The VCD team

Description de l'organisation | 1 septembre 2015

Merten Sievers, VCD and Entrepreneurship Coordinator
 Merten is the Value Chain Development and Entrepreneurship coordinator in ILOs Small and Medium Enterprises Unit. He holds a degree in Economic Geography (Hamburg and Madrid), and a Diploma in Development Management (Berlin). In his current position Merten is responsible for 3 teams in the SME unit that manage: (i) the Start and Improve your Business (SIYB) entrepreneurship and management training programme, (ii) ILO's work in Value Chain and Market Systems Development, including the lab, a project on Market Systems development for Decent Work, and (iii) ILO's work in Women’s Entrepreneurship Development, and Entrepreneurship Education, Know About Business (KAB). Combined, the teams backstop more than 70% of ILO's technical cooperation activities in the area of enterprise development with activities in more than 70 countries. Merten speaks English, Spanish and German and has good working knowledge of French, Portuguese and Italian.

Steve Hartrich, Technical Officer 

Steve coordinates the Lab project, leading technical research to support employment outcomes through better sector selection, market systems analysis, monitoring and results measurement, and project implementation. Prior to joining the Lab in Geneva, Steve worked for the ILO in Zambia both as a project implementer and results measurement officer for a youth in agribusiness market systems development programme. Before the ILO, Steve worked as a transportation planner/engineer, modelling and running economic analysis on long-term infrastructure plans and at various NGOs developing M&E and management systems.


Aatif Somji
, Technical Officer
Aatif is a Junior Technical Officer at the Lab. Prior to the ILO, he worked at PwC in London – specialising in international development consulting and programme management. His other work experiences include UNDP, CARE International and BRAC Uganda. Aatif holds a master’s degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute, Geneva – where he specialised in gender and labour market issues. His thesis explored unpaid care and domestic work as a significant barrier to female microenterprise development in Uganda. Aatif speaks English and French.

Elisa Mandelli
, Technical Officer 
Elisa is an anthropologist working as Technical Officer at the Lab. Before joining ILO she was Associate Programme Officer at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) working on land tenure issues and the linkages with targeting strategies and value chain development. Prior to IFAD, she worked for UNICEF Nicaragua on the implementation of innovative design methodologies for policy-making in indigenous regions and for the promotion of social-entrepreneurship for youth and women. She was also Principal Ethnographer for a public policy innovation firm (Policy Lab) in Colombia and Researcher for a responsible tourism initiative supported by ACRA in Ecuador. Elisa holds a master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). She speaks Spanish, French, Italian and English.

Ines Bentchikou,
Technical Officer
Ines is a Junior Technical Officer at the Lab. She obtained a dual-degree in Management and Global Business in France and Ireland, and holds a master’s degree in Emerging Markets and International Development from King’s College London. She is currently working on the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of projects related to value chain development with a focus on decent work. Previously, she worked in fundraising and communications at WWF and in the operations and impact assessment of a fashion project developed by the International Trade Centre (United Nations and World Trade Organisation). Ines speaks English, French and Arabic and has working knowledge of Italian and German.

Marlen de la Chaux, 
Technical Officer, Entrepreneurship and SME management Training​
Marlen is a Refugee Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Officer at the ILO, she coordinates the unit’s work on AIMS. She has over five years’ experience in refugee livelihoods and market systems development, working in and around refugee economies in Kenya and in urban Germany. Marlen previously worked for the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and for UNHCR. She holds a PhD and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, UK. Marlen speaks English, German, and French.

Fernando Martinez, 
Technical officer
Fernando works as a technical officer on the Approach to Inclusive Market Systems for refugees and host communities. He is a social and productive inclusion specialist with a focus on strong social dimensions, particularly around sustainable livelihoods, local participation, SME development, capacity building, governance, poverty-reduction, and equity building.
His main areas of expertise are livelihood and food security programme design and evaluation with a robust focus on the poor, internally displaced, refugees, ethnic groups and women.
He has had the opportunity of working in all areas of the development and humanitarian sector, though a hands-on approach, including, multilateral agencies, national government, NGO management, activism, consultancy and research, in four continents: Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Fernando holds an MSc in Social Development Practice by University College London (UCL).

Luana Ayala, 
Junior Technical Officer
Luana is a junior technical officer in SME Development, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation. She has hands-on experience working in Latin America with SME Development. She previously worked for the Argentine Ministry of the Treasury with international policy issues during the Argentine G20 Presidency and for the Secretariat of Finance designing and implementing public policies to promote and facilitate access for individuals and SMEs to financial services in Argentina. In the private sector she worked directly developing financial technology solutions for SMEs in Brazil. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil and a M.A. in Applied Economics from Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina.​  

Adriana Sierra Leal, 
Adriana is a Refugee Livelihoods and Women's Entrepreneurship Development Officer. She has experience working and conducting research in the areas of gender and development, climate change, and migration including with the ILO, IOM, WBCSD and WECAN International. She holds a M.A. in Sustainable Development from IHEID in Geneva and a B.A. Honours in International Development and Environment and Resource Studies from Trent University in Canada. She is a national from Honduras and is fluent in Spanish and English.​