US TEAM

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Nora Tobin

Executive Director (US)

Nora joined Self-Help as Executive Director in January 2014 after earning a Master’s in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin. Originally from Clive, Iowa, she earned a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and is a recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award, and a member of the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. Nora’s previous work focused on food security and youth development with the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, promoting public health and community development at the Office for Institutional HIV Prevention in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and administering international exchange programs between universities in the USA and Africa in Washington, DC.  Nora served as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in Dublin, Ireland, where her research focused on the impact of tourism on economic development in post-conflict areas. She is a member of the Cedar Valley New Generations Rotary Club and volunteers as a coach and judge for the Iowa State Bar Association’s Mock Trial program.

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Susan Cornforth

US Operations and Administrative Specialist

Susan joined Self-Help in 2015. She recently completed her MA in International Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and worked as a volunteer for a year in Bolivia in 2014. A seasoned national and international traveler, she understands that the needs are great and that the work is important, and she is delighted to join SHI staff and volunteers fighting hunger. In her free time, Susan volunteers for local hunger organizations and as a youth leader for the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa. She is a voracious reader who enjoys spending time with family, and she sings in a local rock’n roll cover band just for fun!

Megan Sehr

Development Director

Megan joined Self-Help as the Director of Development in August 2018.  Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Megan received bachelor’s degrees in both International Studies and Journalism Studies from the University of Denver, with minors in History and Hebrew.  During her undergraduate studies, she spent 7 months studying and working in Istanbul, Turkey though DU’s Cherrington Global Scholars program.  Initially interested in international journalism, she did a summer internship with the Jerusalem Post in Israel and reported on the Syrian refugees being treated in hospitals in northern Israel.  Megan eventually realized her passion for development work, and started seeking positions with nonprofit organizations.  Her nonprofit experience includes marketing work with a Colorado nonprofit called WorldDenver, as well as a summer position with the Aspen Institute at their Colorado campus. Most recently, Megan was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia where she worked on English education and youth development programs in a small community in eastern Mongolia.

Katie Seifert

Programs Specialist (Latin America)

Katie joined Self-Help as the Latin America Programs Specialist in 2019 after completing a Master of Science degree in Multicultural Education in 2018.  Katie started exploring the world in high school as an exchange student in France.  As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Kenya and fell in love with East Africa, and she returned to Kenya after graduation to work at a girls’ secondary school for bright and impoverished students.  A year later, she fulfilled a childhood dream of serving in the Peace Corps by living in Paraguay from 2014 to 2016 as a Community Economic Development volunteer. In Paraguay, she fell in love with Spanish, youth empowerment, and relationship-building – skills that she currently incorporates into her work with Self-Help!  Katie is originally from Minnesota, and her hobbies include hanging out with her family and three cats, cooking, and doing all sorts of different puzzles.

Jessica Crawford

Program Specialist (Africa)

Jessica joined the Self-Help International team as the Africa Programs Specialist in 2019 after returning from a year of independent language study in France. After her first trip abroad in high school, Jessica seized opportunities to study in both Rwanda and Ghana while a student at Iowa State University.  Graduating in 2010 with a degree in Child and Family Services, her work with international and local social justice initiatives throughout college took her to San Diego to work for an innovative advocacy group working to end the use of child soldiers in an ongoing conflict in Central Africa.  From there Jessica moved to Ghana where she helped open an office for a US-based education development organization in the Volta Region, and then coordinated community outreach and relations for a farm operating in the Afram Plains, near Lake Volta.  In 2014, she brought her expertise in community development back to Des Moines where she has worked in refugee services, grants management and young women’s empowerment programming the last several years. Jessica loves baking pies and biking around Central Iowa and, after living in the Alps, is on a quest to discover the best hiking trails around the Midwest!

 

NICARAGUA TEAM

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Jorge Campos

Country Director (Nicaragua)

