AFIDEP - Who we are

Staff members

Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, Ph.D. - Executive Director

Eliya Zulu.fwEliya is the Executive Director and founder of the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) whose mission is to inform African public policy and planning with research evidence. Prior to founding AFIDEP, he was the Deputy Director and Director of Research at the African Population and Health Research Center, where he also headed the Policy Engagement and Communications Unit and the Urbanisation and Wellbeing Research Programme. Eliya has over 20 years' experience in developing and managing research, capacity building, and policy engagement programmes on a wide range of issues including population change and sustainable development, family planning, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, urban poverty and health, child and maternal health, and policy analysis concerning Africa. He has been a Principal Investigator and participated in a number of international implementation research programmes; published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, pro-actively promoted evidence-based policies, and served in many international development panels on issues pertaining to Africa. He is the immediate former-President of the Union for African Population Studies, served on the UK Royal Society Study Group that produced the 2012 report “People and Planet”, and he has served on many WHO Expert Panels, including the expert panel examining research evidence on the link between hormonal contraceptives and HIV infection. He is currently a member of the African Union Commission-led Steering Committee on the Demographic Dividend and he has represented the committee in making high level presentations and engaging with policymakers on the topic across Africa. Eliya holds a Ph.D. in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters degree in Population and Development from the Australian National University, and a Bachelor of Social Science in Economics and Applied Statistics from the University of Malawi.


Rose N. Oronje, Ph.D. - Communications and Policy Engagement Manager

Rose Oronje.fw

Rose is a Policy Analysis and Research Communications Specialist with ten years’ experience in research-to-policy analyses and communications. At AFIDEP, Rose’s work cuts across research and communication, including policy analysis research as well as designing and overseeing the implementation of research communication programmes that aim to influence policy decisions and debates. Prior to joining AFIDEP, Rose had served as Communications Manager at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) for nearly six years, and as Research Publications Officer at the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) for two years. Rose has a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. She also has Masters degree in Communications Studies, and a Bachelors degree in Information Science. Her interests lie in understanding the making of public policy and the role of research in policymaking processes.



Werah Alphonce - Finance and Administration Manager

Alphonce Werah.fwAlphonce oversees the finance and administration functions of accounting, financial management, human resources and office administration and their strategic contribution to AFIDEP's work.  He is a development operations expert with over twelve years experience in financial management and administration gained from the corporate and international development sectors. Relating to development finance support to project implementation, Alphonce is keen to ensure strong institutional systems with commensurate capacity to support activities. He has carried out institutional capacity evaluations, systems analysis, development and implementation for organisations across Africa and Asia. Alphonce holds an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting, both from the University of Nairobi. He is a Certified Public Accountant and an active member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). He has also trained in PRINCE2 practitioner project management at APGM International-UK, TOT training by MDFESA and other relevant trainings. Alphonce joined AFIDEP in May 2014 prior to which he worked as Finance and Administration Manager at the Center for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI). He draws his vast experience from various organisations; he has worked at Help A Child International as the Regional Finance and Systems Controller for Africa, a Senior Accountant and Project Finance Manager at Eastern Africa Standby Force and at Old Mutual Kenya as a Senior Accountant.


Abiba Longwe, Ph.D. - Knowledge Translation Scientist  - AFIDEP, Malawi

Abiba Longwe.fw

Abiba is a multidisciplinary social scientist working as a Knowledge & Research Translation Scientist. Abiba has 4 years' experience in policy-oriented research focussing on the linkages  between reproductive health investments, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development in Africa. As a Population Reference Bureau Policy Communication Fellow, Abiba has skills of  translating research into policy. Previously, Abiba has worked for International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT); International Institute for Tropical Agriculture  (IITA) and Food for Agricultural  Organisation of the UN (FAO) in Malawi. She also worked for DFID in Malawi as a Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS) Coordinator. She holds a  PhD in Management Sciences (Economics) from Radboud University, Netherlands. Abiba also holds BSc and MSc in Agricultural Economics from University of Malawi,  Bunda College;  Master Specialisation Certificate in Environmental Economics and Policy Analysis from University of Pretoria, RSA; International MSc in Rural Development from Ghent  University  (Belgium) and Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany). To know more about Abiba's previous research watch this video.

Martin Atela, Ph.D. - Knowledge Translation Scientist

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Martin is a public heath & primary care research specialist with a strong multidisciplinary research and work background in private and public institutions internationally. He has done health systems research at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, development policy and research work at NEPAD East Africa Secretariat and Oxfam GB Nairobi, and held a research fellowship at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has provided courses in public health, international relations and public policy at university level in Kenya, UK, and Hong Kong, besides private consultancies. He holds a First Class honours degree from Moi University, a MSc degree from the University of Copenhagen, and a MPhil and PhD degrees in Public Health & Primary Care from the University of Cambridge, UK. He has specialist training in survey methods and data analysis from the LSE methodology school, human rights and health from the University of Geneva medical school, and climate change and international health from the Charite Medical School Berlin. Martin is a Gates Cambridge Alumni with interests in health systems strengthening, mixed methods approaches, and the infectious diseases - state security nexus.


