As an Agriculture Technician, Ishwor’s role at dZi involves working with farmers to grow more bountiful crops, encourage the consumption of nutritious foods, and increase the annual income of rural farmers. By promoting organic farming, introducing new crops, and building relationships between farmers and local government agencies, he has seen an improvement in the health and well-being of community members. Most of all, he loves that dZi programs prioritize communities’ needs and are implemented as equitably and transparently as possible. Ishwor feels fulfilled by his work with dZi and values the culture of responsibility and authenticity. Besides his work, Ishwor enjoys learning new skills online.
Prashanta has been one of dZi’s Field Assistants since 2012. Interested in social work from an early age, he found alignment for his values in dZi’s community-centered approach. Prashanta is responsible for working with NGOs and partner communities to implement and oversee projects. Through their collaboration, dZi’s partner communities have the tools they need to ensure the longevity of our development efforts. Over the years, Prashanta is proud to have helped support vital health, education, and livelihood projects.
Gyan Bahadur Bhattarai is dZi’s District Program Coordinator for his home district of Khotang. He is responsible for working with partner communities to identify needs and collaborate with the local government, partner NGOs, and stakeholders to find sustainable solutions. After many years with dZi, Gyan’s experience allows him to foresee potential challenges and work collaboratively to find resolutions. He treasures his involvement with dZi because he feels it is his life’s purpose to support mountainous communities. While Gyan’s role allows him to support every part of dZi’s holistic programming, he has a specific interest in helping orphan children access higher education.
Kripa is a human geographer with extensive experience in social science fieldwork as well as administrative work in Nepal. In college, Kripa studied the interrelationships between people and environments and how they vary spatially and temporally across locations. Specifically, her undergraduate and graduate coursework trained her to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate development practices and critically examine concepts about progress and empowerment. Furthermore, her courses and experience in storytelling have bolstered her experience in communicating complex concepts about development and social change. Her training and educational background help her combine critical strategic planning and extensive knowledge of local resources and relationships to critically address development in Nepal as the Director of Impact and Innovation at dZi Foundation. She is also an experienced outdoor and experiential educator, and a for-fun athlete with a loud laugh.
Dipesh manages dZi’s Quality Education Program. Joining our team in 2019, he works closely with schools in Eastern Nepal to help close the access and opportunity gap for rural students. Dipesh brings more than a decade of experience in education and disaster risk reduction to dZi. He has earned a Master’s in Environmental Science, has participated in the prestigious Community Solution professional development program, and is a Nuffic Scholar. A proud member of dZi’s team, he enjoys listening to our community partners and building strategies and capacity so they can meet their long-term goals. Dipesh dreams of seeing our community partners in rural Nepal have access to quality education, a clean environment, and a thriving economy.
Stories have always helped Manjeeta understand herself and the world. She believes they make us more empathetic, and ultimately, more eager to contribute to a better world. Manjeeta has always wanted to use media, such as writing, drawing, photography, and videography, to share her perspective with others. As a Communication Officer at The dZi Foundation, she gets to do just that. Responsible for communicating dZi’s work in Eastern Nepal with our supporters, much of the incredible content comes from Manjeeta. Before joining dZi, Manjeeta worked as a content producer, researcher, and graphic designer. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Sociology from Tribhuvan University and has a passion for social science, community service, and design. When not studying or working, Manjeeta love spending time with her little sister and strolling around Durbar Squares in Kathmandu. She is happiest when eating spicy soupy momos on a rainy day.
As a Field Assitant, Sangita oversees dZi’s ongoing projects in Jyamire, Khotang District. Sangita conducts orientation trainings for dZi’s partner NGOs and relevant stakeholders and helps implement projects after an agreement has been reached. She monitors projects and facilitates any necessary interventions. Sangita’s presence in Jyamire is essential to ensuring community participation – especially by marginalized community members who don’t always have their voices included in group decisions. She enjoys working with rural communities and supporting a culture of mutual help and unity. Outside of work, Sangita likes seeing new places and supporting the growth of local communities.
As an Agriculture Assistant, Dillu helps community members grow nutritious vegetables in their home gardens and help diversify their income sources by pushing to commercialize agriculture. His ability to impart technical knowledge to dZi’s partner communities helps them have more bountiful harvests. With so many new techniques and skills to explore, he appreciates his ability to constantly learn and grow on the job. Dillu loves dZi’s family environment, the transparency around rules and regulations, and earning a living by doing what he loves. Besides work, Dillu wants to learn to drive four-wheelers and is excited to travel to new places more often.
As Rural Municipality Coordinator, Saroj works closely with dZi’s local NGO partners to execute projects. His coordination with the local government, agile response to challenges during project implementation, and careful monitoring are key to dZi’s integrated programming model. Saroj earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Rural Development and is nearing completion of a Master’s Degree in the same subject. He feels that dZi’s unique working style makes his job more fun and contributes to his personality development. Besides work, Saroj loves to travel, play badminton and volleyball, and pursue his interest in photography and videography.
Shaheera Panday serves dZi’s team as Officer for People and Culture. Joining dZi in 2022, Shaheera supports every part of the employee life cycle – hiring new staff, designing HR policies and systems, and helping the staff create plans for their professional development. In short, her work ensures that dZi’s employees are engaged, happy, and able to fulfill our mission in Eastern Nepal. She loves the way dZi places communities at the center of our work, how staff celebrate the diverse needs of each community and our team’s collaboration with community members and local partners. Before joining dZi, Shaheera worked as a Human Resources Intern at Karuna Foundation Nepal while she earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Tribhuvan University. Outside of work, Shaheera is an avid reader, traveler, and enjoys spending time with her friends and family.
As an Agriculture Technician, Ambika works with community farmers to implement new tools and techniques that expand harvests and move beyond subsistence farming. By building irrigation systems, providing in-depth cultivation training, and helping farmers earn more at market, Ambika is able to support climate-resilient farming communities in rural Nepal. She enjoys the opportunity to continue learning new skills and techniques and helping implement them in dZi’s partner communities. Besides her work, she loves to read, travel, and play sports.
Bhalakai has worked with dZi for the past 13 years. In his role as a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, he works closely with dZi’s field staff and partner communities to understand the impact of our projects. Constantly focused on improving dZi’s work, Bhalakai’s insight is critical in making our work as effective as possible. His inspiration for working with dZi comes from the belief that community leadership, transparency, and collaboration can lead to lasting results. Besides his work, Bhalakai enjoys playing badminton, singing, playing music, and writing. He also spends time caring for his beehives and small plant nursery.
Chhatra joined dZi as a Construction Technician in the wake of the devastating 2015 earthquakes. Since then, he has worked to build earthquake-safe schools, safe drinking water systems, irrigation systems, and truss bridges. Chhatra helps conduct feasibility studies, trains local workers for various projects, and supervises the execution of projects to guarantee quality construction. Chhatra loves dZi’s comprehensive scope of work and community-led model. Outside of work, Chhatra loves playing football and badminton to stay physically fit.
Jas lives in Sotang Rural Municipality, Solukhumbu District. In his 25-year career in community development, he has worked on adult literacy programs, rural infrastructure development, and sustainable agriculture. Joining dZi in 2017, Jas works as an Agriculture Assistant. He is responsible for sharing knowledge and technology with farmers to improve their nutrition and health, enhance income-generating opportunities, and build farmers’ capacity to ensure our programs’ sustainability. He enjoys working at dZi because of the friendly atmosphere, transparency, and because he gets to support community members in geographically remote regions. In addition to his job, Jas enjoys exploring new places and keeping up with the latest technology.
Jitna oversees dZi projects in Solukhumbu District as a District Program Coordinator. He works closely with our partner communities, partner NGOs, and the local governments to assess community needs, understand the best interventions, and implement them to help rural residents prosper. Jitna brings over a decade of experience in project management, leadership, community mobilization, and facilitation to dZi. He is proud that dZi actually listens to community members and offers comprehensive and long-term support. For Jitna, working with marginalized communities has been a life-long calling and he is thrilled to pursue his passion.
Kanchan works as an Agriculture Technician in dZi’s rural partner communities. Responsible for sharing the latest tools and farming techniques with rural farmers, she enjoys being able to see the larger harvests and the increased income that they bring. Kanchan appreciates dZi’s friendly atmosphere and unique approach to community development.
Born and raised in the Solukhumbu District, Mansu has been working in the development and poverty alleviation sector since 2010. As an Agriculture Technician, her working sites are often remote and geographically challenging. Mansu joined dZi in August 2015 and brings extensive experience in creating work plans, managing logistics, cooperating with partner NGOs and local authorities, and supervising projects. She loves working with dZi because of the emphasis on accountability, openness, and sound governance principles.
As dZi’s Office Assistant, Nirmala is a mainstay of the Kathmandu team. Born in Chheskam, Solukhumbu District, Nirmala has worked at dZi since 2012. Responsible for the office, supporting dZi’s Finance Director, helping staff with administrative tasks, cooking meals, receiving visitors from the airport, and much more, she ensures that dZi’s staff are able to succeed. In the kitchen, she enjoys attempting new recipes and her coworkers love the care and creativity she puts into her food. Nirmala enjoys her ability to learn new skills in her job, the opportunity to travel to different locations like Solukhumbu, Khotang, Mustang, and Pokhara, and the sustainable development that dZi supports in rural areas. She is currently finishing her education.
