FAO Headquarters | Rome

September 12-14, 2023

GeoField Convening: 

Leveraging Earth Observation for Impact Evaluations of Climate-Sensitive Agriculture

Session Recordings

Watch on YouTube

Planet Training

This training session will cover a walkthrough of the Planet Data Visualization Platform "Explorer" as well as introduce the audience to Planet medium and high resolution imagery, ie., PlanetScope (3.7 m) and SkySat (0.5 m). We will discuss temporal, spatial, and spectral capabilities of the two types of data, including examples of agriculture production areas.

AidData GeoQuery Training

In this training session we will explore AidData’s free website for accessing geospatial data: GeoQuery. GeoQuery enables individuals and organizations of all skill levels to freely find and aggregate satellite, economic, health, conflict, and other spatial data into a single, simple-to-use file compatible with Microsoft Excel and other common software. We will explore the basic functionality of GeoQuery, and demonstrate how to find and access data to support your own work, including geospatial impact evaluations.

The Hand in Hand Geospatial Platform: Targeting of Agricultural Investments

The aim of this session is to introduce the hand-in-hand initiative approach, methodology and the geospatial platform. The Hand-in-Hand initiative's objective is to identify and actualize the biggest opportunities to raise the incomes and reduce the inequities and vulnerabilities of rural populations, who constitute the vast majority of the world's poor. The presentation will cover agricultural typologies and suitability assessments with examples and provide a demonstration of the platform.

CEGA ATAI Data Platform Training

Since 2009, the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), co-managed by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), has actively generated evidence by funding randomized evaluations, to understand impacts of agricultural technologies, on small-scale farmer welfare. ATAI is launching a new open data platform to bring together the best evidence from ATAI-funded research in a single portal, making it easily accessible to researchers and policymakers alike. The ATAI Data Portal goes beyond the principles of open data by incorporating data harmonization. Users can easily download data at the right level of analysis, filter studies based on outcomes or other covariates of interest. The portal also easily allows users to join relevant environmental indicators to the downloaded data using existing geocoordinates in the data. The initiative aims to foster collaboration and evidence-based decision-making in the agricultural sector, ultimately contributing to the advancement of agricultural practices and farmer welfare.

Welcome Remarks

Dr. Ariel BenYishay, AidData Chief Economist, and Dr. David Laborde, FAO Director of Agrifood Economics Division, will provide opening remarks to welcome participants to the GeoField convening and give an overview of the agenda.

Presentations of GeoField Rapid Impact Use Cases

Kunwar Singh (AidData):
"Reducing environmental risks (soil erosion, river cutting) through sugarcane cropping in Nepal."
Carly Muir (AidData):
"Detecting water conservation practice (alternate wetting and drying) in irrigated rice in Bangladesh."
Kunwar Singh (AidData):
"Detecting demi-lunes, a water conserving practice, with the integration of earth observation and ground surveys in Niger."
Klaus Deininger (World Bank):
"Using remote sensing to support implementation & evaluation of agricultural support programs under conflict conditions in Ukraine."

Presentations of Completed or Near Completed GIEs

Rachel Sayers (AidData)
“He Says, She Says, the GPS Says: Evidence of Gender Differences in Bias from Agricultural Surveys in Ghana”
Andrew Anguko (AfDB)
“Impact Evaluation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project in Kenya”
Nicholas Sitko (FAO)
“Wellbeing dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa: a spatial perspective across territorial typologies”
Fiona Kastel (3ie)
“Geospatial Impact Evaluation of an Agricultural Intensification Program in Niger”
Julius Adewopo (IITA)
“Linking crop disease incidence locations with ancillary variables to assess cropland change and climate-related risks in Rwanda”

GIEs for Agricultural Interventions

Ahmad Mohassel (AIR):
“Identifying cropland abandonment using Earth Observations”
Pierre-Yves Durand and Claire Zanuso (AFD):
“Using geospatial data for monitoring rice yield modeling in an AFD supported project in Senegal”
Revathi Ponnuswamy (ICAR):
“Developing climate smart rice hybrids for global food security”
Solomon Zena Walelign (ICED):
“Do large-scale agricultural investments exacerbate environmental degradation?”
Valerien Pede (IRRI):
“Evaluating the Impact of Stress-Tolerant Rice Varieties Through Remote Sensing and  Econometric Methods”

