With a Masters in aeronautical and astronautical space engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, Rikin began his career at Oracle, where he received patents for linguistic search algorithms that he helped develop. Later he joined Microsoft Research India’s Technology for Emerging Markets team, where he researched ways to amplify the effectiveness of agricultural development globally. The time Rikin spent in India’s rural communities changed his life. He developed a passion for helping the country’s rural farmers, whom he saw as heroes. More than a decade later, that passion has become Rikin’s career; in 2006, he co-founded what has become Digital Green.
Giovanna serves as Digital Green’s VP of Internal Operations. She oversees Digital Green's HR, Finance, Compliance and Operations teams globally. Giovanna comes to Digital Green with over 10 years experience in international development and social enterprise. She was an early employee at Kiva.org; while there, she developed and grew Kiva's presence around the world, managing their work in over 80 countries and with more than 300 partners. She served on Kiva's management team, helping guide Kiva's mission and strategy throughout periods of rapid growth. Giovanna’s passion for international issues and economic development stem from an amazing high school teacher, growing up across two different continents, and early experiences in rural Latin America. Giovanna holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and an MBA from Yale University. Giovanna loves to travel, is an avid swimmer, and most of all enjoys watching her kids learn and grow.
Kebede Ayele joined Digital Green in 2017 with over 30 years of experience with government, non-government and bilateral organizations in various capacities, including as a grassroots practitioner and manager. Kebede is dedicated to long-term, sustainable agricultural and rural development of his country, Ethiopia. He has rich experience in designing and managing development programs, with a proven track record of accomplishments in strategic planning and management, fund mobilization, program management, private sector development, value chain development, financial management and human resource development. Kebede established and successfully ran the International Development Enterprises (iDE) Ethiopia Program for nearly 13 years and grow from an annual budget of $30 thousand to $3.5 million and from a one person staff to over 120 staff members. Kebede holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from Imperial College (UK); a Postgraduate Diploma in Water Supply and Sanitation from Loughbrough University (UK); and a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sociology from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).
Krishnan joins Digital Green with more than 25 years of experience in sustainable development sectors ranging from climate resilience to women's empowerment. He served as COO for Population Foundation India, India Director for The Climate Group, and Country Director in Afghanistan for ActionAid International. Krishnan has often joined organizations at times when they are making a strategic pivot and enabled them to scale and deepen their impact by forging new partnerships and securing new resources to execute. Krishnan holds an MBA in marketing and BSc in physics degrees and enjoys traveling and spending time with rural communities to hear their wisdom and pragmatic approach to life. He's also a voracious reader and loves listening to music, especially Indian classical.
Alesha Miller serves as Vice President of Strategy & Partnerships for Digital Green where she supports new partnership and program development, thought-leadership in key cross-organizational priorities, like gender, strategy, and learning. Prior to this role, Alesha was the Managing Director of the Global Food and Agriculture Program where she led research looking at key challenges and opportunities affecting the food system, including urbanization, the rise of global youth populations, water scarcity, and digital technology. Alesha began her career at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she held several roles over eight years, including managing strategic partnerships with governments and UN agencies, grant-making to improve smallholder farmer access to markets in sub-Saharan Africa to support smallholder farmers and program-wide work in nutrition and agriculture, gender, and impact measurement strategies for the Agricultural Development program. She has a bachelors from University of Arizona and a masters from Syracuse University.
With over 20 years of experience building and leading engineering teams ranging from startups to enterprise-scale corporates, Razak has worked on a spectrum of web, mobile, and cloud platforms, and developed a range of products from e-commerce, business automation, legal, and knowledge management. Razak holds a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the University of Mysore and prior to joining Digital Green, Razak was leading the engineering team in Relecura Inc working on cognitive cloud platform that provides custom intelligence on patent portfolios, technologies and companies. Razak's industry experience also includes working with Harman connected services and Bridgeline Digital on various enterprise scale platforms and products. At Digital Green Razak leads our Engineering team and technology solutions across the globe. Razak's favorite way to unwind is to go on long drives and to follow Formula 1.
Kentaro Toyama is W. K. Kellogg Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, and author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology. Until 2009, Dr. Toyama was assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India, which he co-founded in 2005. He launched its Technology for Emerging Markets research group, which conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world's poorest communities interact with electronic technology, and to invent new ways for technology to support socio-economic development. It was there that Digital Green began as a research project. Prior to his time in India, Dr. Toyama did computer vision and multimedia research and taught mathematics at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana. He graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in physics.
Melissa Ho is Senior Vice President for Freshwater and Food at World Wildlife Fund. Throughout her 25-year career as a scientist, policy advisor, and development professional, Dr. Ho has focused on the intersection of water and agriculture and its connections to energy and health. In her previous role at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, she oversaw a $1.5 billion portfolio of infrastructure investments in West Africa. She has served at USAID, overseeing the technical team responsible for Feed the Future strategy development and implementation. Previously, Dr. Ho developed and implemented the agricultural water management strategy and grant portfolio at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and served in various capacities in the US Congress. She has a PhD in plant physiology from the Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in soil science from the University of California, Davis, and a BSc in environmental systems from Cornell University.
