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Our Team

David Gazashvili is the Country Director of CARE Philippines. Prior to that, he held executive level positions with CARE’s emergency and humanitarian assistance teams. David has served as the acting director, deputy director, head of logistics, head of emergency preparedness, and team leader of emergency operations at CARE. David has considerable experience in the international development arena, including sustainable livelihoods, community mobilization and small business development.

David managed emergency and development programs for CARE and United Nations World Food Programme in the Philippines, South Sudan, Turkey, Georgia, Albania, Liberia, Sudan, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Lebanon, Armenia and Azerbaijan. He also facilitated emergency preparedness trainings and simulations in over 40 country offices. Prior to moving to the Philippines in 2015, David also taught disaster response and humanitarian assistance at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

David is a recipient of a competitive Muskie fellowship. He earned MBA from Monterey Institute of International Studies, California in 2000. David also has civil engineering degree in water and sanitation from Georgian Technical University. In his early career, David worked as a civil engineer and construction supervisor in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. David speaks English, Georgian, and Russian.


Maria Teresa “Tess” Francisco-Bayombong  brings 35 years of experience in development programming and humanitarian aid work. Her professional practice includes 24 years of solid experience in enterprise, economic/livelihood development and microfinance sectors. Since joining CARE in the Philippines in 1994, Tess has held various senior management and leadership positions, ranging from program manager, economic development sector advisor, chief executive officer, consortium coordinator, assistant country director for programs and country director. She led teams in program strategy development and implementation and has been involved in the highest level of organizational planning and management for achieving organizational viability.

Her stint in CARE encompassed international posts in various countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Tanzania, including short-term assignments in Georgia in USA, Ottawa in Canada, Kenya and Cambodia. Prior to joining CARE, Tess spent ten years working in development programs of Ayala Foundation and Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP).


Jerome Lanit is the Emergency Coordinator of CARE Philippines. Jerome is responsible for the entire emergency response and preparedness activities mainly working with local partners in different parts of the country. He led CARE’s Typhoon Haiyan response in Leyte as Area Manager for more than three years implementing the full range of emergency programming: from provision of food relief packs to shelter repair kit distribution to livelihood cash transfers utilizing the Humanitarian Partnership Platform approach – where he ensures genuine partnership engagement of CARE’s local partners in the humanitarian action.

Jerome has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of San Carlos and earned Master of Science units in Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines, Cebu campus.


Mira works as the Human Resource (HR) and Administration Officer for CARE Philippines. She brings 10 years of experience in HR and admin supporting various projects and personnel of CARE in the country.

Mira is also the CARE Philippines representative to the CARE Asia HR Network as well as the current focal point person of the country office for Protection on Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse. As a certified Gender Equity and Diversity trainer, she conducts gender sensitivity training for CARE Philippines and partner staff.

Prior to joining CARE, Mira worked as Recruitment Officer for a business process outsourcing company and HR Officer in a manpower consultancy firm both in Ortigas City. She also previously worked as Counselor for a non-government organization in Cebu handling cases of sexually abused women and children.

Mira has a degree in Psychology from St. Theresa’s College-Cebu. She also completed the CARE USA Regional Leadership Program with a certification on Coaching Skills for Leaders course with Cornell University.


Aimee Mateo is the Project Coordinator for “Addressing Noncommunicable Diseases in Humanitarian Settings,” a health project funded by Abbott and being implemented in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur. Aimee brings her 26 years of clinical, academic and public health experience to CARE as she leads CARE’s health in emergencies programming in the Philippines.

Aimee started working for CARE in 2018 as Project Coordinator for CARE’s intervention on sexual and reproductive health focusing on the maternal health needs of displaced women after the Marawi siege. She led the advocacy on promoting family planning and safe motherhood.

Prior to working for CARE, Aimee gained significant experience as a medical aid worker deployed in North Africa, particularly in areas affected by wars, natural disasters and environmental degradation. She also worked in Sudan as Intensive Care Unit/Coronary Care Unit Nurse and Clinical Instructor for 10 years.


Rya is a communications professional for the development and humanitarian sector. She works with non-profits both locally and internationally to lead and implement communications strategies and share stories of vulnerable communities they work with with. She has managed initiatives around gender, women’s rights, human rights, climate justice, local governance,  disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian crises. She specializes in social media management, online community engagement, and digital media communications.

Rya enjoys making cold brew and playing with her 9 dogs during her free time.

PROJECT MANAGER – Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVEUP)

Mary Joy “Yowee” Gonzales is the current Project Manager of Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVEUP). Focusing on Alternative Temporary Shelters (ATS) and Resilient Livelihoods, MOVE UP is a collaborative project that aims to increase the resilience of communities through bettering access to basic services, community savings groups and initiatives, and supporting the disaster risk reduction efforts of local government units.

Yowee is a licensed environmental planner specializing in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. She works with government agencies, local government units, and humanitarian and civil society organizations in creating disaster risk reduction plans and implementing projects that focus on resiliency through participatory planning and capacity building. She is a product of the University of the Philippines School Urban and Regional Planning and majored in Environmental Planning. She was a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellow for Environmental Sustainability and has worked with the Resilience Department of the City Government of Tallahassee, Florida.

Prior to joining CARE, she has implemented projects for Tearfund, Oxfam, and the DOST Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH).  She has also conducted evaluations for Christian Aid, Start Network, and the Integral Alliance in the South Pacific islands states of Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga.

Winonna is a budding development professional who is passionate about empowering vulnerable sectors to meaningfully participate and decide on actions that affect their lives. She also has significant experience in project design and resource mobilization work – engaging international funding organizations and working with various stakeholders to bring forth meaningful projects that solve real-life problems. Outside work, she enjoys baking, searching for authentic dishes, museum-hopping, photo-documenting stories from everyday reflections… and maybe some occasional yoga.


John works as the Country Safety and Security Manager. He is responsible in ensuring and monitoring the safety and security within our country office including field offices and areas of operation. He helps in the review of readiness of teams whenever deployed to field locations and ensure that minimum safety standards are met and respected. John also provides support to project teamand coordinators on risk and crisis management. 

Prior to joining CARE Philippines, John works as the Disaster Risk Reduction Officer and Workplace Safety Officer at FH Philippines, an International Relief and Development Organization. He also worked as the Head of the Occupational Safety and Health Section of MAN Truck & Bus Philippines. He was a volunteer at Philippine Red Cross-Iloilo Chapter Emergency Response Unit. 

John holds a degree in BS Nursing and is currently taking Masters of Arts in Nursing majoring Disaster and Emergency Management with units in Public Health at the Our Lady of Fatima University. He also earned certificate training for Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, Wilderness Search and Rescue, Basic Occupational Safety and Health, Loss Control Management, among others. 

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