americas in a variety of areas, including labour mobility and regional integration. She was also Assistant Editor of the journal Política y Gobierno, edited by the Centro de investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City. She holds an MA in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a licenciatura in international relations with a concentration in international political economy from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.


Cyrus AfsharCyrus Afshar
Communications Consultant

Cyrus Afshar holds two bachelor’s degrees, in Journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University (Brazil), and in Social Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). Upon completing his undergraduate studies, Cyrus worked for one year at CBN news radio station and completed a year-long university exchange programme at IEP-Université Lyon (France). He then joined Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, where he worked for more than two years as a reporter, dealing with topics on ethical consumption and international affairs. Cyrus then worked as a communications manager with Instituto Polis, a Brazilian NGO that researches urban public policies and local development.

In 2010, Cyrus joined the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Programme in Public Policy and received an MA degree in Development Studies (Governance and Democracy specialization) at the Institute of Social Studies (Netherlands) and an MA in International Relations at Ibei (Spain). He worked as a research intern at UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development), in Geneva, supporting an international conference on Social and Solidarity Economy, before working as a research assistant, on an academic project on Argentine indigenous movements and state capacity. His latest work experience was at Dieese, a Brazilian labour union think tank, as a research officer, in Porto Alegre and in São Paulo, studying topics on labour studies such as turnover, youth employment, informal labour, and women’s participation.


Laura Alfers, WIEGO ResearcherLaura Alfers
Director, Social Protection Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Laura has worked with WIEGO since 2009 in the Social Protection Programme. In 2013, Laura was one of 10 winners in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial Innovation Challenge for The Phephanathi Project, which aims to make the informal trading of Warwick Junction more secure and healthy for traders, customers, people passing through, and the officials who manage it. Laura also managed WIEGO’s Occupational Health & Safety for Informal Workers Project, which ran in Ghana, Tanzania, Brazil, Peru, and India.  In 2015 Laura completed her PhD at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for Social & Economic Research at Rhodes University in South Africa.


Edith AnampaEdith Anampa
Project Officer

Edith is a Project Officer based in Lima, Peru. She works on WIEGO's project, "Strengthening the Voice and Leadership of Informal Women Workers Around Social Policy Issues". She also worked on the Voice project that was implemented in Peru and Mexico. Edith holds a degree in Anthropology, with emphasis on urban issues. Her thesis focused on women street sweepers in Lima. She has worked across different sub-national regions of Peru on strategic planning for development initiatives.


Dorcas AnsahDorcas Ansah
Accra City Coordinator

With 15 years of development experience and a background designing and delivering adult learning programmes, Dorcas has worked extensively in facilitating processes, organizing development interventions, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, as well as training and capacity-building at many levels—from the informal sector to civil society and parliament. She is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland OSD Center, the University of Ghana Legon, and the Central University College and Corporate Administration Institute of Professional Studies, with an MA in social policy. Dorcas is the Accra City Coordinator for WIEGO, leading organizational development as well as capacity- and relationship-building work for membership-based organizations (MBOs) and stakeholders.


Pilar BalbuenaPilar Balbuena
Informal Economy Media Specialist

Most of Pilar's career has been in the area of business development and marketing with the pharmaceutical and IT industries, both in her native Colombia and in Canada, her current place of residency. Pilar has also worked with the recycling industry, managing, designing, implementing and evaluating recycling programs and accounts, including with the Federal Government of Canada and major private companies in the Ottawa region. Pilar holds a degree in chemistry and is fully bilingual in Spanish and English; she also has a working knowledge of Portuguese and French.

Pilar was originally contracted by WIEGO as a consultant supporting the communications - and global project teams. More recently, she has been working as a member of the Urban Policies team. For the last two years she has been dedicating most of her time to monitoring, documenting, disseminating and analyzing the global media coverage of all six occupational sectors researched at WIEGO and its members and partners.