Raj Kumar helps implement projects in dZi’s partner communities. As a Field Assistant, he is responsible for working with dZi’s team and residents to carry out initiatives that are deemed a priority. Raj Kumar appreciates that dZi works with residents to implement programs so that communities feel a sense of ownership, increase bonds with their neighbors, and understand how to maintain their work once dZi is gone. Raj Kumar values local participation because it helps community members learn valuable skills and professional experience.
As dZi’s Agriculture Program Coordinator, Rewati is responsible for coordinating with the local government, NGOs, and our partner communities to ensure programs are as effective as possible. Before joining dZi, he had worked in other areas of Nepal on sustainable agriculture, social inclusion, gender equity, and children’s rights. Born and raised in the hills of Eastern Nepal, he is grateful to be working on projects that remove barriers to basic needs for communities like his own and loves dZi’s emphasis on community decision-making. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, singing Hakpare folk music, and listening to songs. An incredible musician and performer, Rewati plays the madal, guitar, congo, harmonium, keyboard, and composes poetry.
As a Technical Assistant, Subindra uses his technical expertise to help ensure infrastructure projects are built to the highest standards possible. Subindra works closely with dZi’s Civil Engineer to design lasting systems that meet communities’ needs. Whether providing access to safe drinking water or building an earthquake-safe school, the feeling of making residents’ lives safer and easier is always gratifying. For all these reasons and more, he loves his job. Besides work, Subindra enjoys making homemade crafts from bamboo and wood.
Thamsari has supported dZi’s rural partner communities as an Agricultural Technician for the last seven years. A former primary school teacher, he completed a Junior Technical Assistant course at Madan Bhandari Memorial College and additional agricultural trainings. Thamsari works with farmers in Jaleswori and Maheswori to determine the best organic techniques and resources to help households improve nutrition and increase yields. Outside of work, Thamsari enjoys spending time on his small farm where he grows a variety of vegetables and cash crops. He likes working for dZi because staff are given the freedom to be creative while promoting the welfare of our partner communities.
Tulasa Rai supports dZi as an Agriculture Technician in Khotang District, the region of Nepal where she was born and raised. Tulasa’s work with community members helps them grow fresh vegetables year round – a key part of improving community nutrition. Tulasa is responsible for disseminating new agricultural skills, techniques, and species of crops to local farmers. Through these programs, she provides access to innovative knowledge, opportunities for greater income, and resources that lead to sustainable prosperity. When she isn’t farming, Tulasa loves exploring new places, helping people in need, and singing and dancing.
Born and raised in Nuwakot, Gautam lives in Kathmandu with his wife, two sons, and parents. As dZi’s Finance Director, Gautam oversees our finances in Nepal and ensures transparency between our US and Nepal Country Offices. He was drawn to dZi’s community-led mission and appreciates his ability to support rural Nepal. Before joining dZi in 2011, Gautam worked with Alliance for Peace Nepal while earning a Master’s in Business Studies from Tribhuvan University. Gautam enjoys traveling, exploring new areas of Nepal, and spending time with his friends and family.
Tilak joined dZi in 2019 and serves as the Community Infrastructure Manager. A civil engineer, Tilak is responsible for planning, designing, and managing construction projects in our rural partner communities. His work helps communities access safe drinking water, construct irrigation systems, cross rivers with confidence by building truss bridges, and other infrastructure improvements by growing their own capacity to construct and repair projects themselves. Before joining dZi, Tilak worked with the United Nations Development Programme and the Nepal Red Cross Society on infrastructure construction and disaster relief projects in rural Nepal. When he isn’t working, Tilak enjoys expanding his mind through reading and supporting his favorite football team, Liverpool.
Sitaram Thapa, known to his friends as Samip, has been supporting dZi’s logistics and programs since 2018. He provides administrative support to staff members and partner communities, as well as coordinating daily operations in dZi’s Nepal Country Office. An essential role in any organization, Samip’s ability to navigate the complex logistics of staff planning, equipment inventories, and trips to our mountainous partner communities is foundational to dZi’s success. Currently finishing his Bachelor’s in Rural Development, Samip has also supported dZi as a photographer – bringing his interest and skills to dZi’s communications projects. He enjoys using photography to document rural communities’ journey toward greater prosperity. Outside of work, Samip loves to hike, volunteer, learn new skills, and keep up to date with world events.
