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.
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.
Anirban Ghose co-leads the Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF), which is focused on bringing equal opportunities to India’s poorest rural areas, and supporting people on their journey to prosperity, dignity and a better life. He is involved in piloting and scaling community-led processes for behavior change and strengthening public systems to improve delivery of services focused on advancing rural health, nutrition, education, and agriculture. He is particularly interested in opportunities for technology to play a catalytic role in transformative changes at the grassroots level. Prior to co-creating TRIF in 2015, he worked for more than 20 years in various capacities focused on rural transformation with the Indian non-profit Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), which was one of Digital Green’s first partners in implementing video-enabled extension for agriculture. He began as a grassroots practitioner, subsequently led field-based teams in tribal dominated districts of Jharkhand, and later joined the leadership team in Delhi as Director of Operations, where he was responsible for organization-wide planning and management. Anirban has a degree in business studies from the University of Delhi.
Neeraj Jain is Country Director for India, for the international health organization PATH, which was one of Digital Green’s first health/nutrition partners for our video approach. Mr. Jain has more than 27 years of experience strengthening organizations across Asia and Europe. His strengths lie in setting up new ventures, organizational development, and strategic leadership for organizational change management. Prior to joining PATH, Mr. Jain led WaterAid India through a dynamic phase of transition as its chief executive. He was instrumental in setting up the India Sanitation Coalition as part of the governing committee, and heads its Engagement with Central and State Governments Task Force. Mr. Jain has worked with Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to promote child development and headed the Asia region for Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss company that manufactures water purifiers and insecticidal mosquito nets. Mr. Jain holds a BA in business from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and an MBA from the University of Delhi Faculty of Management Studies.
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.
Priyanka Singh, currently Heads the InterGlobe Foundation. Priyanka has over 20 years of experience, much of it dedicated to Seva Mandir where she led the education and health programs before serving as the Chief Executive for the last 10 years. Priyanka has a wide range of experience having served on various boards including that of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and several non-profits as well as Government bodies. Priyanka is also on the board of SRIJAN, a livelihoods organization and takes guest lectures on Management of Development Organizations at the TERI School of Advanced Studies.
Nilamadhab Prusty (N M Prusty) is a humanitarian and sustainability professional with nearly four decades of experience in the government, corporate, and non-profit sectors. Mr. Prusty has held senior leadership positions in the International Resource Group, Care India, and National Dairy Development Board. He has been involved in the design of the incidence response system in India and served as a member of task forces under the National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India, and his alma mater National Institute of Technology Rourkela, and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi. He is a recipient of the Global Best Practice award for social housing, nominated for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship and the Ramon Magsaysay Award. His areas of interest include climate resilience and adaptation, disaster risk management, cooperatives, and farmers collectives, and technology for building resilience and development governance. Mr. Prusty is Chief Mentor of CDDMASS-A Strategy Center, an expert group of sustainability professionals, President of Humanitarian Aid International, an organization committed to the use of Technology for Development & Humanitarian action, he served on the Boards of Vision Spring India, Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, India, and Sphere India as well as Sphere Project, Geneva.
Namita Vikas is a senior business leader with over 30 years of diverse global experience in climate change strategy and sustainability across sectors including Banking, Technology & FMCG. She has specialization in climate strategy and finance, green banking, triple bottom line accounting, large scale sustainable development projects & public policy and introduced Responsible Banking to India, launching the first-ever Green Bonds. Namita is a prominent voice at influential national & international platforms like UN General Assembly, Economists Ocean Summit & G20, amongst others. She was elected as Chairperson of the UN Natural Capital Finance Alliance and member of the Global Steering Committee of UNEP FI. As a founding member, she is one of the architects of the United Nations Principles of Responsible Banking, launched in 2019. An alumna of Columbia Business School, Mumbai University, Svenska Institutet, Sweden, THNK School of Creative Leadership, Netherlands, Namita has held CXO positions with YES BANK, Marico & served in management positions in Microsoft Corporation and CII as well as on advisory councils/boards of International Capital Market Association’s Green Bonds Executive Committee, Black Jaguar Foundation, We Mean Business and the Bureau of Indian Standards. She founded auctus ESG LLP, in 2020, an advisory firm to enable ESG risk management, climate & SDG finance.
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.