Panel Discussion Organized by Mathematica

Tulika Narayan (Mathematica)
Juan Bonilla (AIR)
Tomoko Harigaya (Precision Development)
Johanne Pelletier (Standing Panel on Impact Assessment)
Sean Luna McAdams (CEGA, UC Berkeley)
Anthony D'Agostino (Mathematica)
Moderator: Tulika Narayan (Mathematica)

Session Description

This panel discussions brings together evaluators, remote sensing experts, data science experts to elucidate the key challenges faced by evaluators in the use of remote sensing to measure agricultural outcomes and resilience; discuss some of the best practices, tools, and data sources that can resolve those challenges; and contribute to longer-term efforts through GeoField to consolidate guidance materials and recommendations to effectively integrate satellite data in resilience-focused research.

FAO Session

Luisa Belli and Dan Runfola:
“Action Against Desertification: Cross-country satellite-based impact evaluation on land productivity and mitigation of carbon emissions”
Ana Paula de la O Campos:
“Greening for the greater good: The case of Action Against Desertification in Northern Nigeria”
Solene Masson:
“The impact of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict on yields in Comoros”
Antonio Scognamillo:
“No Man Is an Island: A Spatially Explicit Approach to Measure Development Resilience”

Exploring the Challenges Implementers Face

Moderator: Hanna Camp (Mercy Corps),Brad Sagara (Mercy Corps)

Session Description

This Implementer-focused session will be a facilitated discussion about the challenges we experience in planning for evaluations, with a focus on challenges with evaluations that utilize geospatial methods. The session will be an open space to share previous successes or lessons learned in program evaluation and talk about how organizational capacity, sector, and size have affected the evaluation outputs. To close, we will discuss how we as implementers interested in improving our evaluation planning and preparation can best coordinate and share knowledge moving forward.

Geospatial and Earth Observation Analysis at IFAD and WFP

Athur Mabiso and Oliver Mundy (IFAD):
“Incorporating GIS and remote sensing data into Impact Assessments and M&E Systems: Examples from IFAD projects”
Laure Baudinaud (WFP):
“Impacts of conflict on land cover/land use and cropland abandonment: Results from analysis of EO imagery”
Sarah Muir (WFP):
“WFP’s asset impact monitoring from space (AIMS) service”

Performing GIEs for Measuring Impacts of Agricultural Development in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities


Manjula Ranagalage (Rajarata University)
Ranjitha Puskur (CGIAR, IRRI)
Farid Ahmad (ICIMOD)
Manzoor Dar
Moderators: Carly Muir (AidData),Kunwar Singh (AidData, William & Mary)

Session Description

The panel spotlights GIEs as tools for understanding the multifaceted effects of agricultural interventions in Asia. This interactive session aims to facilitate knowledge exchange, providing participants a holistic view of how GIEs inform evidence-based policies and sustainable development strategies.

Geospatial Impact Evaluation Challenges and Opportunities in Africa


Lilian Kirimi (Tegemeo Institute)
Michael Wellington (Digital Earth Africa)
Laila Lokosang (Africa Union)
Andrew Anguko (AfDB)
Moderator: Rachel Sayers (AidData),Katherine Nolan (AidData, William & Mary)

Session Description

Agricultural productivity and climate resilience are key to advancing economic development in Africa. This panel brings together evaluation experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities of utilizing GIEs in agricultural research in Africa. This interactive session aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and promote a frank discussion about the most promising innovations related to GIEs, as well as the biggest difficulties in utilizing them. As governments, organizations, and stakeholders seek to evaluate development programs and policies ever more effectively and efficiently, the insights shared during this panel will serve as stepping stones toward the uptake of GIEs in African agricultural development.

