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Hard-working and


are the values that inspire our work

Our beginnings

Back in 2009, Bill Liao and Marie-Noelle Keijzer founded WeForest with a clear ambition: to stop global warming “in our lifetime, so our children don’t have to”.

For the first three years we were all volunteers, and every euro received went to grow trees. We grew organically: persuading other NGOs to plant for us, then hiring our first local foresters.

Today WeForest is a team of more than 50 passionate professionals across the world, mostly based in our field offices in Zambia and Ethiopia and in our Brussels headquarters.

Our team

After 17 years working for large corporates, Marie-Noëlle Keijzer chose to align her work with her life’s purpose and make a real difference in the world. With her corporate background, MBA and master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, she took up the challenge to co-found in 2009 and turn it into a world leading sustainable reforestation movement, addressing the planet’s most formidable challenges: global warming, water scarcity and poverty. After a steep growth in the last years, WeForest now has the capacity to reach 100 million trees by 2024. She also joined Al Gore’s Climate Reality and the WEF movement for a bigger outreach, as no one can do this alone.

Marie-Noëlle Keijzer

Co-founder and CEO

Aurélie is an impact strategy professional, and her role at WeForest is to implement initiatives that will scale up the impact of the organisation. She holds a Master in Information and Communication and has over 18 years’ experience working with startups, NGOs and leading companies in Europe and Asia.

Aurélie Dupont

Accelerator Director

Partnerships and Communications

Jessica has extensive experience in developing and managing corporate & donor engagement strategy, both from her previous role as Programme & Partnerships Manager of The Sustainable Agriculture Network (2016-19) and as a Senior Associate at Winrock International (2008-16). Prior to that, Jessica worked with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. Jessica holds an MSc in Environmental Technology.

Jessica Chalmers

Partnerships & Comms Director

Vienna began her career in publishing and journalism in the UK. She then moved into science communication at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, after which she became the Head of Communications and Outreach at IBEC, a research institute in Barcelona. Her passion for the environment and animals brought her to Brussels for positions at Eurogroup for Animals and now at WeForest.

Vienna Leigh

Communications Manager

Liz is responsible for helping to develop WeForest's partnership strategy and plan and securing new global, high impact funding from companies with a focus on multi-year partnerships. Based in Manchester, UK, Liz holds a BA in Classical Civilisation and prior to joining WeForest has 15+ years experience in direct sales and partnerships in the corporate world.

Liz Oates

Partnerships Dev. Manager

Louise is advising existing sponsors and donors and bringing on board new partners. Prior to joining WeForest, she worked at the European Climate Foundation for several years and has done several traineeships, including at the EU Delegation in Beijing, China. Louise holds an LLM in international environmental law from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Originally from the Netherlands, she has been living in Brussels for nearly 5 years.

Louise Tideman

Sponsorship Manager

Dave Bircher

Head of Impact Partnerships

Graduated in applied communications and with a master’s degree in Advertising in 2018 he’s had experiences in sponsoring for several non-profit organizations and as consultant in social media content.

Gaetan Magrin

Sponsorships Officer


Olivier coordinates our global programs. He holds an advanced master in rural and tropical forestry from the French Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering. He worked 15 years in the management of projects' portfolios in Asia and Africa in the fields of environment, disaster risk reduction and community resilience.

Olivier Standaert

Global Programmes Director

As Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Kenny assists the different landscape restoration and planting projects with their monitoring and evaluation. He holds a PhD in vegetation ecology from the University of Leuven in Belgium and has worked 8 years as a postdoctoral academic researcher on several field-based ecological research projects in Northern and Western Europe, Eastern Africa and Northeast Asia.

Kenny Helsen

M&E Manager

Natasha leads our new project development process. She holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Cambridge, UK. Prior to joining WeForest, she worked for four years for the UK government as an adviser on livelihoods, climate change, and environmental conservation programmes and policy in Tanzania and Zambia.

Natasha Watts

Head of Project Development

Based in the Netherlands, Marc coordinates the development of new projects and provides technical advice and support to the team on forestry. He holds an MSc in Tropical forestry and a PhD in Ecology and Resource Conservation and has worked as a consultant, expert in forestry in a very wide array of countries around the world.

