Steve Brescia is the Executive Director of Groundswell International and one of its co-founders. Steve has over 25 years of experience supporting international development, social change and grassroots advocacy. From 1996-2009 he worked for World Neighbors in positions including Area Representative for Mesoamerica and Haiti; Latin America Regional Coordinator; and Associate VP for Program Learning and Innovation – facilitating the documentation of a program methodology guide. He previously worked for the Inter-American Foundation, the International Liaison Office for President Aristide of Haiti, and with community-based organizations in Nicaragua. He holds an MA in International Development from American University and a certificate in Asset-Based Community Development from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.
Christopher Sacco serves as Director of Operations at Groundswell and is one of its co-founders. He has more than 15 years of experience working in humanitarian relief and development, including more than seven years working full-time in Ecuador as a project manager for Catholic Relief Services and the Yachana Foundation. Chris continues to consult on disaster risk reduction and response projects for a number of international organizations, including CRS. His academic preparation includes a BA in Government and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College, a graduate certificate in the Design, Management and Evaluation of Sustainable Development Projects from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, and a graduate certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from UNC Chapel Hill.
Fatou Batta serves as Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for West Africa. She is one of Groundswell’s co-founders and also founded Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD), Groundswell’s local partner in Burkina Faso. Until 2009, Fatou worked for over 15 years as the World Neighbors’ Area Representative for West Africa, overseeing all aspects of strategy, programs and management for the region. She has also held several positions with the government of her native Burkina Faso, where she helped to develop family planning policy and planned and administered projects sponsored by international agencies. She received her Master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. She did her undergraduate work at School of Technical Education in Paris and completed a diploma in participatory development at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.
Peter Gubbels is Groundswell’s Director of Action Learning and Advocacy for West Africa and is one of Groundswell’s co-founders. He has 34 years of experience in rural development, which includes over 20 years of living and working in West Africa. Currently based in Ghana, Peter provides action research and advocacy support to Groundswell’s partners who empower rural communities to build equitable and ecologically sound local economies, spread lasting solutions, and engage in wider coalitions for change. Peter is also the co-author of From the Roots Up: Strengthening Organizational Capacity through Guided Self-Assessment. Previously, Peter served as the Vice President of International Programs for World Neighbors. Peter holds a college diploma in Agricultural Production and Management, an Honor’s degree in History from the University of Western Ontario, and an MA in Rural Development from the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.
Rhonda Devan is the Director of Finance for Groundswell International, and is responsible for the organization’s overall financial and accounting areas. In addition, Rhonda owns her own accounting firm where she provides similar accounting and financial services to small businesses and nonprofit clients in the Asheville, NC area. She has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for various entities over her career in North Carolina and New York. Rhonda, who is a Certified Public Account in both New York and North Carolina, received her MS in Education / Certificate of Advanced Study, School Business Administration from SUNY at Brockport and her BS in Accounting from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Cristina Hall is Groundswell’s Director of Communications. Before joining the Groundswell team in September 2012, Cristina served as a Communications Consultant for small businesses while traveling extensively throughout Central America. She has also served as Vice-President of Multi-Task Solutions, a business development company based out of Nashville, TN, where she spearheaded non-profit communications and fundraising projects for non-profits such as the YMCA and MS Society. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a double major in Human & Organizational Development and English-History. Cristina is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Zach Brehmer is Groundswell’s Director of Resource Development. He spent over five years working as a lead development and program associate for water and sanitation programs in Haiti; acting as International Action’s Executive Director and as a consultant for IMA World Health. Before his time in Haiti, Zach worked at Generations Incorporated as an Americorps State Member. There, he ran a literacy program at a school and a Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Dorchester, MA. Zach is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in Anthropology, and earned a Master’s in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Alejandra Arce Indacochea serves as Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. She has supported projects in Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Development since 2003. Her most recent achievement is a collaboration to document and support the conservation of native potato diversity amongst smallholder farmers in the Peruvian central Andes. Alejandra has also served as a consultant for the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and as Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteer in Paraguay. A native from Peru, Alejandra has lived in seven countries, and speaks four languages: Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. She holds a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of California-Berkeley. In 2007 Alejandra completed a Master´s degree in Agroecology and Rural Sustainable Development from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia (UNIA). She is currently Ph.D. candidate in Agroecology at the University of Antioquia in Colombia. Contact: email@example.com