EO Data: Open Access Availability, Uptake, and Constraints


Rocio Carrero (Planet)
Pierre C. Sibiry Traore (ICRISAT)
Rahul D. Garg (IIT)
Christoph Aubrecht (European Space Agency)
Vivek Sakhrani (Atlas AI)
Moderator: Kunwar Singh (AidData, William & Mary)

Session Description

Recent innovations in cloud computing, growing built-in data catalogs, and sophisticated methods to analyze Earth Observations offer opportunities to rigorously evaluate the impacts and cost-effectiveness of development interventions. The potential for Earth Observation to guide investments toward cost-effective interventions that are most likely to work, produce maximum benefits, and reach the most people has not yet been fully realized, though undisputedly needed. Several unanswered questions are befitting to this panel for discussion, such as, how Earth Observation has contributed to agriculture impact evaluations and what are the new prospects to increase its uptake to support the decision-making process, specifically in countries facing climate change at an accelerated rate?

Brainstorming Ways to Overcome Challenges and Future Frontiers


Petronella Halwiindi (Farm Africa)
Tomoko Harigaya (Precision Development)
Daniel Stein (IDInsight)
Foster Mensah (CRSGIS)
Hamissou Samari (MCC)
Moderator: James Haithcoat (DevGlobal)

Session Description

Discussion about what to include in GeoField to help CoP undertake GIE

Closing Remarks


Ariel BenYishay (William & Mary)
Kunwar Singh (AidData, William & Mary)
Richard Caldwell (Gates)

Session Description

Dr. Ariel BenYishay (AidData), Dr. Kunwar Singh (AidData), and Richard Caldwell (Gates) will provide closing remarks.

Speakers and Panelists

Ahmad Mohassel
American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Senior Data Scientist

Dr. Ahmad Mohassel is a Senior Data Scientist at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), focusing on the intersection of data science and international development. Passionate about the societal impact of climate change, he develops machine learning models using geospatial and remote sensing data to study food security-related topics. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Arizona, concentrating on transportation and environmental economics.

Ana Paula de la O Campos
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Ana Paula DE LA O CAMPOS is originally from Mexico. She is a development economist currently working in FAO's Agrifood Economics Division, member of FAO's Impact Evaluation Task Force, and coordinating FAO's Technical Network on Poverty Analysis. She has 20 years of experience in international development, poverty reduction strategies, microeconomic analysis and impact evaluation. She holds a master's in international development economics from American University in Washington D.C., USA, and currently pursuing her PhD in Development Economics at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands.

Andrew Anguko
African Development Bank
Chief Quality and Methods Advisor

Andrew Anguko is Chief Quality and Methods Advisor with the Independent Development Evaluation of the African Development Bank. He serves as principal advisor to the Evaluator General, Managers and Evaluation Teams on appropriate evaluation standards, approaches, designs, methods and tools for evaluation work.

Anthony D'Agostino
Senior Researcher

Dr. Anthony Louis D'Agostino is a Senior Researcher in Mathematica's International unit where he leads independent evaluations for clients including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation, and the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. He is an applied microeconomist who uses survey, administrative, and satellite data to support evidence-based decision-making in a range of development, environmental, and climate policy areas. His current project portfolio covers using cost-benefit analysis to catalyze sustainable land-use investments, leveraging satellite data to measure the economic returns to irrigation, assessing the effects of air quality monitoring infrastructure on civil society, and estimating the causal impact of factory farms on antimicrobial resistance. He holds a PhD in Sustainable Development from Columbia University, an MPP from the National University of Singapore, and prior to joining Mathematica was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University's Center on Food Security and the Environment.

Antonio Scognamillo
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Antonio Scognamillo Ph.D. is an Economist at the Economic and Policy Analysis of Climate Change (EPIC) programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He leads a wide range of macro and micro-analyses on climate vulnerability and adaptation, agricultural economics, inequality, poverty, food security and resilience. Antonio's expertise includes the design and implementation of survey instruments as well as experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations. His research has been published in international peer-reviewed journals, including World Development, Food Policy, Environment and Development Economics, Empirical Economics, among others.