Pamhidzai H. Bamu-ChipunzaPamhidzai H. Bamu-Chipunza
Africa Coordinator, Law Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Pamhidzai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds an LLB, LLM (Labour Law) and a PhD (Labour Law) from the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a Researcher in the Institute of Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town, and the Social Law Project at the University of the Western Cape and has undertaken and published research on various labour issues in South Africa and Southern Africa. She recently completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University. Her post-doctoral project considered the Zimbabwean labour market, with a focus on the development and regulation of its informal economy. She has consulted for agencies such as the International Labour Organization and SADC Secretariat on a number of labour and human rights issues.


Jane BarrettJane Barrett
Director, Organization & Representation Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Jane Barrett, a trade unionist from South Africa with over 30 years’ experience in the labour movement, is the Programme Director of WIEGO’s Organization and Representation programme since early 2016.  She is a former General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (now the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union), worked for the International Transport Workers Federation in its headquarters in London for five years, and most recently served as the Affiliate Support Officer in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Jane has extensive experience in collective bargaining, membership recruitment and organizing, trade union membership and leadership education, research and policy advocacy. Her specialist interests in the trade union movement have always been precarious workers, minimum wage regulation, women's empowerment and, more recently, climate change and the working class. While working for COSATU she was instrumental in forging links between the formal trade union movement in South Africa and organizations representing workers in informal employment - including WIEGO, StreetNet and the South African Domestic Workers Union. From her long involvement with transport workers, including public transport workers, she has extensive knowledge of how cities work (or don't work) for the poor. Jane has a Social Work Degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an Industrial Sociology honours degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and an MPhil degree from SOAS, University of London. She has published widely. She is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Mike Bird, Operations Manager at WIEGOMike Bird
Operations Director

Mike is based at the WIEGO office in Manchester. He has worked in the international aid and development sector for over 20 years, managing NGO programmes in Africa and Asia and, prior to joining WIEGO in 2010, running the NGO funding programme of the New Zealand government. Mike is a generalist with a degree in French and Portuguese and a teacher training qualification.


Chris BonnerChristine (Chris) Bonner
Advisor, Emeritus Team Member

See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Chris spent 20 years working in the trade unions in South Africa during the apartheid era: first as a volunteer and then as the Regional Secretary of the Chemical Workers Industrial Union, followed by six years as the union’s National Educator. In this position, she worked with a team to help set up the Development Institute for Training, Support and Education for Labour (DITSELA) based in Johannesburg, and in 1996 was appointed by the trade unions as its founding Director, a position she held until 2003.
From 2004 until early 2016 Chris was WIEGO's Organization and Representation Programme Director and she is currently an Advisor. In this position she focused on collecting and documenting information on organizations of informal workers - including the development of an interactive data base (WORD); facilitating and supporting global networking amongst informal workers, in particular amongst domestic workers, waste pickers, home-based workers and street vendors. She has also contributed to research and writing on organizing in the informal economy, as well as developing informal worker education materials.


Francoise Carre, WIEGO Research Coordinator & DirectorFrançoise Carré
Research Coordinator

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Françoise is also a Research Director at the Center for Social Policy, UMASS Boston. Her areas of expertise are: labour economics and industrial relations; comparative employment systems; and low wage employment. She conducts research on work transformation and non-standard work in the USA and cross nationally. Recent projects include an evaluation of community-based staffing services (Mott Foundation) and a study of US retail employment (Russell Sage Foundation). She is an Affiliated Fellow, Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick and at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UCLA. Françoise holds a PhD, Urban and Regional Studies, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Marty Chen - WIEGO International CoordinatorMartha Chen
International Coordinator

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Marty is also a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Affiliated Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design. An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialization are employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh working with BRAC (now the world's largest non-governmental organization) and in India, where she served as field representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh. Marty received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous books including Bridging Perspectives:  Labour, Informal Employment, and Poverty (co-edited with Namrata Bali and Ravi Kanbur), The Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty (co-authored with Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, Renana Jhabvala and Chris Bonner), Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction (co-authored with Joann Vanek and Marilyn Carr), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (co-authored with Joann Vanek) and Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Dr. Chen was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012. Marty's lifelong work as a champion of the working poor is featured in her alma mater's magazine, Connecticut College, Winter 2013. Marty's mother, Barbara "Barry" Beach Alter, also a Connecticut College alum, is honored in a separate story for her 35 years of missionary work in India.  Read both interviews.


