Groupe URD is made up of a multidisciplinary team of about ten researcher/evaluators who travel to crisis contexts and who have expertise in fields such as agronomy, urban issues, international law, the environment, and quality. About ten other staff members are responsible for administrative and financial management, project coordination, partnerships, communication, translation, training, etc.
Véronique de GEOFFROY – Deputy Executive Director
Véronique de Geoffroy is Groupe URD’s Deputy General Director. She oversees the research, evaluation and training team (ten researchers and a broad network of external experts) in relation to the organisation’s strategic priorities. She also designs and carries out projects herself, particularly concerning the effectiveness of aid and the interaction between actors within the humanitarian system. Since 2012, she has coordinated the INSPIRE Consortium which provides DG ECHO with support in developing and disseminating its humanitarian policies. She has worked in the humanitarian sector for 25 years, having worked in the field in the 1990s, in Colombia, the Balkans and the Great Lakes region.
François GRÜNEWALD – Executive Director
François Grünewald is an Agricultural Engineer, specialised in Rural Economics, and a graduate of the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon. He has worked in the international aid sector for more than 35 years and became Groupe URD’s Executive Director in 1997 after working in different positions for the UN, the ICRC and NGOs. He oversees Groupe URD’s research activities and has carried out numerous evaluations of humanitarian and reconstruction programmes for donors, the ICRC, the UN and NGOs. He has also conducted numerous studies on disaster management. A former Associate Professor at Paris XII University, he has given lectures in numerous institutions in Europe, as well as Canada and the United States. He has written many articles and co-written several books, such as “Entre Urgence et Développement”; “Bénéficiaires ou partenaires: quels rôles pour les populations dans l’action humanitaire?”, published by Éditions Karthala.
Juliette HAÏM – Administrative and Financial Director
Trained as a manager, she has extensive experience in transport logistics and the management of small and medium-sized companies. After ten years as Groupe URD’s accounting administrator in support of the administrative and financial director, she is now Groupe URD’s administrative and financial director.
Hamada AG AHMED – Country Coordinator, Mali
Wandey (Hamada) Ag Ahmed is a graduate of the University of Paris 12 (Master in Humanitarian Management and Development Activities) and the Bioforce School in Lyon. For 20 years, he has been working with several organizations (French Red Cross, Solidarités, ACF, Save the Children, Oxfam among others) and most recently at SIF as regional manager for Africa based in Paris. After his first experiences in Central Africa, he held several positions as head of mission in the Sahel, with programmes focusing on resilience, health, nutrition and food security before joining Groupe URD in April 2019 as Country Coordinator in Mali. In particular, he is in charge of supporting the KEY programme financed by the European Union.
Tanto AG MOHAMED – Deputy Country Coordinator, Mali
Tanto holds a degree in economics and management from the University of Bamako and has been working with international NGOs since 2014. After starting in Malian refugee camps and host villages in Mauritania, including for Solidarités International and ACF-Spain, he then worked for the ICRC in Kidal, Mali. Since December 2018, he has been Groupe URD’s Deputy Country Coordinator in Mali and is pursuing his distance learning studies through a master’s degree in project cycle management and development policies.
Johanna BACHÉ – Researcher and evaluator
Johanna Baché has a Master’s degree in Geopolitics. She joined Groupe URD in 2012, developing training modules on humanitarian principles and law for aid organisations in Afghanistan. She then spent some time in Chad, conducting quantitative and qualitative studies on population movements in the Lake Chad region. Since then, she has been involved in studies and evaluations on cross-cutting issues (Sahel, Horn of Africa and Europe), with a particular focus on the issue of aid localisation.
Samantha BRANGEON – Researcher, evaluator, trainer – Environment Advisor
Samantha works on the relations between humanitarian aid and the environment, and particularly the environmental effects of humanitarian operations. She also facilitates the Humanitarian Environment Network which brings together organisations who want to integrate environmental considerations in their practices and programmes. Before joining Groupe URD in 2015, Samantha worked for 8 years in the aid sector in charge of programmes, both at HQ level (Save the Children and Christian Aid) and in the field (Sudan, Sri Lanka, DRC and Haiti).
Pierre BRUNET – Assistant Coordinator of INSPIRE’ Consortium
Pierre taught French as a foreign language, before studying humanitarian project management at the Institut Bioforce. Between 2006 and 2011, he coordinated Groupe URD’s training activities and took part in numerous activities related to publications and project proposals. Since January 2012, he has been working with the Director of Operations on a pluri-annual project to provide support to DG ECHO in terms of policy development and dissemination (within the INSPIRE Consortium, with two other European organisations: GPPi and IECAH).
Michael CARRIER – Researcher, evaluator, trainer – Quality and Accountability Advisor
Michael Carrier contributes to the humanitarian sector’s Quality and Accountability initiatives and accompanies organisations to help them adopt a continuous improvement approach. He has Masters Degrees in International Relations, Business Management and Organisational Quality Management. He has 15 years’ of experience working on improving the impact of aid on crisis-affected people and communities, having held a variety of operational, administrative and technical positions, both in the field and at HQ level. His work has focused specifically on programmes to reduce armed violence and to support people with disabilities. His working languages are French, English and Serbo-Croatian.
