Our Team

MAVA is staffed by a dedicated team in charge of implementing the foundation’s strategy and supporting our implementing partners. Our base is in Gland, in Switzerland, and we also have a regional office in Dakar, Senegal. Each one of us is passionate about the environment and committed to improving the state of the world’s biodiversity.

Lynda Mansson - Director General

Lynda ManssonLynda joined MAVA as Director General in August 2010. She is responsible for implementing the strategy of the foundation and leading the secretariat team. Since joining the foundation, Lynda has overseen a complete reshaping of MAVA including changes at the levels of the board, staff, strategy, processes, project selection, and communications. Lynda is deeply interested in sustainability issues and led the foundation to incorporate a new programme to work on the intersection of economic growth and natural resource depletion. She also ensures the impact of the foundation’s investments, and is committed to increasing its level of transparency and accountability.

Before joining the foundation, Lynda spent 13 years with WWF International in Switzerland. She brought with her the experience of managing and directing global strategies for all aspects of office operations in the WWF Network and developing performance tools for its offices. Prior to that, she spent five years in charge of WWF leadership and organisational development.

Lynda began her career as a San Francisco stockbroker and then earned an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Her two private-life passions are literature and travel. She is American and Swiss and has two grown sons.

Lynda serves on the Board of the Global Footprint Network. She also acts as President of the Board of Partners for a New Economy and the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT).

Suzanne Amrein - Executive Assistant

Suzanne Amrein
Suzanne joined MAVA in March 2011 as executive assistant, providing administrative support to the Director General while also being responsible for communications and Board-related matters. Prior to joining MAVA, Suzanne worked at WWF International as assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and then in the Major Donors’ Unit. She previously held similar positions in the European Football Association (UEFA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the latter both at the headquarters in Geneva and in the field (Bosnia, Kenya and Haiti). A Swiss/English national, Suzanne teaches yoga in her spare time, and enjoys travelling and cooking.

Antonio Araujo - Manager, West Africa Programme

Antonio Araujo

Antonio transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. He is in charge of implementing MAVA’s strategic components linked to protected areas and to biodiversity conservation. Antonio joined FIBA in 1999, supporting the Banc d’Arguin National Park in Mauritania. Prior to that, he worked for 20 years as a professional ornithologist. Working for IUCN he encouraged the set-up of a network of coastal and marine protected areas in Guinea-Bissau between 1996 and 1999. In 1995, he was awarded the Nature Conservation Award from the the Portuguese nature conservation association “Quercus”. And in 1994, leading a team of Portuguese ornithologists, he was awarded the BP Conservation Expedition Award. In 1990 he had his first field work experience in West Africa to evaluate the ornithological importance of Cufada lagoons in Guinea-Bissau. Antonio began his career within the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment where he coordinated the national ringing scheme for a number of years, often involved on research projects applied to bird conservation, especially in Protected Areas. Antonio is a founding member of the Portuguese Ornithological Society SPEA.

Salla Ba - Programme Officer, West Africa Programme

Salla BA

Salla transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. She is in charge of monitoring a diversified portfolio of local and regional projects. Salla started to work for FIBA in 2011 and contributed in particular to the environment awareness programme for children in the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania). Prior to that, Salla participated in the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) in Mauritania, where she did an analysis on land issues in the sites concerned by the programme. She also worked for the independent electoral commission (Commission Electorale Indépendante – CENI) where she controlled and monitored the elections and the citizens’ awareness in the town of Akjoujt in Mauritania. Salla is a geographer and holds and Masters degree ‘Espaces et Société urbaines’ from the Gaston Berger University of Saint Louis in Senegal, as well as a diploma on management strengthening in protected areas from IUCN and the Senghor University in Alexandrie. Of Mauritanian nationality, Salla very much enjoys movies, as well as music which she considers a good way to relax.

Eve Cabo - Programme Officer, West Africa Programme

Eve Cabo

Eve transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. She is involved in accompanying and strengthening our partners. Eve joined FIBA in January 2014 as person in charge of the fund supporting civil society organisations. Before that, she conducted research on hydrology and ecology in the Delta of the Senegal river. Thanks to her knowledge of civil society organisations and project management, she continues to work with local conservation organisations (associations, NGOs, etc.) in coastal West Africa. Eve is a geographer and holds a Masters degree in Geography, specialised in Ecosystems and Environment. She also holds a Masters degree in Integrated Management of Water Resources. A Senegalese national, Eve has a smiling face, is friendly and always positive.

Nathalie Cadot - Programme Officer, Impact & Sustainability Unit

Nathalie Cadot

Nathalie transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations as Evaluation and Learning Officer. Beginning 2017, she moved on to Programme Officer for the Impact & Sustainability Unit. Multi-skilled, she divides her time between the development and monitoring of MAVA’s young leaders strategy, monitoring/evaluation/learning and communications. With a diploma from the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in France as general engineer in land use planning, Nathalie worked for the consulting and engineering firm SOFRECO, then carried out a technical assistance mission in Namibia on the GEF-World Bank project NACOMA “Namibian Coast Conservation and Management project”, before joining the FIBA. A French national, Nathalie enjoys discoveries and traveling, scuba-diving, cinema, cooking as well as video/photo editing.