Rhiana ChinapenRhiana Chinapen
Programme Strategy Assistant

Rhiana's background is in programme planning and administration in the non-profit sector. She has worked in social services, the arts and culture industry, and most recently, at an Ottawa-based community innovation hub. Rhiana holds a BA (Hons) in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) and an MA in Communication from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). She is also a documentary filmmaker with a passion for sharing stories of empowerment and change.


Pauline ConleyPauline Conley
Programme Support Officer

Pauline Conley is based in Ottawa, Canada and is a member of the WIEGO Programme Support team, specializing in administrative, planning and fundraising support to WIEGO and its partners, drawing on extensive experience in non-profit management, project management, fundraising, and training. Pauline studied fine art (Painting) at Simon Fraser University, holds a B.A. in English Literature from Thompson Rivers University, and trained in financial accounting. Most recently, Pauline has worked as a planning and fundraising consultant for organisations including the Canadian Museum and Art Gallery Directors’ Organisation, the Canadian Museums Association, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery of Queens University, and was the Managing Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. In addition to her duties with WIEGO Pauline continues to work as a professional artist.


Shirley CrowtherShirley Crowther
Finance Officer

Shirley is with the Manchester UK-based WIEGO Office. She lived in South Africa for a couple of years when her family emigrated there but on her return to England she left school at 15 and worked for a large Electronic Manufacturing Company for 11 years. She studied Business Administration at the company's own training college. Shirley has over 40 years’ experience in Business, Finance, Management, and Administration, including 15 years with a local import/export hat company which dealt with people in Europe and around the world. She also worked for the Student Union at Oldham College for 6 years where she helped students with Counseling, Accommodation, Finance, Benefits and Welfare.


Sonia Dias, WIEGO Sector SpecialistSonia Dias
Waste Picker Sector Specialist

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Sonia is a sociologist by training and a “garbologist” with specialization in Solid Waste Management by the University of Kitakyushu, Japan (JICA grant). She also had a two years visiting professorship at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (she was housed at the Centre for Women´s Studies- NEPEM - from 2012-2014). She has a Master's degree in Human Geography (UFMG) on the role of the local governments in strengthening waste pickers' organizations in Belo Horizonte City, and a PhD in Political Science (UFMG) on the role of participation in solid waste management in Brazil. She has been active in the waste management field in Brazil since 1985 with a focus on promoting the integration of social inclusion aspects into the technical planning of waste collection and recycling. Her on-the-ground experience encompasses: work as a public officer at the Municipal Cleansing Agency in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and voluntary work for the NGO INSEA supporting the organization of waste pickers and social activism for the Waste and Citizenship Fora. She is an Eisenhower Fellow for the Common Interest Program on Challenges of Urbanization – year 2007. Sonia was named best speaker at the International Solid Waste Association ’97 ISWA´s World Conference, held in Wellington, New Zealand. She is based in Belo Horizonte, South-east Brazil.


Rhonda Douglas, Director, WIEGO Global Projects Rhonda Douglas
Programme Strategy Advisor

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Rhonda has over 20 years of experience in resource mobilization and organizational development in the charitable sector. She holds a Master's degree in Management for the Voluntary Sector from McGill University in Montréal, Canada. Prior to starting her own consulting firm in 2006, Rhonda was Co-Director of Resource Development for Amnesty International Canada where she led a team of seven staff with the goal of doubling income and membership numbers within six years. She was also Co-Director of Communications for Amnesty. Prior to working with Amnesty, Rhonda was the International Marketing Director for CARE International. In that capacity, she provided training, consulting services and technical assistance for 13 CARE offices interested in developing new resource mobilization programs (Brazil, Thailand) or improving existing programs (Netherlands, France, Denmark, UK, Germany and others). As a consultant, Rhonda has developed and implemented gender awareness training for the Canadian Armed Forces and worked with IDRC research networks (Latin America, Africa, Middle East) on their resource mobilization and capacity-building needs. Currently, she works as the Global Projects Advisor for WIEGO and is excited to be working with membership-based organizations of informal workers. 


