About Us

The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project is a multi-country, multi-partner initiative led by Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey and funded by the Global Environment Facility, the world’s largest public funder of international environmental projects. The initiative is coordinated by Bioversity International with implementation support from the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. National partners come from relevant ministries, the scientific community, non-government organizations, civil society and local communities.

The Team

Yusuf Arlsan

National Project Coordinator - TURKEY

Yusuf is a trained crops cultivation and breeding specialist, and is supporting biodiversity conservation for crop improvement. He has recently joined the project.

Daniela Moura de Oliveira Beltrame

National Project Coordinator - BRAZIL

Daniela leads the implementation of activities in Brazil and collaborates with universities and national research agencies to carry out work such as determining the nutrition composition analysis of 70 underutilized fruit species native to Brazil as well as nutrition education.

Victor W. Wasike

National Project Coordinator - KENYA

Victor provides leadership and supports the provision of scientific evidence to encourage the integration of locally available biodiversity into local Kenyan food systems. Victor also uses this evidence to influence national and county policies for mainstreaming biodiversity.

Gamini Samarasinghe

National Project Coordinator - SRI LANKA

Whilst overseeing traditional food outlet production and sustainability, Gamini collects and coordinates to baseline data on biodiverse food composition and supports local officials and farmers to conserve biodiversity, improve nutrition and uplift livelihoods.

Camila Oliviera

National Project Manager - BRAZIL

Camila coordinates with the National Project Management Unit and all the national partners, which include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Health, Agrarian Development, Development and Fight Against Hunger.

Lidio Coradin

National Director - BRAZIL

Lidio contributes essential leadership to the BFN project. In addition to his role in the BFN Project, he serves as the National Coordinator of the Plants for the Future Initiative. Lidio works to share knowledge between these two programs, including information related to native plant species prioritized for different geopolitical regions of Brazil.  

Birgül Güner

Agronomist - TURKEY

Danny Hunter

Global Project Coordinator - Bioversity International

Danny provides overall leadership and technical guidance to ensure effective implementation, and that project objectives and targets are met. He ensures the successes of the BFN project influence ongoing global initiatives such as the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Teresa Borelli

Programme Specialist - Bioversity International

An ecologist by training, Teresa provides scientific and technical back-stopping to the BFN Project from the global coordination unit in Rome. With a keen interest in communicating science, Teresa enjoys exploring innovative approaches to sharing project successes.

Marieta Sakalian

Senior Programme Management/Liaison Officer (CGIAR/FAO) - UNEP

Ruth Charrondière

Nutrition & Lead Technical Officer

Ruth provides food composition expertise and advice through the FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database, and emphasises the importance of including biodiversity as a strategy for improving nutrition to professionals when implementing their projects.

Aurillia Manjella

Research Consultant - Bioversity International

Aurillia is trained in agricultural economics and resource management and provides essential, on-the-ground support to the research, development, and implementation of program activities in Busia County, Kenya.

Hannah Gentle

Research Fellow - Bioversity International

With a background in nutrition and science communication, Hannah shares successes of the project using various engaging and eye-catching forms of media, and documents best practices for mainstreaming biodiversity for wide-spread accessibility and use.



Alessandra Grasso

US Borlaug Fellow - Kenya

Alessandra has supported activities to enhance the knowledge base, awareness and out-scaling of biodiversity for nutrition and well-being in Busia County, and carried out focus groups to investigate the perceptions of local foods and acceptability of nutrition education strategies.

Lars Scheerer

Research Intern - Bioversity International

Lars has supported the BFN team by developing a policy brief and compiling state-of-the-art evidence from scientific literature for linkages between biodiversity, agriculture, nutrition, health and associated economic costs of malnutrition.



Deborah Bastos

Former National Project Coordinator - Brazil

National project coordinator from 2012-2014. A Food Science professor, Deborah developed the project's initial work plan and led the first steps in project implementation. She provides insights for the food composition analysis work of native nutritious biodiversity species.

Giulia Rota Nodari

Project intern

Giulia has a background in plant biology and natural resources management. She supported the BFN team in developing guidelines to mainstream biodiversity for healthy diets and improved nutrition and helped document traditional recipes from Busia County (Kenya).


The BFN Project contributes to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Cross-Cutting Initiative
on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition