our board

The Niyel Board of Advisors is a group of highly accomplished people in public affairs, movement building, politics, finance and operations, each acting in their personal capacity.

ROSE MARURU

BETSY RAKOLA

PAULO GOMES

RAMESH SHARMA

YANN DESCLERCS

ZEINA NDONG

ROSE MARURU

Rose has nearly 25 years of experience in international development and non-profit management. Most recently, she worked as the Director for Operations at TrustAfrica building and strengthening organizational systems and processes.

 

Previously, she worked for the Population Council in New York and Dakar, the Coalition for Children’s Rights in Yemen, and Save the Children in The Gambia, Egypt and the USA.

 

She holds a BA (Honors) in Government and Literature from the University of Nairobi in Kenya, a Post-Graduate Diploma in American Studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and a Master’s degree in Development Management and Planning from L’Institut Africain de Développement Economique et de Planification (IDEP) in Dakar.

BETSY RAKOLA

Betsy Rakola leads a division of the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program. Betsy serves on the Niyel board in her personal, unofficial capacity, and her service is not affiliated with the US government.

Betsy previously worked Oxfam America Central America and Mexico programs and Tufts University’s Procurement and Budget programs. She has volunteered for many organizations, the most memorable being the International Institute of Boston, where she tutored immigrants and refugees for 8 years.

Betsy holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture Policy from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Boston University. She resides in Washington, DC.

 

PAULO GOMES

Paulo is a global business leader, active environmentalist and a key political actor in Guinea Bissau where he vied for presidency in 2014 and rallied over 10% of the votes cast. He is also the CEO of Paulo Gomes and Partners, a strategic advisory and investment firm that focuses on high level clients with advice and tailored made solutions.

 

He organizes the Bissau Economic Forum, a bi-annual discussion and investment forum on cooperation and the economic transformation of Guinea Bissau with stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and the government in order to attract foreign investment as well as create employment.

 

He is a global business leader in addition to his immense knowledge of African politics and policies that he developed through his political engagements, including support to several governments, and while serving as an Executive Director of the World Bank.

 

He has a strong network of alliances with private equity and sovereign funds as well as family offices. Paulo Gomes and Partners is the natural outcome of years advising governments and businesses on strategic investments as well as serving on boards of firms such as AFIG, Asky Airlines and Ecobank. A founder of the South East Asia-Africa Chamber of commerce and chairman of the advisory board, his business reach touches all continents.

RAMESH SHARMA

Ramesh is the National Coordinator of Ekta Parishad. Ekta Parishad is a mass-based movement for land rights with an active membership of 250,000 landless poor and is regarded as one of the biggest movements in India with an iconic status globally.

 

In 2014, Ekta Parishad was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by international institutions and Nobel Laureates. In 2012, it organized and led a foot-march of more than 50,000 landless people for over 300 kilometers, from Gwalior to Delhi, to demand land rights.

 

As a Campaigner, Ramesh is one of the chief architects and leaders of such large-scale mass demontrations. In the last 15 years, he has played an instrumental role in strengthening and expanding Ekta Parishad to one of the most significant citizen’s activism for land rights.

 

In 2012, he was nominated to the National Task Force on Land Reforms. Being a member of the Task Force, he was engaged in drafting the National Homestead Rights Act, National Land Reforms Policy and designing the institutional set-up for Land Tribunal(s) and various other pro-poor institutional and legal remedial measures towards land reforms.

 

Ramesh has been on several land reforms committees by the Government of India and state governments. In 2008 he was appointed by the Indian Government to be a member of the National Committee on Agrarian Crisis and Land Reforms.

YANN DESCLERCS

Yann has 15 years’ experience in finance and currently works for a major bank as vice president and compliance head for francophone West Africa. Previously, he was in charge of internal audit and operational risk management.

 

Earlier in his life, he worked in an international audit firm, BDO, as a senior staff before moving on to set up the internal control framework of a petroleum company.

 

He holds a Master’s degree in Financial Economics from American University in Washington D.C. and a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Zeina Ndong is the founder and CEO of Myria Consulting, a strategic and financial advisory firm dedicated to the development of SMEs through strategic planning, organization and change management, operational  support and resource mobilization.

 

Prior to that, Zeina helped set up and acted as the Director for Strategy and Business Development in a Senegal-based advisory firm working with the public and private sectors, as well as NGOs and foundations across the world, with a strong emphasis on promoting development.

 

Beforehand, she worked for an investment banking boutique where she was able to secure fundings for companies in various sectors of activities.

 

Zeina started her career 12 years ago as a banker in Central Africa, within a cross-continental banking group where she learnt the value of working in a multicultural environment as well as the importance of properly supporting and assisting companies through advisory and financing.

 

She is a graduate from the ESSEC group (France) and the University of Cardiff-Wales (UK) in international business and business finance.

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