Bernard Omondi Onyango, Ph.D. - Knowledge Translation Scientist

ben onyangoBen's work involves providing technical input in implementing knowledge translation and technical assistance projects to enhance use of evidence in decision-making processes at national and regional levels. He joined AFIDEP in October 2014 and his previous work includes more than six years' extensive hands-on experience in demographic and health surveillance research with the KEMRI/CDC Research and Public Health Collaboration Program in Kenya. He has also served in the role of teaching assistant at Brown University, USA. Ben holds a Ph.D. and M.A. degree in Sociology (both at Brown University) specialising in Social Demography and Urban Sociology. He also holds a First Class Honours B.A. degree in Sociology and History from the University of Nairobi. Ben's interests lie at the intersection of social demography and urbanisation, with emphasis on a multidisciplinary range of topics including children’s wellbeing, education, policy, development, health, internal migration and fertility. He is a past Population Reference Bureau Policy Communication Fellow, a former trainee of the Populations Studies and Training Center (PSTC), an S4 Fellow at Brown University and a past recipient of the Hewlett Foundation Fellowship.


Grace Kumchulesi, Ph.D. - Knowledge Translation Scientist


Grace's work involves synthesising and translating research evidence into outputs that can be easily used by policymakers and in policy engagement. She is an Economist by training and holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Malawi, and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. Grace undertook her postdoctoral fellowship at the Population Council headquarters in New York and has lectured Economics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Malawi. Her broad area of research interest is reducing poverty. Specifically, Grace is passionate about impacting the future of adolescents, especially girls, who she likes to think are at a crossroads to their future. Making wrong choices at this point might mean poverty for both these girls and their children.



Violet I. Murunga - Senior Knowledge Translation Officer

Violet Murunga.fwViolet has over six years of experience in research, monitoring and evaluation, and health planning in Kenya and the United States. Prior to joining AFIDEP, she was Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at I Choose Life Africa (ICL) where she was M&E on three SRH and HIV prevention projects targeting youth as well as managed and coordinated related research activities.  She has extensive experience in conducting policy-oriented qualitative interviews on family planning and other reproductive health issues. Violet has a Master of Public Health (Epidemiology) from Florida International University, USA, and a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) from University of Newcastle, Australia. Her interest lies in promoting the use of research to inform public policy.



Solomon O. Omariba - Knowledge Translation Officer

solomonSolomon joined AFIDEP in April 2015 and his work mainly entails coordinating the implementation of research projects, management of knowledge translation, promoting application of research findings in decision-making processes and capacity building programmes. He holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health (Distinction) from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), a Bachelor of Science degree from Moi University, and a Certified Public Accountant II qualification from Strathmore University. Prior to joining AFIDEP, Solomon worked with CDC’s Division for HIV and AIDS (DGHA) and Catholic Relief services (CRS) Kenya programme as a Technical Advisor for HIV Prevention, and the Kenya Ministry of Health. He has also worked as the Chief Public Health Specialist for SOMANEK Ltd. Solomon is a proven leader in HIV&AIDS, TB, Malaria, child survival, reproductive health and family planning who has participated actively in the design and implementation of health programmes in Kenya since 2007. His career interests are in strategy development and programme management, and he has won various awards in HIV programming for key populations across the Eastern Africa Region. You can follow him on Twitter @solomonomariba


Eunice Mueni Williams - Knowledge Translation Officer


Eunice has over five years' experience in research, conducting systematic reviews of health care interventions, conducting policy-oriented qualitative interviews, and analysis using STATA/SPSS. She previously worked at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research programme, where she conducted meta-analysis using the Revman5 tool provided by the Cochrane Collaboration. She has extensive understanding of the GRADE process of appraising the quality of evidence of primary research studies. Eunice was part of a team that synthesised evidence which informed the revision of the Ministry of Medical Services’ guidelines for neonatal and child care. She also has extensive experience in conducting policy-oriented qualitative interviews on maternal and child health, family planning and population dynamics. Eunice has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Master in Public Health, and a Master of Arts in Population Studies. She also has training in Monitoring and Evaluation of Population and Health programmes.


Nissily Mushani - Policy and Advocacy Coordinator - AFIDEP, Malawi

Nissily Mushani.fwNissily Mushani is a Population and Development expert with 7 years' experience in project design, research, policy analysis, and monitoring and evaluation of social development projects. She has worked in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Malawi, in coordinating implementation of national population policy and sectoral population and development projects. Her work also entails mainstreaming of population variables, gender, and HIV/AIDS in sectoral development projects; and appraisal, monitoring and evaluation of sector and national development projects and programmes. She has played a leading role in the design of project proposals, resource mobilisation, and communication strategies. Nissily has been key in determining national development priorities; offering technical advice to other ministries on strategy and project formulation and design to ensure alignment to the existing overall national development government policy (MGDS). She has also developed and reviewed criteria for selecting development projects for government financing, in addition to selecting national projects for the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). Nissily has a Masters degree in Economic Policy Management, from University of Zambia and a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Economics, from Chancellor College, University of Malawi.


