About Us

Who We Are 

The U.S. Global Development Lab (Lab) and the Bureau for Food Security (BFS) are collaborating in an effort called “Digital Development for Feed the Future” (D2FTF) to demonstrate how leveraging digital tools holistically and according to best practices can improve the cost effectiveness and development results of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative.

Digital Development for Feed the Future is focused on four categories of digital tools, based on evidence on their impact: (1) precision agriculture (including sensor technology), (2) digital financial services, (3) data-driven agriculture, and (4) ICT-enabled extension. Digital Development for Feed the Future is scaling the use of these tools through various methods of engagement including: technical assistance to Feed the Future programs, capacity building for Feed the Future teams, and through strengthening the knowledge base on best practices. We invite you to learn more about our work or contact us with any questions. 


Our Team

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Chris Burns, Director, Center for Digital Development
In his eight years with the agency he has spearheaded a number of public-private partnerships including the Digital Impact Alliance, the GSMA Connected Women Program, and the Alliance for Affordable Internet. All told, he has 20 years of international development experience, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, including nearly 10 years with the Peace Corps in a variety of technical and supervisory capacities. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international development and environmental management from St. Lawrence University and a master’s in development management from American University.

 

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Sabeen Dhanani, Digital Development for Feed the Future Team Lead
Sabeen V. Dhanani has over a decade's worth of experience in the public, private, and development sectors. Prior to joining USAID, Sabeen was a strategy consultant with both the Innovation Lab and the Special Economic Zones Group at the World Bank. From 2008 to 2012, Sabeen was a Senior Strategy Consultant with the Monitor Group (now Monitor Deloitte), based in Dubai, where she advised government and private sector clients across the Middle East and Africa on policy, business strategy, organizational development, competitiveness, and innovation. She also served as a Program Assistant at the Aga Khan Development Network in Damascus, Syria. Sabeen has a M.A. from Harvard University and a B.A with Distinction from Cornell University. 
 

 

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Amy Beeler, Economic Growth Officer with the Bureau for Food Security
Amy is an Economic Growth Officer in the Bureau for Food Security’s (BFS) Office of Market and Partnership Innovations, focusing on increasing access to finance for agribusinesses and fostering the incorporation of digital tools and technologies in Feed the Future programming. Prior to joining BFS, Amy served in Ethiopia where she led the Private Sector and Energy Team overseeing the design and implementation of Power Africa programming, the Development Credit Guarantee portfolio, and commercialization activities.  Amy served in Georgia focusing primarily on democracy and governance work and conflict resolution. Prior to joining USAID, Amy’s work focused on refugee resettlement, immigration reform, and local economic development. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and holds a Master of Science degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and African Studies from Boston University.

 

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Nicole Bridge, Communications and Program Analyst
Nicole leads on D2FTF’s in-country assessments, workshops and convenings; research, communications and outreach, and case studies. Prior to joining D2FTF, she worked as a program analyst in the Center for Development Innovation in the U.S. Global Development Lab, where she worked to connect developing country entrepreneurs with U.S. based finance.

 

 

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Kwasi Donkor, Senior Policy Advisor
Kwasi’s work involves looking for approaches to mainstream the use of digital financial services in priority country markets while working with partners and other US government agencies to stand up key market policy readiness infrastructure. He has wide-ranging experience with both non-profit and private sector organizations focused at the intersection of financial services, telcoms and agriculture. He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Joseph Wharton Fellow.

 

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Anjali Kumar, Research Advisor, Research Partnerships for Development
Anjali works with D2FTF and the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) team in the Global Development Lab to launch projects around the use of digital in agriculture research throughout the world. Anjali has a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology and did her postdoctoral work in ecology and conservation biology policy with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

 

 

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Lauren Bieniek, Program Manager
Lauren focuses on integrating digital tools into Feed the Future programming across the Global Food Security Strategy priority countries. Prior to joining D2FTF, Lauren served as a Portfolio Manager with USAID's tiered, evidence-based Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) fund. Previously, she completed a Boren Fellowship with the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania and served as Project Manager with CSIS in Washington, DC. Lauren received her Master's Degree from The Fletcher School.