Our people

We are a technical consultancy but our business is about people – those we work with and those our work assists.

Our in-country programme teams and technical experts are supported by skilled managers and administrators who oversee our programmes around the world. We have an active database of over 1,500 consultants, including leading experts and individuals who are known for delivering results and achieving positive change.

Alison Dembo Rath
Technical Director
Alison Dembo Rath leads Options’ health systems work, with a particular focus on South Asia. She has over 20 years’ experience in design, management, monitoring and evaluation of health systems development programmes at policy and implementation levels. Building on her early career in nursing in the UK, Alison has particular expertise in delivering quality maternal and newborn health care services. Alison has experience of working across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, managing UKAid-funded maternal health and health sector programmes in India and Nepal.
Kirstan Hawkins, PhD
Technical Associate
Kirstan Hawkins is responsible for developing and supporting Options' programmes, and ensuring the quality of technical inputs for our social change communications programmes. She is a leading expert in the design and implementation of health sector programmes, with expertise in sexual and reproductive health, maternal health and health systems strengthening. Previously based at Swansea University, Kirstan developed the PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research) approach, an innovative research methodology that trains community-based researchers to access critical behavioural information from their peer groups.
Sara Bandali, DrPH
Director, Design and Innovation
Sara Bandali has over 15 years’ experience in health sector development, including research, policy development and programme design and implementation. She has worked within government, for implementing organisations and the UN. Sara has expertise in maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, community health, health systems strengthening, and water supply and sanitation. She has facilitated policy dialogue on cross-sectorial initiatives including HIV/AIDS and gender and early childhood development. Sara is a leading expert on use of evidence and development of accountability mechanisms to advocate for better maternal and newborn health services.
Dr Maureen Dar Iang
Essential Health Care Service Advisor
Dr Maureen Dar Iang has over 20 years experience in the planning and delivery of maternal and newborn, reproductive and child health programmes. She has played a key role in strengthening district health systems in Nepal, building capacity of service providers, and supporting national policy discussions on safe motherhood and family planning. She is coordinating our support to recovery of essential health care services in earthquake affected districts.
Alice Sabino
Alice Sabino
Senior Technical Lead
Alice Sabino, as Senior Technical Lead on Health Financing at Options, is responsible for providing technical assistance to health financing and system strengthening projects. Alice is a health financing and public policy specialist, with experience advising national governments in low and middle income countries on health financing and systems reforms, budgeting and planning for health. She holds Masters degrees in International Relations and Public Health. She is particularly interested in systems thinking, decision making and prioritisation processes, and equity.
Corinne Grainger
Technical Associate
Corinne Grainger has over 20 years’ experience as a consultant providing technical assistance to reproductive, maternal and newborn health programmes. Corinne is a health financing specialist with expertise in results based financing approaches to increase access to quality health services. She has supported design of RBF and voucher programmes in Malawi, Yemen, Pakistan and Mozambique.
Deborah Thomas
Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist, Technical Associate
Deborah is a senior gender and social inclusion specialist with over 20 years’ experience in the health sector. She has worked on a wide range of health programmes at the national, sub-national, district and local levels, including maternal, new-born and child health programmes, reproductive and sexual health, and health sector reform programmes. Deborah has extensive experience in South Asia, and has also worked in South-East Asia, China, the Pacific, West and East Africa.
Joanne Hemmings, PhD
Assistant Director of Design and Innovation
Joanne helps to lead the Department for Design and Innovation, which spearheads the development of scalable and sustainable innovations to deliver transformational change for women and girls. She provides technical expertise to Options’ programmes across sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender, research and evaluation, social and behaviour change, and business and strategy development. She’s currently supporting programming to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and to support girls’ choices to reduce unsafe abortion.
Nicole Sijenyi Fulton
Strategic Advisor
Nicole is passionate about improving women’s health and well-being, and building high performing organisations and teams. Her career has spanned 18 years in Kenya, Canada, and several other African countries. Nicole was Team Leader for the UKAid-funded Maternal and Newborn Improvement (MANI) project in Kenya, and led Options’ work to strengthen county-level health system performance, as well as the County Innovation Challenge Fund for maternal and newborn health. Prior to joining Options she was the Country Representative for mothers2mothers in Kenya, leading the organisation’s growth strategy and the national scale-up of the Mentor Mother model.
Sara Nam, PhD
Technical Specialist
Sara Nam is a public health professional with close to 20 years’ experience providing technical assistance to and implementing health programmes and conducting research and programme evaluations. Sara is a qualified midwife, bringing technical expertise in the design and delivery of maternal and newborn health services, health planning and management, strengthening human resources and improving quality of care. Sara has supported health programmes in a variety of development and emergency situations and fragile states, most recently in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.
Sarah Fox
Assistant Technical Director
Sarah Fox is a health economist with over ten years’ experience in health systems strengthening and health financing across more than 20 low and middle income countries. Sarah’s expertise includes support to health financing reforms, strategic planning and policy development, social franchising, results-based financing, costing and expenditure tracking. Much of Sarah’s work has been in the context of sexual and reproductive health and family planning programmes. Sarah has worked for Ministries of Health, both directly as an embedded technical assistant in Sierra Leone, and as a consultant in countries including Cameroun, Kenya, Liberia, Republic of Congo, South Africa, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Shanti Mahendra
Technical Specialist
Shanti Mahendra is a health systems expert, with over 20 years experience on programmes in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked across a variety of programmes, including technical assistance delivered through complex sector-wide budget support to governments; cutting-edge research and knowledge sharing at academic institutions and international agencies; and implementation through local governments and NGOs. Having worked with country teams, she brings grassroots experience to inform strategic decisions. She provides technical oversight to the design, co-ordination and monitoring of projects implemented by country offices. Shanti has led on several multi-country monitoring and evaluation projects. Within the broad remit of health systems strengthening her particular experience is on maternal and newborn survival and health.

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