Michelle Defreese

Michelle DeFreese is a Senior Officer with GGGI embedded in the Ministry of Environment (MoE), (formerly Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda (MINIRENA)) to support the development of strategic initiatives aligned with the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) and the Rwandan National Strategy for Transformation (NST). Prior to joining GGGI, Michelle worked as a Program and Partnerships Manager at the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), a USAID-funded, Feed the Future, collaborative project between the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro, Tanzania. Previously, Michelle served as a Functional Reviewer with Global Integrity for the Rural Sector category of the sixth round of Africa Integrity Indicators research. She has also served as an Africa Research Fellow for the Young Professionals for Foreign Policy (YPFP), an Academic Think Tank Member for the International Association of Political Science Students (IAPSS), and as a Board Member for Deeper Missions, a non-profit organization that implements sustainable development projects in Sierra Leone and Kenya. Michelle was recently a consultant for the project “Understanding Drivers of Diet Change and Food Choice Among Tanzanian Pastoralists to Inform Policy and Practice,” a collaboration between Emory University, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Her role included conducting market survey research, training enumerators, and collecting data on food price, availability, and dietary habits in pastoralist communities in two livelihood zones in Tanzania. Michelle holds a BSc in Anthropology from Rutgers University and an MA in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), University of Geneva.