Tania EspinosaTania Espinosa Sánchez
Mexico City
 Focal City Coordinator

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Tania comes to WIEGO with 10 years of experience practicing international human rights law. She studied law at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and holds a Master's Degree in International Legal Studies from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In the last 3 years she has focused on labour rights in the waste pickers' sector, on the linkages between human rights and the waste management service, as well as the interplay between human rights and the recycling industry. In 2011 Tania worked at the National Council for Discrimination Prevention in Mexico, where she collaborated on a project on labor law discrimination against domestic workers.  Also, as a paralegal she worked with a U.S. based Law Firm to assess the situation of migrant workers in Mexico, obtaining signatures for a class-action lawsuit regarding workers’ rights violations. In 2013, she worked in the Inter - American Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C. and in 2014 she was appointed as general director of a human rights NGO in Mexico.


Jacqui Fendall, Financial Controller, WIEGO Jacqui Fendall
Financial Controller and Company Secretary

Jacqui is based at WIEGO's Manchester UK office. She has worked in the charity sector for most of her career, but more particularly she has worked in social housing for the past 20 years. She has enabled people of black and ethnic origin to access safe, secure, social housing. Jacqui is a qualified accountant with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA). 


Lucia FernandezLucia Fernandez
Waste Picker Sector Advisor

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Lucia has worked with several waste picker organizations since 2003, ranging from assisting small cooperatives and trade unions in her native country, Uruguay, to large scale networking, creation and support of the Latin-American Network of Waste Pickers and more recently, international coordination of the nascent Global Alliance. She was initially contracted by WIEGO for the international coordination of the first World Conference of Waste Pickers (March 2008), and became the Waste Pickers Global Coordinator at the beginning of the Inclusive Cities Project in 2009. Lucia studied and taught architecture at the Uruguayan University, and conducted interdisciplinary research for the inclusion of waste pickers into municipal waste management policies. After moving to France, she managed to finish a particularly long and non-linear MA in architecture, focused on spontaneous recycling dynamics. She graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of Lyon with her second MA on ethical and sustainable development. She previously spent two years based in Boston where she had a research affiliation with CoLab, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.


Jenna HJenna Harvey - Writer and Research Assistantarvey
Writer a
nd Research Assistant

Prior to joining WIEGO in 2016 Jenna worked in Nicaragua, first with a women’s rights organization on cooperative development, and subsequently with a network of grassroots organizations providing project management support. After leaving Nicaragua she spent a year carrying out research on Nicaraguan migration and informal work in San Jose, Costa Rica.  She has a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a master’s degree in City Planning. Her specific interests are participatory planning, critical education, and inclusive models of urban economic development.


Kendra Hughes, WIEGO Global Projects AssistantKendra Hughes
Programme Support Officer

Kendra joined WIEGO in January 2012. Prior to joining WIEGO, Kendra worked as a Risk Management Advisor for a Bolivian non-profit microfinance institution and as a Research Assistant for a private consulting firm. Based in Ottawa, Canada, she has a bachelor’s degree in International Business (minor in Spanish) and has varied experience in project management, internal audit, and risk management in the public sector and in NGOs.


Francie LundFrancie Lund
Advisor, Emeritus Team Member

See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Francie was the Director of the Social Protection Programme of WIEGO from 2000 until early 2016 and she is currently an Advisor. She is also a Senior Research Associate in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. She trained as a sociologist and community organizer, and developed an abiding interest in social policy and social security issues. She is interested in understanding the effects of different forms of social assistance on poor households, and especially their effects for women and children in rural and informal areas. More recently she has been working on the link between women’s paid and unpaid care work, and also on occupational health and safety for informal workers. She has worked as a research and policy consultant for a wide range of international organizations, and also for local, provincial and national government in South Africa. She chaired the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support. Convened after the transition to democracy in 1994, this resulted in a new form of cash support to poor children.

Megan MacLeodMegan MacLeod

Copy Editor

Megan joined WIEGO as a student intern in 2013. Upon her graduation from the Professional Writing Programme at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, she has continued as a member of the team. As copy editor, she assists the WIEGO Communications Team with various research projects and editing, design and layout work for the organization’s various publications.