Ariel BenYishay
Chief Economist

Dr. BenYishay is a development economist specializing in empirical microeconomics, geospatial impact evaluations, and randomized control trials. He heads AidData’s Research and Evaluation Unit, and oversees the AidData Research Consortium, some 120 academics at 50 universities worldwide. His current research focuses on the impacts of foreign aid programs on agriculture and deforestation as well as human health and social capital. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economic Studies, Nature Sustainability, Journal of Development Economics, and many other outlets.

Brad Sagara
Mercy Corps
Director for Research and Learning and lead on the USAID-funded Resilience, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning award (REAL)

Brad Sagara is Mercy Corps’ Director for Research and Learning and lead on the USAID-funded Resilience, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning award (REAL) and oversees the agency’s global Resilience Research portfolio, where his team generates robust evidence that responds to major program and policy questions on resilience-related topics. This includes but is not limited to evaluating the effectiveness of resilience building investments, social and market systems dynamics in humanitarian and development response, resilience in fragile and conflict affected contexts, and return on investment of resilience building efforts.

Carly Muir
Geospatial Analyst

Dr. Carly Muir is a Geospatial Analyst at the AidData lab in the Global Research Institute of William & Mary. She is formally trained in the field of Geography and specializes in climatology and land system science, with a specific focus on investigating dynamics of human-environment interaction and climate change. Her research is interdisciplinary and uses spatial analyses to examine sustainable agricultural land use. She has conducted field work in several African nations, including her dissertation work, which focused on evaluating large scale land acquisitions in Ethiopia. The overarching goal of her work is to employ geospatial techniques for improving synergies between agricultural production and ecological sustainability. Previously, she was a graduate instructor at the University of Florida where she taught classes in geography, sustainability, and geographic information systems.

Clemencia Cosentino
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Director of FAO's Office of Evaluation (OED)

Clemencia Cosentino is the Director of FAO's Office of Evaluation (OED). Prior to joining FAO, she was Chief Evaluation Officer and Evaluation and Assessment Capability Section Head of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Previously, Clemencia was a Senior Fellow and Director of STEM Research at Mathematica and the Director of the Program for Evaluation and Equity Research of the Urban Institute. Over the past decade, Clemencia has been focusing on designing and developing complex data systems that leverage existing data and serve multiple functions (monitoring, research, and evaluation). She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Princeton University, with a focus on education and international development.

Daniel Runfola
William & Mary
Associate Professor of Applied Science and Data Science

Dan Runfola is an associate professor of Applied Science and Data Science at William & Mary.  His core expertise is in the applied use of machine learning to analyze satellite data to better understand environmental impacts around the world. In addition to over 40 peer reviewed academic publications in high profile outlets including Nature, Dan has published numerous reports with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UN FAO, Global Environment Facility, and as a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.   

David Laborde
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Director for Agrifood Economics Division

David Laborde is the Director for Agrifood Economics division at FAO since February 2022. In this role, he supervises a number of flagship publications, like the State of Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) or the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA). He also overviews the work of the division on policy monitoring, policy reform and realignment of incentives to support agrifood system transformation, in particular in the context of climate change.  In his role, he also provides leadership to two priority program priority areas focusing on resilience and, on the bioeconomy. Based on his extensive experience in the field, he also contributes to strengthen the economic modelling capacity of the institution. Before joining FAO, he was working at the International Food Policy Research Institute of the CGIAR, based in Washington D.C. during 16 years, as part of the Markets, Trade and Institution Division, leading the research theme on Macroeconomics and Trade. He was also co- director of the Ceres2030 project. During his career, he has published extensively (more than 150 publications) and received a number of prizes for his work.

Fiona Kastel
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
Research Associate

Fiona Kastel is a Research Associate at the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). At 3ie, Fiona leads the Data Innovations Group and provides research, program management, and data analytics support for multiple programs on agriculture, education, finance, health, and policy and institutional reform. Her primary projects include a geospatial impact evaluation of an agricultural intensification program in Niger, an impact evaluation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s COVID-19 Solidarity Package, and the strengthening evidence and economic modelling partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Prior to joining 3ie, Fiona worked as a research assistant at Opportunity Insights, where she examined drivers of upward mobility and the disparate economic impact of COVID-19. She has also worked with NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean to develop their evaluation capabilities. Fiona holds a Master of Public Affairs from Brown University and a Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organization from the University of Utah.