Paloma CASASECA – Regional referent adaptive management and learning – RESILAC Project
Graduated from Masters in Communication and Information, and International Relations, she worked in the private sector before entering the humanitarian sector in various crisis and post-crisis areas (Sahel, Haiti, Great Lakes). Interested in the quality of aid and operational issues as coordinator of interventions for various NGOs and UN agencies, she is supporting Groupe URD from N’Djamena on the RESILAC regional project implemented in the Lake Chad basin (Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon).
Florence CHATOT – Researcher, evaluator, trainer
Florence is a graduate of EHESS in Development Anthropology. After research on social water management in Niger and Burkina Faso, she worked as a researcher for the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS) and the Observatoire Français des Drogues et des Toxicomanies (OFDT) on HIV prevention among drug users. She has lived in Cambodia for more than ten years where she worked with NGOs specializing in child protection and health. She joined Groupe URD in June 2019 and is working on the integration of the socio-anthropological approach into the research and project evaluations carried out. She also supports the field teams in the implementation of the recommendations resulting from the research results.
Lisa DAOUD – Researcher, evaluator, trainer
A graduate of Science-Po Grenoble, Lisa Daou worked for humanitarian NGOs for 6 years both in complex crisis contexts (Ivory Coast, Sudan and Lebanon) and at headquarters. She helped operational staff to improve the quality of their projects (by analysing monitoring and data management systems) and accountability towards crisis-affected people. She joined Groupe URD in September 2018.
Charlotte HEWARD – Projects and partnership associate
Charlotte has a Masters degree in Geography, having specialised in development issues. She worked for a while in the field of distance-learning with French-speaking African countries and then took part in several humanitarian missions in Myanmar in connection with rehabilitation programmes. Charlotte has been working as an Executive Assistant at Groupe URD since February 2014, and as such is involved in preparing, monitoring and managing projects, and assisting the management in coordinating the team.
Anna LEAR – Training Coordinator
Anna graduated with a Masters in Humanitarian Aid Management and then worked as a Research Assistant on various projects, such as the Global Study on Consultation and Participation of Affected Populations in Humanitarian Action (Guinea case study). She is now coordinating the Training Division and is support translator for Groupe URD publications in English.
Cécile LE GRIX – Archivist
After a Master’s degree in English, Cécile became interested in the international aid sector when she studied at the Institut des Droits de l’Homme. She runs the Groupe URD Resource Centre and helps the researchers with documentary searches. She monitors new publications in the humanitarian sector, conducts thematic analyses and is responsible for disseminating and promoting Groupe URD’s publications. She represents Groupe URD within the Ritimo network.
Valérie LÉON – Researcher, evaluator, trainer
Valérie studied Economics and Politics, and worked for the ICRC in various crisis and post-crisis contexts (El Salvador, Kosovo, Colombia, Ethiopia, Georgia and Myanmar), specialising in Economic Security programmes. After a number of years supervising projects in Latin America for Médecins du Monde in Paris, she joined Groupe URD in 2012, where she focuses on cross-cutting themes, between relief and development.
Christophe MARFAING – Financial and administrative assistant
Holder, among other things, of a DUT in Business and Administration Management, he has consolidated this training through the various experiences of his professional and volunteer career. Under the direct responsibility of the Administrative and Financial Director, he ensures the accounting and administrative follow-up of the structure. Its general mission is to ensure the transparent and efficient management of Groupe URD’s resources.
Mari NOMOGO – Administrative and Financial Officer, Mali
Mari holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Faculty of Legal and Economic Sciences of Mali (FSJE). He then worked as an administrative and financial manager in the company Joachim Axel Milz, before joining the humanitarian community by working for six years for the NGO Acted in Mali. He joined Groupe URD in October 2018 as administrative and financial manager of the Mali office.
Alain OLIVE – Researcher, evaluator, trainer / Resilience and Food Security Advisor / Sahel Focal Point
Alain trained as an Agro-Environmental Engineer, and also has degrees in Political Science and Intercultural Psychology. He was involved in aid programmes in the Congo Basin before working for UNDP and WFP where he was in charge of climatic risk management and recovery programmes during the food crisis of 2012 in the Sahel when Malians began to be displaced throughout the sub-region. As a researcher, evaluator and trainer at Groupe URD, he approaches fragility from a holistic point of view, placing the human factor at the centre of systems, and is looking into ways to make resilience and the humanitarian-development nexus operational. He is the headquarters focal point for the RESILAC project and the Key Programme in Mali.
Étienne SUTHERLAND – Translator
Etienne Sutherland is an experienced English teacher and translator. He is involved in the production of all Groupe URD documents in English.
Jeanne TAISSON – Communication officer
Jeanne Taisson is responsible for Groupe URD’s external communication. She supervises everyday communication activities, the development of new materials and the organisation of events. She also contributes to specific communication for certain projects and coordinates the different service providers and partners involved in these. She is trilingual, has training in journalism and a Master’s degree in Humanitarian Management.