Katherine (Kathy) Wachala is an international environmental development professional specializing in biodiversity conservation and countering wildlife trafficking (CWT). In her current role, she manages two U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs with CWT efforts: USAID Wildlife Asia, a regional program based in Bangkok that works throughout southeast Asia; and USAID PROTECT, focusing on conservation efforts throughout Tanzania through public-private partnerships. As the supply for wildlife comes from Africa and the demand is in Asia, Ms. Wachala and both project teams have worked to fortify the link between these two continents as USAID and other donors are looking to improve their approach for transcontinental work.
Ms. Wachala joined RTI in late 2017 from the Smithsonian Institution, where she was Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (Bagh) based in Bangladesh. Her background also includes four years as an independent development consultant working closely with private sector as well as donor-funded organizations on anything from business plan strategies for the organization itself, to leading or being a part of their team for business development bids. She also worked at Chemonics International, having held several leadership positions overseas and in the home office, the last being the Watershed Investment Fund Director in Haiti, designing and implementing the investment strategy for $100 million in funds focusing on watershed and environmental management work throughout Haiti. Ms. Wachala has worked in more than 30 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, southern and southeast Asia, and the Middle East. She attributes her career in international development to a year studying abroad in the south of France and becoming a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa.