Our Team in South Sudan


Leslie Mhara

Country Manager a.i
Leslie Mhara is the Country Manager a.i for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). He has over 18 years of leadership and management of programmes geared towards social protection, food security and livelihoods, procurement and infrastructure. Before assuming the Country Manager role, Leslie was the Head of Programme a.i for UNOPS South Sudan and Senior Project Manager for Social Protection projects, a role he has held since 2018. He has done a lot of work in shaping social protection in South Sudan. In 2019 he was deployed to Zimbabwe to lead the setting up of the UNOPS office and operations as the Programme Implementation Unit Manager/Country Manager a.i in response to the cyclone IDAI which affected Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. After the successful set up and recruitment of the teams, he was also deployed to Sierra Leone as Senior Project Manager before coming back to South Sudan in June of 2020.
Before joining UNOPS, Leslie worked with different NGOs which include: Save the Children as Senior FFP Program Manager, Country Office Advisor: Food Security and Livelihoods, Program Manager: Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods and Field Coordinator in Yemen, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Zimbabwe, Relief International where he was a Cash Consultant in Lebanon and Somalia, Mercy Corps in South Sudan as the Program Manager: Food Security & Livelihoods, Plan International In Zimbabwe as the Food Assistance Program Manager, Care International in Zimbabwe in different roles which include Project Manager, Country Office Agronomist, training specialist and the Ministry of Agriculture in Zimbabwe as the Provincial Head of Department and Post-harvest Handling Specialist
Leslie holds a Master of Business Administration Degree majoring in Finance, BSc in Agriculture majoring in Crop Science plus other professional certificates.
Dr. Ademola Olajide

Ademola Olajide

Country Representative
Dr. Olajide assumes office as UNFPA Representative to South Sudan from 01 April 2022, having completed services as UNFPA Representative to Kenya since July 2017. Previously he served as the Chief, Non-Core Funds Management Unit in the Office of the Executive Director, UNFPA headquarters in New York.

Dr. Olajide was the UNFPA Representative in Namibia in 2014/2015, where he spearheaded efforts in population data and evidence, while supporting interventions that enhanced reproductive health and gender equality. Previously, he served as the Head of Division, Health, Nutrition and Population African Union Commission in Ethiopia from 2011 to 2013. His earlier career was with UNICEF and UNFPA in Nigeria, where he held various positions such as Programme Adviser, Reproductive Health Adviser, National Programme Officer as well as HIV/AIDS Specialist.

Dr. Olajide holds a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (MB’BS) from University of Ibadan, Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Federal University of Technology, Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Ibadan and Masters of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies (MAIRSS) from Benue State University.


Mr. Musindio is ILO Country Director for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Special representative to the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa. A national of Zimbabwe, he has more than 20 years of experience of international development work across several countries in Africa. Having started his UN career as a Programme Officer in 1998 at the ILO Regional Office for Africa in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Alexio has led ILO office the ILO across several countries in East and Southern Africa. Alexio holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics, University of Zimbabwe and a master’s degree in Development Economics, William College, Massachusetts, USA.



Dr. Caroline is an accomplished Agriculture Development expert with 15 years’ experience working in Africa. She is known for her work in promoting innovative and climate-smart technologies for enhancing livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers.
Prior to her appointment as Country Director, she worked at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, a CGIAR center, since 2014. Her last position was Thematic leader, Climate-smart Agriculture Practices and Technologies for the CGIAR-AICCRA Program, funded by the World Bank.

Caroline is experienced in policy and advocacy and was member of the Africa Group of Climate Negotiators Expert support group. Among her experiences is working on innovations for climate risk management, agricultural insurance, climate information services and sustainable finance in Sub-Sahara.

Caroline graduated from Montpellier Sup Agro in France in 2012 with a Doctorate degree in Integrated Systems in Ecology, Agronomy and Environment. She is passionate about agriculture transformation and strives to catalyze progress for rural development.


Dr Fabian Ndenzako

Country Representative
Dr Ndenzako is Tanzanian Medical doctor and specialized in public health for the past 20 years. Prior to the current assignment, he was working with WHO regional office leading the HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis Programs supporting 20 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa and he was Acting WHO Representative to Malawi in 2018-19.

