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.
Ms. Maruru brings nearly 25 years of experience in international development and nonprofit management. Ms. Maruru most recently worked as the Director for Operations at TrustAfrica building and strengthening organizational system and processes. Previously, she worked at 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 Masters degree in development management and planning from L’Institut Africain de Développement Economique et de Planification (IDEP) in Dakar, a post-graduate diploma in American Studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a BA (Honors) in government and literature from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. She is fluent in English, French, Kiswahili and Kikuyu.
As the USDA’s Organic Policy Advisor, Betsy Rakola leads the department’s Organic Working Group and advises both career staff and agency leaders on how to incorporate organic into their daily mission. She previously worked for the USDA’s National Organic Program, Oxfam America’s Central America and Mexico programs, and Tufts University’s procurement and budget programs. She’s volunteered for numerous organizations over the years, the most memorable of was the International Institute of Boston, where for eight years she tutored immigrants and refugees applying for US citizenship. Betsy has a master’s degree in sustainable agriculture policy from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Boston University. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Matt, and two-year-old son, Alex.
Paulo Gomes is a global business leader, active environmentalist and a key political actor in Guinea Bissau. He is the CEO of Paulo Gomes and Partners. In the 2014 presidential elections, Paulo Gomes ran for the first time in any political race in Guinea Bissau, rallying over 12% of the electorate. He is the organizer of the Bissau Economic Forum, a bi-annual discussion and investment forum on cooperation and the economic transformation of the country with all stakeholders from civil society, private sector and the government in order to attract foreign investment as well as create employment. In addition to the acute knowledge of the politics and policies of Africa that he developed through his political engagement, support to several governments and as an Executive Director of the World Bank, Paulo is a global business leader. Paulo has founded Paulo Gomes and Partners a strategic advisory and investment firm focused on a high level limited set and sectors of clients with advice and tailored made solutions. Paulo Gomes 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 years on 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 touched all continents and interests.
Ramesh Sharma works as the National Coordinator of Ekta Parishad. Ekta Parishad is a mass based peoples' movement for land rights with an active membership of 250,000 landless poor and is regarded as one of the biggest people’s movement in India with an iconic status globally. Very recently Ekta Parishad has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize (2014) by international institutions and Nobel Laureates. In 2012, Ekta Parishad was responsible for organizing and leading a foot march of more than 50,000 landless people for over 300 Km (from Gwalior to Delhi) to demand land rights. As the Campaigner, Ramesh is one of the chief architects and leaders of such large scale mass struggles. In the last 15 years, Ramesh has played an instrumental role in strengthening and expanding Ekta Parishad as one of the most significant peoples' struggle for land rights.
Ramesh has been part of several land reforms committees of the Government of India and state governments. In 2008, Ramesh was appointed by Government of India, as a member of National Committee on Agrarian Crisis and Land Reforms. In 2012, Ramesh is nominated as a member of the National Task Force on Land Reforms., Being a member of Task Force; he is engaged in drafting the National Homestead Rights Act; National Land Reforms Policy; designing the institutional Set up for Land Tribunal(s); and various other pro-poor institutional & legal remedial measures towards land reforms.
Yann Desclercs has 15 years of experience in finance currently working for Citibank as vice president and compliance head West Africa francophone. Previously, he assumed the responsibilities of internal audit head and operational risk management. Before joining Citibank he worked in an international audit firm BDO as senior staff then took on a new challenge to set up entirely the internal control framework of a petroleum company. He Holds a masters degree in financial economics from American university Washington DC and bachelor of science in Microbiolgy from the university of Maryland college park.