GDSI Experts Awarded for their Achievements in 2021

Building Prosperity, Forging Partnerships, Inspiring Innovation, Producing Results

For a second consecutive year, GDSI celebrated its annual awards in appreciation of the excellent work of its expert staff and their commitment to the objectives of the projects led by GDSI. After long deliberation and evaluation among the more than 100 international experts and consultants employed by GDSI located across the world, the  judging panel have made the following awards:

   Dr Ana Jolovic, Team Leader of the Year

Ana received this award for her commitment as Team Leader on the RELOF 2 project, a project funded by the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO). Since 2016, Ana has been an exemplar Team Leader and team player, breaking new ground in every step of the process of implementing Public Finance Management reforms at the subnational level in Serbia. Her dynamism and technical knowledge have motivated diverse groups of experts and beneficiaries and have led to high levels of satisfaction with the technical work of the project. Ana was instrumental in helping GDSI broker important agreements with stakeholders and helped contribute to the programme’s 4-year extension.

Ana knows how to create a safe space for her colleagues and promote (learning) opportunities for her teams and women in particular. Her restless spirit has ensured that GDSI is acknowledged internationally as an innovator in the area of PFM.

”Although Ana is one of the most technically skilled experts on our books, she is also one of the most humble and hard-working. We are privileged to have her lead this important SECO-funded project for GDSI”

Pauric Brophy, Managing Director

   Ms Alexandra Nazarenko, Project Administrator of the Year

The Best Project Administrator award was presented to Alexandra Nazarenko, for her long term contribution to the implementation of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project since 2018. Alexandra is very knowledgeable of administrative procedures and EU project implementation rules and has been performing her work with the greatest attention to detail for such a complex project. GDSI has been implementing the first phase of the project from 2017 to March 2021.

We were so impressed with Alexandra’s work that we offered her to join GDSI as a full-time staff. In June of this year, we have won the second phase of this project. In between these two phases of the EaP projects, Alexandra was helping us with many other projects. 

The reason I wish to nominate Alexandra is that I sincerely consider her my right hand in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project. Alexandra is the person who has detailed knowledge of EU project rules and procedures and various aspects of project administration. Alexandra is GDSI’s main person for training other administrative staff on our projects and she truly deserves this award.

Olga Kennelly, Director

   Mr Paul Georis, Evaluation Expert of the Year

This year GDSI recognises excellent work of Paul Georis, who has been awarded Evaluation Expert of the Year for his leadership of the EU Budget Support Evaluation for Morocco. Paul invests enormous energy into every assignment and, when combined with his exceptional analytical and report writing skills, the results are always of the highest quality. Paul has 27 years of experience in the identification, formulation and management of socio-economic development programmes and projects funded by international donors. He has solid professional experience in the fields of local economic development, including support to the private sector and education, employment and labour market policies.

Paul has continually demonstrated excellent managerial and technical skills over a period of many years and his work is always of the highest standard.

Anna Lobanova, Head of Administration

   Ms Elena Palivoda, Communication Expert of the Year

Elena Palivoda was given the Communication Expert of the Year award for her involvement in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project. Elena has been working with GDSI for a long time bringing her expertise not only in the achievement of the communication goals of the project but also in promoting the company. The energy she invested, the inspiration she gave to the people working with her and the project beneficiaries, was tremendous.

I am very much looking forward to continuing working with Elena on the next phase of the EaP Civil Society Facility project until December 2024. Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Olga Kennelly, Director

Elena is an outstanding communication expert, who ensures successful visibility and communication of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project. She is the one we regularly turn to for expert consultations, taking on board her best practices for project communication.

Anna Lobanova, Head of Administration

   Ms Gulvira Akybayeva, Consultant of the Year

Gulvira Akybayeva was awarded Consultant of the Year for her role and contribution as a Team Leader in the World Bank project on the “Definition of the parameters for assessment of learning outcomes in vocational and higher education in Kazakhstan”.

In three and a half months of the project duration with limited resources available and a vast amount of work to be completed, Gulvira successfully led a team of experts, producing an incredible level of output towards Kazakhstan’s ambitious reform of vocational and higher education. Gulvira literally worked day and night to address the sometimes-contradictory demands of 4 project beneficiary institutions. It’s due to her perseverance and resilience that the other experts were motivated to continue their efforts and complete the project successfully in such a limited timeframe.

Gulvira is the most hard-working expert. It is for the first time I have had the privilege to work with such a dedicated expert working in such challenging conditions without a complaint or protest.

Olga Kennelly, Director

   Mr Laurent Schwab, Researcher of the Year

This year GDSI recognises the excellent work of Laurent Schwab who has been awarded Researcher of the Year for his significant contribution to the European Budget Support Evaluation for Morocco.  Working for the first time for GDSI, he made a significant contribution to the Budget Support Evaluation in Morocco.  In addition to his own workload, he took over the work of another expert who was unable to complete his tasks. He produced excellent analytical reports in two domains: public finance management and economic competitiveness.

Laurent has more than twenty years of experience in the field of development assistance and brings a unique perspective on both public sector reform and education policy, he has proven his research and analytical skills and the ability to present the key messages in a concise way, providing forward-looking policy actions.

The key role of Laurent is really to brings these research skills, ability to get the message across and tell the story which a lot of people can’t do, also he can make the bridge between the research and the policy and in a team, Laurent is very good because rings the bell well in advance before the things really go wrong so I have to thank you, Laurent, for guiding me to the process of managing as well.

Fiorina Mugione, Regional Director for Africa, Caribbean, Pacific

 EU TACSO 3, Project of the Year
The project of the Year award was given to EU TACSO 3 project. The EU-funded Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations (TACSO 3) in the Western Balkans and Turkey is a regional project aiming to strengthen participatory democracies and the EU approximation process in the accession region. The project focuses on strengthening the capacities of civil society organisations to actively take part in the democratic processes and stimulating an enabling environment for civil society and pluralistic media development.

EU TACSO 3 is the flagship project of EU support to civil society in the region. The specific emphasis on this year’s Project of the Year award is on the response to Covid. EU TACSO 3, which is primarily about capacity building and networking of civil society in IPA beneficiaries, managed to quickly pivot towards the implementation of its activities in an online and hybrid form, providing innovative support to CSOs that was not foreseen when the project was planned.

The project team (the core team located in Skopje, Macedonia, and country coordinators located in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey) did not only have to adjust to delivering various events online but also assist and build the capacities of the beneficiaries of the project (civil society organisations) to deliver their services in innovative ways. The project team managed to do this with a good degree of success.

I nominated and my colleagues supported me so that EU TACSO 3 is GDSI’s 2021 Project of the Year for the project team’s hard work, flexibility and going an extra mile. The EU decided to extend the project for additional 9.5 months I look forward to working with the project team until the end of September 2022.

Olga Kennelly, Director