The team

We are a team of practitioners dedicated to linking business practices with sustainability.

Michael Kropac

Co-Director

Michael Kropac

Co-Director
michael.kropac@cewas.org+41788726744

Michael is the founder and Co-director of cewas. Throughout his +18 years of work experience, Michael has been an innovator, knowledge producer, trainer, facilitator and specialized water/food business development coach. Michael is a Geographer with minors in Business Administration and Transdisciplinary Environmental Sciences. As cewas’s Co-director, Michael has planned and conducted 100+ capacity development programmes for practitioners, decision makers and innovators, including 19 year-long specialized capacity building programmes and coaching of 200+ water, sanitation & waste entrepreneurs worldwide. He has co-designed and developed the largest knowledge platform in sustainable water and sanitation management worldwide (www.sswm.info). Michael lives with his family in Switzerland but frequently travels to train, coach and mentor entrepreneurs during incubation, acceleration and scaling

Aline Bussmann

Co-director

Aline is the Regional Director of cewas in the Middle East. She has more than 12 years experience as a resource management expert and business development trainer and her regional expertise lies in the Middle East, North and Eastern Africa, where she is based for many years. Aline coordinates and manages all cewas activities in the Middle East, with a strong focus on environmental business development & ecosystem support programs in the region. Based on her experience in entrepreneurial support, she has developed comprehensive sector-specific ecosystem strategies in several MENA countries and initiated partnerships and coordination platforms to enhance innovative finance mechanisms, talent growth and specialized business support. Aline is providing tailored technical and business support to high-potential start-ups at the incubation and acceleration stage. In the context of long-term support programmes, Aline has been the lead trainer and coach for more than 50 start-ups/companies in Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon over the past four years. She has an extensive water, environment and business -related network and knowledge she can draw upon to scale sector-specific businesses and support developing respective markets.

Janek Hermann-Friede

Project manager

Janek Hermann-Friede

Project manager
janek.hermannfriede@cewas.org+491638776308

Janek is one of cewas’ senior project managers and trainers with a geographical focus on the Middle East and East Africa. As a business coach and entrepreneur, Janek is keenly interested in the question how social and ecological challenges can be overcome through economically sustainable initiatives. He supports innovation processes and helps enterprises to become investment ready. In our training programmes, Janek strives for the right balance between group exercises, active participation, introducing practical examples and different perspectives and ensuring technically sound solutions. Janek is an environmental engineer with a post-graduate degree in international development cooperation. He has more than 15 years of work experience in business development, water governance, private sector engagement and sustainable resources management practices. Prior to joining the cewas team in 2016, Janek founded an online start-up focusing on making high quality professional trainings affordable and accessible for everybody. Before that he worked on water and resources management projects both as independent consultant and for GIZ, GFA Consulting Group and the Water Integrity Network. Since 2014 Janek is a guest lecturer at the Centre for Rural Development (Humboldt Universität Berlin) with a focus on strategies and instruments for sustainable economic development and good governance.

Leonellha Barreto-Dillon

Project manager

Leonellha Barreto-Dillon

Project manager
leonellha.barreto-dillon@cewas.org+41795110254

Leonellha has been a cewas trainer, facilitator, coach and project manager since the foundation of cewas in 2010. With her 18 years of experience and a Chemical Engineering Degree, a Master Degree in Environmental Engineer, a Certificate of Cooperation for Development and a MBA in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, Leonellha has been fundamental in the development of training packages and workshops in sustainable sanitation and water management (SSWM), business development in water and sanitation, resource recovery and safe reuse (RRR), governance and sanitation safety planning, this last in alliance with the WHO. Leonellha collaborates as trainer and coach in the cewas Start-Programs editions in Willisau, Switzerland, as well as incubation programs in Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, India and Peru. She is also in charge of the Latin American programs for business development and integrity management. In cewas Middle East, she acts as trainer in Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management, designing and delivering tailor-made workshops in the region. Leonellha also supports the implementation of activities in Iraq, particularly the Innovation in Sanitation Hands-on Program with key stakeholders of the Erbil Directorate.

Celia Schmidt

Project manager

Celia Schmidt

Project manager
celia.schmidt@cewas.org+49 176 62400499

Celia is an anthropologist with a passion for participatory processes and innovative thinking. She holds a postgraduate degree in International Cooperation for Sustainable Development from the Humboldt University in Berlin, where she is also based. Celia has worked in several African and Latin American countries in urban agriculture, climate change and natural resource management. As a trainer and coach for cewas, she develops and facilitates change processes in the areas of integrity management and business development. She speaks and works in German, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Hannah Wuzel

Project manager

Hannah has dedicated her career to fostering innovation and the transfer of knowledge and skills to benefit people and the planet. She speaks 6 different languages and holds a MSc degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a BA in International Liberal Studies with a focus on International Relations and Political Science from Waseda University, Japan. In addition to several years of experience working in sustainable innovation and social entrepreneurship, Hannah’s core expertise is in communications and business development. For the past years, she has been contributing to coaching regional entrepreneurs and leading cewas’ activities in Lebanon, including the successful execution of two one-year long business training programmes with over 30 environmental entrepreneurs from early stage to scale-up.