As dZi’s Rural Municipality Coordinator, Jibanath is responsible for coordinating with the local government and dZi’s NGO partners to ensure the proper execution of projects in Aiseulkharka Rural Municipality, Khotang District. Jibanath brings over eight years of experience to his role and values dZi’s commitment to community leadership and project transparency. Whether during one of dZi’s projects or on his own time, Jibanath is passionate about advocating for the rights and well-being of marginalized groups. After hours, he enjoys reading about history and different civilizations.
Satananda leads dZi’s Agriculture Program. With over 20 years of experience in sustainable agriculture development, he is deeply dedicated to helping communities find connection and economic empowerment through the earth. Satananda brings extensive experience in organic farming, beekeeping, and native bee conservation experience to dZi’s mountainous partner communities. In addition to increasing rural food security, Satananda’s focus on agricultural value chain development has allowed him to implement important programs that grow livelihoods. Supporting our incredible team of Agriculture Technicians, he is constantly looking for new tools and techniques to help increase sustainable harvests. Satananda loves dZi’s family environment, supportive staff culture, and community-centered mission. When he isn’t working, he enjoys beekeeping, visiting new cultures and landscapes in Nepal, and training for his next ultramarathon.
Rakesh joined dZi in 2022 as Nepal Country Director. A policy analyst and program expert, he brings over 20 years of experience in democratic governance, sustainable development, and post-conflict/disaster reconstruction to our in-country operations. Rakesh works closely with dZi’s Executive Director to develop strategic, impactful, and equitable ways to serve communities in Eastern Nepal. A firm believer in partnership, collaboration, deep listening, and political economy as tools for systemic change, Rakesh leads dZi’s Nepal team to deliver high-quality results in complex environments.
Sarah has served as Administrative Director of dZi UK since its inception in 2014. Having taken many trips to Nepal and to dZi project areas, Sarah is continually impressed by dZi’s community-driven approach and the dedication, innovation, and compassion of the community members they partner with. Aside from her work with dZi, Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Teaching and taught at a school primarily focused on refugee students (many of whom came from refugee camps in Nepal). Sarah currently lives in Needham, Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.
Ben works to cultivate meaningful relationships that serve dZi’s mission. After a decade in the cycling and outdoor industry, he is excited to work with institutional partners and aligned corporations to build coalitions of support for mountain communities. Ben learned about dZi’s unique community-centered model while studying in Nepal. After seeing many well-intentioned INGOs that lacked the community leadership to create effective change, dZi’s emphasis on genuine partnership and local ownership immediately resonated with him. Ben lives in Lyons, Colorado, with his wife, dog, donkeys, and bees.
As dZi’s Director of Finance & Compliance, Michelle oversees all financial reporting, coordinates with our Nepal Country Office and Board of Directors, and maintains a holistic view of dZi’s financial well-being. With a background in accounting and a love for analytics, she has recently taken on our enterprise risk management process. Michelle has worked at dZi since 2015 and loves the way in which dZi works with our partner communities to understand their vision for what is needed. Originally from Buffalo, NY, she spent 30 years in Telluride before building a small home in Ridgway, CO. There she is the Chairperson of the Ridgway Planning Commission. When not working in the office, she enjoys staying close to home, working with clay, and learning to grow vegetables at 7,000’.
Kiki is dZi’s Development and Operations Coordinator and oversees our databases, fundraising processes, and donor acknowledgment. She has a background in nonprofit development and digital advertising and is currently on her way to completing her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management. Kiki grew up traveling to Nepal with her mountaineer family and has been familiar with dZi’s incredible work her entire life. She feels that dZi’s unique community-centered approach, using tools like the feasibility study, set it apart from other INGOs. When she’s not in the home office, she’s out on a rock wall somewhere in Idaho!
A powerful advocate for social and economic equity, Wende brings 20 years of rich field experience with a variety of international nonprofit organizations to her role as the Executive Director. Wende leads dZi’s program planning and implementation, fundraising, team development, public relations, and financial management – all while fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. She holds an M.A. in International Development and her work, study, and travels have taken her to 55 countries around the globe.
Julia first joined dZi in 2017, starting in dZi’s Kathmandu Office before joining the US team to support fundraising efforts. Today, Julia leads dZi’s fundraising team and strategy to advance the organization’s mission in Nepal.
Prior to joining dZi, Julia studied with Pitzer in Nepal and worked with multiple organizations across Colorado and the globe in a variety of program roles, including a year as a Princeton in Asia fellow in Kathmandu. Julia has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College and is completing her Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.
Julia enjoys spending time in the mountains as much as possible, whether backcountry skiing, mountain biking, fishing, or identifying wildflowers.