Karen McCabe, Administrator, WIEGO Secretriat Karen McCabe
Secretariat Manager

Karen joined WIEGO while a student in the International Education Policy program at Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received a Master's degree in 2011. Karen is interested in international adult education and training and international development. Before coming to WIEGO, she worked in the field of adult education in Massachusetts for many years, teaching and advising immigrant students from countries including China, Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria, Peru, and Vietnam. She has also volunteered and worked in China with individuals with disabilities, their families, and their teachers through The Five Project for International Autism and Disability Support, Inc., an organization she and her sister co-founded. In addition to her Ed.M. from HGSE, Karen also has a B.A. degree in Foreign Languages (Spanish/Chinese) from Hamilton College, an M.A. degree in Chinese from Indiana University and an M.S. degree in Adult Education from Indiana University.


Laura MorilloLaura Raquel Morillo Santa Cruz
Organization and Representation Programme Officer, Latin America

Laura works as WIEGO’s Organization & Representation Programme Officer. Her commitment to improve people´s working and living conditions motivated her to focus on labour issues. Since 2012, she has been supporting global networking amongst home-based workers organizations, especially organizations from Latin America, and also collaborating with organizations of workers in the informal economy. Laura was born in Peru and is based in Germany. She holds a Law Degree and a Diploma in Political Science and Governance from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a MA Degree in Labour Policies and Globalisation offered by the Global Labour University (GLU), the University of Kassel and the Berlin School of Economics and Law. She worked in Red Laboral Andina (RELA), a project funded by the Department of Human Resources and Social Development of Canada (HRSDC) and implemented by Programa Laboral de Desarrollo (PLADES), to improve capacities of labour actors, and promote and monitor compliance with Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Through this project, it was possible to prepare representatives of Domestic Workers' Organizations and unions from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to participate in the 99th International Labour Conference in 2010.


Rachel Moussié - Social ProtectionRachel Moussié
Deputy Director, Social Protection Programme

Rachel is the Deputy Director of the Social Protection Programme at WIEGO.  Rachel contributes to WIEGO’s research, analysis and advocacy to extend social protection to informal workers.  Since joining WIEGO in 2016, she leads the Child Care Initiative supporting informal workers’ access to quality child care services as part of social protection systems. Rachel previously managed programmes on women’s economic rights, tax policy reform and development financing at ActionAid International. Originally from Mauritius, Rachel currently lives in France.  She holds a MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, and a BA from McGill University.


Ana Carolina OgandoAna Carolina Ogando
Research Associate

Ana Carolina Ogando is based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and currently provides research support to the Urban Policies Programme on gender, women’s economic empowerment and waste and urban related issues. She has collaborated on several WIEGO projects including the Gender and Waste project and the Child Care Initiative. She was also the senior qualitative researcher for the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) team in Brazil. Prior to joining WIEGO she taught at the Federal University of Minas Gerais as part of her post doctoral fellowship and was an affiliated researcher at the Women’s Studies Research Center (NEPEM-UFMG). She holds Ph.D in political science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (2012), specializing in gender, feminist theory, and social movements.


Victoria OkoyeVictoria Okoye
Urban Advocacy Specialist

Victoria has six years of experience engaging community stakeholders in participatory urban development interventions. At WIEGO, Victoria builds on this experience to lead the organization’s global urban advocacy, developing strategies, tactics and key messages on inclusive urban development, and coordinating the participation and representation of WIEGO at key meetings related to the urban advocacy agenda. Victoria has been deeply involved in community development and engagement work at the rural and urban levels in West Africa. In Ghana, she lead the USAID-funded Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project in mapping its water and sanitation infrastructure interventions across five regions; she supported research and mapping for the Accra Creative City project to create an interactive map of the city’s cultural and history sites to boost tourism potential; and she lead a transportation and land use research study for the Millennium Cities Initiative at Columbia University to support the city’s proposed bus-rapid transit project. Victoria also created African Urbanism, an urban-focused online initiative exploring West African cities' urban development trajectories, and an offline initiative to engage community residents in improvements of their public and community spaces.