Marc Parren

Projects Dev./Forestry Advisor

As Agroforestry Program Advisor, Corrie supports the implementation of agroforestry and other sustainable agricultural approaches in our livelihood projects. She holds a masters in environmental science and policy and for the last 17 years has designed and directed government and NGO programs in conservation, agriculture and agroforestry to diversify livelihoods and increase rural community reliance.

Corrie Mauldin

Agroforestry Program Advisor

Claire provides technical leadership/ assistance on the livelihoods and institutional components of WeForest’s projects. After a postgraduate degree in politics and international relations, she spent 10+ years working on community-based natural resource management, land rights and livelihoods programmes for a wide range of organisations in Asia, Africa and Haiti.

Claire Parfondry

Livelihoods Program Manager


Xavier holds an MSc in Astrophysics. He is certified in GHG (Greenhouse Gas Protocol) for carbon footprint, as well as project validation and verification. He has been working since 2010 for Ecocert, first as Head of Carbon Services, then as Head of Business Unit on Climate and Forestry.

Xavier Hatchondo

Climate Science & Policy Dir

As Carbon & Technology Manager, Anna is responsible for coordinating the carbon certification processes of WeForest projects and applying the latest technologies for Mapping & MRV. Based in Berlin, Anna holds a MA in Political Science and Public Law and has a background in environmental policy, in the carbon markets and worked in project development for forestry and carbon projects in Southeast Asia. She is also trained in forest management.

Anna Roesinger

Carbon & Technology Manager

Rachel co-ordinates WeForest’s applied science research and policy engagement activities. Rachel’s background is in forest ecology, she holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK where she focused on advancing the methodologies for tropical forest biomass estimation.

Rachel Cohen

Research Officer

Human Resources

Anne-Laure graduated from an International Business School in France and started her career in Finance. She quickly realised that her interests laid elsewhere and developed and perfected her training in communication, process management, human resources and organisational development, until she managed projects of cultural changes in large organisations. She has passion for people, diversity and Inclusion as well as collaborative approaches and is committed to making a difference for the planet and its communities.

Anne-Laure Cordier

HR Director

Alice joined WeForest as the assistant to the CEO and in 2020 she also joined the HR department, working in close collaboration with the HR Director. Alice holds a Master in Germanic linguistics and literature. She started her career as a teacher, and then moved to the corporate sector, working at a financial services company. As a nature-lover, she enjoys taking care of her garden in the countryside and her animals.

Alice Pirson

Executive Assistant/HR Officer


Michael is a seasoned finance professional overseeing the financial organization of WeForest. He holds a master degree in Economic Science from the Catholic University of Leuven and started his career as Auditor. During 15 years he developed international experience as Finance Director in different industries.

Michaël Tytgat

Finance & Admin Director

Alicia assists our Finance & Administration Director in the financial management of the organization. She holds a master degree in business administration and an advanced master in financial risk management. She started her career in a treasury center and has then worked for 5 years as a financial consultant in large multinational companies.

Alicia Brigger

Senior Finance Manager

Clarisse is a French and Brazilian professional with diversified professional experiences in the private and public sectors - particularly familiar with the UN SDGs having worked for 2y at the United Nations Development Programme before joining the WeForest team! With an academic background in Political Science and Finance, she is supporting our HQ Finance team as a Controller and contract expert.

Clarisse Boulay

Financial Controller

Laila is our accounting assistant and works closely with the rest of the finance team, but also with the Fundraising team. She trained as an IT systems administrator in Germany. In 2005 she moved to Belgium and worked for 5 years in customer service for an American company. As she has always been interested in accounting, she started to study Accounting in Brussels after a career break.

Laila El Abouti

Assistant Accountant


Cristina leads landscape restoration and planting projects in Brazil. She collaborates with WeForest’s partners to ensure the best use of restoration ecology knowledge and ecological restoration practices. Her work experience is based on Atlantic forest restoration and conservation, both in academia and environmental consultancy. She holds a Plant Biology Ph.D. from the University of Campinas and a master’s degree in Forestry Resources from the University of São Paulo.

