Ayani is a global organization with a nimble team of leadership and managerial staff, a core group of fixed term consultants, several regional offices and an extensive worldwide network of regularly contracted experts.
Ayani’s team includes mainstream bankers, development bankers, inclusive finance experts, master trainers, agricultural economists, insurance and money transfer experts, housing finance and youth finance experts, investment bankers, accountants, statisticians, monitoring and evaluation specialists, financial and business educators, DFS specialists, gender mainstreaming experts, anthropologists and community development practitioners - all with deep knowledge of the local and regional development ecosystems.
Our staff’s diverse backgrounds afford Ayani and our clients a broad perspective of the overarching macroeconomic environment, training needs and managerial issues across the inclusive finance sector, a deep understanding of the challenges faced by practitioners on the ground, and a unique capacity to interact effectively with management and staff of financial institutions.
Clay O’Brien is the Managing Director and Head of Asia for Ayani. He also often acts as Project Director or Backstopping Manager on Ayani’s projects. In total, Clay has worked in the financial inclusion sector of international development for over 16 years, completing projects in more than 30 countries. He has: prepared more than 12 country or regional financial sector assessments and investment opportunity reports; conducted or backstopped many project or institutional evaluations; advised on commercial and quasi-commercial microfinance investment funds; and designed and/or managed technical assistance projects.
Prior to re-joining Ayani in early 2017, he was Team Leader for Strengthening Agricultural Finance in Rural Areas (SAFIRA), a project supported by the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Rural Economic Development. From June 2013 to October 2015, Clay was the Senior Sector Specialist for Financial Inclusion at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. From mid-2012, Clay spent a year in Myanmar with the UN, managing the Access to Finance and Markets grants at the multi-donor Livelihoods and Food Security Trust. He has also held other senior roles at AYANI (2007 to 2012) and the global microfinance network, Opportunity International (2002 to 2012).
Eileen Miamidian brings 20 years of global consulting and management experience in access to finance. As Ayani’s Chief Operating Officer, she oversees the technical quality of Ayani’s research and advisory services, globally and directly oversees programming in Mozambique. Present programming includes the $2.1 million PROSUL agricultural finance challenge fund in Mozambique and multi-million-euro agricultural and SME finance debt funds in Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya, mobile money linkage programs, capacity building programs in SME banking for various financial institutions and research projects on guarantee facilities and credit lines, women in financial inclusion, trends in rural and microfinance, value chain mappings, investment needs of agribusinesses and SME market systems analysis. She has carried out recent studies and implemented advisory projects for DNDR, FSDMoç, DFID, KfW, DEG, AFD, central banks, the Swiss Development Cooperation, and Land O’ Lakes with regards to access to finance and agricultural value chain development in Mozambique.
Prior to this, she was responsible for overseeing the transformation of financial services subsidiaries of CHF International/Global Communities from non-profit status to a commercially-oriented companies in the MENA region, including the structuring and closing of over $75 million in debt and equity financing for these commercial subsidiaries. Her consulting experience in over 30 countries ranges from technical support in market research, product development, commercialization and strategic planning to designing funds and major investment and multi-donor financial sector deepening debt and grant funds. She has an MS in Agricultural Economics.
Myka Reinsch is Innovations Director for Ayani. She develops project strategy and methodology, collaborates with the business development team and handles technical writing. She also serves as Ayani’s Project Director or Backstopping Manager on projects related to her expertise in women’s financial inclusion, integrated financial and nonfinancial services, research and new product development. Myka brings two decades of experience in community and economic development in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the U.S., where her work has emphasized innovative, sustainable, locally driven and multisectoral solutions for underserved women.
Prior to joining Ayani in 2011, Myka was Vice President of Programs at Freedom from Hunger (now a combined organization with Grameen Foundation), where she had previously served as Director of a 4-year Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project focused on integrated microfinance and health interventions and had provided technical assistance and training to MFIs in francophone Africa and Southeast Asia (2004-2011). As a freelance consultant, Myka has worked with numerous inclusive finance clients, including World Bank/CGAP, ARD, Chemonics, FHI-360, Grameen Foundation, the MIX, SEEP Network and UNCDF, in addition to two years in U.S. housing and economic development finance with LISC. Myka has lived and worked in over a dozen countries and speaks English, French and Spanish. She has a Columbia Business School MBA in Business Economics and Nonprofit Management.
