Our Team

Expertise and Partnerships for Innovation and System Reform

Our Team of Experts

CECI has a large team of technical specialists and experienced practitioners based in Africa, Asia and the Americas in the following areas : 

  • Support for women's rights movements and organizations
  • Access to education and health services
  • Women's entrepreneurship, access to financial services, economic development
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Sustainable development, conservation of ecosystems, agrifood value chains and biodiversity
  • Inclusive local governance and peacebuilding
  • Nexus development and conflict prevention/peacebuilding
  • Gender equality and community mobilization
  • Emergency humanitarian aid.

Learn more about our team's priorities 

Our experts are part of internal and external thematic networks that facilitate the cross-fertilization of knowledge and support regional and national partners in resolving important development issues through innovative solutions.

Our Take on Internationalization

Firmly rooted in Canada and more than a dozen countries of the Global South, CECI is now asserting itself as an influential actor on the international stage. Nowadays, the internationalization of the organization is of crucial importance to ensure a fair distribution of power within its governance, decision-making processes and teams. This transformation includes an overhaul of its governance, aimed at strengthening CECI's international leadership in the context of aid localization. By introducing an international board of directors and reorganizing its internal leadership structure with a strong component based in the Global South, CECI is undertaking an essential transformation to steer its development equally and in line with an evolving world order.

Phlippe Dongier
Director, CECI

Introducing CECI's Teams

The CECI management team

Dilip ChinnakondaChief Financial Officer (CFO) & Director of Administrative and IT services

Canada


Dilip Chinnakonda, a seasoned professional with 27+ years experience in international development, operations and finance. Trained in Agriculture and International Development, he combines technical and financial expertise. Joining CECI in 2007, he has led innovative initiatives for women’s rights and the strengthening of their economic power, such as integrating technology for citizen engagement. Beginning as a Project Manager, he progressed to develop a humanitarian aid unit, overseeing operations in Asia and Latin America. As Director of Finance, Admin and IT, he dedicates himself to the organization's success through financial insights, risk management and key decision support.

dilipc(@)ceci.ca

Philippe DongierExecutive Director

Canada

Philippe Dongier is the Executive Director of CECI, renowned for his leadership that delivers tangible results and his dedication to sustainable and inclusive development. With nearly 20 years of experience at the World Bank, he held various leadership roles in different regions (including Afghanistan, East Africa and South Asia) and sectors (such as community development, digital development, infrastructure and climate change). He also boasts extensive private sector experience, having served as General Electric's Managing Director of Government Affairs for Africa and then globally (excluding the USA), as well as working as a corporate strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. Philippe holds a BA in Economics and Anthropology from McGill University and an MBA from INSEAD.

philippe.dongier(@)ceci.ca

Nancy LafranceDirector Volunteer Cooperation Program

Canada

Nancy Lafrance brings over 19 years of experience as an experienced international development jurist, both in Canada and abroad. She has been with CECI since 2008, where she has played a key role in piloting partnerships with organizations and institutions across diverse sectors, and spearheading innovative initiatives in women’s rights, women’s economic empowerment, gender equality and innovative financing. Currently serving as the Director of the CECI Volunteer Cooperation Program, she provides inclusive leadership in transitioning to a more horizontal model of cooperation between the North and South. Her unwavering commitment to women’s and youth rights and empowerment has made a significant impact on communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

NancyLa(@)ceci.ca

Marcel MonetteDirector, Project Management and Quality Assurance

Canada

Marcel Monette manages CECI’s projects and ensures their quality. He holds a master's degree in economics and a diploma in environmental management. He has been involved in the field of international solidarity since the early 1980s and has been with CECI since 2005. Throughout his tenure, he has worked across all geographic regions where CECI is active. In addition to his role as a project manager, Marcel has played a key role in shaping CECI's International Network and has contributed to the development of CECI's sustainable development policy.

marcelm(@)ceci.ca

Stephanie NicholsCommunications and Philanthropic Director

Canada

Stephanie (she/her) is a dynamic communication senior leader with 13 years of experience in storytelling, developing engagement strategies, managing digital platforms, designing innovative projects and building relationships and partnerships.  With a strong track record in fundraising and resource mobilization, Stephanie has put her creative thinking to work for different non-profit organizations in international cooperation, sustainable development, social innovation and film. Most recently, she was the Director of Communications and Fund Development at Equitas, where she specialized in human rights education. Stephanie holds a Master’s degree in Communications from Université de Montréal, a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Concordia University, and spent time studying at the Université des Antilles in Martinique.

