About Us

Staff and Associates

Chris Allan

Chris Allan has twenty five years experience in community development and environmental protection. He has worked with the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International as COO and Senior Research Associate, the Environmental Health Fund as International Programs Advisor, Global Greengrants Fund as both Program Director and Development Director, Lutheran Refugee Services as Employment Administrator, Catholic Relief Services in many capacities in Africa and the US, and the US Peace Corps in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Ten of those years were in East and Southern Africa, and the remainder in the United States.

He has designed development and environmental programs, managed budgets from $200,000 to $20 million, raised funds from governments, foundations, and major donors, designed, managed and led evaluations of programs, designed and led training and organizational development workshops, built and managed global networks, and traveled and worked extensively on every continent except Antarctica.

Chris is fluent in English, French, Kiswahili, intermediate in Spanish, and able to get in trouble in Portuguese. He studied German for six years and wonders what happened to it.

He has a Masters Degree in Social Change and Development from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, and a Bachelors Degree in Biology and African Studies from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Abdulai Darimani

Abdulai Darimani holds a PhD in Environmental Science with specialization in natural resource governance and MPhil in Sociology from the University of Ghana respectively. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Diploma in Education obtained concurrently from University of Cape Coast, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Professional Development from University of Bath the United Kingdom.

Dr. Darimani has several years of experience working on environment and the extractive sector. He was the Regional Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1994 to 2000. He was the head of mining and environment unit of Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Af) a Pan-Africa Policy Research and Advocacy Organization. While serving at TWN-Af Darimani worked with many civil society organizations in Africa and the rest of the world on extractive sector issues. Dr Darimani has also provided professional services on the extractive sector to a number of civil society and multilateral institutions including Tax Justice Network-Africa, Partnership Africa Canada, CICC, Friends of the Nation, the Africa Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana (UN). Darimani has published many articles in international peer reviewed journals and is a member in good standing of the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) and the Ghana Writers Association (GWA).

In 2002, he was the Africa civil society lead representative on the World Bank sponsored Extractive Industry Review under the chairmanship of Emil Saleem. He has led and contributed to various civil society campaigns including the campaign to stop violence in mining resulting in the publication of No Mining in Forest Reserves by the Ghana Human Rights Commission and the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. The report resulted in Government of Ghana policy reversal to permit surface mining in forests reserves.  Dr. Darimani has facilitated the evolution and self-organization of pan-Africa networks like the Africa Initiative on Mining Environment and Society (AIMES) as well as national coalitions and citizens groups in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Zambia, Tanzania and Burkina Faso. He was key resource person acting as the secretary for the preparation of the section on environment and social issues of the action plan of the Africa Mining Vision.

A. Scott DuPree

Scott DuPree is passionate about the power and ideas of people. He is an international civil society consultant with extensive experience in helping build and strengthen civil society organizations in Southern Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Southeast Asia and the United States,  For more than 25 years, he has worked to make organizations responsive to people–through strategic planning, fundraising and program development.

This work has resulted in millions of dollars of critical funding from foundations, individuals, companies and bilateral assistance agencies for local priorities in community development, human rights and environmental action. But even more important, it has helped to set a path for a next generation of philanthropic, human rights and environmental organizations.

He is grateful to have been able to work with wonderful organizations. He served as the regional director for Southern African programs for The Synergos Institute in New York City, a founding director of Conectas Human Rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Alliance Coordinator for the Global Greengrants Fund in Colorado.

He notes that so much depends on the ability to never lose sight of an organization’s privileged responsibility to help bring people to action. He loves working with young and growing organizations to set a path for innovative, responsive programs with the funding to make it possible.

David Gordon

David Gordon brings a background in strategic philanthropy and international grantmaking to support grassroots organizations and human rights.

He started at Pacific Environment, a non-profit intermediary where he supported grassroots environmental and indigenous leaders in Russia, China, and Alaska.  He worked as Senior Program Officer in the Environment Program at the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, where he managed grantmaking programs focused in British Columbia, Alaska, and the Mekong Basin.  He served as Executive Director of the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award honoring grassroots environmental activists.  He is a member of the Advisory Board at the Trust for Mutual Understanding.  He consults for philanthropic organizations including The Christensen Fund, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

He speaks fluent Russian, has two decades of experience in the countries of the former Soviet Union, especially with regards to natural resource exploitation.  He has also conducted numerous evaluations, including a strategic learning project to understand how a funding mechanism contributed to culturally effective approaches to snow leopard conservation in Central Asia.

