Meet the Team
Afees Odewale is a Measurement and Monitoring Associate at TaRL Africa, based in Nigeria. He supports the Kebbi state government to design a feasible and scalable monitoring strategy and development of TaRL programme. He as well facilitates capacity building of EMIS and Quality Assurance officials to understand and respond to data, to improve the learning outcomes of primary school children in the state.
Akeem Odewale is a Measurement and Monitoring Associate at TaRL Africa in Nigeria. In this role, he works with Kano State Government to design effective and robust monitoring and measurement systems and integrate them into existing structures. He provides technical support towards strengthening the capacity of government officials at all levels to understand and respond to data for better decision-making.
Anderson Dehi is a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) specialist. He works in collaboration with TaRL Africa’s central team and the Ministry of National Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire to create a M&E strategy to be integrated into existing government systems and strengthen the government’s capacity in M&E as well as the use of data.
Andy de Barros
Andy de Barros is a Postdoctoral Associate at J-PAL, where he works with TaRL Africa and J-PAL South Asia. His research specialises in programme evaluation and evidence-based education policy. With TaRL Africa, he develops and implements new studies on the TaRL approach, focusing on those which can inform the programme’s ability to cost-effectively reach the most children.
Anne-Thora Vardøy-Mutale is the Education Manager for the “Catch Up” project in Zambia. She leads the VVOB team supporting the Ministry’s TaRL approach and provides overall strategic direction for the project, coordination and technical support to the Ministry of General Education on ongoing activities, monitoring and evaluation, learning, innovation and scaling of the programme.
Augustine Ojino is the IT Consultant for TaRL Africa. Based in Kenya, he is charged with IT Support for the Africa team, analyzing the organization’s IT Systems, Infrastructure and Security. Augustine also provides advice on technology best practices, training staff to use the IT systems, automating manual processes and maintaining the TaRL website.
Catherine Botros is a Programme Coordinator on TaRL Africa’s central team. She supports teams and partners across different countries to strengthen implementation and strategic planning for improvement of programme growth. Catherine also supports communication, training workshops, learning and innovation lesson sharing as well as coordination of regional outreach, fundraising, and donor management.
Celeste Dushime is a Programme Associate on TaRL Africa’s central team. She supports partners to strengthen implementation and strategic planning for improvement of programme growth. Celeste also supports learning labs as well as coordination and communication among donors, partners and the team at large.
Chavi Jain is a Senior Manager for International Collaborations at Pratham. She is the central team lead for the TaRL pilot in Borno, Nigeria and supports work in Ghana and Uganda. She works with local teams and partners on programme design, strengthening and management, and transitioning from pilot to scale. She is also responsible for measurement and mentoring innovation for TaRL Africa.
Diana Mary Agabi
Diana Mary Agabi is the State Team Lead for Kebbi State. she oversee the implementation of the Kebbi Foundational Skills Accelerator (KeFSA) Programme, and is responsible for providing technical and managerial direction for the successful implementation of KeFSA.
Devyani Pershad is the Head of Pratham’s International Collaborations unit. She leads technical strategy and approach, and manages partner relationships across several TaRL Africa countries. She is also responsible for building donor relationships and grant management. She further provides strategic oversight for TaRL in Côte d’Ivoire.
Emmanuel Omurunga is a Training and Mentoring Fellow at TaRL Africa-Kenya. In this role, he supports the understanding and implementation of the TaRL approach and learning techniques by providing instructional support to learners, volunteers, and communities.
Mbursa Emmanuel is a Numeracy and Hausa Content and Training Associate with TaRL Africa based in Kebbi state, Nigeria. He supports the capacity building of master trainers and mentors in the government and partner organizations. He supports the contextualization and continual adaptation of classroom methodology and TaRL learning and knowledge enhancement.
Esther Wamoto is the Chief Talent Officer for TaRL Africa. She leads the HR and recruitment function across Africa by collaborating with senior managers to provide expert counsel and ensuring the right talent is hired at TaRL Africa.
Florence Dzame is the Africa Communications Manager for TaRL Africa. She leads strategies that support global awareness about the initiative in Africa, fundraising, and country-specific communications, media, and advocacy support. .
Fred Abungu is a Content Developer and Trainer at TaRL Africa’s central team, based in Kenya. His key focus is on reading and arithmetic across different contexts. He supports country and partner teams in testing and developing contextually appropriate materials and methodology, as well as training country and partner teams on the TaRL approach.