Karin Pape, WIEGO Regional Programme CoordinatorKarin Pape
Deputy Director, Organization & Representation Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Karin Pape has been with WIEGO since 2007. She was a Works Council member at “Jacobs Kaffee” (now Kraft Foods) in Bremen, Germany and an activist in the German Food and Allied Workers’ Union (NGG) for many years. She is an economist by profession. She worked as an international consultant on an industrial project in Russia before moving to Geneva. Since 2002 she has been working on informal and precarious employment at the Global Labour Institute (Switzerland) and had a special focus on homework, in particular in Germany and Asia. From 2009 until July 2011 she was seconded to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) to serve as the interim international coordinator of the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN). In August 2011 she went back to her “WIEGO Europe” work, which includes coordinating Domestic Workers Organizations in Europe, serving as liaison person to the ILO and the newly founded Domestic Workers Research Network, supporting networking amongst home-based workers in South East Europe and ongoing work in Central and Eastern Europe generally.


Federico Parra, WIEGO Waste Picker Coordinator, Latin AmericaFederico Parra
Regional Coordinator, Waste Pickers Latin America

See his detailed Specialist Profile.

Federico is an urban anthropologist/ethnographer with a Master's degree in Social Anthropology.  He is a PhD candidate of the Doctorate in Political Studies and International Relations at the National University of Colombia. Parra has undertaken several studies of urban recyclers as well as critical analyses of public policy related to waste management and social inclusion. His work has contributed to the understanding of the socioeconomic context of recyclers and the impact of public waste management policy on recyclers in the city of Bogota. Parra is a member of the Research Group on Collective Rights and Environmental GIDCA, Faculty of Law, Political and Social Sciences of the National University of Colombia. Previously, as a public official in the Special Administrative Unit of Public Services (UAESP) attached to the Mayor of Bogota, he coordinated the development of the Inclusion Plan of Recyclers. He currently serves as coordinator of the Latin American waste pickers program of the global network WIEGO.


Justina Pena Pan
Events and Travel Manager

Justina is WIEGO's Events and Travel Manager.


Vanessa PillayVanessa Pillay
Organization & Representation Programme Officer

Before joining WIEGO, Vanessa was the Director of a Vocational Skills Training Centre for disadvantaged youth where she also facilitated workshops on life skills for unemployed youth. As a graduate from the University of Cape Town, she holds an MPhil degree in Adult Education. Vanessa spent most of her adult working life serving the South African labour movement, first as a shop steward in a white-collar union and then as a worker educator. She joined the DITSELA Workers Education Institute early in 2000 where she worked until mid-2011. Her areas of focus in workers’ education have been women’s leadership development and organizational development in a trade union context. She is especially interested in the application of learning in academic and social frameworks to build democratic working-class organizations. Currently, Vanessa works as WIEGO’s Organization & Representation Programme Officer.


Sarah Orleans ReedSarah Orleans Reed
Bangkok Focal City Coordinator

Sarah Orleans Reed has lived and worked in Southeast Asia since 2011. Before joining WIEGO, she provided analytical and strategic support for a variety of NGOs and international organizations, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Mercy Corps, the Asia Foundation, CARE, and the Children in a Changing Climate Coalition, for programs focused on inclusive urbanization and climate resilience. In 2015, Sarah led the development of the new UNDP Urban Programming Strategy for Asia and the Pacific, with a strong focus on informality. From 2011-2014, she served as Urban Programs Advisor to the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) in Hanoi, supporting city-level programming in Vietnam and publishing critical perspectives on urban development in Asia with colleagues across four countries. She also initiated the South and Southeast Asia Made (SEAM) project in 2014 to link tourism and ethical garment producers in Vietnam. Sarah is excited to join WIEGO as Bangkok Focal Coordinator in Thailand.


