Ethiopia Field Office

Belen Mekonnen

Chief of Party, Learning Adaptation

Belen is a dedicated professional with over 20 years of experience in exemplary project leadership for development efforts, serving as a DCOP for three consecutive USAID and DFID-funded programs and managing large groups of diverse technical and operational teams. Before joining the Learning Project, she was a Deputy Team Leader and Engagement and Influence Lead for the Civil Society Support Program Phase II, which is a capacity development programme designed to support Ethiopia’s civil society and its contribution to the country’s national development, poverty reduction and advancement of good governance in line with the government’s policies and strategies. As a DCOP for the flagship Yekokeb Birhan for HVC Program and READ M&E Project, Belen was responsible for coordinating the efforts of the team to support over 50 implementing partners throughout the nation, ensuring the quality of the technical supports to the IPs and services for target groups while engaging with different stakeholders for the success and sustainability of the activities. She is recognized for her expertise in adaptive management, including in conditions of conflict and pandemic, KM, capacity building, insightful decision-making, team management, motivation ability, effective communication, delegation, and problem-solving skills. She brings robust experience in working to support women, children, and youth in Ethiopia, and her expertise is grounded in two Master’s degrees in Business Administration, Certified Leadership, and a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching.

Dr. Yitbarek Kidane Woldetensay

Developmental Evaluation Lead, Health/EYO, Learning Adaptation

Dr. Yitbarek Kidane Woldetensay brings 18 years of experience in project monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning in fields of international development, nutrition, and public health. For more than 10 years, he has been working for international development organizations including Tufts University, Save the Children International, Nutrition International, Big-Win Philanthropy, and Menschen fur Menschen Foundation evaluating USAID and DFID funded projects. He has extensive experience in qualitative and quantitative evaluation design, data collection tools design and validation, research team training, field supervision, data quality assurance, research partnership, and overall research project management. Dr. Woldetensay is currently serving as the Developmental Evaluator Lead on a 5-year Developmental Evaluation for USAID/Ethiopia’s disaster risk management portfolio where he leads a team of 3 other staff in the identification and management of contributing or new evaluative or data collection needs as they arise and supports opportunities to help clients use the collected data for better planning and decision-making. Prior to joining Headlight, Dr. Woldetensay provided both curative and preventive health services for more than four years in rural Ethiopia. He also has teaching experience at Jimma University where he served as the instructor for courses including Health Education, Health Promotion Models and Theories, and Qualitative Research Methods. Dr. Woldetensay holds a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Hohenheim University in Germany, a Master’s of Public Health in Health Education and Health Promotion from Jimma University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Dilla University in Ethiopia. 

Esrael Woldeeyesus

Developmental Evaluation Lead, Humanitarian Assistance, Learning Adaptation

Esrael has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and BA in Economics. He has more than 12 years of experience with extensive knowledge in Monitoring and Evaluation (formative, summative, and developmental evaluation methods), Resource Development, Grants Management, and Project Management. He has ample experience working with major donors (e.g., USAID, ECHO, EU, GAC, and Australian DFAT), Ethiopian government offices/ministries (e.g., EDRMC, RRS, and Ministry of Finance), and multilateral organizations (UN agencies, IGAD, and African Union). Before joining Headlight, Esrael was a Grants Manager at Lutheran World Federation, and he served in different capacities at Australian DFAT, World Vision, and Compassion International. Esrael designed, implemented, supervised, and evaluated several projects in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Central African Republic. Esrael is a skilled facilitator to support ideation and action on recommendations. Recently, he supported USAID/Ethiopia implementing partners, including Save the Children International and Global Communities, facilitating adaptation workshops and providing ongoing technical support. Since joining Headlight, Esrael has contributed to several studies and blogs, and he authored a facilitator’s guide on Adaptive Action Planning Workshops.

Alemitu Golda

Developmental Evaluation Lead, Policy LINK Ethiopia

Ms. Alemitu Golda’s expertise is in program design, implementation, and leading monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) strategies and activities. She has designed and coordinated a performance measurement system for a portfolio of country programs at an international NGO, conducted evaluations and country program reviews, and led Institutional Analysis, Gender Audit, and community-level Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA). Ms. Alemitu’s experience with international and national consulting firms includes work such as MEL advisory assignment for the World Bank Climate Smart Initiative (CSI II), Agricultural TVET College’s organizational Gender Audit assignment for Nuffic, Nl, and socioeconomic studies and evaluations for DFID, AUSAID, EU, and Irish Aid funded programs in Ethiopia. Ms. Alemitu is currently serving as the Developmental Evaluator Lead on Policy LINK’s Ethiopia activity, a Resilience and Food Security program that strengthens the leadership capacity of public, private, and civil society actors and fosters collective action among them to transform policy systems.

Ms. Alemitu has 16 years of experience in development and humanitarian programs in agrarian, pastoralist and urban settings across Ethiopia. She specialized in MEL and impact measurement for nine years at CARE and two years at Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation in Ethiopia. Ms. Alemitu has worked on programs that focus on Food, Nutrition and Income security, climate resilience and Climate Smart Agriculture, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH), Sexual Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (SRMCH), social transformation, women’s empowerment, youths’ skills development and employment, and local governance and peace.

