Marketlinks Event

Engaging the Private Sector in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Environments: Lessons from Haiti and Eastern Congo

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Balancing the challenges and needs of private sector actors operating in fragile and conflict-affected environments with the humanitarian mandate is an area of creative tension and opportunity for developing context-sensitive, market-based approaches that are the cornerstone of lasting recovery and resilience for conflict-affected people. For development practitioners, effectively and sensitively navigating both those spaces and leveraging the synergies therein is key to developing mutually beneficial partnerships to achieve lasting, market-based development outcomes.

On Wednesday, October 27 at 9:00am EDT practitioners engaging in the Haiti and Eastern DRC contexts discussed the different interventions they apply in conflict and crisis-affected environments, as well as challenges they have encountered — including with infrastructure and technology, as well as balancing speed with sustainability — and the adjustments they have made engaging the private sector, particularly as part of humanitarian response and recovery. The webinar delivered insights into how development and humanitarian practitioners can work through these challenges for sustainable market-level outcomes.


Speakers

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Laura Meissner

Moderator: Laura Meissner
Senior Economic Recovery and Market Systems Technical Advisor
USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

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Sowmya Engaging the Private Sector

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy
Director of Partnerships and Sustainable Finance
Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF)

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Tad

Tad Lunden
Product Manager
Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)

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Valéry Namuto

Valéry Namuto
Program Manager
Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)


Biographies

Laura Meissner
Senior Economic Recovery and Market Systems Technical Advisor, USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

Laura Meissner is a senior Economic Recovery and Market Systems Technical Advisor seconded by the University of Arizona (UA) to support USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance through an agreement with the University of Arizona. She provides expert guidance on assessing, mitigating, and repairing the effects of disasters on local markets and vulnerable populations’ livelihoods; on market-based relief and recovery; and on cash and voucher assistance. She has supported emergency response and recovery across a wide variety of contexts, including the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, the Venezuela regional response, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. Prior to joining UA and USAID in 2010, Laura managed the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards initiative and led practitioner peer learning initiatives for microenterprise development and financial services at the SEEP Network. She holds a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University and an M.A. in international development from American University.

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy
Director of Partnerships and Sustainable Finance, Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF)

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy helps oversee the implementation of PADF’s programs in the Caribbean and has experience directing programs in entrepreneurship, workforce training, local governance, environmental sustainability, and disaster response. Krishnamoorthy is also a Practice Lead for Economic Opportunities, focusing on innovative financing, local enterprise development, public-private partnerships, supply and value-chain development, and promoting a market-based approach within PADF’s programming.

Prior to PADF, she worked for the Fortune Magazine Group supporting strategic development of the business brands at Time Inc. She also worked at the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund facilitating investments and enterprise development in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Krishnamoorthy has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hollins University and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

Tad Lunden
Product Manager, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)

Tad directs the design, development, and operation of ECI’s multiple services and products, which serve over 120,000 people every day. His passion for amplifying local voices and businesses in chronically fragile communities most clearly intersect in ECI’s Asili, where he leads the development of a social enterprise providing water and health facilities in eastern Congo.

Tad has been working in eastern Congo since 2014, when he joined Alight “for just a few months,” but the people he met stole his heart and made him fall in love with Congo. Everything from dancing in Kadutu to climbing Mbobo and countless bumpy rides with his amazing teammates has meant that even when Tad is far away, Congo is always with him.

Valéry Namuto
Program Manager, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)

Establishing and maintaining world-class services in eastern Congo is only possible because of the skill of more than 100 local experts in everything from epidemiology to agronomy to plumbing. At the center of all this technical complexity is Valéry, who manages every aspect of ECI’s field operations. Day to day, he coordinates the operation of the whole Asili enterprise, from counting cash at water points to negotiating rights-of-way with local kings and princes. With his gentle sense of humor, deep commitment to human dignity, and constant attention to detail, Valéry makes sure Asili services live up to the promise of our brand, every day. 

Beyond his work for ECI, Valéry is renowned throughout the DRC for his skill as a pianist and composer. He has been summoned him to Kinshasa to play for the President of the Congo. He lives and works in Bukavu, a city he loves for its culture and architecture.