Bio photo for Melaku Yirga.

Melaku Yirga

East and Southern Africa Regional Director

Melaku Yirga’s tenure with Mercy Corps began in 2006 as project manager in his home country of Ethiopia. He later became Chief of Party in Uganda, managing a £5.3 million five-year USDA funded Revitalizing Agricultural Incomes and New Markets (RAIN) Programme in the northern part of the country.  

Melaku also worked as Director of Programmes in Uganda before serving as Deputy Regional Director for Africa for three years, 2016-2019. He then held the role Chief of Party for the Rural Resilience Activity in Nigeria before being named Country Director for Ethiopia in 2020.

In his role as Country Director for Ethiopia, 2020-23, Melaku helmed a large and productive team. He led the planning and execution of a country strategy with focus on inclusive economic growth, peace and governance, integrated humanitarian response, and food security impacting the lives of more than 2.4 million people.

Melaku holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a master's degree in rural development from Haramaya University, Ethiopia, where he also earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture.