Alain FrechetteDirector, Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement
Alain Frechette, PhD, is the Director of Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement at RRI. He has over 25 of experience in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change—focusing on international development for the better part of the last two decades. Alain began his career with state and provincial forest and protected area agencies in the United States and Canada before pursuing strategic consultancies with multilateral organizations, development agencies, and NGOs such as IUCN, DFID, the World Bank, and various UN institutions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Alan LandisChief Operating Officer
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Alan Landis has been advising, building, and growing enterprises in the DC area for more than 20 years. He specializes in organizational change, managing rapid growth, and aligning long-term vision with operational prioritization. Alan joined Rights and Resources Initiative in early 2018 as Chief Operating Officer (COO) where he will lead efforts to align the work of the programs, administration, and fundraising teams. Alan recently left the anti-human trafficking field where he managed all operational, programmatic and administrative teams as Polaris Projects’ Chief Operating Officer. Prior to Polaris, Alan served as a senior leader at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public where he worked directly with the founder and senior leadership on numerous initiatives including technology products, fundraising, and recruiting senior talent. Prior to joining Ashoka, he was the Executive Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at the Corporate Executive Board where, he oversaw product development, R&D, acquisitions, alliances and business line management. He also established and developed the company’s corporate philanthropy and employee volunteer management program.
Andy WhiteCoordinator, Rights and Resources Initiative
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Andy White is Coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). He also serves as President of the Rights and Resources Group, the nonprofit coordinating mechanism of the RRI Coalition based in Washington, D.C. Prior to co-founding RRI in 2005, Andy served as Senior Director of Programs at Forest Trends and Natural Resource Management Specialist at the World Bank, as well as worked as a consultant to the International Food Policy Institute, Save the Children Federation, and the Inter-American Foundation. He has worked extensively in Haiti, Mexico, and China. As Coordinator of RRI, he advises policy research, advocacy, and engagement in Asia, Latin America, and Africa and leads initiatives and networks to advance RRI’s mission. His research and publications have focused on forest tenure and policy, forest industry and trade, as well as the role of forests, communities, and institutions in climate change. Andy has a PhD in forest economics, a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota, and a B.S. in forestry from Humboldt State University.
Carole CarlsonDirector, Finance & Administration
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Carole contributes to the institutional operations of RRG, the nonprofit coordinating mechanism of the RRI Coalition based in Washington, D.C., to ensure that they effectively and efficiently enable the RRI Partner, Collaborator, and program staff’s work to achieve tenure reform. Before coming to RRI, she worked for nearly 20 years in public accounting, specializing in nonprofit organizations. Carole is a Certified Public Accountant and also holds a master’s degree in business administration, with a specialty in international business.
Claire Biason-LohierDirector, Coalition and Strategic Networks
Claire Biason-Lohier is the Director of the Coalition and Strategic Networks Program at Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). She joined RRI in 2011 and played various roles within the organization. She now focuses on strengthening the RRI Coalition and enhancing and consolidating support to strategically relevant global and regional networks. Prior to joining RRI, Claire worked at the Academic Council on the United Nations System and at the Stimson Center. She has an MA in International Affairs and diploma in Political Science from the Institute of Political Science of Aix-en-Provence, France.
Kundan KumarDirector, Asia Program
Kundan has a PhD in Resource Development (2010) from Michigan State University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Forest Management from Indian Institute of Forest Management (1990). He worked with NGOs and the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in India on community forestry, bank financing of forestry projects, watershed development, and micro-credit. He has also been closely involved with social and environmental mobilizations in India, including the enactment of India’s landmark Forest Rights Act. Prior to joining RRI in 2014, he worked as a faculty member at University of Toronto for five years, teaching and conducting research on forest governance (specifically forest tenure), environmental justice, and social movements. He has published work in natural resources governance, forests and land tenure, and social and environmental movements. He speaks English, Hindi, and Odiya.
Omaira BolañosDirector, Latin America & Gender Justice Programs
Omaira Bolaños is the Director of the Latin America & Gender Justice Programs at Rights and Resources Initiative. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. Omaira has 23 years of professional experience throughout Latin American working on topics related to Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities’ collective tenure rights, sustainable development, gender justice, watershed management, community forestry, forest policy, community-based conservation, applied research and capacity development. She has developed research on Indigenous Peoples land rights struggles in the lower Amazon Brazil and Community forestry in Bolivia. In the last seven years, she has worked to strategically prioritize and support the regional afro-descendant movement in consolidating their collective tenure rights. She joined RRI in 2009.
