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.

Dr. Michael Waithaka, Principal Investigator Dr. Michael Waithaka, Principal Investigator
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Michael Waithaka will oversee the activities and expansion of The African Seed Access Index. For over twelve years Michael worked for the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), where he managed applied research projects focused on markets, policy reforms, and advocacy across Africa. Prior to his time with ASARECA, he worked for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Michael holds a Dr. of Agriculture degree from Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany), a MS degree in Agricultural Economics and Business from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), and a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi. His research on diverse topics such as harmonization of regulations, standards and procedures in food commodity sectors, the effects of climate change on smallholder agricultural growth, and sustainable natural resource management has been widely published.

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.

Shontaye Abegaz Shon Abegaz, Media Liaison
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, Research 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.