Carmen Roca, Regional Advisor for Latin AmericaCarmen Roca
Focal City Coordinator

Currently, most of Carmen's work is concentrated in WIEGO’s Focal City, Lima, Perú. Before joining WIEGO, Carmen worked for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada for almost 10 years on issues of social and economic policy. She was Deputy Director of the Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Socia (CIES) in Perú up to 2009. Social protection for the working poor in the informal economy, capacity building for MBOs, and policy improvements at national and local levels are her current main areas of work. Carmen holds an MBA in Management for Development from McGill University (Canada), Perú.


Sally Roever, WIEGO Sector Specialist, Street VendorsSally Roever
Director, Urban Policies Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Based in Washington, DC, Sally holds a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley (2005) with specializations in research design, qualitative and quantitative methodology, and Latin American politics. Her work for WIEGO focuses primarily on urban policy trends in the street vending sector; law and informality; and research methods. She is presently the Director of the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) and sits on WIEGO committees for research, law and informality, and the focal cities initiative. Prior to joining WIEGO as a staff member, Dr. Roever was a Lecturer at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and Visiting Researcher in Public Administration at Leiden University (The Netherlands).


Miguel SanzMiguel Sanz Caballer
Translation Coordinator

Miguel worked as a hematologist for over 10 years, establishing and heading the Hematology Departments for the Hospital Comarcal del Vendrell (Tarragona, Spain) and the Hospital Manises (Valencia, Spain). With a passion for activism, Miguel has been involved in several advocacy campaigns, including those on breastfeeding awareness; education and parenting; ecology awareness; labour issues; international protests; and in 2013 was the doctor aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. He first worked for WIEGO as an interpreter for the 2014 General Assembly in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he is currently based. Now he actively coordinates WIEGO’s translation work as well as supporting other communications efforts, such as the Global Monitoring System (GMS).


Halima SadiaHalima Sadia
Finance Assistant

Halima is based at the Manchester UK office working as a Finance Officer.  Halima is a part-qualified accountant and she studied AAT (Association of Accounting Technician) at Manchester College, Manchester in 2011-2013.  She was born in Jhelum, Pakistan and came to live in the UK in 2004.  She has had over five years experience in Business, Finance and Administration.


Shalini SinhaShalini Sinha
 Focal City Coordinator

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Shalini is based in India. She holds a M.Phil in Political Science from Delhi University, and has published on gender and pro-poor issues in the Indian and the South Asian context. Her work focuses on developing and documenting decent work and livelihoods opportunities for women workers in the informal economy, especially women home-based workers in urban locations. Earlier Shalini worked as an independent consultant specializing in labour, gender and social development issues with several national and international NGOs and funding agencies.


Caroline Skinner, WIEGO Programme Director, Urban PoliciesCaroline Skinner
Director, Urban Research

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Caroline is also a Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. For nearly 15 years Skinner’s research has interrogated the nature of the informal economy, with a focus on informing advocacy processes and policy responses. Her research has covered, among other issues, interrogating trends in urban policy to informality, analysis of national labour market data, survey analysis of constraints to growth in the informal economy, understanding processes of informalization (particularly in the clothing industry), policy critique using budget analysis techniques, and investigating organizational strategies both in and outside the trade union movement. In addition to research and teaching responsibilities, she has been involved in policy and advocacy work at a local, provincial, national and international level. In South Africa, she assisted the Durban City Council in developing an informal economy policy; worked with the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape; and advised a number of national government departments, including the Presidency and Department of Trade and Industry. Internationally she has written policy papers for United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.


Adama SoumaréAdama Soumaré
Dakar Focal City Coordinator

Adama is a lawyer in business law by training. He studied at the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar (UCAD). Before joining WIEGO, he was the representative of the German organization Doleel Jigeen (Strengthening and Empowering Women) in Senegal. He was also administrator, in charge of pedagogy, of the Center of Exchange and Development of Artisans of Senegal. He then worked for several years at Enda’s Research-Action-Training Group where he was responsible for programs, especially for women, children, craftsmen, and waste collectors. He is currently a special advisor to the Mayor of the municipality of Malika where he lives.  He has proven experience in action research, popular mediation and management of community and non-formal organizations. He is a member of several national and international organizations. He has been an active activist and worked in his country and across Africa, for the causes of vulnerable people and development problems for more than 20 years.


