The BCI Team
BCI is an international development and political consultancy based in Malta with representatives in Jordan, Lebanon, and Bulgaria. Calling on a global network of consultants, BCI provides analysis, research, training and capacity building with expertise in political strategy, governance, programme design, public opinion research, women’s political participation, gender-based violence, crisis communications and organisational training. BCI clients include international non-governmental organisations, political parties, state actors. BCI implements several programmes and projects funded by international donor agencies.
Established in 2014, its senior consultants have extensive experience in international democracy and development. Combining decades of work in some of the most challenging political environments, BCI has the right mix of talent and understanding to deliver expert advice and action. Its senior consultants have worked to develop the capacity of political actors in emerging democracies and traditional societies to better respond to the challenges inherent in dramatic change. Having lived and worked in conflict and post-conflict environments, BCI consultants understand the obstacles to reconciliation within and among communities.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, BCI was providing remote support to clients and activists in hard-to-reach communities. The team has experience developing online training materials and toolkits and continues to provide remote mentoring.
BCI is a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Francesca Binda, President of BCI
Francesca is a veteran of several political transitions over the last twenty years, most significantly engaged in the Balkans and the Middle East. An expert on elections, parliament and political parties, Francesca has worked in more than 30 countries, managing multimillion-dollar projects that delivered award-winning results. She is the recipient of the Canada Peacekeeping Service Medal in recognition of her work in the Balkans.
Whether implementing policy for an intergovernmental organisation or as an NGO activist, whether supporting local efforts for governmental reform or contributing new ideas at an international think tank, she developed substantial relationships with political change agents and is respected by political leaders in many countries.
Before beginning her international career in 1995, Francesca served in the Canadian House of Commons and was campaign director for a national environmental coalition. A passionate advocate for women’s political participation, Francesca was, for three years, a senior advisor to the first woman to lead a major political party in North America.
In 2014, Francesca and her brother Carlo started Binda Consulting International Ltd., based in Malta. When Francesca is not thinking about politics, she thinks about food – both cooking and eating.
Carlo Binda, Vice President of BCI
Carlo started the Malta-based partnership, Binda Consulting International Ltd., after ten years of international political and democracy development work in the Middle East and North Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and West Africa. Working with political leaders to establish new governance systems and institutions, civil society activists to entrench a civic sense of duty, and utilising technology as a means to ensure progress is not eroded, Carlo has profound experience building on a career that began in Canada.
Carlo was seconded from the Government of Saskatchewan to work as the Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. While with the government of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, he served as Special Advisor to the Premier. He also has election campaign and party organization experience at the municipal, provincial, and national levels with Canada’s New Democratic Party.
Carlo has worked with members of parliament, government leadership, political activists, civil society advocates, and international donors in directing multi-million dollar programs in Yemen, Kosovo, Nigeria, and Libya - with significant regional support of programs. While constantly fascinated by the courage and determination of people in conflict and post-conflict environments, Carlo always takes time to learn about particular culinary traditions – firmly believing peace is most often achieved at dinner tables!
Mohammad Khasawneh, Director of MENA Programmes
Mohammad's experience in civil society development, human rights, democracy and governance is extensive throughout the Middle East region. Building on his experience of being one of the founders of a civil society organisation, and inspired by it, he decided to focus over the past two decades on sharing that experience with others serving in multiple capacities as an election, observer and civil society expert.
Before joining BCI, Mohammad managed, led and supported projects in Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Libya, and Algeria in cooperation with international and national organizations including, but not limited to National Democratic Institute (NDI), Democracy Reporting International (DRI), Search for Common Ground, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and several Jordanian Ministries and institutions.
He worked in different capacities such as program manager and director, consultant and trainer for local and regional level projects and campaigns, in Arabic and English.
Since his university days in Jordan, Mohammad has been committed to supporting youth engagement in politics and civil society development throughout the Middle East, and also enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and working on jigsaw puzzles.
Victoria El-Khoury Zwein, Director of Global Programmes
Victoria’s experience in local governance, civil society development, elections, democracy and gender mainstreaming is extensive throughout the MENA region. Having been a political candidate herself, she is driven by her experience as an elected municipal councillor and believes that women’s political participation is critical for sustainable development.