He has worked with private sector, Civil Societies and UN agencies supported countries in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific to respond to HIV and other Health programs by developing and implementing evidence-based health policies and strategies.

Dr Ndenzako has led several HIV/AIDS/TB/Hepatitis programme reviews in more than 15 countries and supported governments to mobilize resources from donors to respond to HIV/TB/Hepatitis programs. He has facilitated and contributed to development of several health sector policies, strategies, guidelines and technical documents including overseeing its adoption, implementation and monitoring by governments and stakeholders.
He further supported countries to adopt and implement International Health Regulation guidelines and actively participated in responding to number of global and local outbreaks including Ebola in West Africa, Cholera, Malaria, Chikungunya, MDR- TB, dengue and COVID-19.
Firas Raad


World Bank
Firas Raad is the World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan. He has extensive experience as a development and health policy professional with the World Bank Group, the United Nations, and the Jordanian government over the past 27 years. In previous positions, he served as World Bank Country Manager for Malaysia, World Bank Country Manager for Kuwait, Head of Mission for the Office of the Quartet Representative in East Jerusalem (while on secondment from the World Bank), and World Bank Human Development Coordinator for the Gulf Corporation Council countries and Senior Health Specialist.

Raad has a Doctorate in International Health Policy and Economics from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations (with a focus on Middle Eastern Studies) from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Johns Hopkins University. He is Jordanian national and speaks Arabic and English.
Fran O’Grady

Fran O’Grady

Chief of Mine Action
Mr. Fran O’Grady joined the UNMISS team as Chief of Mine Action following an appointment as Senior Program Manager Rule of Law Reform with the United Nations in Ukraine. This is his sixth mission with UNMAS, the first of which was in 2002 as an Operations Officer in Eritrea/Ethiopia, followed by Capacity Development Team Leader in South Sudan (2013/14), Senior Program Officer in DRC, Program Manager ai. with Syria Response, and Head of Projects in Iraq - other UN Peacekeeping/Enforcing Missions include Kosovo, Liberia, and Chad.
With 25 years of management and technical experience, including ten United Nations missions across Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, Fran has led large teams and implemented complex initiatives in emergency response, humanitarian, and development settings - involving stakeholder management, senior political engagement, and resource mobilization. In addition to a military career, retiring as a Senior Officer, Fran holds a master’s degree from Trinity College Dublin, as well as being a Chartered Professional Engineer and professional mentor.

Ishaku Maitumbi

Ishaku Maitumbi

Senior Advisor
Ishaku Maitumbi is the Senior Advisor in the Regional Officer for Africa, UN-HABITAT covering Eastern and Horn of Africa Region.
He is a chartered urban planner (MRTPI) with over 20 years' professional experience in the sector, including more than 12 years with the United Nations. He previously served in Somalia, Iraq, Kosovo, Ethiopia and Nigeria, amongst other places.

Prior to joining the United Nations, he was a United Kingdom civil servant in local and regional/central government. Ishaku specializes in urbanization, displacement and local government systems strengthening access to basic services and unban resilience, especially in post-conflict and developing environments. This varied experience is backed up with an MSc in Urban Planning and International Development (Oxford Brookes, UK).

As of January 2022, He was appointed as the new Task Manager responsible for South Sudan.
Julius Banda,  Country Representative

Julius Banda

Country Representative
Mr Julius Banda (Malawi) was appointed as UNESCO Representative to South Sudan in January 2020. Prior to this appointment, he served as Chief of the Executive Office of the Social and Human Sciences Sector at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. From 1999 to 2009, he served as a key member of the Office of the Director General of UNESCO, responsible for monitoring issues relating to Africa, legal affairs, governing bodies, evaluation and audit, and human resources management. He also served as Secretary of the Senior Management Team, chaired by the Director-General. He holds an LLM degree in international business law from the University of London, and an LLB (Hon) degree from the University of Malawi.
UNDO Representative

Kawira Bucyana

Representative, ad interim, to Kenya, Eritrea, Seychelles and South Sudan
Ms Bucyana, an Industrial Development Officer with specialization in agri-business development, has over 17 years’ experience in international development particularly in agri-business and agro-industry development.

