• Shannon Wilson, PhD, Chief of Party

    Shannon provides technical, strategic, and management oversight of the project, with an emphasis on ensuring high quality decision support services. She is an agricultural economist with research and teaching experience across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Prior to joining USAID-BEST in early 2009, Shannon conducted research in the areas of health economics and aid effectiveness in the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank, and with a Panamanian NGO in the field of natural resource management. Shannon holds a PhD and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Maryland, and a BA in Development Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.


  • Philippe Chabot, Agricultural Economist

    Philippe provides technical support for market analysis and monetization feasibility components of USAID-BEST research. Before joining USAID-BEST, his work focused on evaluations of cereal markets in the Central Asia region and their impact on food security in Afghanistan and the region more widely, done on behalf of the World Bank, FAO, and USAID/FEWSNET. Philippe has also worked in a variety of capacities to evaluate agricultural markets in West Africa and Central America. He holds MS and BS degrees in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University and University of California, Davis, respectively.


  • Masood Habib, Research Assistant

    Masood's responsibilities include assisting senior staff by conducting basic market and policy research on staple food commodities, gathering data on agricultural commodity markets and food aid, and writing technical annexes on agricultural policy, economics, household consumption, and food security. Prior to joining USAID-BEST, Masood supported program implementation and policy at the Office of Food for Peace in Washington DC for four years. He is currently pursuing an MA in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University's School of Public Policy.


  • Ali Happli, Project Assistant

    Ali provides operational and administrative support to the USAID-BEST project. Ali is responsible for organizing travel and logistics for the team. Prior to joining USAID-BEST, she worked with ACDI/VOCA and the Korea Economics Institute. Ali has an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University.


  • Jessie Kalsmith, Deputy Chief of Party

    Jessie conducts research on food aid distribution and monetization, agricultural markets, and the use of cash transfer/vouchers in food security programs. As Deputy Chief of Party, she provides the team with operational and organizational support and actively participates in field-based research studies. Her previous experience includes work with USAID Food for Peace programs in Bolivia and Nicaragua. Jessie has an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a BS in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont.


  • Jessica Li, Editor

    Jessica proofreads and reviews all USAID-BEST documents and reports for consistency and accuracy, while managing document flow throughout the report writing process. Previously, she served as Chief Editor of a publishing company in Shanghai where she oversaw the production of numerous books. She has dual BAs in Journalism and International Relations from Boston University.


  • Amy Ostrander, Research Analyst

    Amy conducts research on constraints to household food security, and the distribution of food aid, cash transfers, and vouchers in food security programs. She participates in USAID-BEST's field research. Before joining the team, Amy worked with an international NGO on hunger and livelihoods programming and policy, as well as on a USAID Food for Peace program in Bangladesh. Amy's previous experience includes field work in Liberia, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala where she served as a Peace Corps Agricultural Marketing Volunteer. She holds an MPA in Policy and International Development from Princeton University, and a BA in International Studies and Nonprofit Management from Western Michigan University.


  • Toby Schaeffer, Supervisory Research Analyst

    Toby's responsibilities include data collection and analysis (particularly related to monetization of food aid), and coordinating the Post-Monetization Monitoring initiative. As part of his research, Toby regularly joins the team on field-based research studies. Before joining USAID-BEST, he spent several years on the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). He holds an MA in International Administration from the University of Denver, and spent three short months of 2002 in Ivory Coast as a Peace Corps Volunteer before being evacuated due to the civil unrest.


General Inquiries


Fintrac, Inc.
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington DC 20036
(202) 742-1055


Rachel Grant, USAID/Office of Food for Peace, COR

Latest Reports

Liberia: The Role of Markets in Food Security, Pre-Ebola Crisis, 2014 View report

Bangladesh USAID-BEST
Analysis, 2014
View report

Analysis, 2013
View report

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