Martina Zapf

General Manager

Martina Zapf

At the Lab, our General Manager is a multi-passionate development practitioner with a background in peacebuilding and governance as well a knack for organisational development and strategy. The team at the Lab love how Martina brings together different perspectives and facilitates collaborative strategising and problem-solving. Secretly, Martina always thought she’d be a heptathlete or a UN diplomat. As it turns out, working at the Lab is just as multi-faceted as the heptathlon. When she’s not working at the Lab, you’ll find Martina on a road bike or coaching little athletics.   

In a previous life, Martina oversaw the Institute for State Effectiveness’ work at the intersection of humanitarian assistance, development, peace and conflict. Prior to that, she worked in various roles at Interpeace in Geneva, Switzerland, which involved collaborating with local peacebuilding organisations in a range of contexts on research, dialogue, and policy engagement. Martina also designed and led a program which worked with humanitarian and development actors to strengthen their contributions to peace - with various layers of change management. Martina started her career working on rural development and community engagement with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Chad and Afghanistan.

Over the years, Martina has honed her technical skills with a Political Science and Public Administration degree, as well as a Master’s in International Peace and Security. She has also explored social and behavioural change through an Applied Psychology degree. Martina is passionate about bringing people together for collaborative problem-solving and change-making and has experimented with a range of methodologies for such processes over the years.

Areas of Expertise

  • Effective development cooperation/ aid effectiveness
  • Organisational development and change, including how it relates to development outcomes
  • Process design and management
  • Skills development initiatives
  • Peace and fragility
  • Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus
  • Governance and State Effectiveness
  • Localisation
  • Resilience

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