Prior to current post, Ms Bucyana served as the Deputy to the Representative, UNIDO Regional Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Officer in Charge of UNIDO office South Sudan. She has also served as an industrial development officer involved in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition. During this period, she also provided technical assistance in the implementation of agri-business programmes and projects in Asia, South America and Africa.
Ms. Bucyana’s main achievements include: implementation of integrated agro-industrial parks in Cameroon, Ethiopia and Zambia; the UN ‘delivering as one approach’ Programme piloted in Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique; Food Security and Quality Infrastructure development in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique which facilitated uptake of industrial development in the countries.
Ms. Bucyana’s passion is to promote industrial processing, packaging and global marketing of indigenous African processed foods.

Ms. Bucyana has BSc in Food Science and Technology from the University of Nairobi and Msc in Food Safety and Quality Assurance from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Victor Cobby Baah, Programme Management Specialist
Email: v.baah@unido.org

Lord Livingstone Dartey- Country Director UNAIDS

Lord Livingstone Dartey

Country Director
Mr Lord Dartey has more than 25 years’ experience in reproductive health and HIV-related work, 15 of which have been with UNAIDS. He has extensive knowledge of partnerships building, rights and gender-based approaches to development programming, strategic planning and community engagement. Before joining UNAIDS, Mr Dartey spent about 10 years in managing community-based adolescent and youth reproductive health and rights programmes across Ghana, first with the Centre for the Development of People and later with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). Mr Dartey has a Masters in Gender Analysis in Development from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Resource Development from the University of Ghana, Legon.
UNHCR Country Representative

Marie-Helene Verney

Country Representative
Marie-Helene Verney is the current UNHCR Representative to South Sudan who has worked for UNHCR for over twenty years in a wide range of functional capacity including Principal Coordinator in Sudan, Head of Bureau, External Engagement Service in Panama, Head of Sub-Office in Goma, Representative in Tirana, Head of Sub-Office in Afghanistan, Head of Field Office in Bentiu, Senior Liaison Officer in Liberia, Senior Executive Assistant to the Deputy High Commissioner in Switzerland, Senior Regional Global Public Information Officer in Colombia, Public Information Officer, Division of External Relations in Switzerland and Public Information Officer in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Before joining UNHCR, Ms. Marie-Helene worked for 16 years for prominent media houses (CNN International and BBC World Television/World Service Radio) in the United Kingdom.

Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Mc Groarty

Country Representative
Mary Ellen Mc Groarty is the Representative and Country Director for WFP in South Sudan since January 2023. Mary Ellen has many years of humanitarian leadership and front-line operational experience in conflict-affected countries. Prior to her current appointment, she served as WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan before and after the takeover by the Taliban in 2021, overseeing the largest humanitarian operation in the world with over 22 million people assisted.
In 2022, Mary Ellen was awarded the Irish Presidential Medal for Distinguished Services Overseas for Peace, Reconciliation and Development. She was also awarded the Alumni Award for Law, Public Service and Society from the University of Galway, her alma mater.
Previously, Mary Ellen served as Deputy Country Director for Operations in South Sudan, where she steered WFP’s emergency and resilience operations and contributed to designing programmes linking peace and food security. She has also served as WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Chad overseeing emergency and resilience programmes in response to multi-crises, including in Lake Chad and the Sahel.
In addition, Mary Ellen has held leadership and management positions in logistics, program and procurement, and has worked in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi and at WFP headquarters in Italy. She was a member of the design and implementation team for WFP’s ground-breaking program for support to smallholder farmers across 20 pilot countries, Purchase for Progress (P4P), and expanded local food purchase and food systems initiatives.
She studied at University College Galway, and has a BA in Law and Economics, an LLB, and most recently an LLM in International Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict from the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

