Project Management &

A consortium of international and national organizations is responsible for implementing the project. The project lead is Teagasc (, which with co-applicants LUKE (, University College Dublin (,  University College Cork (, Vita (, and SHA (,  is providing international-level inputs. MoA departments, Hamelmalo Agriculture College (HAC) and Zoba administrations are associates. Each international partner contributes across the project in addition to contributing specialist expertise in key areas. Additional international expertise will be added as required during the implementation phase.

The overall approach to project management stresses the need for the active participation of stakeholders at all levels. This approach reinforces DeSIRA principles and values and those of the implementing partners and associates. The participative approach will support the need for strong links between all actors in the value chain, both public and private. The approach will also facilitate meaningful community involvement while ensuring that the project is fully aligned with national plans and frameworks.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea



Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Lance O’Brien

Dr Lance O’Brien is the Project Coordinator. Dr O’Brien is directly accountable to the EU Office in Eritrea (EUDE) for all matters relating to project implementation.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Mr Kahsay Negash

Mr Kahsay Negash has been seconded by the MoA as Project Manager and leader of the National Project Management Team (NPMT). He is also responsible for the activities of each of the three Zoba implementation teams through three Zoba co-ordinators. He reports to the Project Co-ordinator.


Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Kireshni Naiker

Kireshni studied animal and poultry science in KwaZulu Natal before pursuing her passion for cattle by working on dairy farms in Australia and South Africa. Her practical farm skills which include artificial insemination of cattle and tractor driving, are used to inform business plan development.
Kireshni’s experience in animal health care, along with her special interest in commercial dairy, poultry and animal feed agribusiness, make her an essential asset to the team.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Kerry Kyd

Kerry has over 15 years of brand, marketing and business strategy experience in South Africa and in Europe. As a brand consultant, she worked for some of the world’s biggest brands. Her understanding of business, marketing and research help us to resolve many strategic business, sector and investment challenges. She leads market studies and investment promotion efforts and has experience in a number of sectors from fruit to forestry.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Zerai Woldehiwet

Dr. Zerai, DVM with distinction (Aristotle University, Greece), PhD (Edinburgh), and MRCVS, is an Honorary Reader in Infectious Diseases at the University of Liverpool. With roles at the University of Edinburgh and various positions in Ethiopia, he has contributed significantly to the field, co-authoring 120+ articles, >170 sequence data, and an h-index of 39. His expertise extends to teaching, supervising research projects, and serving on editorial boards. Dr. Zerai has also been a scientific advisor and reviewer for international journals and organizations, in addition to his work as an animal health consultant for FAO, EU, and NGOs.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Ursula Ameen

Ursula is an executive chef and product developer with over 30 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry in South Africa and internationally. As a research and development lead, she has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands on innovation, process improvement, recipe development, food styling and training. Her passion is working on projects that make an impact on the lives of consumers, while focusing on empowerment and sustainability.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Stephen Onakuse

Dr. Stephen Onakuse is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Food Business and Development at Cork University Business School, University College Cork in Ireland, and the President of the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (AGRINATURA). His research is focused on agricultural systems, value chain analysis for development, and food systems transformation. He is Principal Investigator on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project – Sustainable Production and Consumption – the impact of social norms (SPAC). He is a member of the Steering Committee of the FAO Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP).

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Steven John Schneeberger

Steven John Schneeberger is a scientist specialising in microbiological processes in food, beverages & agri-processing. He holds an M.B., Ch.B. from the University of Stellenbosch.

