our team

The Aquaya team delivers research excellence, practical experience, and local knowledge.

Ranjiv Khush

Ranjiv Khush

co-founder and executive director

Ranjiv guides Aquaya’s development as a leading research and consulting organization dedicated to effective water quality management in developing countries. Ranjiv brings a science and technology-focused approach to Aquaya that builds on extensive basic research and policy experience. Ranjiv co-founded Aquaya in 2005 following a Fellowship with the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. Previously he was a research scientist at Stanford University and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France.

Ranjiv holds a PhD degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and MS and BS degrees from the University of California, Davis.

Rachel Peletz

Rachel Peletz

Director of Research & Programs

Rachel leads Aquaya’s research portfolio and supervises the Research and Programs team. She has over 10 years of experience in the WASH sector collaborating with partners in over 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Rachel joined Aquaya in 2012 and led the team in Nairobi, Kenya for five years prior to returning to the USA. Previously, Rachel was a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an International Technical Advisor for the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) in Canada.

Rachel holds a PhD degree from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, a Masters of Engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BS degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jeff Albert

Jeff Albert


In September 2016 Jeff returned to Aquaya’s management team as the Deputy Chief-of-Party for the USAID-funded WASHPaLS project. From January 2015 to August 2016 Jeff was the Vice President for WASH Programs at Thrive Networks/East Meets West, where he oversaw $20M+ in WASH programming. His 15+ years of experience in water also include water reclamation and efficiency in irrigated agriculture and hydrologic cycle aspects of climate change. In addition to his time at Aquaya from 2005 to 2013, Jeff also worked on the evaluation of a $200M US-funded water/wastewater program in the Kingdom of Jordan. In 2004-05, he was a AAAS Science and Technology Fellow at the Office of the Global Change Research Program the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he was awarded a Bronze Medal for his work on drinking water in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. From 2002 to 2004, he held a joint faculty appointment with the Center for Environmental Studies and the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University. He was also a Visiting Scholar at Brown’s Watson Institute of International Studies during that time.

Jeff holds a PhD from Yale University and a AB degree with honors from Brown University.

Caroline Delaire

Caroline Delaire

Director of Technology & Innovation

Caroline analyzes policies and approaches for water safety management and sanitation, and has coordinated research projects in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Haiti. Her work also includes applications of data science to water and sanitation as well as technology evaluations. Previously, Caroline was a doctoral student at UC Berkeley where she studied how to improve access to safe water in West Bengal, India. Specifically, she investigated a low-cost technology to remove arsenic and bacteria from groundwater, and analyzed drivers of household behavior change in rural communities. She did her civil service in a non-profit assisting asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in Paris.

Caroline has a PhD and a MS degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Engineering Diploma (BS and MS level) from the Ecole Polytechnique in France.

Morris Mwangi

Morris Mwangi

Deputy Director of Finance

Morris manages all of Aquaya’s finances, encompassing accounting, compliance, budgeting, financial reporting and analysis. Prior to Aquaya, Morris hailed from the manufacturing sector working in administration and finance & accounting departments for over 10 years. Most recently he worked at Skanem Interlabels Nairobi Ltd. where he served as a financial controller.

Morris is a Certified Public Accountant in Kenya, he attended the Catholic University of Eastern Africa where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is currently pursuing his MBA on a part-time basis at Kenyatta University.

Tari Lewis

Tari Lewis


Tari overseas financial plans, policies and reporting, human resources and treasury management. Prior to working for Aquaya, she was the chief financial officer of the National Police Foundation in Washington D.C. She also worked in tax in public accounting for a top four accounting firm consulting with for profit and nonprofit organizations in connection with tax research, reporting, and transaction planning. She led numerous training sessions in the area of nonprofit taxation. Publications include tax newsletters, articles and IRS private letter rulings. She is currently studying disruptive and innovative technologies for finance, enterprise and social use cases.

Tari is a certified public accountant and has a BS degree from The Ohio State University.

Alicea Easthope-Frazer

Alicea Easthope-Frazer


Alicea manages operational activities for Aquaya, including: human resources, travel and safety, IT, and general dissemination. In addition, she supports Aquaya’s fellowship program, AquayaLEARN. Alicea was previously based in the Nairobi office, assisting with research field team management and technology support with phone data collection and mapping. Prior to working for Aquaya, she was focused on chemical water quality in Southeast Asia, studying arsenic and other heavy metal levels in Cambodia and China. Her experience in the Peace Corps in El Salvador contributes to her excitement of working with under-served populations.