Meshack Malo- Country Representative FAO

Meshack Malo

FAO Country Representative
Mr Meshack Oguna Malo was appointed as FAO Representative in May 2019. He joined FAO in 2007 as Associate Professional Officer, Integrated Natural Resources, at the FAO Sub regional Office for Eastern Africa, Ethiopia where he also served as the focal person to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Other roles including serving as Advisor in the Office of the Director-General, providing support to the Director-General in areas related to agriculture, climate change, forestry and natural resources in Africa. Mr Malo, a national of Kenya, holds a Master’s Degree in Dryland Biodiversity from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies (Planning and Management), from Kenyatta University, Kenya. He is married and has two daughters and one son.
Ms. Hamida R. Lasseko

Ms. Hamida R. Lasseko

Country Representative
Ms. Hamida R. Lasseko was appointed the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan on 23 January 2021. Ms. Lasseko brings with her more than 24 years of dedicated professional technical experience in the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of UNICEF’s programmes and operational management.

Since October 2015 and until her appointment as the Representative in South Sudan, Ms, Lasseko assumed two positions in UNICEF Iraq starting as the Deputy Representative from 2015 to 2018, and as the Representative until December 2020, where she has been providing overall management and coordination of UNICEF’s development and humanitarian country programmes and operations in Iraq.

Prior to her arrival in Iraq in 2015, Ms. Lasseko was the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Damascus, Syria. She first joined UNICEF as a national Project Officer based in Kigoma, Tanzania, where she provided technical guidance and oversight of programming in primary health care and early childhood development for Burundian and Rwandese refugees in Western Tanzania from 1996 to 2001, and later as an Emergency Officer from 2001 to 2005, where she effectively contributed to the improvement of emergency preparedness and response procedures.

From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Lasseko assumed the position of UNICEF Programme Specialist based in Ampara, Sri Lanka where she led and supervised UNICEF’s post-Tsunami emergency response programme. From 2007 to 2011, she was responsible for the formulation, planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the UNICEF humanitarian and development programmes in her capacity as the Chief of Central Region Zone Office based in UNICEF Kabul, Afghanistan. Ms. Lasseko then assumed the position of UNICEF Chief Field Office for operations in Mogadishu and in Gaalkacyo, Somalia during the period from 2011 to 2013.

Ms. Hamida Lasseko is a national of Tanzania and holds an advanced degree (Master of Science) in Sociology
from Commonwealth Open University in the United Kingdom, and an advanced Diploma in Nursing Education
from Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Musa Yerro Gassama

Musa Yerro Gassama

Director Human Rights Division and Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in South Sudan
Musa Yerro Gassama is a Gambian national. He holds a PhD and master’s degrees in Public Policy and Administration, Walden University, USA as well a Bachelor of Laws and Barrister-At-Law, SierraLeone.

He has served in his country as a Magistrate from 1994 to 2000 before joining international human rights organizations from 2000 to 2008. He joined the United Nations in 2008. He has served as representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and head of the OHCHR Country office in Togo (2008-2010), as OHCHR regional representative for East Africa and to the African Union in Addis Ababa (2010-2013), as representative of OHCHR and chief of Human Rights Section in UNSOM, Somalia (2013-2014), as representative of OHCHR and chief of Human Rights Section in MINUSCA, in Central African Republic (2014-2020) and currently as representative of OHCHR and Director of Human Rights Division in UNMISS, South Sudan.
Peter Van der Auweraert

Peter Van der Auweraert

Chief of Mission/RC ai
Before being posted to South Sudan, Peter Van der Auweraert served as IOM Western Balkans Coordinator and Chief of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina based in Sarajevo. He has over twenty years of international experience, holding leadership positions in humanitarian diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding, transitional justice and conflict-related land and property issues.

His previous roles include coordinating IOM’s response to the 2015-2016 European and Western Balkans Migrant and Refugee Crisis and overseeing IOM’s humanitarian and transition and recovery work in the region covered by the Organization’s Regional Office in Vienna, Austria. While Head of the Land, Property and Reparations Division at the IOM Headquarters in Geneva, he participated in peace making processes in Colombia, Iraq, Timor-Leste and the Philippines, amongst other countries, as senior advisor on reparations and land and property issues.