Karen MacClune

Dr. Karen MacClune is Chief Operating Officer & Senior Staff Scientist at the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET International) and collaborates frequently with us. She received her PhD in Geophysics from the University of Colorado where she studied glacial hydrology and micrometeorology of the Antarctica Dry Valleys. Prior to her work with ISET-International, Karen was employed with S.S. Papadopulos & Associates where she worked with multiple and diverse stakeholders in addressing water resource and conjunctive surface water/groundwater use issues in the Southwestern U.S.

With ISET-International, Karen has extended her stakeholder outreach, leading ISET-International’s climate change resilience training materials development team, informed by her active engagement as a member of ISET-International’s ACCCRN team.

Violet Matiru

Violet Matiru is a Kenyan expert with 25 years of experience in international development cooperation, community empowerment and livelihood programs with a focus on gender mainstreaming and the utilization of natural resources to promote sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty and enhance community resilience to climate change. She is an experienced Executive Director and Consultant with a unique combination of hands-on implementation of community programs through the Millennium Community Development Initiatives Foundation (www.mcdikenya.org) and consultancy experience with key development agencies.

Violet has a strong background in gender analysis and mainstreaming gained through her work with the Gender Equity Support Project of CIDA, where she served as the Social Gender Monitor and M&E Expert to monitor and evaluate diverse projects funded through NGOs and government agencies to address practical and strategic gender issues in Kenya. She was contracted through PACT Kenya to develop generic gender indicators for Danida’s 5-year NRM programme (2010-2014), including working with diverse government and NGO partners to review their logical frameworks and ensure that they incorporated gender considerations and indicators. She has worked with the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to train their partners on Results-Based Management and how to incorporate appropriate gender indicators into the projects’ results frameworks.

Since 1997, Violet has been an independent consultant and has been contracted for short, medium and long term assignments to monitor and evaluate projects and programs, document lessons and to train NGO and staff of development organizations on various aspects of Monitoring and Evaluation, gender mainstreaming, Results Based Management, Human Rights Based Approaches and Natural Resource Management by a range of agencies e.g. UNDP, UNEP, FAO, GEF, EU,IFAD,  CIDA, SIDA, Danida, Finland MFA and international NGOs such as IUCN, WWF, Save the Children, Solidarités International, Wetlands International, Oxfam and ActionAid.

Atalie Pestalozzi

Atalie is a project manager,  graphic/information designer and research assistant for Ajabu Advisors. Her core interest is in systems-focused solutions for resilience and social and environmental justice. She has most recently worked on climate, governance and conservation evaluations, and resilience and disaster risk reduction projects in Southeast Asia, West and East Africa, and Russia. Other thematic interests include land, water and resource rights and management, community-based solutions, capacity building and livelihoods with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and post-colonial contexts.

Atalie ventured into social and environmental work by coordinating with grassroots organizations to engage environmental awareness and action among Tibetan refugee children and women’s cooperatives in northern India. She also works in graphic and information design to make complex development concepts accessible to broader audiences. She is a native English and French speaker and is fluent in Japanese.

Alison Picher

Alison Picher is a Communications Specialist and Materials Producer. She has run her own consulting company for three decades, organizing complicated communications projects on a variety of topics on four continents: the U.S., Africa, Europe and India.

Alison’s clients include large and small international non-profits and private companies like the American Red Cross, the United Nations World Food Programme, the Christian Science Monitor Television and The SEEP Network, an international microenterprise development association. Her projects have including working with high profile personalities like Jane Goodall and wildlife photographer Peter Beard, but most of her experience is in the field working with the local people involved in the problems and solutions she documents.

Alison offers services in video, radio and photography production, brand development, integrated campaign development, digital marketing, interactive design, strategic planning, publicity and press release writing, and website production management. Alison is a confident and concise communicator who perceives the essential, able to deliver enthusiastic visual, verbal and written presentations with clarity and humor to diverse international audiences.