Joan Hall is the Head of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for Ayani. Joan has worked in financial inclusion for over 25 years in more than 30 countries. She has conducted over 35 evaluations, reviews and assessments, designed and conducted training programs, and provided technical assistance to a multitude of projects. She specializes in Latin America and the Caribbean, and has significant additional expertise in Africa and Asia, particularly Myanmar. She has provided services for a diverse clientele, including IFC/World Bank, governments, multilateral and bilateral donors, the UN, and many international NGOs. She is a member of the American Association of Evaluators.
Her technical areas of expertise include microfinance, SME lending, rural finance, and cooperatives and credit unions. Her skills include monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, financial analysis, training and technical assistance, product development, youth financial services, and environmental microfinance. She works in English, Spanish, and French.
Samuel Mathole is the Head of Southern Africa for Ayani. For the last 17 years Sam has been working in the financial inclusion sector of international development, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. His consulting assignment have included technical institutional support in credit, operations and finance. Sam’s other assignments include training, institutional evaluations, process mapping, institutional strategy or business development, among others. Sam has also been involved in two start-ups, a development investment fund and a financial institution.
Sam has also worked in the banking field for over fifteen years. During that time he was employed in various departments of a bank such as credit, operations, and finance and accounting. Sam is a certified trainer in CGAP Financial Analysis, Delinquency Management and Interest Rate Setting, and also in Business Planning with Microfin. Sam is also a certified Trainer for ILO’s “Making Microfinance Work, Managing for Improved Performance”.
Dennis Kiyimba is the Head of East Africa for Ayani with over 25 years’ experience. He has been a team leader as well as backstopper for many of Ayani’s regional projects. Dennis has been involved with financial inclusive projects for over 15 years as a consultant in 10 countries focusing on rural finance strategy, business planning for reaching the poor segments, bank down-scaling, upscaling and turn around (for distressed financial institutions), project design and implementation including business processes and procedure standardization, change management, training, mentoring and coaching for various categories of financial institutions in Africa. He has also worked with high impact projects funded by donors and investors including: KfW funded rural finance program for regulated financial institutions in Uganda; GIZ funded agricultural value chain finance training curriculum design and implementation for financial institutions in Uganda; IFC funded SME development programs in Ghana; DFID funded Financial Sector Deepening Kenya rural SME transformation project; the Social Microfinance Foundation in Uganda; and Capital Plus Exchange (now CapPlus) downscaling and upscaling in Nigeria, Gambia, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya.
Before joining the consulting arena in 2003, Dennis worked in the mainstream banking industry for 10 years with the largest microfinance bank in Uganda (Centenary Bank) in various capacities starting from credit officer to head office senior manager positions including Assistant Risk Manager, Manager Special Duties, Turn around and Branch clean-up Manager.
El hadji Niasse is the Head of West Africa at Ayani and acts as a senior consultant primarily in engagements related to youth and women enterprise, microfinance, training and evaluation. El hadji has worked in the development sector for over 20 years with experience that spans about 15 African countries. He has participated in more than ten project evaluation assignments, including document reviews, field work preparation and implementation, development of tools and conducting interviews, and report production. El hadji has also been involved in different socio-economic empowerment program design and implementation including development of training materials and conducting training (including classroom, retreat, mentoring, and coaching) for different target groups of MSMEs.
Prior to joining Ayani in 2012, El hadji coordinated a USAID program in Senegal promoting youth empowerment. From 2009 to 2010 he was regional Coordinator for Etimos Africa, an Italian consortium promoting ethical finance by giving credit to the fair trade sector and the social economy in Italy and all around the world. Before joining Etimos, El hadji worked with New Africa Rating, an initiative from different African microfinance consultants to promote social performance measurements in rating exercises. He has also held the role of Regional Coordinator for Microfin Afric, a network for microenterprise and microfinance institutions which seeks to upgrade the capacity of African MFIs targeting women via gender mainstreaming interventions. El hadji is currently involved with prominent initiatives in Africa focused on youth entrepreneurship, empowerment, and leadership including the Young African Leaders program (YALI). He is based in Senegal and works in French and English.