stephanie.nichols(@)ceci.ca

Paola PattiHuman Resources Manager

Canada

Paola Patti brings over 20 years' experience in human resources, including international experience. She has led branch openings in Europe, South America and projects with First Nations communities in Quebec. From strategic management to union negotiations, she has shaped positive corporate cultures, and her commitment to inclusion and innovation has driven significant change within many organizations.

paola.patti(@)ceci.ca

Claude PhanordDirector CECI-Haiti

Haiti

Claude Phanord is an agronomic engineer specialized in rural engineering, natural resource management, and supporting local development dynamics in Haiti. He has dedicated his professional career of over 25 years to international cooperation, supervising, coordinating and managing development projects in Haiti for international NGOs, United Nations agencies and international donors. Currently, he holds the position of Regional Director for CECI in Haiti.

claude.phanord(@)ceci.ca

Marcela VallejosRegional Director for Latin America and Country Director Bolivia

Bolivia

Marcela Vallejos is CECI's Director for Bolivia and Latin America. She has dedicated herself to the cause of women's and young people's rights, economic empowerment and climate change adaptation since the beginning of her career. In particular, she has acted as Country Manager for EQWIP HUBS, a start-up that provides young people from vulnerable communities with entrepreneurship training and access to financing. She was also coordinator of the Water and Gender program in Bolivia and Peru for the UK's Catholic Overseas Development Agency. The initiative aimed to link Indigenous communities with local governments and transnational corporations in a process designed to resolve water and environmental conflicts arising from mining and energy production.

marcelav(@)ceci.ca

Bonaventure WakanaDirector, International Programs and Innovation

Canada

Having joined CECI in 2016, Bonaventure Wakana brings over 25 years of experience in international organizations and private foundations across Africa, the UK and Canada.  Holding a Master’s degree in Rural Economics and Development, he owns a unique expertise in developing and managing complex projects, as well as scaling up solutions in various areas, including women’s rights and economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, youth employment, resilient agro-food systems, local governance and conflict management.  Known for his passion, he has provided leadership in the organizational transformation of several organizations committed to advancing the agenda of localization and reshaping power dynamics between the Global North and South.

bonaventurew(@)ceci.ca

The CECI-Countries management and representatives team

Silvia CottonDirector CECI-Guatemala

Guatemala

Silvia Cotton is a Guatemalan professional with more than 20 years of experience in international cooperation projects in Central America. As the Director of CECI in Guatemala since 2010, she has built close relationships with community-based organizations to implement multiple initiatives focused on closing inequality gaps. Her commitment to social justice and environmental conservation has led her to work for and with underrepresented populations in Guatemala. She works towards strengthening women’s economic power and helping communities adapt to climate change.

SilviaC(@)ceci.ca

Maïmouna Dioncounda DembéléDirector CECI-Mali

Mali

Maïmouna holds a Master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, and is a specialist in gender equality. Her professional career has been marked by stints with a number of renowned organizations working in the fields of democracy, the promotion and defense of human rights, gender and peace. She was also an instructor at the École de Maintien de la Paix (EMP) Alioune Blondin Beye. She has been providing advisory support to Malian and West African youth and women's organizations for nearly 10 years. She is the 2016 winner of the Trophée International de la Femme Active d'Afrique.

maimounad(@)ceci.ca

Herico DialloCountry representative CECI-Guinea

Guinea

Herico DIALLO holds a degree in rural engineering and a master's degree in nonprofit management, and has been with CECI for over 25 years. He has successively held the positions of consulting engineer, coordinator of several major projects, Program Manager and, most recently, CECI-Guinea Country Representative. Herico DIALLO is a seasoned executive in local development, organizational development and human resources management.

HericoD(@)ceci.ca

Esther DjeigoCountry Representative CECI-Benin

Benin

A development program manager in Sub-Saharan Africa, Martine Esther DJEIGO brings over 20 years' experience of both difficult and transitional contexts to enrich CECI's programming in Benin and worldwide. Martine Esther Djeigo has extensive experience managing development programs in sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated more specifically to strengthening the economic power of women in Benin.

