Project Team

The SWOT is a collaboration between Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University, Toronto.

Syed Imran Ali, Project Lead

Global Health & Humanitarianism Fellow, DIGHR
Imran is an aid worker and academic focused on humanitarian challenges at the intersection of environment and public health. He has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in South Sudan, Pakistan, Jordan, Rwanda, and Uganda. Imran has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where he did a postdoctoral fellowship developing the first evidence-based guidance for water treatment in emergencies, which the SWOT Project now builds upon. Imran received his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph (Canada) and his bachelors in engineering from Queen’s University (Canada).

Jean-Francois (Jeff) Fesselet, Project Manager

WatSan Unit Coordinator, Public Health Department, MSF OCA
Jeff has spent 25 years with MSF, starting in the field working in different positions and contexts. In 1999, he started working at headquarters and has since been involved in several large scale emergency responses, leading the research and development portfolio, contributing to technical and management trainings, participating in strategic plans, managing a team of up to 6 advisors and contributing to technical and topic specific guidelines. Jeff received his postgraduate degree in Rural Development from Institute Bioforce (France) and holds a Master in Tropical Public Health Engineering from University of Leeds (UK).

Matt Arnold, Technical Advisor

SWOT Technical Advisor, DIGHR
Matt is a hydrogeologist and humanitarian. He started working as a Technical Advisor at the Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research in June 2018. Prior to that, and since 2003, he worked for MSF, both in the field and as a Technical Advisor at HQ level. This work necessitated supporting and implementing water supply and sanitation projects in many humanitarian emergencies and contexts – from natural disasters and disease outbreaks to population displacements. With an MSc in Hydrogeology from the University of Birmingham (UK) and a keen interest in public health and water quality, he is looking to further investigate and research issues in these domains with a view to improving the quality of water supplied to medical facilities and populations in precarious situations.

Mike Spendlove, Software Solutions Advisor

Director of Engineering, Checkout 51
Mike is a software engineer with 12+ years experience in software development, specializing in full stack web and cloud. Graduating from the University of Waterloo (Canada) with a degree in Systems Design Engineering, he has built and designed systems for start-ups, commercial enterprises and public sector organizations, as a developer, team lead and architect. In 2014, he took on a technical logistician role in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo with Medecins Sans Frontieres, managing the construction and operation of a remote medical center. Since 2018, he has been engaged with the Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research leveraging technology to help address humanitarian needs.

Saad Ali, Engineering Optimization Lead

Control Systems Designer, Turnkey Modular Systems Inc.
Saad helps design and build modular systems for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He graduated from the University of Waterloo (Canada) with a BASc and from the University of Toronto (Canada) with an MEng in Chemical Engineering. This degree was focused on engineering and globalization which included learning about big data and appropriate technology for global development. This interest in data analytics stems back a few years where he participated in various data science competitions hosted on Kaggle. After graduating, Saad was involved with the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The team at the University of Toronto was developing a cutting-edge technology to disinfect human waste with a low cost, low water, low power, and low emissions method. On this project, Saad was involved with developing and testing the technology as well as building the control system that automated the technology. This led to his current position as more of an electrical engineer where he designs control panels and systems for the automation of pharmaceutical equipment, allowing them to produce vaccines and other active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Usman Khan, Artificial Neural Network Lead

Assistant Professor, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University
Usman is a Civil Engineering professor at York University. His research interests lie in Water Resources Engineering, focusing on urban hydrology, including flood risk assessment and uncertainty analysis, sustainable water resource management and infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change on these systems. Usman received his BSc and MSc from the University of Calgary (Canada). Usman was awarded a PhD from the University of Victoria (Canada) where his research contributions included designing new big-data based techniques to improve water quality and quantity analysis in urban areas. He has won a number of national awards for his research and teaching, including NSERC awards for his MSc, PhD and postdoctoral work, and recently an Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Award. In addition to this, Usman has worked with municipal governments, providing his expertise to a number of stormwater, watershed management and urban hydrology projects.

Rizwan Ali, Design Consultant

Design Director, Little Rocket Inc.
Rizwan is a designer/creative with 10+ years of experience working in a variety of fields including software, e-commerce, television, consumer electronics, social enterprise, and humanitarian aid. Graduating from the Ontario College of Art & Design, he has assisted with numerous charitable and humanitarian needs projects.

Funding Partner

The SWOT is built with the generous support of the Achmea Foundation.

The Achmea Foundation advocates an inclusive society in which everyone can participate and works with partners to develop structural solutions. The Foundation contributes financially and puts the expertise and talents of Achmea employees to work. Initiatives in healthcare, agriculture and financial services enable the Foundation to make a lasting difference for people in poor socio-economic circumstances. The Achmea Foundation enthusiastically joins SWOT in providing safe drinking water in refugee and IDP camps.