Alicea holds a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Earth System Science from Stanford University and a BA degree in Environmental Chemistry from Skidmore College.

John Trimmer

John Trimmer


John concentrates on developing and supporting Aquaya’s research programs related to sanitation outcomes, economics, and markets in urban and rural areas. He also contributes to research related to safe water management and WASH data science. Previously, John was a postdoctoral research associate and doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied global possibilities associated with resource recovery from sanitation, with particular focus on sustainability and suitability in resource-limited contexts such as informal settlements in Kampala, Uganda. John also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, helping to develop water, sanitation, and school infrastructure programs with Brick by Brick Uganda.

John has a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida, and a BS in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Bucknell University.

Chloé Poulin

Chloé Poulin

Senior Research & Program Manager

Chloé is working on data analysis and research to improve microbiological water quality. In addition, she is investigating new technologies and models which can be developed in Africa to improve water quality and water quality monitoring. Previously she was a doctoral student at Aix Marseille University where she worked on historical and current groundwater recharge in Lake Chad Basin, and interactions between surface water and groundwater.

Chloé has a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Aix Marseille University and a Master’s degree in Hydrogeology and Bachelor’s degree in Geosciences from the University of Montpellier.

Jessica Tribbe

Jessica Tribbe


Jessica works on research and programs to strengthen implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions. She is interested in delivering more context-specific, community-focused policy solutions, and understanding how technology and innovation can drive access to water and sanitation for all.

Prior to joining Aquaya, Jessica was on UNICEF’s Product Innovation team, where she worked with private sector partners on new and improved products for UNICEF’s WASH programs, including improved sanitation solutions for people with disabilities in humanitarian settings, and user-friendly products to support water quality monitoring by communities and local governments. She has also worked on national-level political campaigns in the U.S., women’s rights and mHealth projects in India, and systems strengthening for Malawi’s agriculture sector.

Jessica has a BA in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a Masters of Public Affairs from Sciences Po in Paris, France.

Katherine Marshall

Katherine Marshall

Research & Program Manager

Katherine supports Aquaya’s water quality monitoring and safe water management research by helping to manage program activities in Uganda. Prior to joining Aquaya, she worked on water supply projects with a focus on groundwater development and point source infrastructure. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, she helped to assess and improve non-piped water supply access in urban and rural communities of Northern Uganda. Additionally, as a Master’s student, she evaluated a low-cost technology (handpump) appropriate for accessing shallow groundwater.

Katherine has a MS degree in Engineering Science (Environmental Engineering concentration) from the University of South Florida and a BS degree in Geology from the College of Charleston.

Kara Stuart

Kara Stuart

Research & Program Manager

Kara works on data analysis and research across many of Aquaya’s ongoing projects. Prior to working with Aquaya, she gained experience with both centralized and decentralized wastewater treatment, working with a California wastewater treatment plant, and conducting research on various onsite waste treatment systems. Kara also has experience managing projects for disadvantaged communities in California with impaired domestic water supplies, and monitoring and reporting of farmers’ domestic and irrigation wells to State regulators.

Kara holds a MS degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis with an emphasis in water and wastewater treatment, and a BA degree in Environmental Studies and Earth Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Joyce Kisiangani

Senior Research & Program Officer

Joyce focuses on strengthening Aquaya’s qualitative research on water quality monitoring and management. She also contributes to quantitative research and project implementation. Previously, Joyce was a research fellow through the School for Field Studies, Boston University where she studied the health impact of the Kenyan Community Health Strategy. She has also worked as a researcher under Funzo Kenya, a USAID funded program.

Joyce holds an MPH degree from Moi University and a BSc. degree in Microbiology from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya.

Jessie Press-Williams

Jessie Press-Williams


Jessie supports Aquaya’s program execution, research, and development across the Monitoring for Safe Water activities in Ghana. She also assists development of Aquaya’s Technology and Innovation practice line to evaluate innovations and emerging service delivery models for water and sanitation improvement in low-resource settings. Previously, Jessie worked as an Engineer and Project Manager for BURN Manufacturing, leading development of innovative clean cooking products in Kenya. She also worked as an Associate with IDinsight in Zambia, where she conducted research and provided advisory and consulting services to social sector practitioners, NGOs, and governments.

Jessie has a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a focus on development economics and appropriate technologies for developing countries.