A veteran trainer, Victoria has trained hundreds of other trainers, political candidates and party leaders in the Middle East and North Africa on internal party organisation, advocacy and campaigning. She also coaches women to engage in politics in Lebanon, the Middle East and beyond.
As a Director of Global Programmes, Victoria provides guidance, capacity development, training and mentoring to political and civil society activists worldwide. In recent years she has advised countless NGO leaders on organisational strategies and facilitated the formation of coalitions of women-focused groups. She works with clients and partners to develop and implement effective advocacy campaigns that result in change.
Before joining BCI, Victoria was a much sought-after freelance trainer and programme consultant in the MENA region. She also worked as deputy director at the National Democratic Institute in Lebanon and managed the MENA Campaign Schools program. She co-developed the curriculum and trained in regional workshops covering eleven countries.
Victoria was first elected at 29 while pregnant with her second child. In a country where women's political representation is still one of the weakest worldwide, she builds her training sessions based on her own experience in politics, and a complete understanding of women's challenges in politics.
Eszter Kósa, Programme Manager
Eszter is a social worker and social policy expert involved in various BCI projects as a researcher and project manager. She has worked in Hungary, the Balkans, and in crisis areas like Armenia and Eastern Ukraine. Her main interests are social inclusion, combating poverty (with a particular focus on child poverty), equal opportunities, human rights, civil society development and humanitarian aid.
Before joining BCI, she was involved in emergency programmes to support refugees and IDPs in different countries. She has worked in the public and for-profit sectors and non-profit organizations like SOS Children’s Villages International.
She settled in Malta in 2018, and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with old friends and meeting new ones while cooking and eating great food from all kinds of cuisine.
Ognian Boyadjiev, Senior Advisor
Ognian joined BCI in 2021 after working as Country Director for the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Tunisia with a wealth of experience in politics and governance and leadership in party development assistance. Between 2010 and 2019, he managed democracy assistance programs at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the MENA region, working directly with political parties, CSOs, and youth, women’s and minority groups in Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Tunisia and Palestine. Between 2014 and 2018, he served as the director of political party development programming for NDI-Iraq. As the program director and deputy country director for NDI-Morocco, he managed a five-year party development program. He also conducted TOT sessions for Tunisian political parties in 2012. In 2013, Ognian led a political and organizational assessment of the youth wings of the major Moroccan parties. He also managed a cross-country training program for young Libyan, Tunisian, Moroccan and Algerian political leaders. In 2011, he trained Palestinian party youth ahead of university elections.
Ognian’s experience covers topics such as political party development, policy development, citizen outreach, media and communication, youth and women’s empowerment, and election campaigning.
Between 2006 and 2010, Ognian was a consultant for public policies at the European Institute Foundation in his home country Bulgaria and provided skills-building seminars for local-level elected officials. Ognian has also worked in several election campaigns in different positions, including as campaign manager and media advisor.
Ognian also has more than ten years of experience as a journalist in television, radio and online media, including Radio France Internationale (RFI). With a Master's degree in Linguistics from Sofia University, he speaks English, French, German, Russian and Bulgarian.
Abby Tillman, Director of Programme Development
Abby joined BCI in November 2022 after working for several years with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. She is a versatile project management professional with more than 10 years’ experience building partnerships and managing complex programmes in challenging contexts. Abby started her international development career working for Chemonics in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the dedicated activists, journalists, and development professionals she met, she took an opportunity to move and work in Libya. She spent the next seven years living and working in North Africa.
She has worked on programming for Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Since 2012, she has worked on a series of programmes with funding from USAID, the US Department of State, the UK’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
Abby has sector expertise in freedom of expression, civil society strengthening, good governance, and gender programming. Abby has significant experience working with in-country program teams and is seasoned in mentoring and training of programmatic and operational staff.
She is a passionate advocate for promoting the rights of women and supporting women and youth’s engagement in politics and civil society. She recently moved to London where she enjoys exploring the city, reading historical fiction, and spending time with friends and family.
Abby has a BA in history from Northwestern University and an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University.