esther.djeigo(@)ceci.ca

Olive Ingabire ZimulindaVCP Coordinator and Country Representative CECI-Rwanda

Rwanda

Holder of a Master's degree in Development Studies with a specialization in Microfinance, Mrs. Olive Ingabire Zimulinda is deeply passionate about the well-being of vulnerable populations. With over 20 years of experience, she has collaborated with government institutions, private sector entities, local civil society organizations, international NGOs and development partners. Her areas of expertise include women's and youth empowerment, gender equality and women’s rights promotion, entrepreneurship and business development, cooperative promotion, cross-border trade in the Great Lakes Region, business for peace and conflict sensitivity, project management and partnership development.  Mrs. Olive has made significant contributions to the elaboration of Rwanda's gender policy and GBV policy. As a team leader, she has played a pivotal role in developing strategies for enhancing women and youth access to finance through microfinance institutions and banks across Rwanda. Currently, Mrs. Olive is responsible for coordinating the Volunteer Cooperation Program and other development initiatives of CECI in Rwanda.

olive.ingabire(@)ceci.ca

Deepak KhadkaInterim Country Representative Lead, Business Development and Program Quality Assurance

Nepal

Deepak Khadka is a non-profit program portfolio manager with over a decade of technical, managerial and advisory experience in co-designing and managing strategic, innovative and evidence-informed development projects in Nepal.  He serves as a Country Representative for Nepal, overseeing country programs, developing new partnerships and businesses and ensuring program quality, risk and compliance management to drive the program portfolio growth and expansion that contributes to transforming the lives of women and marginalized communities in Nepal.

deepak.khadka(@)ceci.ca

Mouhamadou LeyeDirector CECI-Senegal

Senegal

Mouhamadou Leye, Director of CECI-Senegal, brings extensive experience in international cooperation, focusing on sustainable development, poverty reduction, humanitarian response and resilience building.  With a diploma as a senior technician in accounting and finance and a master's degree in management sciences, he has previously served as the country representative and technical supervisor in West Africa for COFACE-SICR Senegal, as well as the country representative for the Canadian Organization Assistance Service (SACO, now Catalys), before joining CECI in 2010. He has demonstrated a strong leadership in developing initiatives and forging strategic partnerships with local community organizations, NGOs, the private sector and public institutions.

MouhamadouL(@)ceci.ca

Oussoumane ZongoInterim Country Representative CECI-Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

oussoumane.zango(@)ceci.ca

Claude PhanordDirector CECI-Haiti

Haiti

Claude Phanord is an agronomic engineer specialized in rural engineering, natural resource management, and supporting local development dynamics in Haiti. He has dedicated his professional career of over 25 years to international cooperation, supervising, coordinating and managing development projects in Haiti for international NGOs, United Nations agencies and international donors. Currently, he holds the position of Regional Director for CECI in Haiti.

claude.phanord(@)ceci.ca

Marcela VallejosRegional Director for Latin America and Country Director Bolivia

Bolivia

Marcela Vallejos is CECI's Director for Bolivia and Latin America. She has dedicated herself to the cause of women's and young people's rights, economic empowerment and climate change adaptation since the beginning of her career. In particular, she has acted as Country Manager for EQWIP HUBS, a start-up that provides young people from vulnerable communities with entrepreneurship training and access to financing. She was also coordinator of the Water and Gender program in Bolivia and Peru for the UK's Catholic Overseas Development Agency. The initiative aimed to link Indigenous communities with local governments and transnational corporations in a process designed to resolve water and environmental conflicts arising from mining and energy production.

marcelav(@)ceci.ca

Board of Directors

Ekué Séssi AfanouTreasurer

Ekué Séssi Afanou holds a master's degree in finance from Université d'Évry Val d'Essonne (France) and a master's degree in financial engineering from École nationale des sciences appliquées (Morocco). Currently serving as a data analysis manager at the international consulting firm KPMG, he previously gained valuable experience at the National Bank of Canada, where he held diverse roles in project management, data analysis and business intelligence. Ekué is a member of the Groupe des Trente and was part of the third cohort of Concertation Montréal Groupe des Trente in 2021. He actively engages with organizations dedicated to newcomer integration, youth empowerment, entrepreneurship and technology.  Additionally, he holds a double certificate in data analysis and data science, machine learning from McGill University. Ekué is the founder of the Énogné platform, aimed at promoting the use of data in Africa, and the initiator of the Finkekeli association, supporting orphans in Togo and Benin.