Ms. Alemitu has worked on programs funded by a range of international Agencies, including USAID, UN Agencies, EU, DFID, GAC, Irish Aid, DF, ADA, SDC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CN. Hilton Foundation, H&M foundation, and others. She has a Master’s in Business Administration from Jimma University, Master’s in Management of Development, specialization in Rural Development and Gender from the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Science in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of the Arts in Business Management from Jima University, Ethiopia. Ms. Golda is an energetic and skilled facilitator, and an excellent communicator fluent in English, Amharic, and Wolaita languages.

Yohannes Mebrate

Developmental Evaluation Lead, ODG/Conflict, Learning Adaptation

Yohannes Mebrate is a qualitative research analyst with 6+ years of experience managing and executing research and knowledge management activities in various capacities in the context of National, International NGOs and Higher Academic Institutes settings. Yohannes has led, coordinated, and managed a wide array of national research undertakings involving both qualitative and quantitative for notable INGOs such as USAID, World Bank, SNV, and KOIKA in his capacity as a Researcher, Project Manager, and Qualitative Team Lead in various research organizations.

To highlight a few of the study topics which Yohannes has either directly executed or coordinated, here are few themes: Policy Research and Analysis, Conflict and Post-conflict Analysis, Gender, Resilience and Food Security, Livelihood and Resilience, Mobile Population, Child/Maternal Nutrition, Quality of Education, Elderly individuals, Female Genital Mutilation/HTPs, Refugees, and Migration. Yohannes’s experience is grounded with both a Master’s (LLM) and Bachelor’s degree (LLB) in Legal Studies around International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws, Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms from Jimma and Debre Berhan/Addis Ababa University.

Mengistu Arba Alemu

Developmental Evaluation Team Lead, Economic Growth and Resilience, Learning Adaptation

Mengistu Arba Alemu is a development and humanitarian expert and leader with nearly 20 years of experience focused on leading, managing, monitoring, evaluating and technically supporting programs and projects in Ethiopia and the Middle East. He has expertise in the design and management of strategic plans, development as well as emergency programs/projects. He has skills in program cycle management, participatory rural appraisal, result based management (RBM), participatory monitoring, evaluation and learning and nexus approaches (especially emergency – development – peace nexus). Sectorially, his focus areas include livelihood, resilience building, climate smart agriculture, nutrition sensitive programming and health, multi-purpose cash transfers and markets, disaster risk reduction and early warning early action approaches.

Recently he led and involved in the design/development of Result based Management M&E system and tools, the digitalization of ME systems using different digital data gathering applications, supported the monitoring of programs and projects, the baseline, midline and end line surveys and final evaluations. He also facilitated and managed learning review sessions, case studies and best practices with different stakeholders. From a program management perspective, he led and took part in the design and implementation of livelihood graduation programs, integrated development programs, multi-sectoral resilience projects , food security and nutrition enhancement projects and many emergency projects. He has skills in team management, resource/grant management, donor relations and communication.

He worked with different international NGOs including Un Ponte Per ( as Head of Mission in North East Syria) and in Concern Worldwide (as program Coordinator, Livelihood and Food Security Program Manager, Integrated Development Program manager, Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Officer in Ethiopia). He has also the experience of working in different national CSOs and government offices in Ethiopia. He worked with donors such as ECHO, USAID, BHA, UN agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, UNOCHA), KOICA, IRISH AID, GAC, AICS, CDCS, GIZ, FCDO and many others.

He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Rural Development, Bachelor’s degree in Geography and is currently pursuing his studies in Economics. He speaks English, Amharic (Native) and Wolaitta (Native) languages.

Endashaw Asfaw Beshir

Developmental Evaluation (DE) Team Member, Resilience, Learning Adaptation

Endashaw Asfaw Beshir is a monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialist with 8 years of experience. His expertise is in context and stakeholder analysis, monitoring and evaluation, livelihoods and food security, environmental protection, early warning and disaster mitigation, and community mobilization. He is also well experienced in project design, proposal and concept paper development, operational planning and reporting, gathering learnings, facilitating adaptation, organizing multi-stakeholder platforms, and developing tool and data collection methods for qualitative evaluations. His career started by working in private companies on quality control. Before joining Headlight Consulting Services, LLP, he worked at World Vision Ethiopia in different positions as an international humanitarian practitioner, in particular on the USAID-funded consortium activity, SPIR-DFSA II, as a MEAL Officer. Now at Headlight, he is a core team member conducting a Developmental Evaluation on the USAID Mission’s work to strengthen disaster risk management systems and institutions. Mr. Beshir is currently engaged in Learning Review development through organizing an evidence catalog and qualitative analysis to support data-driven decision-making for clients. He has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Protection from Hohenheim University in Germany, and he speaks fluent Amharic and English.