WIEGO Team Bios

Olga Abizaid, WIEGO Communications OfficerOlga Abizaid
Communications Officer

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.


Laura Alfers, WIEGO Researcher

Laura Alfers
Researcher, Occupational Health-and-Safety

Laura has worked with Francie Lund on WIEGO’s OHS Programme since its inception in 2009. She has worked most extensively on the Ghana country project, and is also involved in the overall management of the project. Currently she is registered for a PhD at the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her focus is on the changing relationship between public, environmental and occupational health in Ghana from 1925 onwards. Laura holds an MA in Political Studies from Rhodes University (South Africa), and an MPhil in Development Studies from Cambridge University (UK).


Pilar Balbuena

Pilar is a Communications Officer with WIEGO, based in Canada.


Sarah Berry, WIEGO Finance OfficerSarah Berry
Finance Officer

Sarah is based at WIEGO's Manchester UK Office. She has worked in administration since leaving school and for many years worked as a Communciations Officer for Greater Manchester Police, where she would be in contact with many different organizations and members of the public on all different levels. More recently she completed her AAT Qualification and moved into finance. She works with the Manchester UK Team, which consists of Jacqui, Mike, Henrial, Joe and Dave.


Mike Bird, Operations Manager at WIEGOMike Bird
Operations Manager

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 Bonner, WIEGO Programme Director, Organization & RepresentationChristine (Chris) Bonner
Director, Organization & Representation

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.

In 2004 Chris joined WIEGO as the Organization and Representation Programme Director. In this position she has 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. 


Patricia Carney, WIEGO Web ManagerPatricia Carney
Web Manager

Patricia worked as a web consultant at WIEGO during 2000-2002. She returned to WIEGO in 2008 as Web Manager. Pat has a master's degree from Harvard's Graduate School of Education, with a focus on technology in education.


Francoise Carre, WIEGO Research Coordinator & DirectorFrançoise Carré
Research Coordinator

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

Marty is also a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 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.


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 Maria Dias
Waste Sector Specialist

Sonia is currently in a two years´ visiting professorship at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (she is housed at the Centre for Women´s Studies- NEPEM). She is a sociologist by training and a “garbologist” with specialization in Solid Waste Management by the University of Kitakyushu, Japan (JICA grant). She has a Master's 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; 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
Advisor, Global Projects

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 lead 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. 


Jacqui Fendall, Financial Controller, WIEGO Jacqui Fendall
Financial Controller

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

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 is currently based in Boston where she has a research affiliation with CoLab, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.


Joe Holly, WIEGO Company SecretaryJoe Holly
Company Secretary

Joe has been company secretary and ganizational adviser to WIEGO since June 2008. While working as a senior manager in the public and private sectors in the UK, he has been active in supporting internationalism within the labour movement. He was a co-founder of International Labour Reports whilst doing post-doctoral research on the transfer of technology and management expertise between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Subsequently he has worked on various projects with organizations including the Workers’ Education Association, the International Federation of Workers’ Educational Associations, the Romanian Social Development Fund and the Centre for Employment Initiatives among others to assist capacity building and democratic organizational development. He works closely with the Global Labour Institute. He holds MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Open University.


Kendra Hughes, WIEGO Global Projects AssistantKendra Hughes
Global Projects 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.


Elaine Jones, WIEGO Programme Director, Global TradeElaine Jones
Director, Global Trade Programme

Elaine is also, an ex-officio member of the WIEGO Steering Committee, and an independent advisor in the fields of ethical and fair trade. Elaine worked with The Body Shop International for 10 years and left as Head of Ethical Trade in May 2004. Prior to working with The Body Shop Elaine spent a total of 12 years living and working in Latin America in Bolivia, Mexico, and Dominican Republic through programmes of international cooperation and development. As Director of WIEGO’s Global Trade Programme Elaine Jones has coordinated a multi-country series of case studies on women’s economic empowerment with a focus on women producers engaged with global fair trade markets. Elaine Jones represents WIEGO as an NGO member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and represents the NGO caucus on the ETI Board. Elaine Jones is a Board Director of Twin and Twin Trading, the London-based organization that trades fair trade coffee, cocoa, fresh fruit and nuts. Twin Trading was a founder of two of the UK’s most pioneering Fair Trade brands: CafeDirect and the Divine Chocolate Company.


Francie Lund, WIEGO Programme Director, Social ProtectionFrancie Lund
Director, Social Protection Programme

Francie is Director of the Social Protection Programme of WIEGO, and 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.


Karen McCabe, Administrator, WIEGO Secretriat Karen McCabe
Secretariat Administrator

Karen McCabe 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.


Karin Pape, WIEGO Regional Programme CoordinatorKarin  Pape
European Regional Advisor

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

Federico is an urban anthropologist/ethnographer with a Masters 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.


Carmen Roca, Regional Advisor for Latin AmericaCarmen Roca
Regional Advisor, Latin America

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
Urban Research Director

Based in Washington, DC, she holds a Ph.D. 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).


Shalini SinhaShalini Sinha
Home-Based Worker Sector Specialist

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. 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
Urban Policies Programme Director

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.


Sofia Trevino, Global Projects OfficerSofia Trevino
Manager, Global Projects

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

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 co-ordinated 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.


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

Henrial Yaidoo 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.