Sofia Trevino, Global Projects OfficerSofia Trevino
Programme Support Manager

Sofia is also a member of the communications team. Originally from Mexico, she immigrated to Canada after graduating with her MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Sofia is currently working in Ottawa and has over 10 years of diversified experience in project controls, business development, administration and management within the private, public and NGO communications planning.


Demetria Tsoutouras, Communications ManagerDemetria Tsoutouras
Communications Manager

Prior to joining WIEGO, Demetria worked for 13 years in a variety of marketing and communications roles, including product marketing, product management, brand management and international marketing. In addition to working for 10 years in the private sector, Demetria also worked with Industry Canada, the Canadian Embassy in Mexico and the Canadian Education Centre in Mexico City. Demetria holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Biochemistry) from Carleton University and a Master of Business Administration degree (concentration International Development) from St. Mary’s University. 


Joann Vanek, WIEGO Programme Director, Statistics Joann Vanek
Director, Statistics Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Joann is a gender/social statistician. She retired from the United Nations Statistics Division after 20 years of work. At the United Nations, she led the development of the programme on gender statistics and coordinated the production of three issues of the UN global statistical report on women, The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics. She has co-authored several WIEGO flagship publications, most recently, Women and Men in the Informal Economy 2012: A Statistical Picture.  The co-authors of this  forthcoming publication are Martha Chen, Ralf Hussmanns, James Heintz and Francoise Carre.

Joann is featured in the bulletin of her undergraduate college, St. Mary's College Courier (Spring, 2012, page 12). The story highlights pivotal moments of her career as a statistician and her research on the informal economy.


Marlese von BroembsenMarlese von Broembsen
Director, Law Programme

See her detailed Specialist Profile.

Marlese hails from Cape Town, South Africa.  Currently she resides in Boston, as a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School.  Marlese joined WIEGO in 2015, as WIEGO’s first Law Programme Director.  She holds law degrees from Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, and Harvard University.  Marlese is a qualified attorney and has a Master's in Development Studies. She worked for an NGO active in the informal economy in Cape Town for four years, taught Social Policy at the University of the Western Cape, and pioneered an inter-disciplinary Master's Degree in Social Justice in the Law Faculty, University of Cape Town, where she taught for five years.  Marlese has published in the areas of development, labour law, global value chains, and legal empowerment of the poor. She is passionate about  contributing to securing recognition and voice for working poor men and women, and in challenging structural inequality and maldistribution, in the context of work.


Henrial Yaidoo, WIEGO Finance OfficerHenrial Yaidoo
Senior Finance & Administration Officer

Henrial is a Liberian citizen residing in the UK. By profession she is a part-qualified chartered accountant, having studied at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). In 2007 she graduated with a BA Hons in Accounting and Finance and is now studying to become a chartered accountant with ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Previous roles have included working at Manchester Airport (Payroll Department), Shell Petroleum UK (Credit Management) and Oliver Wyman (UK, Wilmslow Office – Accounts Division). She has also worked for the public sector in the UK in the area of finance with the National Health Service (NHS). At present she works for WIEGO as the Senior Finance and Administration Officer at our UK office based in Manchester.


Ana Willem, WIEGO Information Systems ArchitectAna Willem
Information Systems Architect

Ana Willem has been building technology solutions for organizations and individuals who are changing the world (in a good way) for over 17 years.  She is proud to be working with WIEGO, an organization she thinks is the real deal. When she was younger, Ana tried her best to become an artist or a writer or something exciting like that, but at some point had to accept her true talents as being a bit more linear. Php, MYSQL, etc, etc just seemed easier to learn at some point than, for example, how to paint a really good painting. So she traded her paints over and over again in exchange for various computers and is enjoying expressing both her linear and her creative natures simultaneously through website development and cultural programming. Ana is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (Industrial Design) where she specialized in sustainable systems design. While her formal studies are largely irrelevant to her chosen career path, the student debt is real.  Ana forged her relationship with technology over many many late night coffee sessions in her studio or in coffee shops, as well as through the generous trust of her clients in her ability to learn quickly on the job.