Gabriel Yakubu is a Mathematics Content and Training Associate with TaRL Africa in Nigeria. He contributes to the development of content for Math lessons, tracks facilitators’ classroom experiences and innovation and use of TaRL Maths methodology.
Hafsatu Hamza is a TaRL Advisor on the Nigeria team. She works closely with the state government stakeholders and partners to provide technical design and development leadership on TaRL.
Indresh Talsaniya is a Content Developer and Trainer at Pratham. He is the key support for literacy capacity-building of the government master trainers and teachers of Catch Up in Zambia, and also reviews programme implementation. Indresh supports literacy training of government staff and partner organisations across other countries in Africa.
Inyang Udo-Umoren is the TaRL Country Manager – Nigeria. As the country manager, she is responsible for providing technical support to TaRL programmes within Nigeria and across other African TaRL-implementing countries. She also strengthens monitoring systems while scoping for new TaRL opportunities.
Irene Njeri is a Training and Mentoring Fellow at TaRL Africa in Kenya. She works with the TaRL Africa team to provide instructional support to learners, volunteers, parents, and communities throughout TaRL implementation. She also supports quality control and mentoring with a goal to improve the learning outcomes of primary school children in Kenya.
Joyce Gatambia is the Executive Assistant for TaRL Africa and is based in Kenya. She is responsible for coordinating and managing the activities of the executive office through technical and administrative support to the Managing Director, as well as handling special projects in collaboration with the TaRL Africa team.
CPA Justin Mutie is TaRL Africa’s Operation’s Director based in Kenya. He is a financial/operations management expert and a compliance champion with good peoples skills and high integrity. As the Operations Director, he works closely with the managing director, TaRL Africa to provide a range of strategic functions including primary responsibility for all financial matters and management of operations to ensure effective delivery of services. His responsibilities also include establishment and enforcement of financial and operational policies to guide projects operations for the organization whilst working closely with MIT and other grant administrators on grants management.
Kodjo Aflagah is a Postdoctoral Associate at J-PAL-Africa, where he works with TaRL Africa and DigiFI. With TaRL Africa, he works to develop innovations in mentoring, monitoring, and teaching.
Laura Poswell is Executive Director of J-PAL Africa and is currently overseeing research and evaluation at TaRL Africa and is an active member of the Senior Management Team . In her role, Laura coordinates and supports activities of the research and learning team who are conducting studies across the continent. She also participates in overall strategy and organizational development, and holds relationships with a number of key partners and donors.
Lorian Egesa is TaRL Africa’s Grants Manager. He is responsible for managing financial and reporting aspects of grants received by TaRL Africa across multiple countries, ensuring donor standards are met while safeguarding the organization’s interests. He oversees the whole financial life cycle of grants from creation of request for proposals for grant-making by TaRL Africa, vetting selected sub-awardees and drafting agreements as well as monitoring and closeout.
Mahuba Wesley Hazemba is the Government Liason Officer for Catch Up TaRL – Africa,, Zambia. He is responsible for supporting the integration of Catch Up in the Zambian Education System. He supports the development and management, integration and sustainability strategies and facilitate communication and engagement with government stake holders at all levels. His overall goal is therefore to strengthen ownership and implementation of Catch Up in the Zambian Education System.
Marion Paravicini is a Policy Associate at J-PAL Europe. She is based at the Ministry of Education of Côte d’Ivoire and supports the Ministry to adapt, pilot and scale the first Teaching at the Right Level intervention in francophone Africa. Together with a senior Ministry official, she has helped coordinate TaRL material development, M&E strategy, and training events in the field.
Maureen Misuu is TaRL Africa’s Senior Finance Associate based in Kenya. She is a finance/grants management specialist and a compliance expert with strong analytical and Interpersonal skills. As the Senior Finance Associate, she works closely with the Operations director, TaRL Africa to provide a range of Financial and accounting functions including primary responsibility for Consolidating finances and producing monthly, quarterly, and annual financial management information and reports across all TaRL Africa offices. Her responsibilities also include assembling annual budgets and forecast in accordance with the annual planning cycle for country and central offices whilst working closely with Country Managers and Operations Director.
Meera Tendolkar is Director of Math Content & Training at Pratham and leads all numeracy instruction design, training and research at TaRL Africa. Meera builds the capacities of government staff and partner organisations to adapt and implement TaRL numeracy programmes across several countries in Africa, while reviewing programme implementation.
Nathalie Falle is an Administration and Finance expert on the Côte d’Ivoire team. She administers and manages the financial, human, and material resources for the Côte d’Ivoire team.