Lillian Volat

Founder of the Middle East programme
In Sabbatical

Lillian Volat

Founder of the Middle East programme
In Sabbatical
lillian.volat@cewas.org

Lillian studied International Relations and Environmental Politics at the University of Lingnan as well as Business Development in Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management at the University of Lucerne. She has 7 year of experience working with various NGO’s in the Middle East focusing on innovative sanitation technologies, water management, sustainable agriculture development and green start-ups.

Maisam Otoum

Project manager

Maisam Otoum

Project manager
maisam.otoum@cewas.org+962778913280

Maisam is the Jordan country manager for cewas Middle East and has a diverse experience in Water, Energy, and Climate Change programs with national and international NGOs. He is responsible for managing cewas activities in Jordan with focus on green entrepreneurship, innovation in water and sanitation, and ecosystem development through partnerships and institutional collaboration. He is a passionate trainer and mentor for emerging entrepreneurs. Maisam holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (Jordan University of Science and Technology) and MSc in geophysics (University of Houston).

Nashwan Dhahir

Project manager

Nashwan Dhahir

Project manager
nashwan.dhahir@cewas.org+9647501984114

Nashwan is the Project Manager for cewas ME in Iraq. As a water resources engineer and sustainable sanitation and water management professional, Nashwan took the lead in WASH projects and a main role in institutional reform and development in the water sector with a focus on Iraqi context. He is responsible for developing and running cewas Middle East programs, strategic partnership development and further building and supporting the community of environmental innovators in Iraq. Utilizing his background and experience, he takes the lead and facilitates trainings and capacity building workshops for the members of Erbil sanitation service providing authority and the relevant stakeholders to promote sustainability in sanitation management, especially in faecal sludge management.

Owice Hammad

Project manager

Owice Hammad

Project manager
owice.hammad@cewas.org+962789359559

Owice supports on-ground activities in Jordan in addition to the one-on-one coaching and mentoring he provides to cewas’s start-ups. He also gives training in team development and formation. What he offers stem from the collective experience of practicing engineering, research, writing, human-human connections, and master studies. Owice is the founder of Turjumaa: a company that provides water and sanitation translation services, which is his side job. Owice holds a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Ruweida Aljabali

Project manager

Ruweida has studied Architecture and Built Environment in Jordan and Technology and Resources Management with a focus on urban and regional management in Germany. Throughout her study years, Ruweida participated in different environmental design and management classes and initiatives, which helped build an environmental advocate character. Ruweida is keen to help promote innovation in the water and environmental sector in Jordan, Palestine and the region. At cewas Middle East, she shares the responsibility for the coordination of entrepreneurial activities in Jordan and Palestine. She provides coaching and communication assistance to the start-ups as well as administrative and reporting support to the team, conducts research for project planning purposes and manages communication and regional marketing activities. Ruweida speaks Arabic, English and German. Next to her work at cewas, she is currently perusing her PhD in Germany.

Simon Joncourt

Project manager

Simon Joncourt

Project manager
+41 76 432 88 63

Simon Joncourt holds a Master Degree in Social Anthropology and is specialized on designing, coordinating and coaching business development processes in the fields of sustainable water, sanitation and waste management. He has a research background on socially inclusive innovation and sustainable service delivery to Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets. Over the course of his professional career, he assisted worker’s cooperatives in Argentina, accompanied low-income housing entrepreneurs in Mexico, supported innovators in the middle-eastern water sector and coached circular economy start-ups in Peru. He has worked with and for organizations such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, (Eawag, Switzerland), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC, Switzerland), the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM, México), the European Union (EU) as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, Colombia).

Tandiwe Erlmann

Project manager

Tandiwe Erlmann

Project manager
tandiwe.erlmann@cewas.org+41 76 528 68 70

Tandiwe holds a Master of Arts and Science (MA/MSc) in Sustainable Development and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in International Management. Tandiwe has established competencies in eco-innovation and social entrepreneurship, business development and management, impact modelling, integrity management and sustainability assessment. She brings this expertise and experiences from long-term stays in Southern Africa, North & Latin America and Central Asia to the interdisciplinary and international projects of cewas. She is responsible for managing the Start-up Programme and supports various water sector organisations in implementing integrity management strategies.

Our board

Thomas Zeller

President

Thomas Zeller

President

Thomas is a former senior water policy advisor of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and has 20 years of experience in development cooperation in the water sector in Africa and Latin America, with a strong focus on irrigation and integrated water resources management. Thomas is president of cewas since June 2015.

Amanda Ammann

Board member

Amanda Ammann

Board member

Amanda Ammann is a management consultant at PwC Switzerland in the area of sustainability and climate change. Previously, she worked as a project manager at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and at a Swiss SME firm and implemented various local, regional and global projects to promote business and innovation in the water sector.

Sebastian Bellwald

Board member

Sebastian Bellwald

Board member

Sebastian is managing director of PLANVAL AG and regiosuisse, the national platform of the New Regional Policy (NRP) in Switzerland. His special focus lies on impact-oriented regional development, knowledge management and project development.

Roland Schertenleib

Honorary president

Roland Schertenleib

Honorary president

Roland works as a water and sanitation consultant and is a former member of the directory board of EAWAG. He is honorary president of cewas and dedicates himself to supporting and initiating progress in water and sanitation management.