Core Team

Core Team

Dr. Krisztina Tihanyi, Executive Director Dr. Krisztina Tihanyi, Executive Director
Krisztina Tihanyi has over fifteen years of experience in working in the nonprofit sector in international development. Prior to joining TASAI Inc. she was Chief Operating Officer at Market Matters Inc. A Ph.D. graduate of Cornell University, Kriszta's academic background includes degrees in Psychology, International Peace Studies, and Anthropology. She has worked with TASAI since its launch in 2015 (as a project inside Market Matters Inc.), and, besides her executive duties, she also serves as Chief Editor, overseeing TASAI's publications. She is based in TASAI Inc.'s Ithaca office.


Mainza Mugoya, Regional Coordinator Mainza Mugoya, Regional Coordinator
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, his role is to coordinate the roll-out of the TASAI index to more than ten (10) countries across Africa. This entails working closely with the country research teams, reviewing country reports and coordinating the dissemination of the findings. Mainza was previously with the Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation (EAFF), working as the Policy Officer. His work entailed leading EAFF’s policy work at the regional level, and working closely with the EAFF member organizations at the national level. He also managed several projects aimed at building capacity of farmer organizations from the sub-national to the regional levels.


George Magambo, Data Analyst George Magambo, Data Analyst
George joined the TASAI Inc. team in 2020 as a data analyst. Based in Nairobi Kenya, he supports the TASAI team with developing and maintaining procedures and protocol for data collection, data entry management, quality control, database management and data analysis. Before joining TASAI Inc., George worked with the International Center for Tropical Agricultural (CIAT) now part of the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT as a research assistant. He holds a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Nairobi.



Michael Waithaka, Publications Editor Michael Waithaka, Publications Editor
Michael Waithaka is the TASAI Publications Editor and is based in Nairobi, Kenya. He spent many years of his research career managing applied agricultural research to address markets and policy reforms concerns. He worked previously at the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). At ASARECA, he collaborated with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), national governments, international and national research institutes, and diverse stakeholders. The flagship outputs were harmonization and rationalization of regulations, standards, and procedures in key food commodity sectors. Prior he worked for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.


Shontaye Abegaz Shon Abegaz, Media and Publications Coordinator
Shon joined the TASAI Inc. team in 2019 to amplify our message’s digital presence, raise our work’s overall visibility, and serve as a liaison with locally based media outlets in the 21 countries where TASAI is currently active.
Before joining TASAI Inc., Shon worked for Initiatives of Change Switzerland, holding a variety of key positions, including Managing Director of the Just Governance for Human Security Forum and Chair of the Executive Committee. In addition to her work with TASAI, she also serves as Executive Director of the International Institute for Human Security, a peacebuilding organization focused on knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer and the advancement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


Jackline Sawe Jackline Sawe, Program Assistant
Jackie joined the TASAI team in 2020 to provide administrative roles working alongside the research and project coordination teams. Based in Nairobi Kenya, she supports the TASAI team with research processes, logistics and project support for TASAI research related activities. She has a background in implementation of developmental projects and research work in the agricultural sector. Previously, Jackie worked as a project officer at AgriBiz Consult Limited, conducting feasibility studies, training small holder farmers and processing documentation for germplasm cross border trade.


Mainza Mugoya, Regional Coordinator Rachel Smyk-Newton, Finance Manager
Rachel Smyk-Newton has 9 years of experience in non-profit financial management. Based in Ithaca, she is also the Associate Operations Director for Center for Transformative Action and has served on the boards of two other non-profit educational organizations in roles of President and Treasurer. This is her second career, following a decade of work and study in the field of coastal management planning where she specialized in helping communities adapt to changes brought on by global climate change. Rachel has a BA in Government from Smith College and a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California Santa Barbara.




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