Melissa Funsten is an international development professional with experience managing projects related to sustainability, biodiversity, and conservation of natural resources. She contributes to USAID Wildlife Asia and USAID PROTECT, a pair of projects focused on natural resource management and the illegal wildlife trade. USAID Wildlife Asia employs a comprehensive approach to end wildlife crime through improved regional cooperation. USAID PROTECT addresses dynamics in Tanzania that threaten biodiversity conservation and inhibit private sector-led tourism growth. She is also involved in business development for our Climate, Natural Resources and Water team.
Ms. Funsten joined RTI in 2019. Her background includes serving as an Agroforesty Extension Agent with the Peace Corps in Senegal. She worked with rural farmers on improved agricultural techniques, partnered with women’s groups to lead trainings on income-generating activities, and developed an environmental education curriculum for elementary and middle schools. She has also led and been involved in various sustainability initiatives in the U.S. and taught English in Thailand. Ms. Funsten speaks English and Wolof.