Talent • Facilitator (2018-2020)
Lauren Behr is the Innovation at Scale director at Chemonics. In 2019, she served as a member of the UNLEASH Secretariat’s Innovation team to co-create UNLEASH+, a six-month pre-acceleration program designed to help talents validate and launch early-stage social impact solutions. She was also a talent in 2018 on the SDG 12 track (responsible consumption and production), where her team addressed the problem of mainstreaming sustainable products. Although sustainable products are currently available on the market, consumers do not behave in a way that promotes sustainable consumption choices at scale. Lauren and her team developed in-Tag, a solution to improve consumer awareness and influence buying habits based on environmental and social sustainability data from major clothing brands.
“UNLEASH equipped me with a framework for problem-solving that fuses creativity and feasibility, and enables diverse teams to work from ideation to validated prototypes in days. Through new programs in 2020, that methodology is empowering growing networks of youth around the world to impact the SDGs. I’m excited to be building on that framework as part of the UNLEASH Innovation team to co-create the UNLEASH+ acceleration and scaling model for youth-driven, early stage social ventures.”
Talent • Facilitator (2018-2020)
Arielle Berghammer-Ziegler is an Innovation and Development Research manager at Chemonics. In 2019, she served as a facilitator for the pre-acceleration UNLEASH+ program, where she supported three different teams on SDGs 6, 1, and 17. She was a talent at UNLEASH 2018 on the SDG 6 track (clean water and sanitation). There, she was working to find solutions to the problem of water scarcity in refugee camps. Arielle and her team developed the Fugee Water Kit, a low-cost, low-tech solution for accessible rainwater harvesting to increase water access in the Rohinghya Refugee Camps in eastern Bangladesh.
“Becoming part of the UNLEASH community has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life, reinforcing my belief that through innovation, partnerships, and working together, the global community can and will achieve the SDGs. The UNLEASH innovation framework’s focus on understanding the problem, user, and ecosystem helps ensure solutions are developed to achieve greater impact and sustainability.”
UNLEASH+ Expert (2020)
Alizabeth Brady is a senior specialist for Chemonics’ grants program team. At UNLEASH+ 2020, she is serving as an expert in the fundraising core theme. Alizabeth will lead an interactive workshop during UNLEASH+ to help teams better understand how donor funding can be applied to their development challenges and solutions. The workshop will touch upon how teams can identify and pursue grant funding opportunities. Alizabeth will continue in her role as an UNLEASH+ expert to provide in-depth feedback sessions during the UNLEASH+ bootcamp, where she will help teams focus on their fundraising strategies and provide recommendations for improvement.
“I will work to support these teams in ensuring they are best prepared to secure donor funding to implement their ideas and innovations … I hope to support the teams and UNLEASH in implementing their activities, ideas, and mission in order to implement the SDGs.”
Subject Matter Expert • Judge (2019)
Andrea Bosch is a project management director in Chemonics’ Asia regional business unit. At UNLEASH 2019, she served as a subject matter expert for four SDG tracks (4, 6, 13, and 11) and as a judge for SDG 3, good health and well-being. As a subject matter expert, she supported various teams as they navigated making their solutions effective, scalable, and sustainable to address development challenges. As a judge for the health track, she was able to observe teams as they wrestled their ideas to the ground and as they presented final solutions and their processes to the judges — including several strong ideas for how to tackle local health issues with locally generated equipment.
“Groups came up with excellent ideas that they then took turns poking holes in to determine if they would work … Over the course of the week, solutions became tighter and more contextually based. The teams looked for ways to make the solutions cost-effective and transformational.”
UNLEASH+ Expert (2020)
Lizzy Fustos is an advisor for new business development for Europe and Eurasia at Chemonics. At UNLEASH+ 2020, she served as the expert leading a user and ecosystems workshop that kicked off the UNLEASH+ online program for teams participating in the six-month pre-accelerator program. As part of the workshop, Lizzy helped teams understand and assess local systems, design solutions tailored to the needs and realities of their target audiences, and think about ultimate impact as teams launch their solutions. During the UNLEASH+ bootcamp, Lizzy will also provide in-depth feedback sessions and help teams with defining ecosystems within their industry and regions of operation.
“Many of the UNLEASH teams that attended my workshop had wide-reaching, potentially transformative ideas that would be difficult to get off the ground at their originally envisioned scale. I worked with teams to determine how to best kick off their projects on a smaller pilot basis so that they can assess what works and what doesn’t, develop lessons learned, adapt their ideas, and scale them when they have a proven test case.”
