Simel Esim

Simel Esim is Programme Manager (Senior Technical Specialist) at the Enterprises Department of the International Labour Office. In that capacity, she leads the ILO’s work on cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy. Earlier, she was Senior Gender Specialist at the Regional Office for Arab States, where she led the work on gender equality, transition from the informal to the formal economy, and decent work for domestic workers.

Before joining the ILO, Ms. Esim worked as an economist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), and the World Bank. She has written extensively on gender equality, decent work, migration, economic organizing, and the informal economy. Her recent works include a co-edited book, Cooperatives and the World of Work (2019 Routledge).

She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the American University, Washington, D.C, an M.A. in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. in Political Science from Boğaziçi University. Simel speaks Turkish and English, and has working knowledge of Italian, French and Arabic. She is a beginner in Spanish.

Charlie Bodwell

Charlie Bodwell, a father of four teenage boys, joined the COOP HQ team this November. Previously, as a specialist on enterprise development and entrepreneurship, he supported programmes and activities in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific while based in DWT Bangkok. Starting with the ILO in 2000, his work has centred on creating sustainable approaches for linking job creation and job quality, through support to large factories, business associations, national governments, and the informal economy. Before joining the ILO, he worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), where he was assistant to the Chief of Staff in the office of the Director-General, as well as at Schlumberger, Agfa-Bayer and IBM. He has completed degrees in engineering, business and international management, at Michigan State University, McGill University, and ESADE respectively, and conducted research on Intel Corp’s product development process while based at Cambridge University and Stanford.

Guy Tchami

Guy Tchami has been working for the ILO for the past sixteen years. He joined the organization in 2001 in its Cooperatives Unit in Geneva, mainly working on project formulation, project backstopping, research and publications, etc. Between 2008-11, he worked for a DFID-funded programme assisting cooperatives and other self-help groups in Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is currently based in Geneva as Cooperative Policy and Research Specialist working on development cooperation projects on cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy enterprises. He holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics. He speaks French, and English, and as well as has working knowledge of Spanish.

Dong Il Choi

Dong Il Choi has joined the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva in April 2021 as Cooperatives and Social & Solidarity Economy (SSE) Development Specialist. He is seconded to the ILO from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) of South Korea where he had worked for 15 years.

Mr Choi’s main focus at MOEF has been around budgeting and policy coordination. He worked at the Budget Office for six years on diverse national budget issues including welfare, employment and labour, research and development and social overhead capital (SOC) among others. He also worked at the Policy Coordination Bureau of MOEF, which includes a division on Cooperatives and Social Economy, for five years. Around 2012, he was in charge of the process of establishing and enacting 'the Framework Act on Cooperatives', through which he built an understanding on the value of cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy (SSE).

Mr Choi has a B.A. in Economics from Seoul National University (SNU) in addition to two master’s degrees: one in Engineering from SNU and another one in International Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy in Los Angeles, California.

He speaks English and Korean (native).

Andrea Davila

Andrea Davila joined the ILO in 2010 as technical officer on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Her main areas of work included research, design and implementation of development cooperation projects, and the provision of technical advice on non-Discrimination, Child Labour and Forced Labour in different regions. She joined the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit in 2018, where she works on the development of tools, training, and supports the Unit’s development cooperation activities. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Business from the Catholic University of Ecuador – Quito, and a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - Geneva. She speaks English, French and Spanish.

Valentina Verze

Valentina Verze  works at ILO as Technical Officer on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and decent work. She joined the Cooperatives Unit at the Enterprises Department of ILO in Geneva in 2018 and her main areas of work on SSE-related matters include: elaboration and implementation of research projects and reports; identification, design, technical backstopping of development cooperation projects; development of capacity building tools and strategies; and maintenance and enhancement of partnerships with ILO constituents and key partners in the field of SSE, decent work and inclusive and sustainable development. Ms Verze is also engaged in advancing the work of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE (UNTFSSE).

Between 2014 and 2018, Ms. Verze worked as a manager of international development cooperation projects in the Mediterranean and the Middle East regions focusing mainly on local economic development, support of SSE entities in local value chains, women’s empowerment and refugees’ rights.

She holds a Joint Master’s Degree in Social Economy from the University of Bologna in Italy and Reims Management School (RMS) in France. Valentina speaks Italian, English and French. She has working knowledge of Spanish.

Heejin Ahn

Heejin Ahn, joined ILO COOP in July as a Junior Technical Officer to support the project on Strengthening Social and Solidarity Economy Policy in Asia. Ms Ahn will work on a wide range of SSE-related issues, such as elaboration of reports, and publications related to the project, preparation for a conference and capacity building workshop, and activating the network with ILO’s partners in the field of SSE.

Prior to joining ILO COOP, she worked as a Junior Policy Analyst at the OECD contributing to publications and capacity building projects on the social economy, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Ms. Ahn holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute, Geneva in Switzerland. Her thesis focused on the role of producer coffee cooperative in empowering women producers in Machakos, Kenya.

Heejin speaks English, Korean and French, and has working knowledge of Spanish.

Gahhyun Uhm

Gahhyun Uhm joined the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva from February 2023 as a JPO in Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) statistics.

Prior to joining the ILO, Gahhyun worked as a research officer at the Export and Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) leading several Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) projects with Viet Nam, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan funded by the Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance (KMOEF). Gahhyun also has prior experiences working at country offices of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam and Turkey, focusing on project development, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), research and communications. In Turkey, she worked on livelihood related projects focusing on skills-building, entrepreneurship and SME development, and improving government employment services. Gahhyun has strength and interest in econometrics, impact evaluation, and evidence-based policy making. Using her knowledge and experiences, she hopes to contribute to developing better statistics on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE). Gahhyun holds a B.A. in Economics from Sookmyung Women’s University in Korea and a MSc in Development Studies (Specialism in Applied Development Economics) from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Susan Bvumbe

Susan Bvumbe is the Administrative Secretary of the Cooperatives Unit. Prior to joining the ILO in 2010, she worked for the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe for 8 years in the area of administration. She manages all administrative work and the website of the Unit. She speaks English, French and Shona.