Focus Staff


Shalmali Guttal

Shalmali Guttal is our Executive Director and has worked with Focus since 1997. She has worked in India, the United States, and mainland Southeast Asia. Her academic background is in the social sciences with particular emphasis on participatory education and qualitative research. Since 1991, she has been researching and writing about economic development, trade and investment, and ecological and social justice issues in Asia - especially the Mekong region and India - with emphasis on peoples' and women's rights to resources. To read articles by Shalmali, click here.

[email protected] / @commonmolly

Walden Bello

Walden Bello is a Senior Analyst, and he co-founded Focus in 1995 with UNDP Senior Advisor Kamal Malhotra. Until recently, he was a representative to Congress in the Republic of the Philippines. A 2003 recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award (the "Alternative Nobel Prize"), Walden is considered the most respected anti-globalization thinker in Asia by the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. He is the author and co-author of more than 14 books. To read articles by Walden, click here.

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Niabdulghafar<br />

Niabdulghafar Tohming or Hamdee is a Program Officer covering trade, investment and climate justice. Prior to joining Focus in 2013, Hamdee worked with INGOs and regional organizations in Asia on issues of human rights, non-violence, democracy and development.  He has a Master's in Inter-Asia NGO Studies from Sungkonghoe University in South Korea and a Bachelor's from International Islamic University in Malaysia.

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Sophea Chrek

Sophea Chrek is a Programme Officer under our Mekong programme and is a feminist activist from Cambodia. From a garment worker background, Sophea has been working to empower young women workers for the last eight years and has dedicated herself to working with different movements fighting for social, economic and political change.

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Yasmin Ahammad is our Program Development Officer. Originally from the UK, has a Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the University of London. She has been working with UK and Asian NGOs and grassroots organizations since 2006, specializing in resource mobilization, grants management and donor relations. She has most recently spent three years working with ethnic community-based organizations on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

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Soontaree Nakaviroj

Soontaree Nakaviroj is an Administrator, and has been a staff member at Focus since 1998. She has a Bachelor's degree in English and Art History from the Faculty of Archaeology at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. She previously worked as the administrative assistant of SARCS Secretariat at the Environmental Research Institute at Chulalongkorn University.

Joana Bala is the Sombath Initiative Programme Officer, working on the intersection of human rights and development in Laos. She previously worked as a Human Rights Intern at the UN OHCHR regional office for Southeast Asia. She has a Bachelor's degree in Oriental Studies, from the Sapienza University of Rome, and a Master's degree in Diplomacy from Shanghai International Studies University. 

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Andrea Imbert

Nathaporn Meesuay

Nathaporn Meesuay or Note is our Accounting and Finance Officer. He graduated in accounting from Chulalongkorn University and has an MSc. in information systems management from the University of Surrey in the UK. He has worked as an accountant  for several private companies in different industries.

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Joseph Purugganan

Joseph Purugganan is the Coordinator of Focus program in the Philippines. He joined Focus on the Global South in 2003 to help coordinate the nationwide campaign of the Stop the New Round Coalition to derail the World Trade Organization's Doha Round negotiations. He works on trade issues and is the co-coordinator for Southeast Asia of the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network. Joseph also spearheads Focus' climate work in the Philippines. He sits as Focus representative to the Coordinating Committee of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ). To read articles by Joseph, click here.

[email protected] /  @focustrade

Mary Ann Manahan

Mary Ann Manahan is a Program Officer based in our Manila office. She joined Focus on the Global South in 2003 and works on the commons (land, water, and freedom of information), and the relationship of this issue to international financial institutions, the privatization and regulation of public utilities, resource management, and imagining and building alternatives at the macro and micro levels. She has a background in sociology, women's issues and development studies. To read articles by Mary Ann, click here.

[email protected] / @criticalcommons

Galileo de Guzman Castillo

Galileo de Guzman Castillo delves into the complex issues around climate and environmental justice, and in so doing, cannot but also be involved in intertwined concerns about the commons, humanity's relationship with nature, and sustainability. His work in Focus allows him to build on his academic background in the inter- and transdisciplinary field of human ecology, and to channel more concretely his deep interests in peoples’ alternatives, grassroots capacity building, and critical pedagogy. Galil also has abiding interests in philosophy, geopolitics, vexillology, progressive bluegrass and indie folk music, poetry, and the avant-garde. To read articles by Galil, click here.

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Lyn Cacho-dela Cruz

Lyn Cacho-dela Cruz is in charge of administration and finance in Manila. With 11 years of experience working with people's organizations, Lyn joined Focus on the Global South in January 2010. She graduated from Polytechnic University of the Philippines with a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy and Law.

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Clarissa Militante

Clarissa Villasin-Militante finished AB Literature and MFA in Creative Writing at the De La Salle University. Professionally, she started as journalist before transitioning to non-government/civil society organizations, and then in the recent past, as fiction writer; she has written two novels. She is currently working on part-time basis as Focus' Communications Officer (while teaching Literature at La Salle).

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Afsar Jafri

Afsar Jafri has been with Focus since 2005 and is our India/South Asia coordinator based in New Delhi. With over 15 years of work on agriculture and food policy, he has been leading Focus' research on food sovereignty. Afsar is closely linked with farmers' groups in India and outside. He has a Master's in Philosophy (International Law) from Jawaharlal Nehru University. To read articles by Afsar, click here.

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Mansi Sharma

Mansi Sharma joined Focus as our New Delhi Finance and Administration Officer in 2012. She has 10 years of experience as an administrator at national and international organizations. She is activist at heart and has led many programs and campaigns on the issues of rural livelihoods, women's empowerment, and communalism. Mansi enjoys reading biographical and non-fiction works. She is a commerce graduate from Delhi University. 

[email protected] / @activistms