Luis Costa, Manager, Mediterranean Basin Programme

luis-costaLuis is in charge of the freshwater, terrestrial and species aspects of MAVA’s Mediterranean Basin programme. A Portuguese national, Luis joined MAVA in October 2016. Biologist, he holds a Certificate for first line managers and has 25+ years of comprehensive experience in the sector of nature conservation. Luis is one of SPEA’s (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves) founding members and formerly its Executive Director (2004-2016). He previously, worked at the Nature Conservation Institute, overseeing the aquatic bird census and the wetland conservation plan, while also being member of the team of wetland inventory and monitoring, and author of the MedWet standard methodology for inventories. A keen sportsman, Luis plays regularly football and runs, being proud of having completed some marathons so far.

Maoudo Diaw - Driver, West Africa Programme

Maodou DiawMaoudo transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. After having worked for the IOM (International Migrations Office), Maoudo joined FIBA in November 2008 as driver. In addition to field trips in the West African sub-region, Maoudo ensures logistical support for MAVA’s regional office in Dakar. Maoudo is native from the town of Thies (70 km from Dakar), he is married and father of four children. A handy work champion, nothing escapes his watchful eyes.

Laurianne Demierre - Financial Analyst

Laurianne DemierreLaurianne joined MAVA in August 2012 as financial analyst. She supports the Head of administration and finance with day to day accounting, invoice payment, legal, HR and IT matters, and is superuser for the foundation’s new integrated grants management system. Before this, Laurianne lived and worked in Switzerland, Liberia, Palestine and Costa Rica, having first obtained a “maturité fédérale” in modern languages and a diploma in tourism management. Laurianne has worked for a number of humanitarian and environmental organisations and has a deep passion for nature. Laurianne, who is Swiss, loves travelling and enjoys sailing, swimming, winter sports, dancing and artistic activities.

Ahmet Fall - Head of administration and finance, West Africa Programme

Ahmet FallAhmet transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. Ahmet is in charge of the accounting and administrative management of MAVA’s regional office in Dakar. Before joining MAVA, Ahmet worked in a similar role for FIBA for 8 years and in accounting and finance at the autonomous port of Dakar. He holds a Masters degree in management from the Gaston Berger University in Saint Louis, and in finance from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Dakar. A Senegalese national, Ahmet enjoys football, basketball and travelling.

Marie Madeleine Gomez - Manager, West Africa Programme

Marie Madeleine joined MAVA in May 2017 as Manager – Fisheries and Marine Environment for the West Africa programme. Previously, she worked in projects at the level of a national administration, then a regional West African NGO (WADAF), and finally an intergovernmental fisheries cooperation institution, the SFRC. She was the coordinator of integrated marine and coastal resource management (GIRMAC) projects and capacity building for artisanal fisheries actors for the first two organisations, then assistant programmer for scientific research for small pelagics in West Africa (AWA) at SFRC. Marie Madeleine holds two master’s degrees in animal biology and marine and coastal resource management respectively at UCAD in Senegal and UQAR in Canada. Marie Madeleine has her origins in the Cabo Verde Islands and is a native Senegalese. She is the mother of two boys. To escape and relax, she loves to drive and travel to observe and discover the wonders of nature and breathe some fresh air.

Paule Gros - Director, Mediterranean Basin Programme

Paule Gros
Paule is responsible for the implementation of the MAVA strategy for in the Mediterranean Basin and for overseeing all projects and partner relations in the region. Together with the other Programme Directors and the Director General, she also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. She joined us in June 2009 and has a doctoral degree in Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis, awarded for her work on wild cheetah populations in East Africa. Before joining MAVA, Paule implemented research projects aimed at the conservation of mammals and birds in the Mediterranean, California and Nicaragua. All of this was prior to conducting ethnobiological work with Mayangna people of the Nicaraguan rainforest. Paule, who is French and American, has an 8-year-old daughter. She enjoys hiking, cross country skiing and horseback riding. She also runs her dog in agility competitions.

Shalini Joseph - Programme Assistant

Shalini Joseph
Shalini joined MAVA as Programme Assistant in January 2016. She coordinates the projects’ cycle & all related administration. She supports the programme team, is in charge of organising the different missions and workshops and also acts as office manager. Before joining MAVA, Shalini held various administration and PA roles for several directors within an NGO and multinational companies.
Born and brought up in the Lake Geneva region in Switzerland, Shalini has always loved nature and the surrounding outdoors where she likes to recharge her batteries either hiking, mountain biking or out on the lake. In her spare time, she also enjoys cooking, photography and salsa dancing.

