Project Team

Ms. Olga Kennelly, Project Director

MS. Olga Kennelly, Project DirectorAs a Director of GDSI, Olga Kennelly has been responsible for the design and implementation of GDSI projects internationally for more than 20 years. She has many years of hands-on experience in carrying out long-term assignments in accession countries.

Ms. Kennelly has worked in the area of civil society development, public administration reform, economic development programming, training and capacity building, regional development, organisational development, managerial leadership enhancement, quality assurance, project results dissemination, etc. She is fully aware of all the key developments in economic and social policy in the Western Balkans that are likely to have an impact on the implementation of the current project. Olga’s wide experience in the region and on multi-country projects will be important in finding practical solutions to key project problems as they arise.

Olga is an experienced trainer having delivered over 60 specialised training programmes, both in organisational development areas and other fields, e.g. development of Management Information Systems, peer mentoring of young civil society activists, strategic planning and implementation, development of needs assessment and comprehensive capacity building programmes.

Ms. Tanja Hafner Ademi – Team Leader

Ms. Tanja Hafner Ademi - Team LeaderMs. Hafner Ademi has 18 years of working experience, out of which over 16 years of professional experience in international development with specific expertise in civil society development (including enabling environment, capacity-building, consultation mechanism, strategies and advocacy development, capacity-building, grant-making, etc.), regional cooperation, EU integration (programming, evaluation, aid effectiveness) and project management.

She participated as evaluator in a number of recent evaluations and studies measuring impacts of specific donor programmes on and development of civil society across the Balkans, Turkey and Eurasia for the needs of the European Commission (DG NEAR and EU Delegations) and other donors or CSOs.

Ms. Hafner Ademi has participated in the development of several global and regional initiatives in developing monitoring, accountability and learning frameworks for civil society, public authorities and donors such as the Monitoring Matrix for Civil Society Development and Global Standard for CSO Accountability. Between 2003 and 2017, she led the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) including its strategic development, running its daily operation and managing it executive office.

Ms. Hafner Ademi is a full-time staff of GDSI Limited and is fluent in English, Slovenian, Macedonia, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian and has basic knowledge of Albanian and German.

Ms. Tanja Bjelanovic – Capacity Building Expert

Ms. Tanja Bjelanovic - Capacity Building ExpertMs. Bjelanovic has 19 years of working experience, out of which over 10 years of which spent in designing, implementing and monitoring of a wide portfolio of capacity building activities (including capacity assessments, capacity building plans, coaching, trainings, training of trainers etc.) and consultancy experience in international projects in the Balkans and Caucasus region.

She has profound experience in strategic and organizational development for associations, foundations, and government agencies, including the design of programme strategies and organizational change management plans.

Ms. Bjelanovic designed and supervised several long-term capacity building programmes for civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia (including the development of Issues Affecting Women Programme; Development of Government Office for Civil Society of Serbia’s Capacity Building strategy for CSOs) and has experince in developing fundraing strategies and plans for organziations. She has also participated in pioniring endowment fundraising strategies in the Balkans.

Ms Bjelanovic is fluent in English, Serbian and Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin.

Mr. Eris Kasmi – Communication Expert

Mr. Eris Kasmi has more than 20 years of experience in the field of communication, marketing, PR, crisis management, event management, Corporate Social Responsibility, campaign development out of which more than 10 years in an international professional setting.

He has a combined experience that extends from the private sector, to large corporations, the NGOs sector and UN agencies. He has organized many communication campaigns, some at the international level, produced many advocacy and awareness materials, led and managed PR strategies for various international organizations such as Save the Children- a child rights based organization working in the area of advocacy, UNDP- working for the project of community based policing, ECPAT International- an international organization working towards the protection of children against sexual exploitation, Regional School of Public Administration-a regional institution providing assistance in the integration process to the Western Balkans, Balfin Group-the largest investment Group in Western Balkans etc.

He has worked among others as PR and Communication Officer for Save the Children, Programme Officer for Communication for UNDP Albania, Head of Communication and Campaign at ECPAT International based in Bangkok, Programme Manager for Communication and Visibility for ReSPA-Regional School of Public Administration, Director of Communication, PR and Digital Marketing for Balfin Group. At the same time Mr. Kasmi has been e senior consultant for Hochegger in Albania and DDB Albania.

Mr. Kasmi has managed private philanthropy funds and millions of dollars of portfolios in Corporate Social Responsibility.

He is also an expert in EU visibility, EU documentary, high level event organising.

Mr. Eris holds an (Hons) Master’s Degree- MBA in Marketing and Operations from Marlin Barleti University and a (Hons) Bachelor in Communication form International University in Malaysia.

He speaks fluently Albanian, English, Italian, has basic knowledge of Spanish and Serbian/Montenegrin/Croatian/Bosnian.

Ms. Athina Ignatieva – People to People (P2P) Manager

Ms. Athina Ignatieva - People to People (P2P) ManagerMs. Athina Ignatieva has extensive experience of event organisation, with a special emphasis on CSO related events and multi-cultural environment. She has over 24 years of experience as an event organiser and project manager, being responsible for the planning, organisation and follow-up of events involving participants from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Through her years of international experience, she has successfully undertaken the preparation and implementation of high-level events, with invitees from practically every European country, Asia, Africa and the Middle-East.

She was responsible for the organisation of events for promoting partnerships for diversity and social inclusion, and the organisation of a Roma festival targeting 1,000 participants, under the project “Accelerating the implementation of the National Strategy to Improve the Situation of Roma – Component: Public information and awareness campaign”.

Ms. Ignatieva is fluent in English, Greek and Russian.

Ms. Vasilija Chali – Event Manager

Ms. Vasilija Chali has extensive experience in working on project support to EU-funded projects in the area of cultural heritage, decentralization, water reform and women issues in North Macedonia. Her main responsibilities included organisations of events, exhibition’s, thematic workshops, seminars, conference and etc., which include providing all the administrative, logistic, travel and organization support to organization processes.

Among other tasks, her position has always required relevant work in organisations of the project team members. She has over the 15 years’ experience in working with people from different cultural and professions backgrounds.

She is fluent in English, Macedonian, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian and has basic knowledge of Greek.

Ms. Marjana Maneva – Office Manager

Ms. Marjana Maneva has 8 years professional experience in international organisations such as OSCE/ODHIR, USAID, US Embassy and the EUD in Skopje. She is experienced in management, monitoring and evaluation of EU-funded projects and programmes in the area of education, youth, gender equality and anti- discrimination.

She contributed to the preparation and implementation of Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in the specific sectors, by providing analysis, proposals and reports. Also she has experience in working with local authorities, international donors, private sector and local CSOs.

Ms. Maneva has profound experience in the area of EU-funded project logistic and administrative support such as organisation of meetings, conferences, workshops, supporting the maintenance of databases of projects and ensuring liaison with beneficiary countries on relevant cooperation programmes.

She is fluent in English, Macedonian, French and has knowledge in Albanian, Italian and Spanish.