UNLEASH+ Expert • Hacks Expert (2020)
Chris Gegenheimer is the digital development specialist for the USAID-funded VukaNow and Resilient Waters projects in South Africa for Chemonics. At UNLEASH+ 2020, he will serve as an expert and lead a two-hour interactive workshop on solutions and prototyping. Chris will support teams in identifying how they can put their ideas into action, how to solicit feedback, and how to adapt. He will also provide in-depth feedback sessions during the UNLEASH+ bootcamp to further support teams with their solution and prototyping strategy. Chris is also serving as a judge in South Africa’s UNLEASH Hack, where the teams are leading an event focused on SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and empowering women in South Africa. In his expert role, Chris provides feedback for teams to help them improve their approach for a more sustainable and scalable implementation of their solution.
“I think we always need to stop and ask who is the solution working for, who are we forgetting, and how will we know if we succeed.”
Andrew Hassan is an associate on Chemonics’ Innovation at Scale team. At UNLEASH 2019, he was a talent on the SDG 13 track (climate action). He worked with a team to tackle the lack of indigenous- and ecosystem-based early warning indicators integrated into disaster risk reduction programs. His team developed an app called Hippo, used to collect and validate the use of ecosystem-based indicators for flood prediction. Using the app, members of local disaster committees could document the signs in their communities by entering the recorded instances in the app, which would later be validated by community members, satellite imagery, camera recordings, and government reports.
“At UNLEASH, one of the most valuable lessons I learned is the importance of problem framing before solutionizing. All too often in international development, we are quick to apply a solution without understanding the problem we are trying to address holistically on a contextual basis.”
Talent • Facilitator (2018-2019)
Reham Jabbar is a Communication and Learning Manager with Chemonics, currently working on an education program in Syria. Reham participated in UNLEASH 2019 as a facilitator. There, she coached more than 100 global talents throughout the innovation process to design solutions toward SDG 4, quality education. She was a talent at UNLEASH 2018, where she solved challenges related to SDG 4. She tackled the problem of how to create more inclusive school environments for children with learning disabilities in India. Her team’s solution was LearnAbilities, a differential learning app for public-school teachers in Mumbai, India.
“As a Syrian who works in a program that provides education and protection services to children inside Syria, my experience enabled me to utilize innovation techniques and act on rapid changes to respond to education-related urgent needs. It enhanced my skills to understand beneficiaries’ needs and brainstorm innovative ideas with team and program partners to achieve better outcomes and impact.”
Subject Matter Expert (2019)
Sam Jaraiedi is a manager for Chemonics’ project start-up department. At UNLEASH 2019, he supported talents working on SDGs 11, 9, 3, and 6 as a subject matter expert by helping them identify the root causes of local challenges. He also worked with the talents to map out stakeholders and unearth potential operational barriers to deploying their solutions, ultimately helping them develop plans to mitigate risks.
“Listening to the talents passionately describe the innovative and locally driven solutions they brought to the conference was … a good reminder in my own work of how important it is to design projects with “user-driven” development solutions that originate from the local communities themselves, rather than top-down approaches.”
Master Trainer • UNLEASH+ Expert • Hacks Specialist (2019 – 2020)
Wayne Lifshitz is a project management director and innovation advisor with Chemonics, providing ongoing mentorship and innovation support to UNLEASH teams throughout the year. At UNLEASH 2019, Wayne was a master trainer for the launch of the UNLEASH+ program, where he co-led the financials track, facilitating a workshop for UNLEASH+ teams and providing individual team consultations on technical questions on finances and business strategy. For UNLEASH+ 2020, Wayne is returning as an expert for the financials track and providing a financials workshops. He will continue support into UNLEASH+ bootcamp phase, where he will provide budgeting and financial guidance. With his robust business and innovation experience, Wayne also supports UNLEASH+ teams in other functional areas, such as business strategy, go-to-market, intellectual property, and pursuing patents. He will also serve as a judge and specialist for this year’s new UNLEASH Hacks taking place around the world, as UNLEASH alumni bring back the UNLEASH methodology to problem-solve and develop solutions in their local communities to advance the SDGs.
“UNLEASH+ was a residential accelerator for innovation, ideation, and impresarios that engulfed me into a spell of non-stop advising and mentoring to dozens of entrepreneurs from around the world. We shared ideas and built companies focused on sustainable impact. Supporting the teams generated a driving energy, and I was constantly inspired by their ability to work together, pivot, and adapt.”
Zahra Mir is a program officer for the USAID Punjab Enabling Environment Project. At UNLEASH 2019, Zahra worked on the SDG 12 track, responsible consumption and production. Her team chose to address the problem of unavailability of high-quality fodder in South Punjab, Pakistan due to the harsh climate, a lack of access to input markets, and a lack of access to high-quality fodder. Her team came up with Rolling Meadows in response — a pioneer hydroponic farming solution that aims to increase Pakistani Livestock farmer’s turnover through offering high-quality, locally grown fodder at a reasonable price.