Steven is a food science researcher who offers practical solutions to industry to improve the quality and shelf life of their products, to manage food safety and to reduce waste. He is a passionate teacher and motivator who advocates for sustainable community development. Steven specialises in new product development and in international projects that focus on food quality, sustainability, and community development.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Jorgen Henriksen

Dr Jorgen Henriksen, (PhD, Animal Production, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1979) has over 30 years’ professional experience in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating livestock, agricultural, dairy, value chain and rural development projects, mainly in Africa. He held long- term positions in Kenya and Zimbabwe and with the FAO HQ. Since 2004, Dr Henriksen has been self-employed in HENRIKSEN ADVICE.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Enyew Negussie

Dr. Enyew Negussie (PhD): is livestock geneticist and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Institute (Luke) Finland and adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki. He has over 25 years’ experience in livestock breeding programs, genomics, animal evaluation, and sustainable dairy development. He has led and participated in several national and international livestock development projects in Africa and Europe. Dr Enyew supervised several MSc. and PhD students and published more than 160 scientific publications, the majority of which were in peer reviewed scientific journals.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Jim Kinsella

Jim Kinsella is the Professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin (UCD). He began his career as a volunteer development worker with an international NGO in Ethiopia and Somalia, and later in Tanzania and Kenya. He completed his PhD on farm household decision making processes and joined the staff of UCD in 1995, where he has lectured and undertaken research on a range of subjects from sustainable agriculture and rural development to agricultural extension.

He has helped to establish a suite of postgraduate programmes in UCD and his main research work encompasses rural livelihoods analysis as well as agricultural extension and innovation.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Monica Gorman

Monica Gorman is Associate Professor of Agricultural Extension and Innovation in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin (UCD). Prior to joining UCD in 2013, she worked in international development with agencies including Concern Worldwide, Irish Aid, IUCN, APSO, Self Help Africa and Oxfam. She completed her PhD on multifunctional agricultural and the prospects for expanding livelihood opportunities for farm families with particular attention to the dynamics of gender roles and relationships within farm households.

In her current role, she has developed and coordinates postgraduate Masters programmes for agricultural science graduates who want to work in farm advisory and agricultural education roles. These include research and taught programme run in collaboration with Teagasc and other actors in the agricultural knowledge and innovation system.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

John Weakliam

John has a financial education and career background and worked with HSBC in Eritrea where he established bank training programmes and completed a Master’s degree on financing for Eritrean firms. John set up the Vita programme in Eritrea in 2000 and travelled to Ethiopia to help establish Vita’s first programmes there in 2005. He returned to Ireland in 2007, and has been CEO of Vita since 2008.

John has focused on developing next generation models of development, including the Irish Potato Coalition, which was set up in 2014, and the award -winning Vita Green Impact Fund, which was launched in 2016. Originally from Dublin, John is married to Smret with whom he has five children. John enjoys languages as well as a tune on the guitar.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Dr Alireza Bayat

Alireza Bayat is a senior scientist in the Animal Nutrition Department of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) with over 20 years’ experience in ruminant nutrition. He has managed or been involved in several national and European projects regarding the sustainability of livestock production systems as well as teaching experience and supervising Master and PhD students. Ali has contributed to over 140 scientific publications, including peer reviewed articles and conference communications.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea

Marcia Franco

Marcia Franco has Master’s and PhD degrees in ruminant nutrition and production. She is currently a senior researcher in the Animal Nutrition department at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Additionally, Marcia teaches at the University of Helsinki. Her main research areas are feed preservation and ruminant nutrition, as well as approaches related to biorefinery, use of by-products in animal diet and silage metagenomics.

Marcia has accumulated nearly 20 years of experience in the animal science subjects, with several scientific publications, students supervisions and development of public and private funded projects.

Project Management and Governance | Climate Smart Dairy Eritrea


Eritrean Governance

An implementation team has been established in each of the three Zobas. These teams are responsible for working with the NPMT and in partnership with local stakeholders to develop and implement interventions in the regions. Each team will comprise a regional coordinator, livestock experts and support staff. International team members will be assigned to support each of these local teams.

A National Steering Committee (NSC), chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, provides high-level project governance. The NSC meets four times a year and its main tasks are to ensure that project activities are aligned with national and regional research and development priorities; identify gaps in value chain research and development which may be filled within the project logic framework; create synergies with major government programs; review/make recommendations for the annual programme of work and budget.