Steve Brescia is the Executive Director of Groundswell International and one of its co-founders. Steve has over 30 years of experience supporting international development, social change, and grassroots advocacy. He is the Editor of Fertile Ground: Scaling Agroecology from the Ground Up (2017). 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 Program Management and is a co-founder of Groundswell. He has 20 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 humanitarian relief, regenerative development, and conservation for a number of international organizations, including CRS. His academic preparation includes a Master’s in Natural Resources from Oregon State University, 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.
Chandana Guntupalli is Groundswell’s Donor Relations Manager. She started her non-profit career in direct services advocating for South Asian women facing domestic violence and then moving into fundraising and development. She has over six years of experience in non-profit development supporting programs focused on domestic violence, transitional housing, anti-bias education, and youth civic engagement. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Philosophy from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies from Rutgers-Newark. She comes from a line of farmers on both sides of her family from southeastern India and is excited about the community development and empowerment that Groundswell develops for farmers across the world.
Tsuamba Bourgou is Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for West Africa. Tsuamba brings decades of experience supporting community-led development in his native Burkina Faso and across West Africa. Before joining Groundswell, Tsuamba served as the Executive Director of the NGO Association Nourrir Sans Détruire, where he played a critical role in the emergence of a dynamic agroecology and farmers movement in eastern Burkina. Tsuamba’s key areas of experience include adult education, action research, evaluation, impact assessment, strategic planning, program development, training and facilitation and strengthening local organizational capacities. He holds a Master’s in Linguistics from the University of Ouagadougou.
Edwin Escoto is Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining Groundswell, Edwin worked for nearly a decade as the Executive Director of Vecinos Honduras, a leading NGO promoting rural development and agroecology. Before taking on the leadership role at Vecinos, Edwin worked for five years as World Neighbors’ Coordinator for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Mesoamerica (Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua), and, prior to that, as the Agricultural Extension Coordinator for a large FAO food security program in Honduras. Edwin holds a degree in Agronomy from Honduras’ National Agriculture University.
Ruby Zhang, of Goldin Group CPAs, serves as Groundswell International’s Chief Financial Officer. Goldin Group specializes in providing outsourced CFO services to nonprofits, with budgets ranging from $500,000 to $50 million, and has been the outsourced CFO for some of the largest nonprofit organizations in the State of Maryland. Goldin Group is the exclusive provider of financial services for the largest non-profit trade associations in the Washington, DC area – Maryland Nonprofits and the D.C. Center for Nonprofit Advancement. Ruby is Goldin Group’s Director of Operations and has been with Goldin Group for over 5 years. She specializes in leveraging technology with CPA services, financial reporting, nonprofit accounting and best practices, nonprofit strategic direction, and financial analysis. Ruby is a licensed CPA in the State of Virginia.
Peter Gubbels is Groundswell’s Director of Action Learning and Advocacy for West Africa and is one of Groundswell’s co-founders. He has 38 years of experience in rural development, including over 28 years living and working in West Africa. Peter is the co-author of From the Roots Up: Strengthening Organizational Capacity through Guided Self-Assessment. He has also written numerous articles, research reports, evaluations, case studies and policy briefs on agroecology. Peter was recently appointed senior fellow with the Global Evergreening Alliance, and he holds an MA in Rural Development from the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, an Honor’s degree in History from the University of Western Ontario, and a college diploma in Agricultural Production and Management.
Gopal Kumar Nakarmi serves as Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for South Asia. Gopal has over 40 years’ experience working in Nepal and India to improve the wellbeing, food security, and livelihoods of marginalized populations, especially women and socially excluded people living in the remote areas. He holds a master degree in Public and Business Administration from Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu, the oldest university in Nepal, and a Certificate in Development Studies for Aid Administration from Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, England.
Charles Arhin serves as Regional Finance Coordinator for West Africa and Latin America. Charles has 19 years of experience as Accounting and Finance Professional for both For Profits and Non-Profits. Before joining Groundswell, He spent 9 years serving as Finance Manager for several In-country and Regional level development projects in West Africa, among them include, USAID/IREX Mandela Washington Fellowship project implemented in 22 countries in West and Central Africa, USAID/FHI Learn Project in Ghana, USAID/PATH Malaria Care Project in Ghana, USAID/World Learning contraceptive Project in Ghana. Charles is a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA).
Jamie Smith serves as Communications Coordinator. She has over a decade of experience leading digital and print communications for non-profits, mid-sized corporations, and small businesses. Jamie runs a digital strategy consulting firm, partners with larger agencies as strategy support, participates as a board member on a library foundation board, and serves as vice-chair on the board of a charter school. Her academic career includes a Master’s in Management and Leadership from Montreat College, and a BA in Mass Communication from UNC Asheville.