Vanessa Guenther

Vanessa Günther


Vanessa manages communication strategies for Aquaya, including science dissemination, social media, design, and website development. She is interested in the effects of climate change on water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Strategic communication is crucial in solving environmental problems. Vanessa wants to train research professionals to communicate more effectively and use dissemination to enhance social justice & diversity.

Vanessa has a BA in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Edinah Samuel

Edinah Samuel

Senior Research Assistant

Edinah supports the research programs through both qualitative and quantitative data collection, desk reviews, data management, and data analysis. Edinah started at Aquaya as an AquayaLEARN fellow in 2018. Prior to joining Aquaya, Edinah was a Research Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) under the Eawag Partnership Program for Developing Countries. Her master thesis is contributing to the Eawag Environmental Social Sciences Department as part of the Sustainability Transitions of Sanitation Regimes in Urban Africa (SuSARA project) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Edinah is currently finalizing her Master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Management at Kenyatta University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Egerton University.

Bashiru Yachori

Bashiru Yachori


Bashiru supports Aquaya’s Monitoring for Safe Water (MfSW) research by helping to manage program activities in Ghana. Prior to joining Aquaya, he worked on various projects with a focus on water quality monitoring and water safety management. As a District Water and Sanitation Team leader with Mion District Assembly in the northern region of Ghana, Bashiru strove to engage the private sector in providing clean water to residents. Bashiru also trained Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs) on the operation, revenue generation and maintenance of water facilities. In the past, Bashiru has worked with women to found chlorinating businesses to provide affordable, clean water in communities.

Bashiru holds an MPhil degree in Development Planning and Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Community Development from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.

John Orapa

John Orapa


John supports all accounting activities in our Nairobi office, including full preparation, entry and management of all bills, checks, invoices and advances. He also assists in ensuring timely preparation of Aquaya’s financial reports. Prior to joining Aquaya, John was a Financial Trainer with Africa (YES) Young Entrepreneurs Support, training social entrepreneurs in setting up sound financial systems. He also worked as a Consultant with several donor funded projects including USAID and DSW. John contributes articles to The Accountant Journal of Kenya on corporate governance and other emerging issues in the financial sector.

John is a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya and a member of The Institute of Certified Public Accountant of Kenya. He holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration from United States International University (Africa).

Matteus Van Der Velden

Matteus Van Der Velden | Affiliated Expert

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Consultant

Matteus joined Aquaya in 2021 where he coordinates an assessment looking into long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on water, sanitation and hygiene access and behavior in multiple countries as part of Aquaya’s WASHPals engagement funded by USAID. 

Prior to joining Aquaya, Matteus worked for six years with the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), initially as a Senior Program Officer for the Global Sanitation Fund and later as the Regional Manager for Asia. At WSSCC he oversaw development and implementation of a USD 35m grant portfolio of sanitation and hygiene programs and coordinated technical support for sector systems strengthening and advocacy initiatives in a number of countries across Asia and Africa. Between 2005 and 2014 Matteus worked as a WASH Specialist for UNICEF in Mozambique and Nepal on the implementation of large WASH service delivery and capacity building programs. Prior to working with UNICEF Matteus led a feasibility study on low-cost membrane filtration technology for household settings in Myanmar, and worked for various projects on natural resource management and rural development in Latin America.

Matteus holds a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Sciences & Policy from Central European University and a Masters of Science degree in Biology from Utrecht University, with a focus on natural resources management.

Valentina Zuin | Affiliated Expert

Valentina Zuin | Affiliated Expert


Valentina is interested in improving water and sanitation services for the urban poor. Her research and work experience cover institutional development, policy development, evaluation, and project management, with a particular focus on informal sector provision, water regulation, and institutional models of service delivery for the poor. She has been involved in redefinition of institutional arrangements in the water and sanitation sector in Mozambique.

Valentina is an academic collaborator with Aquaya and is currently also working as a Post-doctoral Fellow at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Valentina has worked in Latin America (Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru), Sub-Saharan Africa (Mozambique, Angola, Benin, and Ghana), and South Asia (India). Valentina’s experience includes working with the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank in Maputo, Mozambique, and as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Ashoka University in New Delhi.

Valentina has a PhD from the Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, a Master’s in International Development and Regional Planning from MIT, and an undergraduate degree in Public Management and International Relations from Bocconi University, in Italy.