Jorge was Self-Help International’s first hire in Nicaragua, after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998. He started as the Agriculture Program Officer, promoting Quality Protein Maize (QPM) all over Nicaragua, and has since been promoted to his current role as Country Director and legal representative of the organization. Jorge graduated from Escuela Normal Ricardo Morales Aviles in Jinotepe, Carazo as a Primary School Teacher in 1985, then moved Rio San Juan. Since then, Jorge has been dedicated to educating high school and college-age youth. In his continual pursuit for higher education, Jorge earned a degree in Agricultural Sciences Engineering in 1998 from the UPONIC University in San Carlos, Rio San Juan and later earned several agriculture-related continuing education certificates from various universities, and participated in seminars promoted by CIMMYT-CIDA-QPM in San Andres, El Salvador in 2005, and studied high quality seed production and post-harvest practice at CIMMYT Agriculture University in Honduras in 2006. Jorge has also served as a member of the CSE-CED (Supreme Electoral Council) supporting the national elections process in Rio San Juan in 2001, 2006, and 2011, and in local elections in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Jorge enjoys combining his educational and agricultural experience to help the highest need population in rural Rio San Juan – the famers. Jorge finds satisfaction in helping farmers obtain basic knowledge and skills to improve their yields by implementing new technologies, planting process managing, and soil maintenance, in service to Self-Help International’s mission to alleviate hunger by helping people to help themselves.

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Lucia Vega Galeano

Program Operations Manager (Nicaragua)

Lucia Joined Self-Help International in June 2011 as the Program Operations Manager. In this position, Lucia manages the finances and programs of Self-Help International – Nicaragua. Lucia believes that the money donated to Self-Help needs to be managed well in order to benefit Nicaraguans served by Self-Help through trainings, technical support, equipment, and loans, and takes pride in ensuring that it is. She also arranges all board member and volunteer visits to Nicaragua, ensuring that they have unforgettable experiences. Prior to joining Self-Help, Lucia received a Cooperative Association of States for Scholarship (CASS) scholarship from Georgetown University in conjunction with USAID, and in 1999, she graduated from Forest Park Community College in Saint Louis, Missouri, with degrees in Quality Control Technology and English as a Second Language. After graduating, she received another scholarship from the World Bank and Georgetown, which she used to study Business Administration and Accounting in Nicaragua. She also obtained Marketing, Business Management, and Project Management and Evaluation certificates from the Virtual University Nicaragua-Monterey, Mexico. During her studies, Lucia worked as an administrator for the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting economic and social development in Nicaragua. 

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Yolanda Fletes

Micro-Credit Program Officer (Nicaragua)

Yolanda attended the Agriculture National University-Managua from 2006 to 2010 and graduated with a degree in Agribusiness with a focus on Finance and Marketing. After graduation, she began working for the Austrian Development Agency, a nonprofit organization supporting in the development of women in her community of Sabalos. In September 2013, Yolanda joined Self-Help International as the Micro-Credit Program Officer, allowing her to continue supporting underserved women in rural Rio San Juan. She helps them grow their skills and abilities and to improve their quality of life by creating business opportunities for themselves and their families to become self-sufficient.

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Orlando Montiel Salas

Clean Water Program Officer (Nicaragua)

Orlando is an Agricultural Sciences Engineer, with continuing education certification in Project Management and Evaluation. He has had experience working in both private and public sectors, at the Ministry of Agriculture, as Program Committee Organizer at San Carlos City Hall, and as teacher at two universities (UPF and Martin Lutero) in San Carlos, Rio San Juan – Nicaragua. Orlando started working part-time as Self-Help Nicaragua’s Micro-credit Program Officer in June 2006. In 2012, he transitioned to his current role as the Clean Water Program Officer where he promotes the use of the CTI-8 chlorinator and educates community leaders about the importance of purified water in rural areas around Rio San Juan. Under his leadership, the program has extended to additional Nicaraguan states including Nueva Guinea, Zelaya Central and Chontales. Orlando  proud to carry out Self-Help’s mission and help people help themselves by training people to treat water with this new technology so they receive higher quality water and learn good hygiene!

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Mario Barberena

QPM Agriculture Program Assistant (Nicaragua)

Mario joined Self–Help International as a Quality Protein Maize (QPM) Agriculture Program Assistant in 2013, and oversees seed producers of QPM in Ochomogo, Rivas. Having previously worked on his family farm and cultivating crops without the benefit of Self-Help’s improved technology, he appreciates the opportunity to help other farmers understand the benefits of new planting and harvesting technologies by putting into practice procedures he learned from the Self-Help agriculture program.

 

GHANA TEAM

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Benjamin Kusi

Country Director (Ghana)

Benjamin joined the SHI team in 1998 to develop his engineering skills after receiving his Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, and has continued to take on greater leadership positions within the organization ever since. Benjamin earned a Masters’ degree in Human Resource Development from University of Cape Coast, focusing on the support of humanity through provision of services to the poor and marginalized. Helping the disadvantaged has always been of upmost importance to Benjamin, and he finds his work at SHI to be very fulfilling in regard to service. He is also an active member of the United Methodist Church of Ghana and enjoys daydreaming and watching movies in his free time.