Charlotte Karibuhoye - Director, West Africa Programme

Charlotte KaribuhoyeCharlotte is responsible for the implementation of the MAVA strategy for West Africa, for overseeing all projects and partner relations in the region and for managing MAVA’s regional office in Dakar. Together with the other Programme Directors and the Director General, she also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. From December 2014 to April 2016 Charlotte served as deputy Director, West Africa Programme further to her transition from FIBA to MAVA after the merger of the two foundations. Before joining MAVA, Charlotte worked for ten years with FIBA as the MPA programme coordinator. She supervised the process of establishing the first regional network of MPAs in Africa (RAMPAO – Réseau régional d’aires marines protégées en Afrique de l’Ouest). She also led several regional projects aiming at supporting the establishment and management of marine protected areas in seven West African countries. Charlotte is also involved in several conservation expert groups at the international level, including in the IUCN world commission on protected areas (WCPA), where she is acting as the Regional Vice-Chair and marine coordinator for West and Central Africa. After completing her studies in veterinary medicine, Charlotte earned a Masters and a PhD degree in conservation biology from the University of Goettingen, Germany. Charlotte was born in Burundi; she has a daughter and is passionate about music and reading.

Simon Mériaux - Manager, Organisational Development

Simon MériauxSimon transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. He coordinates MAVA’s work on partner organisational development across our different programmes. He also contributes to the development and implementation of the foundation’s strategy. With a mixed background in ecology and social science, Simon has worked in several places from the National Museum of Natural History of Paris to Niger, Benin, Mauritania, Senegal and now Switzerland. Along his route, Simon devoted himself to ethnobotanic research (use of Sahelian woody flora), to the elaboration of environmental awareness tools, to African parks rangers’ training… before managing a capacity building programme for actors and organisations dedicated to coastal conservation in West Africa. A French national, when Simon is not outside bird watching with binoculars, he loves to read adventure stories that went wrong!

Sokhna Ndiaye - Assistant, West Africa Programme

Sokhna NdiayeSokhna transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations. In addition to administrative tasks such as mail, stock and equipment management, Sokhna is in charge of the logistics of MAVA’s regional office in Dakar as well as of the organisation of field trips and workshops in the region. Before joining MAVA, Sokhna worked for five years at FIBA as assistant to the coordinator of the MPA Programme. Prior to that, Sokhna held a similar position with the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) covering Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. A Senegalese national, Sokhna integrated the conservation field after having worked as sales representative for various products and services. She has a degree in management and trade. An epicurean and mother of two little girls, Sokhna enjoys arranging gatherings and travelling.

Thierry Renaud - Director, Impact & Sustainability

Thierry Renaud
Thierry leads the Impact & Sustainability unit, which works across the foundation to sustain MAVA’s vision over the long-term. He oversees all activities relating to organisational development, sustainable conservation finance mechanisms, evaluation and learning, and other initiatives aimed at sustaining the results of MAVA funding over the long term. Thierry joined MAVA in February 2009 as Manager, then Director of the West Africa Programme, bringing his experience of scientific research as a biologist and cross-disciplinary project coordinator in Switzerland and Africa. Previous work included coordinating an ethno-biological study of Mount Hombori (Mali), a participatory democracy initiative for the Graduate institute of International and development Studies, and leading Helvetas’ organic cotton production programme in Burkina Faso. A Swiss national, Thierry spends most of his free time outdoors enjoying the ever-changing beauty of nature.

Holger Schmid - Director, Switzerland / Sustainable Economy Programmes

Holger Schmid
Holger is responsible for the implementation of the MAVA strategy for Switzerland, as well as for the Sustainable Economy Programme. He also oversees all projects and partner relations for both programmes. Together with the other Programme Directors and the Director General he also jointly manages MAVA’s overall project portfolio, including global projects. Holger is a member of the European Coaches Network for adaptive management using the Conservation Measures Partnership open standards for conservation practice. Holger joined MAVA in 2005 having previously worked for WWF in the Mediterranean and in Mongolia. He has a Masters degree in biology from Bayreuth University in Germany. Holger is a German national, enjoys the outdoors and mountain sports, as well as tinkering in and around his house and garden.

Julien Sémelin - Manager, Mediterranean Basin Programme

Julien SémelinJulien transitioned from FIBA to MAVA in December 2014 as a result of the merger of the two foundations and joined the Mediterranean Programme team in July 2015. He is in charge of marine and coastal aspects of MAVA Mediterranean Basin programme. Holder of a Masters degree from the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM) in Brest, France, Julien began his career in the field in charge of a small marine protected area off the Amazonian coast in French Guyana. Building on this experience, Julien then joined FIBA in Senegal where he was in charge of projects supporting the management and creation of marine protected areas on the West African coast. He then coordinated FIBA’s programme on the protection and sustainable management of natural resources, focussing particularly on fishery issues. A French national, Julien is also a musician and enjoys introducing his two young boys to outdoor activities.

Rachel Sturm - Director, Administration and Finance

Rachel Sturm
Rachel joined MAVA in August 2010 as Director, Administration and Finance to ensure reliable accounting, forecasts and reporting for the foundation. She manages our bank accounts and cash flow, ensures compliance with all legal requirements, takes responsibility for audit and develops the annual budget. She also manages the integrated grants management software for the foundation. Before MAVA, Rachel worked in accounting for SC Johnson, Dentsply International and Johnson Controls International. She studied at the Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg, France, where she achieved the equivalent of a Master in Finance and Business Administration. Rachel, who is French and the mother of two little boys, enjoys running, trekking, alpine and cross-country skiing and cooking.