Cristina Yuri Vidal

Brazil Project Manager


Aklilu oversees the various landscape restoration and planting projects in Ethiopia. He holds a PhD in Bioscience Engineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and a master's degree in Tropical Land Resources Management from Mekelle University (Ethiopia). Prior to joining WeForest, Aklilu conducted research in Africa and Europe for 12 years in forest ecology, management science, ecosystem safety, invasive plant, agronomy, plant propagation, bioenergy-biofuel, forest entomology, and non-timber forest products and worked for two years as a Consultant at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Aklilu Negussie Mekuria

Director Ethiopia

Simon provides technical support for the implementation of Forest and landscape restoration projects in Ethiopia. Prior to this, he has worked in the field of integrated watershed development, Forestry and Climate change adaptation and mitigation. Simon holds an Msc. degree in forest resource assessment & monitoring and BSc degree in Natural resource management from Hawassa University and a post graduate diploma in Environmental management from Technische Universitat Dresden.

Simon Berhanu

Forest Restoration Advisor

Kiflom Haftu Shiferaw

Tigray Driver

Anteneh Metiku Damte

Finance/Admin Manager

Birhane is Forest and GIS expert at WeForest Ethiopia. Before joining WeForest he has worked for 11 years at Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development as forest ecologist at regional level. He graduated in natural resource economics and management from Mekelle University and has attended 6 months training on land restoration at the United Nation University of Iceland.

Birhane Etay Reda

Forestry expert

Kinfe Gebresilasie

Tigray Driver

Yemane Gebru Hagos

Tigray Regional Manager

Negusse holds MSc. In Agricultural Economics and a PhD in Agricultural and applied Economics. Before he joined WeForest, he was working as Research Fellow at world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF). He has research expertise in decision focused agricultural research, mainly on the economics of Climate change adaptation measures, and is also expert in designing mobile data collection tools, such as Kobo and Open Data Kit (ODK).

Negusse G. Yigzaw

Monitoring/Evaluation expert

Elsa Ayele Nigatu

Tigray Finance & Admin Officer

As Agroforestry and Natural Resource Management Expert, Tadele holds an MSc in Tropical Land Resource Management and a BSc in Soil & Water Conservation, both from Mekelle University. He also has a Diploma in Agricultural engineering and technology from the Awassa college of Agriculture - AU (Ethiopia). Before joining WeForest in July 2019, Tadelle worked for NGOs using GIZ technologies for more than 14 years, and for the government agricultural office, implementing and coordinating development programmes.

Tadele G. Tedla

Agroforestry/Natural Resources Expert

Bahre holds an MSc in Rural Development. He worked for more than 10 years at the Relief Society of Tigray, an organization providing relief efforts to civilians. Bahre then had the opportunity to work in cooperation with HELVETA Swiss in the context of the Beles SUNRise Project, where he managed the project. He alsotook part in the Tigray Rural Future Initiative, a project focusing on natural resources management and livelihood development.

Bahre Embaye

Senior Livelihood Expert

Meles Weldeabrha

Project assistant


Ruben’s WeForest journey started in 2017 as project assistant with the Ethiopia team, assisting the set-up of the Desa’a project in Tigray. Since 2019, he provides technical support to the mapping and Monitoring & Evaluation processes across four projects, assisted project development and ad-hoc management support in Zambia. Currently, Ruben leads the Malawi country operations and strategy, heading the Mulanje project team.

Ruben Foquet

Country Representative Malawi

Thokozani Chavura-Chikapa is responsible for implementation of forest restoration in Mulanje Mountain. Have extensive 6 years’ experience in managing plantation forest and working with Tobacco smallholder farmers in agroforestry projects. Thokozani has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and is working towards obtaining a Master of Science in Biodiversity Informatics to broaden skills in informatics with an aim of becoming a specialist in nature conservation and data management.

Thokozani Chavura

Field Manager Mulanje

Currently working as Community Outreach Assistant with focus on co-management, Madalitso joined WeForest International in March 2022. With 10 years of experience in agricultural extension and community development, he has worked with a number of both local and international organisations in Malawi thus private and public domain.

Madalitso Lipenga

Community Outreach Assistant

Lester has 3 years of experience in the non-profit and private sector. He has a BSc. Degree in Natural Resources Management. In his past experience, he's taken a leading role, in building resilience for individuals, communities, and institutions to better understand, prepare for, and withstand effects of biodiversity loss and climate change and interrelated threats. Through his work with community youth, he's represented Malawi at Pre-COP 26 Sept 2021, Milan, Italy, Stockholm+50 General Assembly, June 2022, Stockholm, Sweden, African Protected Area (APAC) Pre-Youth Congress and Main Congress, Kigali, Rwanda, July 2022

Lester Ray Nanjala

Community Outreach Assistant


Germaine works with Weforest's partners on our reforestation projects. She has previously worked in the environmental field for a national park in the Amazonian forest and for a bilateral agency funding biodiversity conservation projects. She holds an engineering degree in international agro-development from ISTOM and an advanced master degree on innovations and policies for sustainable food systems from Montpellier SupAgro.

