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IDinsight welcomes new directors in East and Southern Africa

26 September 2023

IDinsight announces the appointment of four new directors in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lusaka, Zambia.

September 26, 2023 IDinsight announces today the appointment of Directors Dr. Bilal Siddiqi, Dr. Martin Atela, and Dr. Nyawira Gitahi in our Nairobi, Kenya office, and Dr. Sylvia Mwamba as an Associate Director and office lead in Lusaka, Zambia. The directors will support IDinsight social sector partners in the region, using data and evidence to drive decision-making.

Dr. Bilal Siddiqi joins IDinisght as a Senior Economist and Director in Nairobi, Kenya. He brings decades of experience from his previous roles in leading organizations working at the intersection of economic development and research, such as the World Bank, the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford, and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. Most recently, he has served as Director of Research and Growth at The Life You Can Save, a philanthropic non-profit where he led in-house charity effectiveness research. As the Director of Research at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), and as an Economist at the World Bank, he worked with governments to embed impact evaluations into their operations in the areas of social protection, urban development, and judicial reform. He holds an M.Phil. and PhD in Economics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.Sc. (Hons.) from LUMS University in Lahore, Pakistan.

“For nearly a decade, I’ve jealously watched a steady stream of top-notch researchers leave their fancy jobs and promising academic careers for IDinsight, driven by its dynamic culture, outsize ambition, and a clear mission: bringing data and evidence to bear on concrete policy decisions that could improve people’s lives. I’m thrilled to finally be part of the IDinsight family and to be part of that vision.” – Dr. Bilal Siddiqi

Dr. Martin Atela joins IDinsight as a Director based in Nairobi, Kenya. He will lead client development efforts in East and Southern Africa, building new relationships and leading the execution of high-impact projects. Previously, Dr. Atela served as the Uptake Director for the FCDO-Supported African Cities Research Consortium, the head of Research and Policy at the Partnership for African Social & Governance Research (PASGR), and the Scientific Lead for the Social Science Research Council’s Mercury Research and Uptake Project – Health Ambassadors in sub-Saharan Africa. He has also held various leadership and research positions at the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), the African Population & Health Research Centre (APHRC), the School of Public Health – Chinese University of Hong Kong, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Martin holds an Advanced Certificate in Health and Human Rights from the University of Geneva, an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in International Health from the Universities of Copenhagen, Edinburgh & Amsterdam, and a PhD in Public Health & Primary Care from the University of Cambridge. He has also completed the Harvard Kennedy School executive public policy leadership programme.

“I am excited to join a community of leaders and experts committed to enabling the use of proven approaches and evidence to tackle the most challenging development bottlenecks in our world today. I am eager to bring my experience and networks in the nonprofit, research, and academic sectors to work collaboratively with IDInsighters, governments, and other development partners to help achieve IDInsight social impact goals.” – Dr. Martin Atela

Dr. Nyawira Gitahi joins IDinsight as Director and the DataDelta lead – Africa region, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She brings extensive experience in research and program implementation in the Kenyan health sector. She has led various studies on HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) efficacy. She was previously the Medical Advisor -Infectious Diseases at GlaxoSmithKline, where she provided leadership for the EMEA region for a regional study, and RegionalDdirector at LVCT Health where she led a large multi-layered project on girl empowerment.  She has also led a mixed-methods study from a competitive Fogarty International Centre fellowship grant at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was a lead consultant for Population Services International (PSI) Kenya on a USAID-funded HIV program under GoldStar Kenya. Most recently, she was the Executive director at Goldstar Kenya, a local  NGO. She holds a Bachelor of Medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi, a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology from Moi University and a PhD in International Health from Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)/ Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

“I am passionate about using evidence to drive decisions on intervention design, implementation, and strategy. What drives me is how these decisions impact lives! So I’m very excited to be joining a wonderful team that centers its focus on this as a core element in its mission.” – Dr. Nyawira Gitahi

Dr. Sylvia Mwamba joins the team as an Associate Director and the Zambia office lead based in Lusaka. She is a seasoned academic and analyst with vast research experience. Prior to joining IDinsight, Dr. Mwamba was head of the Public Finance Unit at the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR), a quasi-government think tank under the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. Before joining ZIPAR, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Black Hills State University, United States, a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Zambia. Dr. Mwamba brings a wealth of experience in project leadership and mentorship, having consulted for multiple organizations in the development space, such as the Zambia Ministry of  Health and Ministry of  Housing, and Infrastructure  Development, Centre for  Global  Development (CGD), World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, UNDP, Clinton Foundation, African Development Bank, IDRC, among others. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (United States), an MA in Economics from the University of Malawi (Chancellor College), and a BA (Economics major) from the University of Zambia.

“Now more than ever, fiscally distressed countries need better-targeted policies anchored on rigorous evidence and data. And this is where IDinsight comes in. IDinsight has cutting-edge analytical tools and diverse expertise to optimize the available data to inform policy and enhance the effectiveness of development finance. That’s why I am incredibly thrilled and honored to be a part of the life-changing work at IDinsight, an organization that prides itself on creatively using data and evidence to improve lives. I am fired up and ready to apply my skills, share my experiences, learn from adept IDinsighters, stretch my intellectual capabilities, and venture into unchartered research territories, contributing to unlocking impact through evidence and data.” – Dr. Sylvia Mwamba

“I’m so excited to have these new Directors join us. They bring a wealth of experience and rich networks from various sectors and geographies, which we look forward to leveraging to drive impact in East & Southern Africa and beyond. We’re also particularly thrilled to continue to grow our share of senior leaders who are local nationals as they have the contextual understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the region. I can’t wait to see how Nyawira, Sylvia, Bilal, and Martin will help shape our work in East and Southern Africa.”


– Frida Njogu-Ndongwe, Regional Director, East & Southern Africa at IDinsight.