Jones Abisi - Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Jones Abisi.fw

Jones is a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, with a wealth of experience in facilitating research findings utilisation into policy formulation and programming. Prior to joining AFIDEP, Jones worked as a Senior Technical Officer in the Applied Research Unit at FHI 360, a non-profit international organisation in Nairobi for 2 years. He has over 6 years’ experience in programme management at Kenya’s Ministry of Health Department of Reproductive Health. Jones has wide experience in the health sector in Kenya and related social sectors. Among other things, Jones made technical contribution towards writing the National Health Account for the Reproductive Health (2009/2010) and the Maternal and Child health chapter of Kenya Demographic and Health Survey of 2003 and was part of the team that prepared the Kenya National Health Sector Strategic Plan II (2005/06-2009/2010). Jones holds a Master of Science degree in Collaborative Health and Social Care from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Nairobi. 


Diana Warira Communications Officer

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Diana joined AFIDEP in April 2014 prior to which she worked at the African Population and Health Research Center as a Communications Officer. She has over 5 years’ experience in communications having worked in various development organisations and media organisations such as Africa 24 Media and Kenya Television Network. Diana holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science (Publishing and Media Studies major) from Moi University and Certificates in Mass Communication from Daystar University. She has a passion for multimedia production especially factual films and the linkage between research communication and policy influencing. You can follow her on Twitter @deewarira.



Edward Njenga - Finance and Administration Officer

edward njengaEdward joined AFIDEP as a Finance and Administration Officer. Prior to joining AFIDEP, he was working with RSM Ashvir, an Accounting firm based in Westlands, Nairobi. He has over four years' experience in accountancy and audit fields. Edward holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Accounting option) from Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi. He is also a Certified Public Accountant having graduated from Vision Institute of Professionals, Nairobi.




Hector Mvula - Finance and Administration Officer - AFIDEP, Malawi

hector 4Hector has a wealth of experience in financial management, accounting and administration from both the private and the NGO sectors. Prior to joining AFIDEP, he worked as an Accountant with Blantyre Print & Publishing in Malawi. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Accounting Auditing and Information Systems degree from Malawi College of Accountancy - School of Commerce.




Joyce Ntaliwa - Executive Assistant

joyce ntaliwaJoyce supports the Executive Director to achieve the organisation’s strategic goals by effectively and efficiently coordinating people, time, information and other relevant resources, and ensuring delightful stakeholder interactions. She has a Master's degree in Business Administration, International Business Management option, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Language (Communication Major, French and Sociology Minors), both from the University of Nairobi. Joyce has over seven years' experience in executive support, administration and communication. She joined AFIDEP in August 2014 prior to which she worked as a personal assistant to The Group CEO of The Nairobi Women’s Hospital; a bilingual personal assistant to the Regional Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF); an office administrator and sub-editor at Tarakibu Architects and a front office assistant at Wananchi Online. Joyce is passionate about administration, people and communication. You can follow her on Twitter @Ntaliwa.


Esther Ngwiri - Administrative Assistant

EstherEsther is a journalist by profession qualified from the Kenya Polytechnic University College. She has worked for several companies as an Administrative Assistant and has also written a number of news articles for the Kenya Times Newspaper Agency. Prior to joining AFIDEP, Esther was an Administrator at the Human Resource Practice Ltd.




Rose Chebet - Office Assistant

Rose Chebet.fwRose Chebet handles basic office logistics, oversees office cleaning, and provides clerical support to AFIDEP staff. She has been at AFIDEP since the opening of its Westlands office. She is a dedicated, hard working, and valuable member of the AFIDEP team.







Juliette is a Science Communications and Policy Specialist at AFIDEP. She has a wealth of experience and expertise in Science Communication.  She worked at KEMRI-Welcome Trust before joining AFIDEP where she was a Training Fellow in Science Communications. Between the completion of her Msc training at Imperial College London and rejoining KEMRI-Welcome Trust, Juliette took a short-term position as Science Writer at the Okinawa Institute of Science and technology, Okinawa, Japan.  Among her numerous achievements, Juliette has published a few papers in journals and various web-based outlets, she is the co-founder of the Kenya Science Cafes, and has given presentations in a number of international conferences.  Juliette earned her first degrees in Biomedical Science and Epidemiology and Population Health at Monash University in Melbourne Australia and an Msc in Science Communication at Imperial College, London, UK. Juliette’s passion in Science Communications comes from a satisfaction of engaging the media, policymakers and the public in scientific evidence and its role in development.


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