Germaine Neyra

Country Manager Senegal

Omar is an Agroforester/Environmentalist. He holds a master's degree in Sustainable Management of Forest and Agroforestry Ecosystems and a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences. Omar has 4 years of experience in landscape restoration in the Sahel. He is supporting WeForest with the Ferlo forest restoration project and the management of pastoral land

Omar Sall

Biodiversity Expert - Ferlo


Fainess oversees the implementation of the Katanino Forest Landscape Restoration Project in Zambia. She holds a PhD in Animal Ecology from the University of Zambia and a MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town (South Africa). She has worked in Biodiversity Conservation projects in Zambia for over 15 years.

Fainess Lumbwe

Zambia Director

Haggai is responsible for the implementation of the WeForest Copperbelt farm forestry Project in Zambia. He has 11 years of experience in forest conservation and environmental management with 7 years of hands-on experience in monitoring and evaluating forest carbon projects. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Masters of Science in Environmental Management.

Haggai Mutale

Project Manager, Copperbelt

Sara is responsible for forest restoration and extension work in the Katanino Forest reserve and the buffer zone under the Katanino Forest Landscape Restoration project. She comes with 8 years’ experience in integrated natural resource management and community mobilisation and 4 years in forest restoration and law enforcement coordination. She holds a diploma in Forestry and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.

Sara Banda

Forestry Extension Officer

Estone Simachenya

Lead Extensionist

Lloyd Kantumoya

Operations Assistant, Chintumukulu

Dries is overseeing the establishment of the Chintumukulu Conservancy and the creation of a wider forest landscape corridor in the Muchinga province in Zambia. Before starting with WeForest, he pursued a PhD in animal ecology in Kenya and gained hands-on experience with conservation in Zambia in Kasanka National Park. As a biologist, he is passionate about wildlife in general and a very keen birdwatcher in particular.

Dries Van de Loock

Muchinga Regional Manager

Mutamba is a natural resource expert with over 7 years’ experience in project management, natural resource management and climate change mitigation. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Agroforestry.

Mutamba Chilufya

Project Manager, Katanino

Mulako Muimui

Junior M&E Officer

Nalukui provides technical support to the project teams in Zambia regarding development implementation and evaluation of livelihoods, market systems development and partnerships. She is an expert in forest ecology and environmental management with extensive knowledge of the Zambian ecosystems and their management and of forest restoration on mine degraded areas.

Nalukui Matakala

Livelihoods / Partners Advisor

Cassandra has more than 10 years’ experience in Natural Resource Management work for both local and International organizations. She holds a BSc degree in Forestry and a Master’s degree in Development Studies. Her role at WeForest Zambia is to develop and consolidate our partnerships in the forest sector, businesses and organizations in order to increase collaboration and communication with all stakeholders.

Cassandra Lundu

Partnerships Manager

David has vast experience in community development methodologies spanning close to two decades. He is specialized in community forestry, climate change mitigation and adaptation, out grower promotion, agriculture, fish farming, horticulture, agroforestry and many more livelihood enhancement interventions. He supports the Zambia Team by enhancing CBOs capacity building, community forest restoration and protection, livelihoods support and organization, visibility promotion.

David Phiri

Project Manager, Mpumba CFA

Hinji coordinates and implements M&E activities across Katanino Forest and Landscape Restoration Project in Zambia. Before that, he worked as Agriculture Research Associate (2016-21) where he gained extensive experience in applied agriculture research with a focus on improving rural livelihoods from his previous role. Hinji holds a BSc in Land and Water Resources Management, Cert. M&E and Cert. Teaching Methodology.

