About Us

We love what we do

We love what we do

Catalpa is a mission-driven organisation that sits at the intersection of design, technology and international development. We bring together a creative team of designers, engineers, and sector specialists, all focused on crafting unique solutions to old problems.

Catalpa started in rural Timor-Leste in 2010 with two co-founders and a small Rotary grant to help connect rural communities to essential services and provide free internet hubs for informal education centres.

We believe that technology can be an agent for change.

Today, the organisation is working in four countries with a broad range of partners including the Governments of Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea, Australia along with multilateral and bilateral development partners such as UNICEF, ILO, FAO, WHO, USAID, UNDP, European Union, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Catalpa practices human-centered design, a creative approach to problem solving that starts with people and arrives at new solutions tailored to meet their needs. We also draws on ideas from the behavioural economics to enable people to make ‘better choices for themselves’. These are brought together through the application of modern, appropriate and persuasive technology.

Our initiatives in health, aid effectiveness, education, governance, nutrition, gender, and disability continue to prove that design, technology and good sector expertise can influence behaviours to achieve social good.

Nice people work here

David Roach

Director & Co-founder

David Roach has been working as a project manager and front-end web developer for over 8 years. During this time, he has managed and implemented large scale technical projects with UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, The European Commission, the Asian Development Bank, USAID funded health projects and a range of other local government ministries and international organisations. David also speaks fluent Tetum. And in his spare time, he really enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

Anders Hofstee

Director & Co-founder

Anders has been working for 15 years in the field of database-driven web application development and information science. As well development programs in rural Timor-Leste since 2003 serving as the Co-ordinator for the clinic at the St. Bakhita Centre in Timor’s mountain region of Era-ulo. Anders endeavours to bring the benefits of information technology to grass-roots development. When he isn’t thinking in Python, he’s exploring the languages of Tetum and Mumbae.

Joaquim DeBrito

Design & Usability

Kim has been working in the field of Interactive Design and Multimedia since 2002. In this time, his main focus has been on the development and implementation of accessible communication platforms, strategies and training programs for people with special needs and the organisations that support them. Kim believes that the key to successful Design lies in learning from and understanding the target audience, and involving them in the development process. He has been living and working in Timor-Leste since 2009. Kim has a Master of Arts in Interactive Multi-Media at the University of the Arts, London. In his spare time he can be found underwater, photographing fish.

Peter Coward

Senior Software Engineer

Peter studied Mathematics at Durham university in England. He went on to be self-employed making website content management systems for musicians in South London using PHP and mySQL before getting a job at Lionhead Studios making websites to support their game releases such as The Movies and the Fable franchise. Now he is diving into the uncharted waters of Linux, Python and Django. He enjoys reading anything, making and flying model airplanes and trees. Trees do not fly very well though.

Gabriela Leite-Soares

Health Program Manager

Gabriela is the Liga Inan project manager. Prior to Catalpa, Gabriela worked as a consultant on the Health Public-Private Partnerships program for the International Finance Corporation. She earned her bachelor degree in Political Science and French from Gonzaga University, and a Masters of Public Administration at Cornell University under Fulbright program.  She is the founder and lead curator of TEDxDili and TEDxDiliWomen.

Sean Ting

Software Engineer

Sean Ting is a lifelong nerd and outdoors enthusiast. Prior to living in Timor-Leste he worked at Tower Research Capital, a high-frequency hedge fund based in New York City. As a part of this work he led a group that designed and built the team’s research platform and calculation engine. He attended Stanford University where he graduated in 2007 with a B.S. with Distinction in Mathematics and in 2008 with an M.S. in Computer Science with a focus on theory.

Aida Pinto Baptista

Operations Manager

Aida Pinto Baptista is the Operations Manager at Catalpa. Previously Aida worked with Ministry of Health, the National Police Force, Care International, as well as an adviser for Petroleum Revenue at Ministry of Finance. Aida has a bachelor degree in human resource management from Massey University of Wellington, a Master of Science from the Nordland University, Norway and Master of Business Administration from the University of Akron, USA under Fulbright Program.

Raphael Merx

Software Engineer

Originally from Paris, Raphael studied Operations Research at UC Berkeley. Fond of rock climbing, he decided to stay in California and work at Captricity, where he built software that extracts data from paper forms. As the company grew from 17 to 100 employees, his focus shifted from software problems to project management and product architecture design. While working with nonprofit clients, Raphael became increasing eager to solve software problems for the development sector. He now lives in Timor-Leste, where he divides his time between Tetun practice and free-diving.

David Letichevsky

Senior Education Specialist

David Letichevsky worked in developed and developing countries education systems for over 15 years. His experience ranges from teaching in schools to designing international education programs. He believes that all children have the right to learn. He has a varied background in biology and economics of education. He is also known for his very sophisticated sense of humour and love of diving and the outdoors in general

Ligia Maia Guterres

Program Officer Education and Nutrition

Ligia studied GIS and Environmental management in University of Otago, and Informatics Engineering in UNTL. Previously Ligia worked with WorleyParsons, Compass Group NZ, Defense Cooperation Program, Norwegian Refugees Council and Ministry of State Administration. She has experience working with digital mapping, web design, environmental, finance and administration. Ligia also has excellent organisational, leadership, training and communication skills including language skills.