Thiaba Camara SyAdministrator

During her 30-year career in auditing, chartered accountancy and management consulting, Ms. Camara Sy served as Managing Partner of Deloitte Senegal and was a member of the Board of Directors of Deloitte Africa. Upon retiring from the accountancy profession, she shifted her focus to supporting the promotion of women's economic rights in Africa. As a co-founder of WIC CAPITAL, the first impact fund dedicated to women's entrepreneurship in West Africa, she plays a pivotal role in fostering economic empowerment for women. Additionally, she is a member of TOSTAN International, an NGO dedicated to empowering rural communities for sustainable development and positive social transformation across five West African countries, while upholding human rights. Ms. Camara Sy is a graduate of the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) and also holds a diploma in Professional Coaching.

Daniel CaramoriAdministrator

Daniel Caramori holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of São Paulo and a Master's degree in Political Science, Public and International Affairs from the Université de Montréal. Currently, he serves as the Business Development and Government Relations Advisor at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Previously, he held the position of National Director of Talent and Operations at AIESEC (International Association of Students in Economics and Business) and founded the Portuguese as a Second Language (PLS) School at the University of São Paulo. In Canada and the United States, he has worked in various roles as a political advisor and researcher. Notably, he has contributed as a training advisor to the UNITERRA program and volunteered in Mongolia.

Inès ChaâlalaAdministrator

Inès Chalala, Director of Knowledge and Partnerships at Philanthropic Foundations Canada and member of the Réseau québécois des femmes en environnement, brings over 10 years of experience from various international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Her expertise spans across multiple regions worldwide, focusing on sustainable development with a particular emphasis on governance and innovative environmental financing policies and mechanisms. Inès is particularly passionate about promoting sustainable land management practices and enhancing the involvement of civil society and local communities in decentralized governance of natural resources.

Philippe DongierSecretary

Philippe Dongier is the Executive Director of CECI and is renowned for his leadership that delivers tangible results and his dedication to sustainable and inclusive development.  With nearly 20 years of experience at the World Bank, he held various leadership roles in different regions (including Afghanistan, East Africa and South Asia) and sectors (such as community development, digital development, infrastructure and climate change).  He also boasts extensive private sector experience, having served as General Electric's Managing Director of Government Affairs for Africa and then globally (excluding the USA), as well as working as a corporate strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. Philippe holds a BA in Economics and Anthropology from McGill University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Marie-Claire DumasPresident
Marie-Claire Dumas, former Executive Director of Concertation Montréal, brings a wealth of experience from her roles in various organizations in Montreal. Prior to her position at Concertation Montréal, she served as Executive Director of the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal and spent nearly 20 years with the Ville de Montréal. During her tenure, she held key positions such as Director of Research and Communications at the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, Director of the Bureau des relations interculturelles and Division Head at Développement social et communautaire. Among her notable achievements, she established the Congé solidaire program with Uniterra and collaborated with Equitas to develop the On ne joue pas avec les droits program. Marie-Claire holds a master's degree in communications from UQAM and has a background in research and communications. She previously worked for the Women's Y and contributed to publications such as Châtelaine magazine, where she authored the monthly column Femmes d'ici et d'ailleurs from 1980 to 1988.
Chloé GaudetAdministrator
Chloé Gaudet, an organizational development consultant, brings over 20 years of experience in change management, training and communications, gained through roles at prominent organizations such as BRP, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Cirque du Soleil.  Known for her energy and innovative approach, she excels in implementing strategies that facilitate team progress towards their goals, particularly in complex transformational environments. Fluent in three languages, Chloé holds both a master's and a bachelor's degree in communication sciences. Recently, she furthered her studies in organizational development at HEC Montréal, demonstrating her commitment to professional growth and development. Additionally, Chloé has volunteered with Oxfam-Québec in Lima, Peru, showcasing her dedication to social impact initiatives.
Carl-Éric GuertinAdministrator

General Manager of Société du réseau ÉCONOMUSÉE (SRÉ), he oversees the organization's development in Quebec, Canada and internationally. He obtained a bachelor's degree in forest engineering in 1993 from the Université Laval (Quebec, Canada), and began his career as a forest engineer abroad as a volunteer cooperant in Mali. In 1997, he obtained a master's degree in forestry science from the same university, in the field of forest policy and community forestry. After 15 years working for professional associations in the forestry and forest products sector, he joined the tourism industry in 2013.

