Our Team

Deman Abdi Yusuf, Regional Research Specialist

25925_106789646007022_8339035_nDeman is a PhD student at the University of Dodoma where she specializes in Medical Anthropology and also serves as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Sociology. Prior to joining the ACAI team, Deman partnered with the Swiss Tropical Health Institute on the Health Promotion System Strengthening Project. Her ongoing thesis topic for her PhD is titled: “The Social Cultural Aspects of Antibiotics use: A Comparative Study of the Maasai and Iraqw of Northern Tanzania.” She has conducted extensive field research on HIV/AIDS, community and human development and female initiation practices.

Sydney Bergen, U.S. Director of Finance Operations

 Sydney has a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a focus in African development, in which she collaborated with several international organizations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, OPEC and Chatham House.  She has contributed material in development for the University of Colorado’s Conflict Information Consortium. Prior to this she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Colorado. Sydney resides in Denver, Colorado and volunteers regularly at a local refugee community center.

Dr. Bonus Caesar (M.D.), Deputy Program Director and Director of Medical Initiatives


Dr. Caesar graduated from Muhimbili University of Health and Applied Sciences (MUHAS). Following graduation he worked at the university hospital in the HIV clinic. He has participated in a number of medical research projects including MUHAS – Harvard Collaborative Research Programs. Prior to that, Bonus had been contracted by the U.S based organization called Helen Keller International, in 2010, to supervisor a team of surveyors in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, to assess the effectiveness of their vitamin supplies and their capacity to reach the end users. Prior to joining ACA Initiative, Dr Caesar was working at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital in the department of Internal Medicine.

Daniel Donovan, Program Director

DinkoAs a management trainer and consultant, Dan has spent many years as a project manager, managing multi-million dollar budgets for large clients, as well as training managers and instilling systems to improve efficiency and performance in a variety of industries. Dan graduated with a Master’s degree in International Relations with a focus on conflict resolution and Development in East and Central Africa from Webster University’s Global Program. Dan’s articles and research on African conflict and development have been published in US News and World Report, Foreign Policy, Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor, Consultancy Africa Intelligence and the Journal of International Relations and Affairs. He has also been an expert panelist on Africa Today and SAfm.

Chinwendu U. Erondu, Regional Media and Fundraising Coordinator

u picChinwendu U. Erondu holds Master’s degree in Global International Relations. She possesses a strong interest for improving human rights and sustainable development within the developing world, particularly in Africa. Chinwendu has worked and volunteered for several renowned INGOs including Care International, Rotary International, and International Red Cross Red Crescent. She currently resides in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri where she volunteers at the International Institute of St. Louis and helps immigrants prepare for their citizenship exams.

Chris Jalinsky, Director of Design and Media Development

Chris JalinskyChris has spent the greater portion of the Digital Age studying the development methods of visual, audio, and internet-based communication. An artist at heart, he is fascinated by the structural freedom of design practice therein and awestruck by the beauty of emerging technological innovation. The dreamer at heart hopes to lend imagination and creative thought toward positive change.

Jennifer Koch, Chair of Board of Advisers

jennifer-headshot-327px-316pxJennifer Koch is the Executive Director of the Colorado Democratic Party. Prior to working for the CDP, Jennifer worked with several U.S. politicians and political organizations including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Congressman Glenn Nye and the Tidewater PAC. In 2007 she also worked for Obama For America as the Northeast Deputy Political Director. Following the election of President Barack Obama, Jennifer served as the Deputy White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington DC. Jennifer holds a Master’s degree from Webster University’s Global International Relations Program and a Bachelors degree from Michigan State University in Communications Arts and Sciences with a specialization in Public Relations and Political Philosophy.

Elliott Levett, Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager

Levett2012Elliott is a recent graduate from Colorado College, with a BA in International Political Economy and a minor in African Studies. He spent a semester in Rwanda studying the genocide. He is also spent time volunteering for the Refugee Assistance Program at Lutheran Family Services in Colorado Springs. Prior to working for ACAI, Elliott managed social media for Colorado Force Women’s Professional Soccer Team. Elliott played three years of soccer at Colorado College.


Victor Mwenda Mutai, Tanzanian Finance Director

VictorVictor has worked as a consultant with PricewaterhouseCooper, Kenya where he held a leading role in a number of projects including an audit on World Bank sponsored water projects, a comprehensive review on the status of the Kenyan government’s records of assets in various ministries, departments and parastatals. Other assignments covered recruitment of directors/senior staff for newly formed parastatals for the Government of Kenya. Victor has also had operational management experience, having worked in a senior role with an investment holding company with interests covering import clearing and forwarding; transport and distribution; and sales and marketing. Victor holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Finance from Makerere University, Uganda with certificates in Project Planning and Management as well as Customer Care.

Jeffrey T. Smith, Vice Chair, Board of Advisers

CO_0936_Smith_JeffreyT.1Jeffrey is a life-long Colorado native that attended the University of Northern Colorado and Doane College. He spent that last 14 years as a Financial Advisor and has recently added property and auto insurance products from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. He is happily married to his high-school sweetheart Cheri. Together they are proud parents of three children, Danielle, Chantelle, and little Miss Kayliana. Jeff is a strong community leader for various children’s based charitable causes. Before joining the ACA Initiative, he has led fundraising campaigns and volunteer efforts for Denver Children’s Home, Helping Hands For Freedom, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Emmanuel Tayari, Legal and Risk Strategy Director

EmmanuelEmmanuel Tayari is a strategic leader with a strong delivery track record in both the private and public sectors, as well as in international and non-governmental organizations. He has previously worked in a pensions and investment company at Lloyds Banking Group and is currently working as a Regulatory Risk & Quality Officer at the Care Quality Commission. He is also an editor for the North East Law Review and the Editor in Chief for The Continent Observer, where he brings extensive experience in communications, stakeholder engagement, client relations, and strategic planning. Emmanuel holds a BA (Hons) Business and Finance from Sunderland University, UK and a Master of Laws (LL.M.), International Business Law with specialization in Public Private Partnership from Newcastle University-Law School.