Salim Haji | Affiliated Expert

Salim Haji | Affiliated Expert


Since March 2005, Salim has been an independent management consultant. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, he was Senior Vice President of Strategy at MacDermid, a ~$700M global specialty chemical company based in Denver, CO. Prior to joining MacDermid in 2003, Salim was a Vice-President and Partner at Oliver Wyman (formerly SPA), a leading strategy consultancy with over 2, 500 consultants in 40 offices around the world. In 2007 Salim also founded Distributors Solutions LLC (“DSI”) to serve as a co-op purchasing organization for the ~500 independently owned and operated distributors of MillerCoors brands around the country. Between his time at Oliver Wyman and MacDermid, Salim spent a year as a Visiting Fulbright Professor at a business school in Tanzania (East Africa), where he lectured on Corporate Strategy and Economics.

Salim holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA degree, magna cum laude, in Economics and Development Studies from Brown University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Our board of directors

Ian E. Warburg, Chair

Independent Consultant

Ian Warburg is an experienced executive, investor, advisor, and board director with broad ranging experience in a variety of industries including retail, hospitality, sales promotion & loyalty marketing, real estate, and more. Ian currently advises individuals, companies, and not-for-profit organizations including GS America, Inc, RMZ Development, Jump Start Revolution, and The Aquaya Institute. Ian’s community endeavors include more than two decades of dedication to the Hole in The Wall Gang Camp, more than seven years as a board director with The Aquaya Institute, and nearly a decade of service with the American Friends of the Hebrew University, where he was co-founder and chairman of the President’s Council. Ian holds a Masters of Science in Organizational Development from American University and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University in International Politics and Economics.

Mike Freedman, Vice Chair

President at MAF Management, LTD

Mike is a seasoned entrepreneur, having successfully founded, grown and exited from 10 companies in Asia, the United States and Europe over the past 25 years. Mike started his career as an investment banker, initially with the First Boston Corporation in New York and Tokyo, and latterly with Wasserstein Perella & Co.

Mike is a 1983 cum laude graduate of Harvard College in East Asian Studies, and is fluent in Japanese. In addition to his Harvard degree, Mike spent one year studying as an exchange student at Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan, and is a graduate of Middlebury College’s renowned summer Japanese language institute.

In addition to Aquaya, Mike currently sits on the Board of Directors of Edifice Managed Access, Ltd, a real estate commercialization company based in London; New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA), one of the longest serving organizations in the country which develops innovative programs for the autism community; and Cheshire Academy, the sixth oldest college preparatory school in the United States.

Zorba Lieberman, Treasurer

Multi-organization investor, advisor, and board member

Zorba Lieberman is an investor, advisor, and board member with various information-based companies serving the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Mr. Lieberman was founder and CEO of Citeline Inc., the leading provider of global clinical trial intelligence to the pharmaceutical industry. In the mid-1990’s, he cofounded and built Citizen 1 Software, which pioneered the effort to organize and mine business-relevant information from the Internet. Previously, Mr. Lieberman was in strategic and new product planning at both Genentech and Eli Lilly, and was a management consultant at The Wilkerson Group. Mr. Lieberman holds BA and MBA degrees from Cornell University, as well as a Masters in international finance from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.

Dr. Robert Herdt, Secretary

Adjunct International Professor of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

Bob is currently Adjunct International Professor of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. For 17 years, he was on the staff of the Rockefeller Foundation in New York as Program Director in charge of the Foundation’s work on Agriculture and most recently as Vice President responsible for the Foundation’s budget and for oversight of its agricultural, health, and overseas programs. He earlier served as Scientific Advisor to the CGIAR Secretariat at the World Bank in Washington from 1983-1986 and for 10 years before that was Economist at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Philippines. Bob sits on the Boards of two other non-profits dedicated to improving well-being in the developing world: The Asia Rice Foundation, USA, and Market Matters, Inc. He received his PhD at the University of Minnesota in Agricultural Economics after obtaining his Undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Cornell. Bob is a “solar geek” having invested in solar PV and solar hot water, and enjoys hiking, gardening and other outdoor activities like cutting and hauling firewood to feed his woodstove.

Dr. Christina Babbitt

Senior Manager, CA Groundwater Program at Environmental Defense Fund

Christina Babbitt manages the California Groundwater Program at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) where she is working to advance successful implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, California’s landmark new groundwater management law. In this role, Christina is leading efforts to improve water trading policy in California and scale replicable groundwater sustainability projects across California’s Central Valley. Prior to joining EDF, Christina held positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center in Oakland, California, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water in Washington, D.C. Christina’s past research has focused on water resources governance in stressed watersheds across western U.S., Europe, and eastern Africa. She holds a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, an MSc in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems from Florida International University, and a BA in International Relations from Rollins College.