Julie MédamAdministrator

Julie Médam holds a master's degree in political science (international development) from the Université du Québec à Montréal, a bachelor's degree in international studies from the Université de Montréal (with an exchange program at the Universidad de Chile) and a certificate in documentary from INIS.  Currently, she serves as a partnership development advisor at UQAM's Service du soutien à l'innovation, where she supports teachers in developing research collaborations and mobilizing knowledge.  Previously, she held the position of Executive Director at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies. As a trilingual communicator, trainer and analyst, Julie has travelled to 27 countries, including Cuba, Chile and Brazil, to engage in international solidarity projects. Additionally, she is a member of the Réseau des jeunes femmes leaders of the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal.

Cécile MukarubugaAdministrator

Cécile Mukarubuga has always been dedicated to international cooperation and women's rights. She holds a master's degree in social sciences with a specialization in community economic development. She has over 30 years of experience in development with governments, the United Nations and international NGOs, providing professional services in gender equality and equity, sexual and reproductive health, advocacy, institutional and program development and management, conflict management and peacebuilding, monitoring and evaluation, action research, capacity building and financial inclusion.  She has also worked for CECI, supporting the Concertation des Collectifs des Associations Féminines de la Région des Grands Lacs (COCAFEM).

Isabelle ParizeauAdministrator

Isabelle Parizeau holds law degrees from the Université de Montréal (bachelor's) and the University of London (master's), is a member of the Quebec Bar and is a certified corporate director. She practiced law for 20 years while developing managerial expertise, which she eventually put to good use as the head of the largest public organization in the Quebec Arctic. Isabelle Parizeau volunteered as a cooperant in Mali for CECI's Women's Rights and Citizenship project. Since 2019, she has been a member of the Refugee Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. She has been a member and chair of boards of directors of various Bar organizations. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors of the Fondation de l'Office Municipal d'Habitation de Montréal and on research ethics committees.

Sylvie-Marianne RhugendaAdministrator

Sylvie-Marianne Rhugenda has held positions of responsibility in multinational telecommunications companies in sub-Saharan Africa, notably in fraud prevention, risk management and regulatory issues.  She holds a degree in human resources management, an MBA from the University of Leicester, a diploma in gender studies and a master's degree in sociology from the Université Laval. Currently, she is a research development advisor at Université Laval. She has expertise in partnership research and initiatives to empower women and girls economically.

Ghislain RivardExecutive Vice-President

A graduate in management science from the Université du Québec à Montréal (master's degree) and in sociology from the University of Ottawa, Ghislain Rivard has 30 years' experience in international development, spanning Africa, South-East Asia and Haiti.  He served as a volunteer aid worker in Burundi and later as Country Director for CECI in Guinea-Bissau. Additionally, he worked as a consultant for Global Affairs Canada in Senegal, Mali and Indonesia, as a country representative for NGOs, for New Zealand Cooperation and for a Canadian firm in a poverty reduction program for women. Currently, Mr. Rivard is a senior advisor at Polytechnique Montréal's International Relations Office.

Patricio ScaffAdministrator

A graduate of Sciences Po Paris in political science with studies at the University of Chile, Patricio Scaff currently serves as the head of the external relations office of the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) in Peru and Colombia, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to this role, he worked for the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, where he served as an international expert in democratic governance in El Salvador for Central America and the Central American Integration System (SICA). He has also played a significant role in developing international partnerships, particularly in higher education and research in France. Additionally, he has been actively involved in Sciences Po's Observatoire Politique de l'Amérique latine et des Caraïbes and contributed to the establishment of the National Committee for UN Women in France, where he served on its board of directors between 2013 and 2015.

Jude Saint-NatusAdministrator

Trained as a jurist and expert in decentralization, Jude Saint-Natus has played a key role in strengthening local institutions in Haiti. He has held senior positions, including Director of Local Government and Director General of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, as well as Acting Representative of the United Nations Human Settlements Program/UN Habitat. His notable achievements include the introduction of the first municipal trades and the improvement of local public finances. Currently, as Project Manager for the Programme d'appui à l'amélioration des services publics en Haïti, he is dedicated to making civil and administrative services accessible to citizens in an inclusive and territorialized manner, thus contributing to the development and modernization of local government in Haiti.

Milder VillegasAdministrator

Milder Villegas holds a bachelor's degree in social work, with a focus on community organization and an MBA from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He has been Managing Director of Filaction, a development fund, since 2011. Previously, he held a number of executive and strategic positions at the National Bank of Canada. He has experience in corporate governance through his various directorships on boards of directors. He set up Canada's first microcredit fund and tripled Filaction's capital under management.

Marie-Claire Dumas
Chair of the CECI Board

Join our team

Get involved now and make a difference!