Our team

Roos Verstraeten

Regional Research Co-ordinator, IFPRI Dakar

Roos coordinates the research and knowledge hub for the project. She has a specific interest in how to address overweight/obesity problems in low and middle-income countries, through application of various qualitative and quantitative methodologies. For the last 4 years, she specialized in evidence synthesis methodologies to inform decision-making and coordinated EVIDENT, an evidence-informed decision-making initiative in nutrition and health in Africa. She is an active alumni of the European Nutrition Leadership Platform and coordinates a new initiative that aims to bring together the different regional nutrition leadership programs at global level.

Lucy Billings

Project Co-ordinator, IFPRI Ghana

Lucy is the project manager for Transform Nutrition West Africa, coordinating across the project workstreams and between the project partners. She holds a M.S. and M.P.H. from Tufts University where she studied food and agriculture policy. Lucy was a Leland International Hunger Fellow from 2011-2013. She has worked with IFPRI for seven years providing technical support and coordination for research on food security, poverty reduction, and nutrition in developing countries.

Stuart Gillespie

Project Director/ Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI

Stuart provides vision, project leadership and strategic direction to Transform Nutrition West Africa. Stuart is a senior research fellow with the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and was CEO of the Transform Nutrition Research Program Consortium, Research Director of the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) consortium, and is currently leader of the SPEAR flagship (Supporting Policies, Programs and Enabling Action through Research) of the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) research program

Namukolo Covic

Senior Research and Regional Engagement Co-ordinator, IFPRI Addis Ababa

Namukolo is leading regional coordination and engagement with regional networks for the project. Before joining IFPRI she was a Senior Lecturer at North-West University (South Africa) and led the Food and Nutrition Security Research Programme there within the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition. She has expertise in capacity and leadership development for nutrition and has been a key member of the African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP). Namukolo is in  She is also leading on the Nigeria Stories of Change in Nutrition work for Transform Nutrition West Africa.

Elodie Becquey

Research Fellow, IFPRI West and Central Africa Office

Elodie is responsible for regional and country research engagement, and focal point for Burkina Faso. Elodie’s research experience includes impact evaluation of various nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions and programs in Africa, with a focus on Burkina Faso. She also studies diets and food security in urban and rural area in various populations, including households, women, children and adolescents. Elodie is leading the Burkina Faso Stories of Change in Nutrition and Food Security work for Transform Nutrition West Africa.

Nick Nisbett

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Nick leads on the Evidence and diagnostics short course for Transform Nutrition West Africa and co-leads the Stories of Change in Nutrition work. He also co-leads the Health and Nutrition Cluster of researchers and teaches on development and nutrition at the Institute of Development Studies. His work explores the political economy of nutrition policy and programming in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and he has published research on national and international nutrition governance and policy processes, community level drivers of nutrition and community accountability. He has led major multi-methods evaluations of nutrition and livelihoods programmes as well as research focused on state, district and local level constraints to implementation of programmes at scale.

Mara van den Bold

Senior Research Analyst, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC

Mara co-ordiantes the Stories of Change in Nutrition Work for Transform Nutrition West Africa alonside Nick. At IFPRI, her work has primarily fallen under several large research consortia, including Transform Nutrition (2012 – 2017), Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) (2012 – 2018), and Transform Nutrition – West Africa (TN-WA) (2017 – 2021). She has also worked on IFPRI’s impact evaluation of Helen Keller International’s Enhanced Homestead Food Production program in Burkina Faso.

Samantha Reddin

Communications Manager, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Samantha is responsible for the development and implementation of the communications strategy for Transform Nutrition West Africa and is part of the management team. She has extensive experience developing and implementing communication and campaign strategies in international development and was previously the Research Uptake Manager for the DFID-funded Transform Nutrition Research Programme Consortium.

Leah Salm

Research Analyst, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC

Leah is involved in the evidence synthesis component of the project. This involves identifying, mapping, and extracting high-quality evidence from published materials and collating it in a way that is useful for the project and our partners. Examples of the work include systematic reviews, rapid reviews, and input into the newsletter to highlight new research in the region. Leah’s background is in Development Studies, and she has recently completed an MSc in Global Health, with a focus on the double burden of malnutrition.

Richmond Aryeetey

Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana

Richmond is leading the Ghana Stories of Change in Nutrition work for Transform Nutrition West Africa and has worked in Ghana as a researcher in maternal and child health for the last 13 years. His expertise spans Primary research skills, Formative research, and Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation. Richmond’s current research projects include mapping of social determinants of sub-optimal use of pregnancy and delivery interventions by women in urban Accra, food insecurity of HIV-infected adults, and piloting of eHealth applications in the context of health research capacity building.

Johann Jerling

Professor of Nutrition and Director of the African Nutrition Leadership Programme, North-West University, South Africa

Johann is a South African national and has been committed to leadership development in nutrition in Africa for more than 17 years.  In addition to leading the African Nutrition Leadership Programme he has been involved in leadership development initiatives in Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. He is responsible for developing and hosting the two leadership development courses within Transform Nutrition West Africa.


Dieynab Diatta

Research Analyst, IFPRI West and Central Africa Office

Dieynab provides research and data analysis support to TNWA. Her work revolves around analyzing secondary data, assessing intervention coverage of nutrition programs and nutrition data quality in West Africa. Her expertise is in the analysis of household /agricultural surveys and the impact evaluation of agricultural projects. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. She also has wide-ranging experience in the development context having worked on a nutrition project in rural Maharashtra, India with ICRISAT and a value chain project in Senegal’s Groundnut Basin. Her research interests are at the nexus of poverty reduction, agricultural development and resilience of rural households.


Daniel Balilane Simpa

Administrative and Events Coordinator, IFPRI West and Central Africa Office

Daniel‘s role is to Coordinate with the IFPRI Dakar office administrative team on vendor and contract payments. Manage the short Course budgets and track spending working closely with the Project Manager. Support the contracting for project collaborators, track deliverables and payments, and track the overall project spending under the supervision of the Project Manager. And finally, to support the team with the organization of any other TNWA-related events.
Daniel holds a Master of Arts in English with a Specialization in American Literature and Civilization from the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar and has previously spent 4 years working at IFPRI serving as the Program Assistant for the Division Director & the Office Head along with MAMO and E-Atlas projects.


Nabou Tall

Communications Manager, IFPRI West and Central Africa Office

Nabou oversees the implementation of TNWA communications strategy and work through a variety of communications channel.

She has more than 15 years of experience in communications and promotion of research outputs in West African countries.