Philip Adigun is a TaRL Advisor in Nigeria. He provides technical and managerial direction for the successful implementation of the TaRL approach in the state. He builds and maintains effective relationships with key state partners and other relevant stakeholders and is collaborating with the state government to explore how the approach may be applied in the state.
Sylvia Njuma is a Training and Mentoring Fellow at TaRL Africa, based in Kenya. Her focus is to support the implementation of the G-United program in Kenya, to develop a deep understanding of the TaRL approach and learning techniques for providing instructional support to learners, volunteers, teachers, parents and communities.
Toffick Nalianya is a Training and Mentoring Fellow for TaRL Africa based in Kenya. Mandated with the responsibility to develop deep understanding of the TaRL approach, implementation of TaRL program in Kenya, promote the learning outcomes in primary schools and being a team player in tackling the learning crisis in Africa at large.
Titus Syengo is TaRL Africa’s Managing Director. He drives the mission and strategy of TaRL Africa and oversees all programmes, ensuring scale up of the TaRL approach to millions of primary school children in Africa. He is responsible for building a collaborative, unified TaRL Africa team working effectively across multiple countries to achieve our goal of supporting education systems.
Vasant Makwana is a State Program Head at Pratham. As the literacy trainer in Nigeria, he is responsible for capacity building of master trainers and mentors in the government and partner organisations. He trains on TaRL literacy methodology and supports the creation and review of classroom activities and materials.
Vellah Kadeiza is a Training and Mentoring Fellow for TaRL Africa in Kenya. In this role, she helps in development of training materials and methodology, trains and mentors other trainers, oversees volunteer involvement in schools and the community. She also supports innovations on content and adaptations through learning labs. She is based in Kilifi county and is in charge of supporting and mentoring volunteers in Machakos, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
Victor Olajide is a Research and Learning Associate with TaRL Africa in Nigeria. Victor currently supports the design and management of research and learning on the TaRL pilot programme in Kano State, Nigeria. He also supports the dissemination of research findings with team members and other relevant stakeholders.
Vikas Varma is a Content Developer & Trainer at Pratham. He is the key support for math capacity building of the government master trainers and teachers to implement Catch Up in Zambia, and reviews programme implementation. Additionally, Vikas supports math training of government staff and partner organisations across several countries in Africa.
TaRL Africa Board
The following people serve in an advisory capacity on the Board.
Professor Abhijit Banerjee is co-founder and co-Director of J-PAL. He is a Professor of Economics at the MIT. In 2011 he was named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 global thinkers. Abhijit served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He has evaluated TaRL programmes for two decades and advises the J-PAL Africa office.
Bala Venkatachalam is the Executive Director of Pratham USA. He was involved with Pratham’s programmes in India between 2003 and 2006 as National head of Operations and has previously worked across corporate finance, strategy consulting, and a technology start up as a co-founder. Most recently he worked with the Monitor Group in India where he was Engagement Manager and led a team to identify and develop new business opportunities in affordable urban housing.
John Floretta is Director of Policy and Communications for J-PAL. He works with policymakers and J-PAL affiliated researchers, and staff to disseminate lessons from randomised evaluations and promote evidence informed decision-making and scale-ups of successful social programmes. John was Deputy Director of J-PAL South Asia during 2011-2015, which included working closely with Pratham.
Dr. John Mugo is the Executive Director of Zizi Afrique Foundation. He is a seasoned researcher and policy advisor with a credible record of scholarship. He currently works on the holistic development of children and youth, to equip them with competencies for learning, working, and living. Based in Nairobi, John works on generating large-scale evidence on values and life skills, and linking evidence to wider system change. Formerly, John headed the Uwezo learning assessments in East Africa and chaired the Department of Special Needs Education at Kenyatta University.
Madhav Chavan is President and co-founder of Pratham. After obtaining a PhD in chemistry from Ohio State University and serving on the faculty at the University of Houston, Dr. Madhav Chavan returned to India where he worked in the slums of Mumbai as part of the National Literacy Mission. In 1995, as a result of a UNICEF initiative, he co-founded Pratham to address problems of universal primary education in Mumbai.
Rukmini Banerji is CEO of Pratham, where she has been part of the leadership team since 1996. Since 2005, she has led the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). In 2008 Rukmini was the inaugural recipient of the Maulana Abul Kalam Shiksha Puraskar Award conferred by the Government of Bihar, India. She is internationally recognised as a champion and expert of foundational learning.