Hanna Camp
Mercy Corps
Director of MEL Technologies

Hanna Camp is a Director of MEL Technologies with Mercy Corps’ Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team. Since joining Mercy Corps in 2018, she created and now leads an initiative to improve the accessibility and utilization of MEL Technology across Mercy Corps programs. The MEL Tech initiative established common organizational data technologies and standards for MEL, conducts global data technology trainings, and delivers MEL Tech implementation support reaching Mercy Corps offices in more than 40 countries. Hanna works directly with Mercy Corps teams to implement more efficient analysis pipelines and data-driven processes based on MEL Tech. She also leads multiple grant-funded projects focused on developing resources for specific thematic areas such as reduced access MEL and context analysis.

Before joining Mercy Corps, Hanna worked as a data analyst and project manager for organizations focusing on agricultural climate analytics, smallholder farming services, and long-term international trends forecasting.

James Haithcoat
Principal Consultant

James Haithcoat is a Principal Consultant at DevGlobal focusing on the application of cutting-edge geospatial technologies to sustainable development. With a background primarily in Defense Geospatial Intelligence, James has nearly 15 years of experience working with geospatial data, products, and technologies. He has worked as a vector data analyst for local and federal government contracts, performed sensor data analysis and processing, established software engineering teams to automate production tasks, led R&D projects utilizing computer vision and AI/ML, and acted as an innovation lead for large geospatial contracts.

Jessica Wells
Research Scientist

Jessica Wells is a Research Scientist in AidData's Research and Evaluation Unit, where she is the lead program manager for numerous awards from funders including USAID and the Hewlett Foundation. Jessica conducts research on the intersection of gender and development. She works on projects analyzing gender-based violence in schools throughout sub-Saharan Africa. She is also conducting a retrospective evaluation of a small earth dam project in Northern Ghana in relation to gendered household dynamics. She is a co-creator of AidData's new Gender Equity in Development initiative, which focuses on bringing AidData's geospatial and research expertise to gendered development research. Her expertise lies in program management, geospatial analysis, and econometric methods.

Johanne Pelletier
CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA)

Dr. Johanne Pelletier is a quantitative ecologist/environmental scientist with expertise in remote sensing. She works as a consultant for the CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) where advises on and integrates Earth Observations into the research portfolio. Her research interest focuses on understanding of the impacts of human interactions with terrestrial ecosystems through land-use/cover change and agriculture, with the goal of mitigating climate change, sustaining ecosystem services and improving livelihoods. She earned her PhD at McGill University (Canada) and with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama). She played a leadership role on a NASA-funded project focusing on improving estimates of carbon emissions and removals from land-cover change in Southern and Eastern Africa as a postdoctoral fellow at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. She was selected for a highly competitive NatureNet Fellowship by the Nature Conservancy at Cornell University, where she worked with agricultural and development economists studying the relationship between deforestation and the use of agricultural inputs by smallholder farmers and led a collaborative partnership project of TNC-Cornell Atkinson Sustainability Center on soil mitigation potentials and the energy sector (charcoal production) in Zambia.

Julius Adewopo
Postdoctoral Fellow and Geospatial Analyst

Julius Adewopo is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Geospatial Analyst for Maize-based Systems. Prior to joining IITA, he has acquired multidisciplinary experience in natural sciences, geospatial applications, and corporate management. He earned his PhD in Soil Science from the University of Florida (UF) and M.Sc. in Forest Resources from theUniversity of Arkansas-Monticello, both in the USA. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Wood Technology from the Federal University ofTechnology, Akure, Nigeria. His PhD research focused on the impact of management intensification on soil carbon dynamics and underlines important ramifications for long-term ecological sustainability, especially in subtropical grasslands. He is an ESRI-certified Spatial Analyst and was a recipient of the prestigious UF Graduate Fellowship and USDA-SustainableAgriculture Research and Education grant during his doctoral studies.