Joshua Brooks

Software Engineer

Joshua is a software engineer specialising in database management systems and geographic data processing. Josh previously worked in developing a geospatial database and processing/planning capacity of the Division of Lands in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. In Timor-Leste, he worked the Timorese NGO Belun with their database of projects and organisations.

Paula Rita Viana

Technical Support & Training Officer for Liga Inan Program

Paula Viana obtained a Diploma III at STIKOM UYELINDO University in Indonesia majoring in Information Technology and Computer Science. Paula later worked with Telemor in Timor-Leste as head of the shift team in the Customer Care Unit. She was responsible for managing national calls and customer complains. Now Paula works in Catalpa as the Technical Support & Training Officer for Liga Inan program.

Nuno Breis

UI/UX designer

Nuno Reis is a marketing and communications specialist and web-designer. Nuno completed a Masters in Organisational Communications & Marketing at Lisbon UCP University, and completed further studies in marketing strategy at the ESADE University in Barcelona and international marketing at the Harvard Business School, Boston. Nuno later pursued his passion for graphic and web design which led to working as a Junior Art Director for a design studio in Madrid, Spain. Nowadays Nuno lives in Timor-Leste and works for Catalpa as a UI/UX Designer.

Meghan Arakelian

Hamutuk Program Manager

Meghan Arakelian is the Nutrition Project Manager at Catalpa.  Prior to joining Catalpa, Meghan was a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow in Timor-Leste where she worked in the Nutrition Department at the Ministry of Health as a Special Assistant.  She holds a Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University.  Meghan previously worked at Philantropia, a development consultancy based in New York, building resource mobilisation strategies for organisations in over forty countries.

Wicher Minnaard

Software Engineer

Wicher is a software, systems and networking engineer with 13 years of experience. He completed his MSc in System & Network Engineering at the University of Amsterdam. Before coming to Timor-Leste he was working in digital forensics at the Netherlands Forensic Institute, part of the Dutch ministry of justice. His expertises are in networking protocols, data processing, systems security, databases, and web application programming. He eats his vegetables and likes to go freediving, mountainbiking and kitesurfing.

Sonia Simoes

Education, Nutrition and Disability Inclusion Project Officer

Sonia studied computer science in Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea, during which she also learned fluent Korean and English. After completing her studies there, she returned to Timor-Leste and began working for KOICA (Korean International Cooperation Agency) as an Interpreter and as a Program Coordinator for the World Friends Korea volunteer program. In May 2017, after three years with KOICA, she began working with Catalpa as Project Officer for Catalpa's Education, Nutrition and Disability Inclusion Project. In addition to her passion for education, Sonia can speak and sing in five languages, and she enjoys reading, kickboxing and sleeping, although not at the same time.

Mariano de Deus


Mariano is majoring in Electrical Engineering at National Univerity of Timor-Leste. He recently completed his two month internship in the Telecommunication Navigation section at Nicalau Labato International Airport. Mariano is currently working on his final year project Investigation of Static, Dynamic, Differential logic for Security. He also teaches computer skills at HADEZTA, a local Timorese Training Centre, and is developing web applications in Python with Catalpa.

Kevin Keller

Software Engineer

Kevin studied Biology at Rochester Institute of Technology and went on to do his Master's in Biomedical Science at Rowan University. He has a passion for and specializes in data science and machine learning. Kevin has worked as a data analyst at IKEA and later worked in Cameroon, Africa with an NGO analyzing audio recordings from the rainforest and using machine learning to detect gunshots and chainsaws. When not in front of a computer, Kevin can usually be found hiking mountains, reading a book, or exploring some far-flung corner of the world.

Sérgio Esteves

Software Engineer

Sérgio is a software engineer who has been in the field since February 2016. He graduated in Computer Science at the Engineering Institute of Lisbon (ISEL) while working as a collaborator at McDonald's and as a software developer at MoreData. Born and raised in Portugal, Sérgio found a path of life in the beautiful lands of Timor-Leste. Before joining Catalpa, he worked as a database system administrator for a Timorese company called Invest People. Sérgio is looking to embrace all the challenges of a developing country and share the benefits of technology nowadays to make Timor-Leste and the world a happier place.

Tanushree Rao

Communication and Storytelling

Tanushree's background is a soup made of international development; peace and conflict analysis; journalism; communication; and research. She previously worked as an advisor for an Early Warning, Early Response violence monitoring program in Timor-Leste, and from time to time is a communication consultant to organisations in the field. Prior to this, Tanushree worked with startups, NGOs and other institutions in Australia. She writes about awesome things happening in the world, and can't resist a timely Simpsons meme.