“People from all cultures came together with all sorts of innovative ideas as to how they felt the local issues in their societies [that] feed into larger global issues should be resolved.”
Valentyna Mudrik is a civil society specialist on the USAID New Justice Program. She was a talent at UNLEASH 2019, where she participated in the SDG 4 (quality education) track. She worked on finding a solution for girls aged 8 to 12 in armed conflict areas in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, who do not have consistent, safe access to basic education. She and her team created Girls Power as a solution: a community-based learning curriculum outside of the classroom that provides interactive learning skills led by local secondary school students, with the supervision of local NGO representatives.
“UNLEASH provided me with practical skills on problem solving and insights about team work. I am planning to use gained experience in designing the local program aimed at supporting the justice sector stakeholders in developing innovative solutions for better access to justice and strengthening cooperation between both public and private sectors alike [including] trainings for public officials, hackathons and coordination mechanisms …”
Glenn Muffih is a warehousing and inventory management specialist on the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program – Procurement and Supply Management project. At UNLEASH 2019, Glenn was on the SDG 3 track (good health and well-being). His team worked on strengthening countries’ capacity for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks. He and his team developed a solution called Ingenuity, which would create self-sustaining, targeted, responsive, data-driven health promotion for cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries using four key elements: religious institution-based primary care networks, screening and referrals, targeted health promotion workshops, and biometric ID and cloud data systems.
“Working as a team through problem framing, ideation, and prototyping was challenging but worthwhile because in the end, the team was able to utilize our diverse experiences to contextualize, such that, the solution was transformational and addressed real problems. These solutions can be scaled-up and used in different contexts/countries to bring about long-lasting change.”
UNLEASH+ Expert (2020)
Hayley Newbery is a senior specialist for Chemonics’ grants program team. At UNLEASH+ 2020, she will serve as an expert in the fundraising core theme. Hayley will lead an interactive two-hour workshop during the UNLEASH+ online portion, supporting teams to better understand how donor funding can be applied to their development challenges and solutions. The workshop will address how teams can identify and pursue grant funding opportunities. She will also serve as a resource for more in-depth feedback sessions during the UNLEASH+ bootcamp with the participating teams, focusing on their individual strategy for fundraising and providing recommendations for improvement.
“All of the participating teams have great ideas and solutions to some of today’s most pressing development challenges. But funding these ideas continues to be difficult. I hope to support the UNLEASH teams in unlocking additional ways to fund their development solutions.”
Karina Perez Jvostova
Talent • Hacks Participant (2019 – 2020)
Karina Perez Jvostova is a planning and monitoring specialist on the USAID Mexico Juntos para la Prevención de la Violencia Activity. She was a talent in the general track of UNLEASH 2019, focusing on SDG 11, sustainable cities and communities. Her team tackled solutions that could mitigate acts of sexual violence on public transportation in Mexico City, with the understanding that bystanders to acts of sexual violence should be playing an active role in co-creating safer public spaces. Her team’s solution was MORADA: a discreet, accessible, and efficient mobile phone add-on that would use GPS technology to allow bystanders who witnessed acts of sexual violence to place real-time alerts, ask for validation from other users in the same metro car or bus, and inform first responders to be prepared for reaction at the closest metro or bus stop.
“Taking part in UNLEASH awakened my entrepreneurial spirit, increasing my confidence to voice out and pursue the realization of even the smallest idea. This experience has encouraged me to take initiative and pursue new opportunities for my program.”
Facilitator (2019 – 2020)
Aili Petersen is an operations director for Chemonics’ Executive Office. At UNLEASH 2019, she facilitated teams working on solving challenges related to SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). Her role ranged from acting as a sounding board for ideas, to leading team-building activities, to locating materials and supplies, to ensuring group members were on the right bus at the right time. As a facilitator for UNLEASH+ 2020, Aili is supporting two teams as they continue their innovation journey to launch solutions into social impact ventures: U.S.-based MyBeeBee (focused on SDG 1, no poverty) and Jamaica-based Honai Beez Apiary (focused on SDG 15, life on land). In September 2020, she provided facilitation support for the UNLEASH Hack based in the Dominican Republic, where she addressed waste management and supported teams working on this issue aligned with SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities).
“I really enjoyed supporting team formulation and problem-solving. It was so inspiring to see the talents quickly come together and apply their diverse perspectives and skills to tackle an issue with creative solutions.”