Karl Morteo
Foood & Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Information Systems Manager

Karl has over 30 years of experience developing and supplying IT solutions & services. He is currently working at the Food and Agriculture Organization where he is leading the development of the flagship Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform which brings together technical units from across the Organization and integrates data from the United Nations system, international organisations, NGOs, space agencies. public data providers and the private sector.Karl is a Cloud Architect, Scrum Master, PRINCE2 project manager and an ITIL practitioner. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a bachelor's degree in Computational Science and completed a master’s degree in Intelligent Knowledge Based Systems at Cranfield Institute of Technology.

Katherine Nolan
Research Scientist

Katherine Nolan is a Research Scientist in AidData's Research and Evaluation Unit, where she conducts a variety of impact evaluations on a number of development topics, including health, gender, and agriculture. Katherine currently works on a retrospective evaluation utilizing geospatial matching techniques and household surveys of a child and maternal health project in Bangladesh, as well as a retrospective evaluation of small earth dam's impact on household dynamics in Northern Ghana. She also co-created AidData's new Gender Equity in Development initiative, which focuses on bringing AidData's geospatial and research expertise to the gender space, and is a member of the Global Research Institute's Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee. Her expertise lies in household surveys, data management and analysis, retrospective evaluations, and geospatial analysis.

Klaus Deininger
World Bank
Lead Economist

Klaus Deininger is a Lead Economist in the Sustainability and Infrastructure Team of the Development Research Group. His research focuses access to land governance and tenure and its impact on investment, climate resilience, urbanization, individual empowerment, and broader economic development and poverty reduction. He has done extensive research in all parts of the World and been the lead organizer of the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty for more than 20 years. He is a German national and a fellow of the American Applied Economics Association with a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota and a MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Berlin.

Kunwar Singh
AidData & William & Mary
Senior Geospatial Scientist and Affiliate Faculty

Dr. Kunwar Singh is a Senior Geospatial Scientist at the AidData research lab and an Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Geospatial Analysis at William & Mary. Kunwar has more than 20 years of experience in remote sensing data acquisition, processing, and analysis, including the applications of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and drones to measure, map, and model land characteristics and resources. His research is at the nexus of land change and geospatial sciences where he investigates how the terrestrial system can support future land conversions and resource consumption under a changing climate. He uses geospatial data and technologies supplemented with data from ground observations and weather stations to develop workflows for large spatiotemporal data processing, assess broad-scale land change and its implications to natural resources, and measure outcomes of new adaptations to diminishing natural resources

Lilian Kirimi
Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development
Senior Research Fellow and Research Coordinator

Dr Lilian Kirimi is a Senior Research Fellow and Research Coordinator at Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University. She represents the Institute as a Research Director in the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI). Lilian holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and is an alumnus of AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development).She has over sixteen years’ experience in research on agriculture and food systems in Kenya and the region. She has provided leadership for research and advocacy on agricultural policy, institutional and policy reforms, and coordination within the agricultural sector. This has supported evidence-based policy development from policy planning to prioritization, and monitoring.

Luisa Belli
Food & Agriculture Organization
Evaluation Officer

Luisa Belli is a tropical agronomist with a background in rural sociology and field experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has been working on independent evaluations at the FAO Office of Evaluation (OED) since 2005. From 2014 to 2018, she served as coordinator of project evaluations, including the Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund portfolios. During that time she approached the use of geospatial analysis in combination with independent land use-related evaluations. Since 2019 she has been conducting strategic evaluations and is currently responsible for environmental evaluations at OED.

Manjula Ranagalage
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
Professor in Environmental Management

Prof. Manjula Ranagalage is a professor in environmental management at the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka. He has more than 17 years of experience as a GIS and Remote sensing specialist in South Asia. He has completed over 50 Geoinformatics-related research and published them in high-impact journals. His research expertise spans various critical areas, including land use and Landcover changes, forest cover change, urban sustainability, urban geography, urban climate change, urban green volume and built-up volume, urban heat island, and GIS and remote sensing applications for water resources management, disaster management, environment management, tsunami vertical evacuation, and soil erosion management. Prof. Ranagalage conducted his research not only in Sri Lanka but also in some Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and some countries in the African Regions.