Rajesh Veeraraghavan is an Assistant Professor of Science Technology and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He works in the intersection of information technology, development, and governance, with a focus on India. His research combines the design and study of technological solutions to development and governance problems, and the role of information and communication technology in making governance systems more participatory. After working for several years at Microsoft as a software developer, Rajesh helped to co-found Digital Green as an associate researcher at the Technology for Emerging Markets group at Microsoft Research, India. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information, master’s degrees in computer science from Clemson University and in economics from Cleveland State University, and bachelor’s degrees in economics and management from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India.
Christian Merz is a senior leader with a background in the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to address challenges faced in developing countries. As a senior advisor at GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) he’s providing consultation to the organization’s programs and projects on the utilization of digital solutions for maximized impact. Prior to this he worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the role of Senior Program Officer - Digital Agriculture. Christian has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry, where he contributed to development partnerships and solutions for eLearning, inclusive agricultural supply chains, digital finance, logistics and health etc.
Ria is the founding principal of Athira, dedicated to crafting business support solutions for entrepreneurial organizations seeking growth. She is a global finance and operations professional with over 20 years of experience with international nonprofit, digital marketplace, higher education, auditing, and consulting - specializing in the startup and growth phase. Ria has served as a CFO for global nonprofit organizations, built finance and operations support solutions from the ground up, worked with organizations to develop new businesses in times of change, served as an adjunct lecturer in finance and accounting, and spent several years consulting for a Big4 firm. She earned a BS in Accounting and Finance and an MS in Accounting from Trinity University. Ria lives in the Bay Area and serves on the boards of Digital Green and the Congressional Hunger Center. She co-founded an initiative to raise awareness and funds for local hunger initiatives and moonlights as an artist and patissiere.
Tejesh Shah has diverse interests that range from real estate to organic farming. In 2005, Tejesh started a biodiesel venture in India, which led him to discover the potential for sustainable agricultural development. Tejesh is one of Digital Green's earliest champions. He has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.
GNS Reddy is the founder and director of Farm Connect, which is working to reverse urban migration in India, increase economic opportunities for small and medium farmers, and attract young people to farming by providing technical expertise, farm design, and access to finance. It is also creating a system of farms connected to an urban hub to allow urban populations to visit farms, learn about organic farming, and have direct access to produce. He co-founded Akshayakalpa Initiatives in 2009 and served as its Managing Director before founding Farm Connect in 2016. Akshayakalpa is a model for integrated tree plantation and dairy operations designed to supply energy to operate technology and facilitate access to finance. His career at BAIF Development Research Foundation, where he served as vice president and executive vice chairman, spanned 32 years. BAIF is a voluntary organization focused on promoting sustainable livelihoods in rural India, and one of Digital Green’s first partners. Mr. Reddy holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from Bangalore Veterinary College.
Digital Green has zero-tolerance for Sexual Harassment at the Workplace. In view of this the Human Resources Team at Digital Green, India initiated the implementation of the policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at the workplace for all its staff.
The Government of India Act on Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), 2013 provides clarity on the role of the employer towards this mandatory guideline, such as the creation of anti-sexual harassment policy, setting up of an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), ensuring employee awareness and assistance, displaying notices and posters, employer’s duties with regard to compliance with complaint committees and production of periodic reports on cases reported and investigated or not.
Our ICC consists of the following members:
Bihar has acted as a testbed for most of our innovations and contributed the largest numbers to our overall reach.
Based in Hyderabad, the shared capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this team has stood the test of time, forging new partnerships and serving the people of the twin states.
Odisha team’s primary thematic areas are Agriculture, Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture and Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition. The team has a foothold in 600 villages in 7 districts reaching approximately 50,000 households.
Digital Green started operations in Jharkhand in 2014 and our work here has expanded significantly covering livelihood as well as health and nutrition. Our team here focuses on strengthening rural livelihoods and improving health and nutrition behaviors in partnership with Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS) and Jharkhand State nutrition Mission (JSNM).
Digital Green started working in Ethiopia in 2011 and set up its office in 2014. Since then our team in Addis Ababa has been growing and delivering services to the remotest parts of Ethiopia in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR).
It’s here that we started institutionalizing training of extension agents with the Agriculture Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) Center of Excellence.
We’ve worked with the greatest numbers of women farmers in Tigray where there are specific women’s groups as well as female extension agents.
Oromia is our largest region, where we serve the greatest number of villages and farmers.
SNNP was the first region to incorporate our Community Videos solution in the regional government work plan for extension agents.
San Francisco is Digital Green’s newest team and brings experience at a range of global organizations, on a variety of international projects.