Hinji Mutondo

M&E Officer

Joel Mwewa

Finance & Admin Officer

Mike Cheeka

Assistant Extentionist, Katanino

Morton is a passionate community development and environmental sustainability professional. As an enthusiastic rural community development practitioner with 5 years experience, Morton provides expert technical support, advice, hands-on strategic guidance and technical oversight for community capacity building aimed at improving natural resources management across projects in the Muchinga province. He holds A Diploma in Agro-studies, a bachelor of science in Forestry, and a master’s degree in Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Morton Shanzi

Lead Community Officer

Catherine is passionate person committed to applying extensive knowledge of conservation practices to protect natural resources. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of Weforest Chintumukulu project. Catherine holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife Management and has 5 years’ hand-on experience in Wildlife Management.

Catherine Zulu

Project coordinator, Chintumukulu

John Mwandwe

Assistant Extensionist

Deborah oversees the financial management of WeForest Zambia. She started her accounting career with the international NGO Oxfam-GB in 2006. Deborah holds a degree in Accounting, and a degree in Business studies and Education. She is currently studying a Master’s of Business Administration and Finance.

Deborah Munsanje

Finance and Admin Manager

Lawrence Chilambe

Finance/Admin officer, Katanino

Silvia Phiri

Field Extensionist Copperbelt

Rachel has 4 years working experience in Sustainable Forestry, Fisheries, Wildlife Management and general Community based natural resources management (CBNRM). She holds a bachelor's degree in Wildlife management and Biology and a Master's degree in Climate Change and sustainable development. Currently, she is supporting the WeForest Zambia team in implementation of the beekeeping program in the North Luangwa Landscape.

Rachel Ndabala

Project Manager, Mukungule (HEARTH)

Carmen Malupande

Community Extensionist

Alex Mwape


Anthony is a professional accounting personal with experience both in the public and in private sectors. Holder of a degree in accountancy, he is currently pursuing his final level qualification as a Chartered Accountant.

Anthony Musanse


Patricia Funda

HR Manager, Zambia

Bill is a social networking pioneer, author, speaker, engaged in not for profit work. Among his non-profit endeavours he is a CoderDojo mentor and he has participated as an investor and volunteer in The Hunger Project. He has also been appointed as a special diplomatic envoy for St Kitts and Nevis for sustainable development and the environment, role which was at the source of the WeForest movement.

Bill Liao

Co-founder and Chairman

With more than 20 years of experience in finance, Helena is a strategic business partner in the fast-changing environments of global multinational companies. Helena is passionate about supporting businesses with financial insights and process improvements, including in operations, sales, legal and HR. At WeForest, Helena supports us by providing us with guidance to ensure sound business decisions, financial integrity and and rigorous governance.

Helena Michielsen


Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.

Marie-Noëlle Keijzer

Co-founder and CEO

Dr Laurent Durieux is board member and head of the WeForest scientific committee. He holds a PhD and is specialized in satellite remote sensing and GIS to study the impact of the deforestation on the convective clouds. His 20 years of international expertise in environmental satellite monitoring and his vision to associate it with artificial intelligence processing capabilities, are instrumental in increasing global environmental reporting and monitoring. Knowing the issues is already partly resolving them. Author of more than 100 international scientific publications, he is actively engaged through transdisciplinary research and thanks to an extensive international network in the reconciliation between peoples and the biosphere. Laurent is based at the House of Remote Sensing in Montpellier, France.

Laurent Durieux

Science & Research Trustee

Olivier has developed a wide range of expertise by leading or supporting organisations undergoing deep repositioning in various environments (government, private and public firms, start-ups and NGOs). As Chairman of the Board for various NGOs and environmental organisations, including Plan International, Climact, and the Agroecology Europe Association, Olivier's expertise in governance contributes to the development of sustainability activities and projects.

Olivier Lefebvre

Governance Trustee

Soumaya is a dynamic leader with a strong legal and business background and has successfully driven large-scale growth for leading global organizations in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Currently Legal Counsel and Project Lead at ENGIE, she provides strategic leadership, legal and business counsel, working with business development teams and M&A teams. Her role as Legal & Ethics Trustee at WeForest is to advise on contracts and be the reference person for Ethics questions and act as our ombudsperson.

Soumaya Graine

Legal & Ethics Trustee

Louise is a passionate Commercial Director with 15 years' experience in international trade and development, banking and professional services. As a skilled communicator, Louise excels in negotiating, organizational change mgmt., people leadership, accounting, contract management, business risk and internal controls. Louise supports WeForest in the search for diversified funding opportunities.

Louise Quy

Partnership Trustee