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Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia

Cluster Teams

Bernadette Lahai

Honourable Dr. Bernadette Lahai is currently a temporary teacher at the Department of Sociology and Agricultural Extension, University of Njala, Sierra Leone. She has been a member of the Parliament of Sierra Leone since 2000 to date and is the immediate past leader of the minority, the first woman to occupy the position. Lahai’s professional career has covered the fields of agricultural extension, education, politics, international development, human rights, gender awareness and women's equal participation in development. She worked for more than a decade as a research assistant and research officer at the Institute of Agricultural Extension (Njala Agricultural Research Center) and was a social and gender expert in the Sierra Leone Vision 2025 Project.

She has undertaken a variety of consultancy roles on policy development and worked for many development partners nationally and internationally, including the FAO Women's Project. Lahai has a PhD in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from the University of Reading in England, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education with Distinction, an M.Sc. in agriculture from Njala University and a BA in geography and rural sociology from Fourah Bay College - University of Sierra Leone.



Dr. Aliou Barry is an experienced international development professional with over 25 years of experience in development work with local and international agencies and the government of Guinea. His career started with the World Bank with the position of national supervisor of surveys on the socio-economic impact of the structural adjustment program (1990-1992) and then, he joined the UNFPA as an expert on population and development (1993-1996). His organization, Stat View International, launched in 1996, has successfully achieved over 100 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and is part of the Afrobarometer network since 2012.

Among Barry’s many achievements are conducting trafficking surveys on human trafficking issues in Guinea (2003 & 2019-2020), corruption and governance evaluation in Guinea (2003), an evaluation of the socioeconomic impact of Ebola in West Africa (2015), and the elaboration of an anti-corruption strategy in Sao Tome and Principe (2016). He has served as a member of the audit committee of the global organization of parliamentarians against corruption (2012-2016), and a member of the United Nations technical advisory committee for the Equator Prize on sustainable development (2013-2015). From 2012 to January 2021, he was the board chair of the West Africa Network for Peace Building.  Currently, he is the President of the National Electoral Response Group in charge of Electoral Violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation in Guinea. Barry was a PhD research fellow at the Maastricht University on Economy, Governance and Policy Analysis (2008 – 2010);


Cheryl Willaims

Dr. Cheryl Williams is the Gender and Social Development Specialist for the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Liberia. She established and headed the Gender and Social Development Unit at the Ministry for nine years, and contributed to numerous agriculture research projects, policy discussions, and advocacy on gender equality, economic empowerment, national food security and nutrition. Her research focus areas range from gender inequality in land tenure security for small-scale farmers to gendered differences in training for the reduction of post-harvest loss of cassava, and evaluation of sexual gender-based violence programs in Liberia. 

She holds a PhD in Agricultural Communications and Education with a focus on Global Food Security from the Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA, a Master of Arts Degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Liberia.  As an African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellow and a BORLAUG Scholar, Williams aspires to mentor younger female scientists to enable them to achieve their career goals and aspirations and contribute to agricultural research and development in Liberia and beyond.

Dr. Fredline M'Cormack-Hale is an Associate Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey (since 2008), where she teaches the African specialization courses as well as the introduction to international relations courses. Her teaching and research interests include political development, gender, democratization and community, and international aid. A staunch comparatist, with a regional focus on Africa, notably Sierra Leone, M’Cormack-Hale's current research programme investigates the role that international organizations play in the promotion of democratization after the collapse of the state, and during the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.