David Rich

Executive Director, Supportive Housing WORKS

David has twenty years experience creating and building market-based solutions to alleviating poverty in North & Central America, Africa and Asia. David grew up in the Middle East and South Asia and received degrees from Yale, Southern Connecticut State University and the Kellogg School of Management. David is the former Country Director of IDE in India where he was responsible for developing and marketing low-cost appropriate technologies to over 250, 000 rural households throughout the country.

Desmond FitzGerald

Chairman of the Board, North American Properties Group

Desmond is a Graduate of Harvard College and has an M.A, from Columbia University. He is Chairman of the Board of North American Properties Group and US Guaranteed Finance Corporation, Board Director of Hilliard Farber & Co, Williams Capital Management and Holland Balanced Fund Inc, Advisory Director of Putnam Trust Company, Trustee of the Children’s Aid Society, and a Member of Harvard University Art Museums Visiting Committee.

Dr. Len Finocchio

Principal Consultant, Blue Sky Consulting Group

Len Finocchio, DrPH is Principal Consultant at Blue Sky Consulting Group, a public policy and economics consulting firm specializing in strategic and analytical services for public, not-for-profit, and private sector clients. Len is a senior leader in health policy with extensive experience in health care reform, Medicaid administration, philanthropy, health services research, and advocacy. Most recently, he was on the executive team implementing the Affordable Care Act at California’s Medicaid agency. He has provided strategic and effective leadership across government, non-profit, academic and philanthropic organizations whose goals are to serve vulnerable populations in the safety net. He received his Doctor of Public Health degree in Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Lisa Ozaeta

Assistant Professor, University of Southern California – Sol Price School of Public Policy

Stephanie Hastings

Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Stephanie Hastings has played a leading role in several of California’s most complex and precedent-setting water matters. With 20 years of specialized expertise in water law, Stephanie brings a wealth of experience to the acquisition, maintenance, protection and management of water resources and water rights. Her practice spans every aspect of California and national water law. She represents the interests of all water users—wholesale and retail water providers, public and private corporations, government enterprises, investment funds and banks, large landowners, land developers and home builders, ski resorts and golf courses, traditional and renewable energy developers, high tech industries, agriculture and vineyards — in both transactional and litigation matters. Stephanie is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the California H2O Women Conference.

Dr. Steven Choi

Chief Quality Officer & Associate Dean for Clinical Quality, Yale Medicine/Yale University School of Medicine

Steven Choi, MD, is the inaugural Chief Quality Officer for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System. He is responsible for developing and executing a single, unified strategy to deliver the highest quality and safest care across all inpatient and ambulatory clinical practice sites for Yale New Haven Health System and Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Choi spent the first two decades of his career caring for critically ill children, serving as the medical director of several pediatric cardiac intensive care units, before transitioning to health care quality leadership. Dr. Choi has trained over 200 healthcare quality leaders; many of whom have become chief quality officers and directors at other academic institutions.

Dr. Jeff Albert

ex officio, Co-founder, The Aquaya Institute

Jeff has worked in the water field for 15 years, on issues that include water reclamation and efficiency in irrigated agriculture, hydrologic cycle aspects of climate change, water treatment in low-resource settings, and the uptake of household water treatment. Jeff co-founded Aquaya in 2005 following a Fellowship with the Office of the Global Change Research Program the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he was awarded a Bronze Medal for his work on drinking water in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. From 2002 to 2004, he held a joint faculty appointment with the Center for Environmental Studies and the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University. He was also a Visiting Scholar at Brown’s Watson Institute of International Studies during that time.

Jeff holds a PhD degree from Yale University and a BS degree from Brown University.

Dr. Ranjiv Khush

ex officio, Co-founder, The Aquaya Institute

As Executive Director, Ranjiv guides Aquaya’s development as a leading research and consulting organization dedicated to effective water quality management in developing countries. Ranjiv brings a science and technology focused approach to Aquaya that builds on extensive basic research and policy experience. Ranjiv co-founded Aquaya in 2005 following a Fellowship with the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. Previously he was a research scientist at Stanford University and the Centre National de Recherché Scientifique in Paris, France.

Ranjiv holds a PhD degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and MS and BS degrees from the University of California, Davis.

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