Water & Energy for Food (WE4F): A Grand Challenge for Development  

Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union (EU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

WE4F, through its Regional Innovation Hubs, provides financial support, technical assistance, and investment facilitation to water-food, energy-food, and water-energy-food innovations,

The supported innovations impact smallholder farmers, helping them unlock missing inputs, finance, technology, and markets. By using these innovations, farmers and food companies can enhance their climate resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.

How WE4F Works

The WE4F program capitalizes on the learnings from Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) and Securing Water for Food (SWFF) Grand Challenge. The program is focused on environmentally sustainable innovations aiming to improve energy and water efficiency in the agricultural sector. 

The WE4F initiative will work with promising innovations that were identified and nurtured during the PAEGC and SWFF to support their next level of scaling. At the same time, the program will open up new calls for innovations within the water-agriculture-food nexus. WE4F will incorporate the Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) model used in PAEGC and the Technical Assistance Facility developed under SWFF.  By combining these two successful key programmatic elements together, WE4F’s decentralized approach will put a stronger focus on improving local framework conditions for innovations and facilitating end-user financing. 

Steering Committee

WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union (EU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Marina Kosmus

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany

Marina Kosmus is the WE4F Program Lead at GIZ. She has more than 20 years of professional experience working with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in the areas of sustainable development, management of natural resources, integrated water resource management, environmental economics, value chains, ecosystem services and climate change. Through the years she developed different guidelines and trainings on instruments for sustainable management of ecosystems and ecosystem services (e.g. IES approach), has managed bilateral and global projects, was co-author of the IPBES Values assessment and participated on the IPBES task force for the use of report results in policy instruments.

Marina holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics and rural development from the Georg August University in Göttingen and a diploma in Social Anthropology from the University of Buenos Aires. Currently she lives in Germany, is married and has two children.

Pia Lindström

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden

Pia Lindström is a program manager at the Unit for Global Economy and Environment at Sida, primarily working with challenge funds within the fields of environment and climate change including resilience. he holds a M.Sc. degree in International Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics and a B.Sc. in Political Science from Stockholm University. She has previously worked with the EU Commission/EuropeAid on corporate social responsibility issues and has for six years been based in the field in Bhutan and India working for the UNDP as well as managing local NGOs focusing on climate smart agriculture, sustainable waste management, appropriate technologies including sustainable energy and water projects, and youth social entrepreneurship programs.

Dr. Ku McMahan

U.S. Agency for International Development, United States

Dr. Ku McMahan serves as Team Lead for Water and Energy for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development in the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub at USAID. He received his Ph.D. in environmental sciences and an M.P.H. in environmental health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under NSF and EPA STAR Fellowships. He received a B.A. in environmental sciences and policy. In addition, he developed a simple, low-cost water quality test for developing countries and emergency situations. Ku was recently a program executive officer for the USAID WA-WASH program in GLOWS and assistant professor of research at Florida International University.

Omer van Renterghem

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

Omer is working in the Inclusive Green Growth Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on water management. He is responsible for a number of programs, amongst these Securing Water for Food, the Valuing Water Initiative, and a strategic partnership on sustainable landscape management with WWF and IUCN. He also supports development of Netherlands water programs in Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Before joining the water cluster his focus was on environmental aspects of the broader sustainability agenda: green growth, natural capital accounting, and circular economy. He initiated the Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes (ISLA), focusing on the business case for integrated landscape management, and he was leading a project team on landscape approach. In addition, until recently, he was involved in the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).


Jatin Yadav

Manager, USAID Secretariat Unit

Manager for WE4F, Jatin Yadav has worked with as many as 20 innovators in developing markets. He has diagnosed and advised on varied innovation projects such as a unique gardening model in South Africa, a hydroponics entrepreneur in Kenya, and a circular economy NGO effort in India, among others. Jatin received his M.B.A. in social entrepreneurship and strategy from the Nottingham University Business School and his B.A in computer engineering.