Patrick KipaluDirector, Africa Program
Patrick KIPALU coordinates and leads RRI’s engagement in Africa. He has strong background in natural resources management and human rights in Africa. He has experience supporting civil society organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, including on human rights, natural resources exploitation (lands, forests, and mines), and climate change. Prior to joining RRI, Patrick worked as Country Manager for Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Before that, he worked for the Africa Program at Bank Information Center (BIC), and for the Equity and Governance Program (EGP) at World Resources Institute (WRI). Patrick has a Master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy from the American University (AU) in Washington DC, and a bachelors’ degree in Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources Management from the University of Kinshasa in DRC. He speaks English, French, Lingala and Kikongo.
Alejandra ZamoraPeru Facilitator
Alejandra is a forest engineer and comes from Loreto, a region of Peruvian Rainforest. She has worked in various regions of her country on forest management issues related to forest concessions, wildlife monitoring, remote sensing, creation of protected areas and ecological zoning. For four years, she was part of Peru’s technical team of the project “Monitoring Forest Cover in the Amazon Region”, an initiative of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). As part of the “Global Comparative Study on forest tenure reform” conducted by CIFOR, she facilitated a series of participatory workshops between native communities, civil organizations and government; in addition to researching the problematic around native and Afro-descendant communities in Peru and Colombia. Since 2018, she is part of the RRI Latin America Program.
Alpha Ousmane SarrAccounting Manager
Alpha Ousmane Sarr
Anne-Sophie GindrozSoutheast Asia Regional Facilitator
Since July 2014, Anne-Sophie Gindroz has worked as the RRI Facilitator for South East Asia and is based in Indonesia. Before joining RRI, she worked as Country Director in Mali and Laos for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation for 10 years. She has also worked for SDC, the European Commission, the ICRC, and Swisscontact. Anne-Sophie has been engaging in the Aid and Development Effectiveness process, focusing in particular on creating an enabling environment for civil society. She has also been advocating for the resource rights of communities challenged by extractive industries and industrial plantations. Anne-Sophie has a law degree and holds a master’s degree in Development Studies.
Bryson OgdenAssociate Director, Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement
Bryson leads the coordination and generation of analytical work in RRI’s Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement portfolio, with a focus on the connections between business, tenure, and the environment. Prior to joining RRI, he worked as a portfolio manager and equity analyst, covering the energy sector. He also consulted for the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in Nairobi. Bryson holds a B.S. in International Business from the University of Arkansas, an M.P.A. in Environmental Policy, and an M.S. in Applied Ecology, both from Indiana University.
Carolina RonconiOfficer, Digital Communications
Carolina is a member of RRI’s communications team as Digital Communications Officer since August, 2019, being responsible for managing the website, digital strategy, social media and RRI brand. She has been working as a Social Media Strategist since 2014. Being a specialist in Business Administration and Health Systems and Services Management, she worked as Special Project Manager in the public health sector in Brazil. She has a B.S. from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo and 15 years of professional experience in communication solutions.
Chloe GinsburgSenior Tenure Analyst
Chloe has supported RRI’s tenure data collection and analysis since joining RRI in March 2015. She also contributes to the Rights and Climate theme. She received her B.A. in environmental policy and politics from Drake University with a concentration in primate studies. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a semester in northeast Thailand studying social and environmental justice in the face of development and conducted field research on a chimpanzee population in Gishwati National Park in Rwanda.
David Kroeker-MausResearch Associate, Tenure Tracking
David Kroeker-Maus has worked on RRI’s Tenure Tracking team since May 2019, supporting the collection, analysis and management of RRI’s tenure data, and providing support and guidance to other research initiatives. David has previously worked in Haiti, as a journalist and researcher; in Uganda, as a consultant for various development organizations; in the US, as a research assistant at the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, and as a regional organizer at Bread for the World; and now in Montreal, Canada. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from Bethel University (Minnesota, US) and an M.A. in Environment and Development from King’s College London (UK).
Eric TellerSenior Associate, Coalition and Strategic Networks
As the Coalition and Strategic Networks Senior Associate at RRI, Eric facilitates collaboration with, and among, RRI’s broad network of Partners, Affiliated Networks, and Fellows. Prior to joining RRI, he provided logistical and operational support to the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference, the Andes Amazon Fund, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Eric holds a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he completed an ethnographic research project investigating the politics of NGO-Indigenous Community partnerships to restore community-managed native forests in the Peruvian Andes.
