Maya Gainer has spent years fascinated with the “how” and “why” of government action. She began her career at the International Rescue Committee in Kenya, where she managed grants focused on refugee rights, women’s empowerment, and health services. She then spent three years writing case studies on governance for Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies program. In the course of research spanning six continents and more than 300 interviews, Maya became increasingly interested in the local governance systems that shape everyday life. She particularly enjoyed learning how leaders in a small municipality in the Brazilian Amazon had worked to reduce deforestation and how major policy reforms and small changes to filing practices interacted to improve Kenya’s court systems.

After completing her graduate studies, Maya applied her interest in strengthening public institutions to the water and sanitation sector as a Principal Consultant at Athena Infonomics. Her work included technical assistance to the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy and 11 cities to strengthen planning and monitoring of sanitation services; revision of Uganda’s water and sanitation tariff policy; and support to Liberian county and city governments to update and implement local sanitation ordinances.

Maya is a Principal Specialist in DAI’s Local Governance practice, supporting business development and project implementation.

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