Nicholas Sitko
Food & Agriulture Organization (FAO)
Senior Economist

Nicholas Sitko is a Senior Economist in the Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He coordinates a research team dedicated to generating rigorous empirical evidence to improve rural development policies and programmes, with a thematic focus on economic inclusion and climate change in rural space. Prior to joining FAO, Nicholas was an Assistant Professor of International Development in Michigan State University’s Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics where served as a Co-Principle Investigator for the Food Security Research Project based in Zambia.

Pierre-Yves Durand
French Development Agency (AFD)
Evaluation Officer

Evaluation officer at the French Development Agency (AFD), I cover the agriculture, biodiversity and WASH evaluation portfolio, with a specialization in impact evaluations. I previously worked on similar subjects for international nonprofits (Innovations for Poverty Action, IDinsight) and the World Bank. I gained interest and expertise in earth observation tools for agriculture with researchers collecting and gathering field data for remote sensing analysis.

Rachel Sayers
Research Scientist

Rachel Sayers is a Research Scientist at AidData's Research and Evaluation Unit, where she conducts impact evaluations on a number of development topics. She combines econometric and GIS analysis methods to design and conduct rigorous evaluations with an emphasis on causal identification. Her primary research interests are labor markets, human capital, household bargaining, and gender. She co-created AidData's Gender Equity in Development initiative, which focuses on bringing AidData's geospatial and research expertise to the gender space. Prior to joining AidData, Rachel completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics at Duke University.

Ranjitha Puskur
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
Senior Scientist

Ranjitha Puskur leads the research program on ‘Gender and Livelihoods' at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and is IRRI’s Representative to India. She has been with the CGIAR since 2002, working at theInternational Water Management Institute (IWMI),International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), WorldFish and IRRI. Her work focuses on generating knowledge, learning and evidence that can translate into technical and institutional innovation and lead to more equitable outcomes for women and other vulnerable social groups engaged in agriculture.She also the leads the Evidence Module in the CGIAR GENDER (Generating Evidence and New Directions forEquitable Results) Platform. The Evidence Module of theGENDER Platform aims to deliver new evidence to fill key gaps in the gender and food systems domain to inform research, development practice and policy to facilitate design and implementation of solutions and trajectories to reduce gender inequalities.In her role as IRRI’s Representative to India, she engages with government, non-government, civil society, private sector and, investors to garner support for IRRI’s R4D program and policy engagement in India, to contribute to agricultural sector development. Ranjitha is an alumna of IARI from the Ag EconomicsDivision and won the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for outstanding doctoral thesis.

Richard Caldwell
Senior Program Officer, Strategic Planning and Management-Agricultural Development

Richard Caldwell is a Senior Program Officer in the Strategic, Planning, and Management initiative of the Agricultural Development team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Richard has over 25 years of experience in agriculture and rural development. He started his career in Senegal as a Foreign Service Officer in USAID and later served as the Director for Africa for the Consortium for International Development. In 1998, he started a development consulting firm (Technical Assistance to Non-Government Organizations, or TANGO) and joined the Foundation in 2011.

Rocio Carrero
Customer Success Manager for Education & Research

Rocio is an environmental scientist passionate about leveraging satellite data to address humanity’s challenges. She is a Customer Success Manager for Education & Research at Planet. Prior to that, Rocio worked for over a decade leading the development and adoption of geospatial tools for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction around the globe. Rocio’s experience spans across academia, governments, start-ups, and nonprofits. Her work has been showcased by UNDRR as well as disseminated in scientific journals and conferences.

Sean Luna McAdams
Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)
Program Manager

Sean Luna McAdams is Program Manager of the Data Science for Development (DS4D) Program at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley. At CEGA, he helps manage Geo4Dev, an open-source platform promoting the use of geospatial analysis by providing data and code to replicate computational models using georeferenced data and satellite imagery. He also helps manage a project to test a model that can automatically detect small landholders' plots using satellite imagery. Prior to joining CEGA, he received his PhD from Princeton University’s Politics Department in 2021. He is an advocate of methodological pluralism and mixed-method research designs, and has implemented qualitative, statistical, and computational research designs in his own work.

Seth Goodman
Research Scientist and Data Engineer

Seth is a Research Scientist and Data Engineer at AidData. In this role, he conducts research utilizing geospatial data and machine learning, and also designs and develops tools and data infrastructure that improve AidData's capacity to provide and analyze data. He specializes in building data processing and management systems, designing and operationalizing novel research methods, and developing applications that utilize distributed computing. Seth developed GeoQuery, AidData’s free spatial data platform, which enables individuals and organizations without significant computing power or data science expertise to freely find and aggregate geospatial data. Seth's current research efforts include exploring gender bias in machine learning methods to predict development indicators using geospatial data, and understanding the impacts of Chinese financed development projects around the world. Seth completed his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering at Villanova University and a Ph.D. in Computational Geography at William & Mary.

Solomon Zena Walelign

Solomon Zena Walelign is a Director of Research at the International Centre for Evaluationand Development. He is also a Consultant at the World Bank, an Adjunct AssistantProfessor at the University of Gondar, and a Research Fellow at Ethiopian Policy Studies Institute. Previously, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California Berkeley andthe University of South Carolina, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagenand Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He completed a double Ph.D. in Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen and in Forest Sciences at the Georg-August University of Göttingen. Solomon’s main research interestincludes livelihoods, poverty, agriculture, natural resource management, migration, landtenure, climate change adaptation and forced displacement. His current researchinvestigates the impacts of refugees on host communities; largescale agricultural landinvestment on local communities; physical infrastructure on nutritious diet, genderempowerment, and equality; and cost-benefit analysis of horticulture production. Hisresearch has been published in World Development, The Journal of Development Studies,Applied Economics Letters, and Ecological Economics, among others. He conductedfieldwork in Nepal, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Solène Masson
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Research Economist

Solène Masson holds a PhD in economics and is a geospatial impact evaluation specialist. She is passionate about innovative methodologies, and her research interests are mainly related to data management and data visualization (GIS, satellite imagery, and micro socio-economic data). She works on quantitative analyses with a large range of topics dealing with environmental impacts, agriculture, food security, climate change and the rural population.

Tomoko Harigaya
Precision Development (PxD)
Chief Economist and Director of Research

Tomoko Harigaya is the Chief Economist and Director of Research at Precision Development, a non-profit that harnesses the power of technology, data science, and behavioral economics to provide targeted information to farmers in low- and middle-income countries. She coordinates PxD's effort in using scientific insights to design, iterate, and scale services that empower smallholder farmers to increase their income and evaluating their cost-effectiveness. Tomoko has over 15 years of experience working with public and private sector partners in innovation and evaluation research in development.

Tulika Narayan
Climate Change Practice Lead

Dr. Narayan leads Mathematica's climate change practice at the enterprise level, leveraging a team equipped with expertise across multiple sectors and experience across the globe, to design solutions at the intersection of policy, data, and technology to address climate change. Dr. Narayan has more than 20 years of experience conducting economic analysis and evaluations to support agriculture, climate change, and environmental policy. She remains laser-focused on applying principles of economic theory and behavioral economics on data to sharpen the impact of programs and policies. Her research aims to identify sustainable, cost-effective, and just policies and programs that address underlying market failures and behavioral constraints and consider distributional and equity considerations.

Vivek Sakhrani
Atlas AI
VP of Data & Analytics

Vivek shapes Atlas AI's portfolio of earth observation data science, analytics, and solutions engineering services. He brings fifteen years of experience in systems planning, design, and investment advisory for big data and development projects in energy, transport, water, ICT, and urban built environment. He is currently a Principal Investigator for agriculture EO grants awarded to Atlas AI by the US National Science Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Bank. He oversees the team of data scientists and engineers whose portfolio comprises the end-to-end delivery of solutions for Atlas AI’s commercial partners in agriculture, telecom, energy, public health, and impact evaluation.