Johnathan ErvesOffice Manager
Joseph BonoManager, Coalition Governance and International Engagement Coordination
Prior to joining RRI in July 2013, Joe held positions with the European Parliament as well as with several national and international electoral campaigns. As Chief of Staff to a Member of the European Parliament, he drafted legislative proposals on rural development policy, alternative energies, and diplomatic initiatives between the European Union and the governments of East Asia. Before his time in Europe, Joe operated as a Project Manager for capital development programs in the New York City region. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The State University of New York at Purchase.
Kendi BoronaAfrica Regional Facilitator
Kendi was born and brought up near a forest in the Kenyan highlands. It was because of the waters flowing from this forest that she did not have to walk for long distances to fetch water – a task expected of girls in her community. This forest and its critical watersheds was and is protected by elders through the application of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, providing water for community needs downstream. She obtained her PhD from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry. She is a firm believer in the application of Indigenous Knowledge in the furtherance of just conservation regimes and sustainable community livelihoods. Over the course of her career, she has worked towards the integration of natural and cultural heritage into a concrete whole, and to locate communities firmly in their landscapes. She is a firm supporter of conservation that is geared towards creating a just society for all beings. More about her work can be found in her website.
Laura FortinManager, Donor Relations
Laura became RRI’s Donor Relations Manager in January 2021. Prior to joining the team, she was Partnerships, Strategy and Public Affairs Director at Youth Fusion, a charity offering experiential learning programs in schools to reduce the dropout rates of indigenous and non-indigenous youth across Canada and in France. She previously worked in Uganda as a communications specialist and with a legal clinic in Colombia that provided counsel to marginalized communities. Laura holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in International Development from McGill University.
Laura ValenciaSenior Associate, Asia Program
Laura is part of the Asia Program as the Senior Associate. She comes to RRI with seven years of experience in South Asia working on forest rights and food sovereignty with social movements and non-profit organizations. She is currently pursuing her MA in Geography at the University of Toronto and has a BA in Global Development Studies from the College of Wooster. Her MA research focuses on India’s compensatory afforestation program and its impacts on shifting cultivators’ livelihoods and land rights in Odisha, India. Laura speaks Spanish and Hindi and has studied Kannada, Urdu, and Odia. She is grateful to her mentors for nurturing her commitment to feminist organizing and community-led social change.
Lorene Moran-ValenzuelaAssociate, Gender Justice
Lorene Moran-Valenzuela is Associate of RRI’s Gender Justice Program. She has a Master’s degree in International Development, a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and certificates in Social Work Practice, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender Studies. She has experience working in various fields such as human rights advocacy, migration, community development, and environmental sustainability. Her work in her home country of Canada has centered around refugee resettlement and sponsorship while her work globally in Uzbekistan, Kenya, Colombia, Cambodia, and Senegal has entailed supporting local community needs in conflict resolution, trauma healing, land and housing rights, project management and capacity building.
Luke AllenOfficer, Strategic Communications
Luke has worked with RRI’s Strategic Communications team since August, 2016, and previously interned with the Tenure Facility. Prior to joining the Tenure Facility, Luke was a Lantos – Humanity in Action Fellow in the Office of U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks, where he worked on foreign policy issues with an emphasis on Europe and the Americas. He previously completed the Humanity in Action Fellowship program in the Netherlands, where he studied and wrote on social justice issues in the Dutch context. Luke graduated from Macalester College in 2014 with a degree in international studies and political science. As a student, Luke’s interest in development led him to spend a semester abroad in Senegal, where he interned with a local development NGO. Before moving to Washington, Luke also worked in the field of immigration law in Minnesota and Iowa.
Madiha Waris QureshiSenior Manager, Strategic Communications
Madiha Waris Qureshi
Madiha Waris Qureshi leads RRI’s global strategic communications. She has 15 years of experience creating and managing communications for the international development sector. She began her career in Pakistan with The Citizens Foundation, one of South Asia’s largest nonprofits in education, where she led communications for the organizations’ network of schools in low-income communities. Madiha was most recently Manager, Communications for Impact(Ed), a nonprofit created by Discovery Inc. to produce media for social impact. Prior to that, she worked as a communications consultant with the World Bank’s Africa Education team, and led RRI’s media relations and production between 2012-2015. Madiha holds an M.B.A from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, and an M.A. in Interactive Journalism from the American University, Washington, D.C.