Dr. Rokia Goldmann

Deputy Program Manager, GIZ Secretariat Unit

Dr. Rokia Goldmann works in the WE4F Coordination Unit at GIZ as Head of the WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit. She primarily supports the management, coordination and implementation of global programme activities in collaboration with the WE4F USAID Secretariat Unit. She received her Ph.D. in agricultural economics and social sciences from Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin. She has been working in the field of development cooperation for almost 14 years, including managing, implementing and monitoring various projects in Africa. She has worked with international NGOs and as an independent consultant for consulting companies in the fields of food security, environment, climate change and the renewable energy and food nexus. Prior to joining GIZ’s renewable energy team in Germany, she was responsible for the Green Innovation Centre Programme for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Mali, which focuses on scaling up innovations in agricultural value chains.

Sandra Suarez

Grants and Finance Manager, USAID Secretariat Unit

Sandra Suarez  started serving as the Grants & Finance Manager in January 2022 for the WE4F USAID Secretariat. Prior to joining the program, Sandra served as the Program Development Specialist-Budget for USAID/Colombia where she managed the overall budget of Colombia Mission, Bilateral Agreements, coordination between Washington the mission, and the mission’s planning matters for external contacts. Prior to joining USAID, Sandra served as the Budget and Accounting Chief for the International Narcotics Law Enforcement Affairs, where she managed a $1.9 billion dollars budget for seven fiscal years and  supervised a team consisting of a Team Leader,  four Accountants, a Voucher Examiner Supervisor, and seven Voucher Examiners. Sandra has attended Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Universidad Santo Tomás, Universidad Industrial de Santander UIS, and Universidad Sergio Arboleda and the European Business School, resulting in an Accounting CPA, a civil engineering degree, and a topography degree with a specialization in environmental studies, and a MBA.

Noémie Tokplen

Junior Specialist Communications and Event management, GIZ Secretariat Unit

Noémie Tokplen works in the WE4F Coordination Unit at GIZ as a junior specialist in communications. She received a B.A. in language, culture and media studies from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and the Sorbonne Paris 4 and a M.A. in Intercultural Studies from the University Freiburg and the École normale supérieure de Lyon. She worked in the communication, campaigning and editorial departments of newspapers, television, international organizations and companies in France, Germany and the UK. At WE4F Noémie will be responsible
for internal and external communications as well as for event management.

Cassy Rodriguez

Donor Relations Manager, USAID Secretariat Unit

Cassy is the Donor Relations Manager for WE4F serving as a link between the Steering Committee and the USAID Secretariat. Prior to joining the program, Cassy served as the Program Specialist for the Securing Water for Food (SWFF) Grand Challenge supporting the USAID Team Lead and the SWFF Technical Assistance Facility. During her tenure at SWFF, Cassy conducted various monitoring and evaluation of implementation sites across Africa, S/SE Asia, and Latin America. Cassy holds an M.S. in International Development from New York University and is a Magna Cum Laude B.A graduate in Psychology/Anthropology from Stony Brook University.

Katie Bailey

Communications and Knowledge Management Manager, USAID Secretariat Unit

In partnership with the WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit, Katie manages the global communications and knowledge management strategies and oversees the hubs’ communications and knowledge management activities. She received her M.A. in Environmental Policy at Middlebury Institute of International Studies and her B.A. in Political Science and French at Hood College. She has five years of experience in supporting, developing, and leading communications and knowledge activities for agriculture, energy, and water organizations in domestic and international settings.

Johannes Muntau

Technical Advisor, GIZ Secretariat Unit

Johannes is the Technical Advisor for WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit; he focuses on global capacity development and accompanying research. He has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Darmstadt. where he focused on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), and development cooperation.

McKenzie Horwitz

Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, USAID Secretariat Unit

McKenzie Horwitz serves as the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the WE4F USAID Secretariat Unit. In partnership with the WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit, her role includes the design and management of the WE4F M&E framework and systems, as well as overseeing the implementation of monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities across all USAID-supported Regional Innovation Hubs.

She received a M.A. in International Economics and Development from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. where she specialized in quantitative methods and economic theory. She received a B.A. in Economics and International Studies from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining WE4F, she supported the creation of a data quality framework applied to national WASH initiatives in India.

Sten Schurer

Junior- Technical Advisor, GIZ Secretariat Unit

Sten is Junior Technical Advisor for the WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit. He focusses on water related topics and supports the management team. He has an M.Sc. in Water Management from the TU Delft in the Netherlands, where he focused on hydrology, Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and flood modeling.


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