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Victoria Yamson

Program Coordinator (Ghana)

Victoria earned her Bachelor’s at the University of Cape Coast and is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Development and Planning at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana. Victoria is driven to help women through all forms of empowerment, and believes that through empowerment of women and girls, the mission of SHI can be fulfilled. She has worked closely with the micro-credit program since 2008, and helped develop and launch the teen girls clubs in September 2016. Victoria was awarded the Merry Fredrick Leadership Award in August 2017 for her dedication to the mission of Self-Help International. In her free time, Victoria enjoys dancing and laughing.

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Elizabeth Adu-Opoku

Micro-credit Program Officer (Ghana)

Extending help to people who need it most is where Elizabeth finds fulfillment. With a Bachelor’s of Science in Agribusiness Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, Lizzie has been able to assist SHI in its mission of alleviating hunger by helping people help themselves in rural Ghana. Her favorite past time is reading.

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Nancy Ansah

Micro-Credit Assistant Program Officer (Ghana)

Nancy joined the Self-Help International school feeding program team in 2014 after completing a diploma, and is continuing to work toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness from Presbyterian University College. Nancy has found her work at Self-Help International to be a great fit with her passions for helping people whether it’s feeding young children, improving the lives of teens, or empowering women in her current role. Outside of work, Nancy is involved in Plant A Smile Foundation, Agriculture Students Union, and Methodist Youth Fellowship. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her son, Kofi.

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Jesse Jackson Sarkodie

Nutrition Program Officer (Ghana)

With a passion for nutrition, Jesse has found an ideal position for himself as Self-Help International’s nutrition officer with the school feeding program and targeted maternal-child malnutrition interventions. Not only is he able to share his vast knowledge of nutrition with communities, but he’s also able to serve others, which of great importance to him. Jesse is a graduate of the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Ghana with an emphasis in nutrition. He is a member of many organizations including the Ghana Nutrition Association and PENSA (Pentecost Students Association). In his free time, Jesse enjoys researching and reading.

 Patience Obour

Patience Obour

Teen Girls Club Program Officer (Ghana)

Patience joined the Self-Help team in February 2018. She is looking forward to bringing her background in nutrition to improve the health of adolescent teen girls and support them in their academic endeavors.

 Zakaria Adams

Zakaria Adams

Training Center Manager & Graduate Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator (Ghana)

Zakaria joined the Self-Help team in February 2018 as the manager of Self-Help’s Agricultural Education Training Center. In January 2019, he also took over responsibility for the Graduate Entrepreneurship Program.  Zakaria earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University for Development Studies in Wa, Ghana, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Agroforestry from the University of Energy and Natural Resources, with particular focus on helping smallholder farmers adapt to climate volatility through adoption of conservation agriculture practices. He was born and grew up in Asokira, near Kumasi. As a boy, he helped raise sugarcane, maize, and vegetables on his parents’ farm, and grew up wanting to farm “in an improved way.” Prior to joining Self-Help, Zakaria worked for two years with the Winrock Institute in Burkina Faso, monitoring and evaluating farmers with technical services. Zakaria also operates his own two-acre farm raising maize using improved practices to model for his neighbors how they can use those same methods to increase their yields and food security. 

 Isaac Andoh Mensah

Isaac Andoh Mensah

Crops Production Program Officer (Ghana)

Isaac joined Self-Help’s team in January 2019, after working in horticulture industry, growing flowers for export to Holland.

Emmanuel Obiri Laryea

Emmanuel Obiri Laryea

Agriculture & Entrepreneurship Program Officer (Ghana)

Emmanuel joined the Self-Help Agricultural & Entrepreneurial Development team in February 2018. Emmanuel first learned about Self-Help’s work in his previous role, where he worked with 1,500 4-H clubs across five districts as the 4-H Ghana Ashanti Region coordinator. Although he grew up with no farming experience, he has a passion for rearing small animals and helping young people start up animal-related enterprises. Originally from the Eastern Region of Ghana, Emmanuel earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from KNUST, and gained experience working in the fisheries and poultry industries prior to joining Self-Help. 

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Dominic Boakye

Training Center Caretaker (Ghana)

Dominic loves working with agriculture and teaching new practices to improve the lives of farmers in rural Ghana. He enjoys football and listening to the games while he works in the fields and test plots. Dominic is never found without a smile and his radio!

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Benjamin Antwi

Training Center Security (Ghana)