Matthew GonzalesGrants Administrator
Mayra Johana TenjoColombia Facilitator
Mayra Johana Tenjo
Mayra Tenjo is a professional Public Administrator with a high capacity in planning, organizational analysis, management, and implementation of activities in the social and administrative fields. She is currently finishing her master’s degree in geography at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. For eight years she has worked directly with non-governmental organizations, with people in diverse professional settings of climate change, human rights, and extractive industries. She has worked as a consultant and junior researcher with RRI, Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos, Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, and Derechos Diersidad y Selvas. In this capacity, she provided advice about climate, forest, and the collective rights of communities and analyzed information about the environmental and forest policy in Colombia, the REDD+ process, and climate change mitigation programs.
Minerva ScottFinance Manager
Patience Falasi BangaAfrica Regional Facilitator
Patience Falasi Banga
Since September 2020, Patience Falasi Banga worked as the RRI Facilitator for the French-speaking Africa region and is based in Kinshasa. He is Skilled in Biodiversity conservation, Agricultural Knowledge Management, and Rural Development. Before joining RRI Patience has 16 years of rural development professional experience throughout DRC working on monitoring and evaluation of rural development and environmental projects for NGOs and the government of DRC. He also worked as Program Assistant for the Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Program for GFA Consulting Group/KfW Development Bank, Early Recovery and Livelihoods Program Officer for the Catholic international development charity in England and Wales (CAFOD), and also Rural Development Expert for Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). He holds a master’s degree in Agriculture from Egerton University in Kenya and a bachelors’ degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Kinshasa, DRC. He speaks French, English, Lingala, Kikongo, and a little Swahili.
Peter OesterlingSenior Associate, Latin America Program
Peter Oesterling specializes in the nexus of climate change, environmental policy, sustainable development, and Indigenous Peoples, with interests in mountain and forest landscapes. He is a former Fulbright Public Policy Fellow with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment’s National Institute for Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems, where he helped advance the development of Peru’s National Policy for Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems. He is a published author and holds a Master of Arts in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
Rachel MacFarlandOperations Manager, Finance and Administration
Sandra León BolourianSenior Manager, Programs & Strategic Response Mechanism
Sandra León Bolourian
Sandra León Bolourian is Senior Manager, Programs & Strategic Response Mechanism at RRI. She manages the Strategic Response Mechanism Program and is responsible, among others, for ensuring the integrity of collaborative agreements with Partners and Collaborators, as well as other agreements. During her tenure at RRI, Sandra has been responsible for the administration of the Tenure Facility and the Country and Regional Program (CRP), as well as overseeing the administrative systems for CRP and the Global Programs. Sandra is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in administration, human resources, external relations, event planning, and public affairs in large international organizations and smaller non-profits. Sandra came to RRI from the World Bank’s Latin America Social Protection program. Prior to that, and following a 14-year career at INTELSAT, an intergovernmental cooperative of over 147 nations, she worked at Calvert Foundation, a non-profit investing in disadvantaged communities. She holds an M.B.A. in international business and a B.A. in radio and television, with a minor in sociology from George Washington University. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
Shannon JohnsonAssociate, Africa Program
Shannon Johnson is the Associate for the Africa program. She has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Environmental Analysis and Policy from Boston University, where she spent a semester in Kenya and Tanzania to study wildlife conservation. She conducted research for her thesis in Northern Tanzania on impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies. Shannon completed two years of Peace Corps service in Benin before obtaining her Master of Development Studies from The Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. While a graduate student, she completed a research project for IOM about climate finance for environmental migrants as well as conducted fieldwork in Ghana about discourse and practice of REDD+. Prior to joining RRI, Shannon researched just transition for a low-carbon economy for United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, contributing to a report on Cities in Transition for COP 25. She speaks French, Bariba, and a little Swahili.
Stephanie KeeneSenior Law and Policy Advisor, Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement
Stephanie Keene is an attorney with a background in land tenure security, women’s rights, and corporate social responsibility, particularly in Africa. She has worked on issues of women’s land rights, gender-based violence, and social protection at the World Bank, and was previously an Associate with Covington & Burling LLP’s Anti-Corruption, Africa, and International Trade Controls practices. Stephanie has worked to protect the land rights of women-victims of illegal property seizure in Northern Uganda, and has served as a Princeton Fellow with the West African Regional Bureau of the UN World Food Program. Her field research and related reports include an environmental and human rights assessment of Indigenous People’s land rights within the context of a large-scale agricultural development project in Papua, Indonesia, and an assessment of Sierra Leone’s legal prohibition against child marriage. Stephanie received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University.