From 2003 to 2005, Peter served as Executive Director of Avocats Sans Frontières, an international NGO focusing on access to justice in post-conflict countries, and from 1999 to 2006 he held a Visiting Lectureship in International Public and Criminal Law at the University of Turku in Finland. Peter started his professional career in the private sector, working as in-house legal counsel at an international trading company in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of London and a Law Degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Peter is a Belgian national.
Peterson Magoola

Peterson Magoola

UN Women
Country Representative
Mr. Peterson Magoola is a gender equality champion, and a specialist in women’s rights and development. He has over 18 years’ senior level experience on global policy issues and programmes on gender equality, women empowerment, and development.

Prior to his appointment as a Representative for UN Women in South Sudan, Peterson has been the Country Representative a.i for UN Women in Moldova, also covering Belarus (Dec 2019 – Nov 2020). Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Country Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan (2017-2019), which is one of UN Women’s biggest operations globally. He was also the Deputy Country Representative for UN Women in Liberia (2014-2017). His role in these senior positions, was to provide strategic leadership and management of country programmes, with focus on women, peace and security; ending violence against women, women participation and representation; and on women economic empowerment. His experience also includes policy advocacy, programmes development/implementation, partnerships and coordination, and overall management.

He held similar senior leadership, technical, and operational roles with other UN agencies, and NGOs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific such as UNDP- Papua New Guinea; UNDP - Namibia); and managed development, humanitarian and peace building programmes with HelpAge in Sudan, IRC in Liberia, VSO in Bangladesh, and ACFODE in Uganda. He holds a Masters’ degree in Public Health; Bachelors in Economics, and Education.

UNDP South Sudan Representative Samuel Gbaydee Doe

Samuel Gbaydee Doe

Country Representative
Mr. Doe joins the South Sudan country office after serving as Resident Representative in Sierra Leone. Originally from Liberia, Mr. Doe is a conflict, peace, and development professional with wide ranging international policy advisory and country office management experience. In addition to leading the Sierra Leone office, he also served as Senior Policy Advisor and Team Leader, on Fragility, Recovery and Resilience for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Team Leader in the Policy and Planning Division, both of UNDP in New York.
Mr. Doe began his career with UNDP as Senior Conflict Prevention and Civil Society Development Expert with the Pacific Regional Center in Fiji. In 2007, he was named Development and Reconciliation Advisor for the UN in Sri Lanka. He later joined the Secretary General's Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka as Senior Political Officer in New York.
Prior to joining the UN system, Mr. Doe was a co-founder of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), the largest civil society peacebuilding network in West Africa. He also lectured at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in Virginia, United States. Mr. Doe possesses a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Liberia; a Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (USA); and a Ph.D. in Social and International Affairs from Bradford University (UK).

Themba Bhebhe

The African Development Bank Group appointed Themba Bhebhe as Country Manager, South Sudan Country Office with effective from 1 October 2021.
As Country Manager, Mr. BHEBHE will lead the Bank’s business development and delivery for sovereign, non-sovereign investment and provide advisory services in South Sudan. He will support Bank’s teams in executing transactions, managing and expanding portfolios, and lead in executing projects and relevant work-programs, inclusive of the Bank’s High 5 priority areas, among other things.
Mr. BHEBHE, who is a Zimbabwean national, joined the Bank in 2002. He brings to this role 30 years’ extensive experience (21 years with the Bank) predominantly in country programming, project design, portfolio management, economic policy formulation and analysis, and multilateral institutions’ operations review and approval business processes.

Since joining the Bank, he served as Advisor to the Executive Director covering five Southern Countries, (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe); Senior Country Economist and Principal Country Program Officer covering Zambia; Chief Operations Officer in the Operations Committee and Quality Assurance Department. He also served as Officer In Charge for opening and operationalization of the Zambia Country Office (2006 – 2007).

Prior to his career in the Bank, he served in the Government of Zimbabwe in the Ministry of Finance as an Economist, in the Public Sector Investment Program, rising to Senior, Principal & Chief Economist, after which he became an Advisor to the Minister.

Mr. BHEBHE hold a Masters Degree in Development Economics from the Center for Development Economics at Williams College in the United States of America.